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  1. - Top - End - #121
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    I don't have much on me right now, Darya sends from the stables, but you could bet the money I've given Lil for the healing wand. I'm going to stay with Sword for the night, and no jokes because I've already done them all. I trust for you and Tallesin to know everything nececssary about how to tactically place the bets. I'll try to do my part in winning them.
    "Ceterum censeo mediomundum esse delendum."
    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    A balor is literally made of evil - for all we know it's composed of malecules and cruelectrons.
    I will leave this world like I entered it - screaming and bathed in blood.

    Martial Avatartist by the amazing yldenfrei

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Lia Naida

    Lia dons a persona of a minor merchant woman and wanders around the town and assesses the general trend (and amounts) of the current betting. She also checks as to when the betting closes and when the race begins.

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: Lia Naida

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormwind View Post
    Lia dons a persona of a minor merchant woman and wanders around the town and assesses the general trend (and amounts) of the current betting. She also checks as to when the betting closes and when the race begins.
    The trend on the betting is still strongly favouring Sham, with a smattering of support for Twice a Prince and My Gallant. There is talk of the new entrant, Sword, but no one takes him seriously, in fact, hes regarded as a bit of joke, and even though there has been some foolish wagering on him, no one sees him as a competitor, especially after the performance on the practice laps.
    The betting closes just before the start of the race, and the race will run in the mid afternoon.
    As well, all of the major casinos have set up pavillions for lavish dinner parties, however, around 7PM or so, there is bit of consternation at one of the pavillions, it seems as if one of Kroy's most powerful casino owners has had a falling out with his wife, something about an affair with one of his casino managers. The appearant scandal is enough to set tongues wagging, but it will likely not affect the race or the betting.
    To quote the OP: "I don't mind a mid-level optimization". I don't know how you read it, but I read it as "You don't actually need to get to the point where you could kill a dozen tier one builds in a single turn and leave the action economy dead in some ditch behind you" - whoiam

    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.

  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: Lia Naida

    Quote Originally Posted by Partysan View Post
    I don't have much on me right now, Darya sends from the stables, but you could bet the money I've given Lil for the healing wand. I'm going to stay with Sword for the night, and no jokes because I've already done them all. I trust for you and Tallesin to know everything nececssary about how to tactically place the bets. I'll try to do my part in winning them.
    "I understand, Darya," telecasts Lil (seeing un-specified audience italics means "ALCON"), "I'll bet your 3,000 gp for Sword."

    Lildorrinene will bet the 3000 gp Darya gave her as a third-party bet.
    Quote Originally Posted by MikelaC1 View Post
    As well, all of the major casinos have set up pavillions for lavish dinner parties, however, around 7PM or so, there is bit of consternation at one of the pavillions, it seems as if one of Kroy's most powerful casino owners has had a falling out with his wife, something about an affair with one of his casino managers. The appearant scandal is enough to set tongues wagging, but it will likely not affect the race or the betting.
    Interesting, Lildorrinene will insinuate herself into this dinner party to enjoy the gossip.
    DMing
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  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Darya has chosen to spend the night before the race in the stables with Sword, hoping to establish the divine link she should have with the horse. So far, Sword has been silent in this matter, but Darya is patient. When Sword settles down to sleep, Darya settles in beside him.
    Several hours pass, and Darya has fallen into a light sleep. Suddenly, she is not sure what wakes her, but when she opens her eyes, she sees a man poised over an unsuspecting Sword. The man holds a short sword, and is about to bring it down in a killing blow on his neck. Darya is about 5 ft. away from the man...what does she do?
    To quote the OP: "I don't mind a mid-level optimization". I don't know how you read it, but I read it as "You don't actually need to get to the point where you could kill a dozen tier one builds in a single turn and leave the action economy dead in some ditch behind you" - whoiam

    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.

