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    Default The Path of Dark & Silence

    The Path of Dark & Silence

    The Players in the Game
    {table=head]Player | Character | Race | Class | Color
    RaggedAngel | Vassi | Whisper Gnome | Factotum 4 | Navy
    Postmodernist | Verstaadt | Tiefling | Focused Conjurer 3, Master Specialist 1 | DarkOrchid
    SlyJohnny | Durrost | Duergar | Paladin 3 | Magenta
    Starbin | Alissa | Aasimar | Cleric 1, Paladin 2 | DarkOrange
    [/table]



    Chapter I: Lives Interlinked

    The bustle and trade of Synd was winding down as the day drew to a