  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    As soon as Darya is able to comprehend the situation, she is all at once wide awake. Her first instict is to lash out fast and deadly, but she reigns it in while deciding of the fastest thing she can do to save Sword.
    Just barely stabilizing her kneeling positing, her arm shoots forward, swinging the charm from her wand blacelet into the palm and releasing it. The bright scimitar shoots out out straight from her hand, with the blade resting between the man's sword and Sword's neck, while she slowly takes the second hand to the handle.
    The imminent danger at least delayed for a moment, she just barely surpresses her anger and speaks in a reasonable, yet demanding voice. "You should slowly put down your weapon and surrender. You're outclassed."
    Spoiler
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    Cast: Mass Suggestion

    Then she sends out a telepathic alarm: Assassin in the stables! Be on guard! Details follow.
    "Ceterum censeo mediomundum esse delendum."
    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    A balor is literally made of evil - for all we know it's composed of malecules and cruelectrons.
    I will leave this world like I entered it - screaming and bathed in blood.

    Martial Avatartist by the amazing yldenfrei

  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Foiled in his attempt to assassinate the horse, the assassin turns his attention on Darya, striking 3 times at her, but only connecting once for 10 points of damage. Darya's spell is ineffective on him.

    You are back up for an action.
    To quote the OP: "I don't mind a mid-level optimization". I don't know how you read it, but I read it as "You don't actually need to get to the point where you could kill a dozen tier one builds in a single turn and leave the action economy dead in some ditch behind you" - whoiam

    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.

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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Unwilling to let this evolve into a serious fight, Darya grabs for a piece of scrap metal from her pouch, presses her hand around it and channels her anger into rebuking it. Only moments later, it falls through her hand and disintegrates, as she feels the cool of the magic aura crawl up and envelop her skin.
    "WAKE UP, SWORD!", she shouts, positioning herself as to not let the attacker reach either Sword or the exit.
    Spoiler
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    Cast Ironguard on Darya.
    "Ceterum censeo mediomundum esse delendum."
    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    A balor is literally made of evil - for all we know it's composed of malecules and cruelectrons.
    I will leave this world like I entered it - screaming and bathed in blood.

    Martial Avatartist by the amazing yldenfrei

  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    The assassin may be outclassed, but he seems determined in his mission, but Darya is now the target he must deal with. Once again, he launches his attacks, but Darya's defenses are more than up to the task, and he cannot hit her.
    Meanwhile, her furious call to Sword gets the horse awake, who whinnies in fear at the battle, and moves with more speed than he ever showed on the track, getting himself into a position behind the amazon woman, keeping him out of the assassin's range

    Back to your actions.
    To quote the OP: "I don't mind a mid-level optimization". I don't know how you read it, but I read it as "You don't actually need to get to the point where you could kill a dozen tier one builds in a single turn and leave the action economy dead in some ditch behind you" - whoiam

    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.

  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    "Now that I think about it..."
    Darya reaches for her pouch again and repeats the procedure, this time making Sword immune to attacks with metal weapons. Then she spreads her arms and starts walking towards the assassin, careful to block his way to the door.
    "So. Now you can't hurt me, you can't hurt your target and I'd be very surprised if you could get away. Now will you give up or do I have to slice off your legs before you'll answer to me?
    Spoiler
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    Cast Ironguard on Sword
    And maybe I'll make a throw on intimidate for good measure, no ranks be damned.
    (1d20+9)[15]
    Last edited by Partysan; 2011-11-27 at 11:40 AM.
    "Ceterum censeo mediomundum esse delendum."
    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    A balor is literally made of evil - for all we know it's composed of malecules and cruelectrons.
    I will leave this world like I entered it - screaming and bathed in blood.

    Martial Avatartist by the amazing yldenfrei

  11. - Top - End - #131
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    The assassin concentrates for a moment, and a shadowy blade appears in his hand, shaping itself into the short sword shape that he is familiar with, and he continues his attacks. This time, the power of the blade also makes him more efficient in his attacks, and he connects 3 times with Darya, dealing her 34 points of damage.

    Spoiler
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    This is the assassin spell spectral blade so you have a will save (DC:18), if you succeed you take only half damage
    To quote the OP: "I don't mind a mid-level optimization". I don't know how you read it, but I read it as "You don't actually need to get to the point where you could kill a dozen tier one builds in a single turn and leave the action economy dead in some ditch behind you" - whoiam

    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.

  12. - Top - End - #132
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    "Fine."
    Darya won't bother any longer. She lifts her weapon and begins attacking, routinely slicing at the man with the full force of both her arms and anger behind it.

    Spoiler
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    Will Saves:
    (1d20+23)[38]
    (1d20+23)[43]
    (1d20+23)[26]

    Divine Might and Full attack.
    Attack: (1d20+23)[37]
    Conf: (1d20+23)[38]
    Damage:(2d4+17)[20]

    Attack: (1d20+17)[20]
    Conf: (1d20+17)[18]
    Damage: (2d4+17)[23]

    Attack: (1d20+12)[27]
    Conf: (1d20+12)[26]
    Damage: (2d4+17)[24]

    Attack: (1d20+7)[20]
    Conf: (1d20+7)[25]
    Damage: (2d4+17)[22]
    "Ceterum censeo mediomundum esse delendum."
    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    A balor is literally made of evil - for all we know it's composed of malecules and cruelectrons.
    I will leave this world like I entered it - screaming and bathed in blood.

    Martial Avatartist by the amazing yldenfrei

  13. - Top - End - #133
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

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    Only one save is needed


    The assassin is heavily damaged by two of Darya's attacks, and realizes he is in desperate straits. He goes for broke, attempting to tumble past Darya and strike at Sword with his spectral blade. The attack connects, however just like her mistress, Sword recognizes the partially illusionary nature of the blade, and the strike only makes a small mark on the horse.
    To quote the OP: "I don't mind a mid-level optimization". I don't know how you read it, but I read it as "You don't actually need to get to the point where you could kill a dozen tier one builds in a single turn and leave the action economy dead in some ditch behind you" - whoiam

    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.

  14. - Top - End - #134
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    "Alright," Darya gets out between the hits "I've given you every chance to spare your life. If it's us or you" she continues, driving him back with heavy blows "I've no problem killing you first."

    Spoiler
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    Same Game
    If the third attack in the last round hit it should have been a critical and thus the assassin would be under the influcence of the slow burst enchantment I think.
    Attack: (1d20+23)[28]
    Conf: (1d20+23)[26]
    Damage:(2d4+17)[21]

    Attack: (1d20+17)[34]
    Conf: (1d20+17)[36]
    Damage: (2d4+17)[24]

    Attack: (1d20+12)[16]
    Conf: (1d20+12)[26]
    Damage: (2d4+17)[19]

    Attack: (1d20+7)[26]
    Conf: (1d20+7)[23]
    Damage: (2d4+17)[24]
    "Ceterum censeo mediomundum esse delendum."
    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    A balor is literally made of evil - for all we know it's composed of malecules and cruelectrons.
    I will leave this world like I entered it - screaming and bathed in blood.

    Martial Avatartist by the amazing yldenfrei

  15. - Top - End - #135
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Waking groggily from a brief sleep by Darya's telepathic message, Dot rolls over and quickly casts a divination to see her colleague - and the horse of her dreams. Seeing that she is engaged in swordplay, Dot gestures to the always-handy Clyde and then the image of Darya.

    "Gotta go. Back soon."

    Clyde grabs Dot. A half-sized young woman - wearing only a ruby necklace - and a big purple demon-gorilla appear about at the entrance to the stables. Dot sends mentally to Darya.

    "I see you've made a friend. How can we help?"
    Currently climbing out of a heckofa two weeks at work/RL. Now working to catch up. Thanks for your patience.

    Peridot avatar (complete with demon consorts) courtesy of the very talented Telasi.

    Despair favours the status quo. It is a luxury we cannot afford. ~ Andrew Nikiforuk

  16. - Top - End - #136
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

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    Ret-con....the third strike did hit, and confirm, so the assassin was slowed. That would mean he would not be able to tumble and attack, so he tumbled to Sword, and was readying to attack him


    Seeing Sword in danger lends even more urgency to Darya's blows, and with a furious flurry, she finishes off the assassin, who drops without another word. Turning the body over, Darya sees a symbol of a series of mountains.

    Spoiler
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    Know: Religion DC: 15 to recognize the symbol of Dantilus Telgar


    Just as she finishes him off, Dot appears in the doorway.
    To quote the OP: "I don't mind a mid-level optimization". I don't know how you read it, but I read it as "You don't actually need to get to the point where you could kill a dozen tier one builds in a single turn and leave the action economy dead in some ditch behind you" - whoiam

    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.

  17. - Top - End - #137
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Darya wipes the sweat from her face and goes over to calm Sword.
    "Nice to see you too. We had a nightly visit from a secret admirer who turned out to be a bit more forward than we liked. And I have a faint suspicion where he came from.", she adds, nodding at the symbol.
    "Ceterum censeo mediomundum esse delendum."
    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    A balor is literally made of evil - for all we know it's composed of malecules and cruelectrons.
    I will leave this world like I entered it - screaming and bathed in blood.

    Martial Avatartist by the amazing yldenfrei

  18. - Top - End - #138
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Someone might think that Sword, who grew up on a farm and had never seen a fight before would need a lot of work to calm, but apart from its initial fear at being threatened with a weapon, he is now remarkably calm, settling easily under Darya's care. Her knowledge of religion serves her well, she recognizes her assailant as one of the cult of assassins that worships Dantilus Telgar, god of black magic and death.
    To quote the OP: "I don't mind a mid-level optimization". I don't know how you read it, but I read it as "You don't actually need to get to the point where you could kill a dozen tier one builds in a single turn and leave the action economy dead in some ditch behind you" - whoiam

    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.

  19. - Top - End - #139
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Dot weaves a simple spell, and a bathrobe seems to form around her naked form. She looks at the symbol of the mountains.

    "{Perhaps, since you're an unknown factor and therefore a wildcard in the race, a competitor was looking for insurance."
    Currently climbing out of a heckofa two weeks at work/RL. Now working to catch up. Thanks for your patience.

    Peridot avatar (complete with demon consorts) courtesy of the very talented Telasi.

    Despair favours the status quo. It is a luxury we cannot afford. ~ Andrew Nikiforuk

  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    "If they managed to see through our practice laps, perhaps. But there would have to be a good deal of money in it for them to hire an assassin. And not that bad a one either. I think it's just as likely that Sword will prove essential for our mission and that some other god knows that too, just like with the necklaces.
    In any case, we should try not to let anyone get murdered. I'm sure one of us can speak with dead, so we have one prime witness right here."
    "Ceterum censeo mediomundum esse delendum."
    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    A balor is literally made of evil - for all we know it's composed of malecules and cruelectrons.
    I will leave this world like I entered it - screaming and bathed in blood.

    Martial Avatartist by the amazing yldenfrei

  21. - Top - End - #141
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Dot nods.

    "That's certainly a possibility, although that posits one or more deities who not only know more about our quest than our own goddesses, and a direct pipeline of information from those gods to their worshippers. If that's the case, then it becomes likely, then, that the people who know the most about our secret mission are in fact complete strangers worshipping other gods."

    Clyde shuffles forward and snuffles at the would-be assassin's remains. Dead? Dead.

    Dot shivers a bit, and continues.

    "Well, ah, it seems that you've got the situation well in hand. I should go...find my clothes. Want me to take Stabby here with me?"
    Currently climbing out of a heckofa two weeks at work/RL. Now working to catch up. Thanks for your patience.

    Peridot avatar (complete with demon consorts) courtesy of the very talented Telasi.

    Despair favours the status quo. It is a luxury we cannot afford. ~ Andrew Nikiforuk

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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    "Ah, yes, if it doesn't bother you, do. I don't think I could do anything useful with him - except searching his body but I doubt that professional assassins carry around a lot of information on their hits.
    I guess I'll be spending the rest of the night awake. Maybe I'll try to find out how someone knew that I would be needed. Have a good morning anyway, we'll meet again before the race. Maybe one of the others will have spoken to the body until then."
    "Ceterum censeo mediomundum esse delendum."
    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    A balor is literally made of evil - for all we know it's composed of malecules and cruelectrons.
    I will leave this world like I entered it - screaming and bathed in blood.

    Martial Avatartist by the amazing yldenfrei

  23. - Top - End - #143
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Dot nods, and bends over the body. She carefully pats him down, just in case there was something to be learned. When she finished and rose. Clyde slings the body up over a broad shoulder, and places a clawed hand on Dot's shoulder.

    "I don't sleep much - I'm glad you called, although clearly you didn't need any help in dealing with the situation. I'll be preparing magics with an eye not to give you an advantage in the race - I have a feeling that you won't need it - but to make sure that there isn't other interference going on. If any of the rest of our group shows up, just send me a mental buzz and we'll be back."

    Spoiler
    Show
    Dot casts Arcane Sight to go over any auras lingering on the body. Spellcraft: (1d20+37)[48]. If it seems safe to do so, she will do a search of the body: (1d20+32)[52].

    I'm pausing this before Clyde teleports them away again, in case others want to join in. Otherwise, Dot will head back to get dressed, wrap things up, memorize different spells, and be back at the stables for breakfast.
    Currently climbing out of a heckofa two weeks at work/RL. Now working to catch up. Thanks for your patience.

    Peridot avatar (complete with demon consorts) courtesy of the very talented Telasi.

    Despair favours the status quo. It is a luxury we cannot afford. ~ Andrew Nikiforuk

  24. - Top - End - #144
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    "Well, I couldn't be sure if maybe you others would be attacked as well, or if more attacks would follow, so I thought it prudent to inform everyone. It seems though, the situation was more easily contained than I feared."
    "Ceterum censeo mediomundum esse delendum."
    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    A balor is literally made of evil - for all we know it's composed of malecules and cruelectrons.
    I will leave this world like I entered it - screaming and bathed in blood.

    Martial Avatartist by the amazing yldenfrei

  25. - Top - End - #145
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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Dot sees no auras on the body, and her search reveals nothing else of note, nothing that you wouldnt expect on an assassin.
    To quote the OP: "I don't mind a mid-level optimization". I don't know how you read it, but I read it as "You don't actually need to get to the point where you could kill a dozen tier one builds in a single turn and leave the action economy dead in some ditch behind you" - whoiam

    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.

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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    As he places the bets with Peridot, Tallesin Eliado overhears stories of the casino owner and his wife, and with little left to entertain himself this evening, he strolls to the party, altering his attire to fit the occasion. Once there, he listens in on the familiar buzz of marital infidelity, quizzing the spectators and gossips about its details. After his interviews, Tallesin returns to his chambers alone and pens a new poem of love won and lost, inspired by the recent scandal/affair within the casinos.

    When Darya's mental message reaches him hours later, he wakes up groggily, but when he soon after learns of her victory, Tallesin falls back into a light sleep, sure that the she is safe and would appreciate him renewing his spells more than his uninvited presence. [OOC: I'm assuming Darya/Dot would announce their success telepathically]
    Last edited by Ason; 2011-11-27 at 11:39 PM.

  27. - Top - End - #147
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    lostsole31's Avatar

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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    If Lildorrinene happens to see Melinda, she'll invite her as part of her 'entourage' ... Laelle happens to enjoy supporting and providing patronage to 'fledgling' artists.

    Any other major events at this party, or do we FF onwards?
    Last edited by lostsole31; 2011-11-29 at 03:39 AM.
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  28. - Top - End - #148
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Stormwind's Avatar

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    Default Lia Naida

    Still in the guise of a minor merchant woman, Lia wanders from party to party and continues to gather information on the race, focusing particularly on the horses, and even moreso on their backers.

    [Gather information: (1d20+31)[41] (take 10 - mastery)]

    [Regarding the amounts that are being bet - is our current betting pool enough to be seriously noticeable, or is it but a drop in the bucket compared to what else is being bet?]


    __________

    When the attack on Darya and her Sword occurs, Lia quietly extricates herself from her current party and proceeds to make herself unseen and unheard as she patrols the area around the stables.

    [Guarding against another attack, and watching carefully for any other activity around the stables for the rest of the night]
    [Hide: (1d20+14)[21]]
    [If she has any reason for concern, Lia will use Invisibility and potentially also Zone of silence]

  29. - Top - End - #149
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    MikelaC1's Avatar

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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Lia's information gathering doesnt reveal a whole lot more information, the horses are what they are, and their backers seem to be just ordinary horsemen. Unless theres something really hidden going on, none of these people have any agenda other than winning this most prestigious race, and no one seems to be out to do anything really underhanded to do it. Regarding the amount bet, it will certainly lower the odds (seeing as there hadnt been anything bet on the horse before), but its not going to take it down too much. Lia can see the odds are now 100 to 1; and no one else seems to have bet on Sword, allaying Melinda's concerns that their money would make more follow.

    Lia's concerns about more attacks are well placed, however her patrols do not turn up any other activity...or perhaps they keep other intruders from trying anything as the group now seems vigilant.
    To quote the OP: "I don't mind a mid-level optimization". I don't know how you read it, but I read it as "You don't actually need to get to the point where you could kill a dozen tier one builds in a single turn and leave the action economy dead in some ditch behind you" - whoiam

    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.

  30. - Top - End - #150
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kalirren's Avatar

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    Default Re: Three Goddesses - IC (Thread #2)

    Shortly after hearing the news of Benedict's breakup, Melinda meets Tallesin and the two of them go in to that party together. Tallesin knows how to push the latest artistic trends to wealthy clienteles, and Sabrinan art song might as well be one of them. With a few charms and a bribe or two, artist and agent together insert Melinda into a suitable place in the program.

    Again Melinda has only bargained for a small set. She has a target in mind, and she doesn't even know what Benedict looks like, though she does keep an eye out for an improperly empty seat at a relatively high-placed table. Targeted magic was out of the question, so the emotional impact of her performance itself had to be exactly right. Not improper, not distasteful, yet brutally and succintly effective upon a man's heart that happened to be angry at a woman's fickleness and needed to be made spitefully self-indulgent. As such she has selected her repertoire extremely carefully.

    Standing on that stage, looking out into a crowd of tables and patrons lit by colorful dancing lights, she finally remembered why everything looked so familiar. She had been at Belmont once before, fifteen years before. Fifteen years ago, when she had sold herself for the first time. Silently she thanked her Lady that she had come so far. Such an audience seemed so immense before. Now all she could see was the opportunity.

    The bardess introduces herself as herself, Melinda of Sabrina, itinerant bard and pilgrim, delighted to have the pleasure to sing for such a noble and sophisticated crowd tonight. Out comes her piano, which she needn't introduce for a crowd as cosmopolitan as this one. As the grand instrument takes its time to materialize, she makes some jokes about how as a singer she enjoys being a Sabrinite. "After all, singers of other faiths have to choose between singing bawdy songs, or love songs, or religious songs. But for a Sabrinite singer, things are easy; the bawdy songs are the love songs, are the religious songs. The Sabrinite fellowship has hundreds of years of tradition in art song, a taste of which I am happy to share today for your enjoyment tonight."

    Against a playful introduction from the accompaniment she begins her first song.

    "In the shadow of my tresses
    My beloved has fallen asleep.
    Shall I awaken him now? ...or not!

    Carefully I comb my ruffled
    Locks, early every day;
    Yet for nothing is my trouble,
    For the wind makes them dishevelled yet again.
    The shadows of my tresses, the whispering of the wind,
    Have lulled my darling to sleep.
    Shall I awaken him now? ...or not!

    I must listen to him complain
    That he pines for me so long,
    That life is given and taken away from him
    By this, my brown cheek,
    And he calls me a siren;
    Yet he fell asleep by me.
    Shall I awaken him now? ...or not!"


    "As deep as my own musical tradition is, once in a while I do lust for the innovations of other faiths. This next piece was in fact composed by a monk of Varinn Khosar for a child soloist, and later made it into the pilgrimage crowd, where I picked it up. Of course I've corrupted it for my own artistically nefarious ends." Melinda pulls off the innocent devil persona very well. "Ladies and gentlmen, Widerstehe doch der Sunde (Stand Fast against Sin)." (OOC:Tongues is wonderful. I get to translate German songs.)

    "Stand fast against sin, lest its poison touch you. (Repeated, broken up...)
    be not deceived by tempters, for this shames your god's honor
    and carries a curse, deadly it is!
    So stand fast against sin, lest its poison touch you. (Da capo.)"


    This is the slow piece of Melinda's set. It's not particularly flashy, though those in the know would consider it a mainstay of the repertoire for her range. Adult singers typically sing it in one of three personae: the penitent, the angel, or some mimicry of the original child preacher. But the real genius of Melinda's performance of this piece is that she explores a fourth possible persona.

    Her repeated two-note gestures on "standing fast" are delightfully ambivalent, and her tasteful relishing of the tone of poison comes from one about to succumb to its joyous effects. The shaming is but a frendly jeer, and the seriousness of the warning is completely lost in humor, for what curse could possibly be so deadly? True to her own religious form, Melinda is singing this song as a temptress. The composer's original intent is simultaneously recognized and skillfully swept under the rug with tuneful irony.

    "This last piece I have for you is a pair of songs of my own recent composition which I have adopted from Nocticulan and Tishtinan sacred poetry respectively. I would typically close with a more orthodox set of tunes, but after our recent joint triumph at the Cups of the Gods, this is my way of acknowledging my own hopes for a closer future for the three fellowships of Love. Ladies and gentlemen, a diptych on Night, and good night to you all."

    Melinda's last piece begins with a rather pensive and lengthy introduction in the accompaniment. Even when her voice does enter, it comes in high, leaving a large stretch of textural emptiness that exposes the hollowness of affection.

    "Endless night.
    Desolate gloom of the waiting hours.
    Shattered heart,
    fevered blood drumming her name's lovely syllables.
    Let her come, the too-much-wanted;
    let her come, the too-much-loved,
    and wrap me in her odor of early blooms.
    May my lips bite the fruit of her mouth
    till the taste of her soul is theirs.
    Have I shed tears in vain,
    have I called out in vain,
    to all that deserts me?
    Desolate gloom,
    endless night."


    And from the depths of the bass, a low octave in the minor tonic blossoms into its relative major for the transition to the second piece of the pair. Broken chords rustle between the hands, and her voice finds itself in the range that was left unoccupied in the previous piece, making the texture silky and whole, promising healing to the wounds of the heart.

    "When streams turn pink in the setting sun,
    And a slight shudder rushes through the wheat fields,
    A plea for happiness seems to rise out of all things
    And it climbs up towards the troubled heart.

    A plea to relish the charm of being alive
    While we are yet young, and the night is yet fair,
    For we are passing away, as the wave passes:
    The wave to the sea, we to the grave."

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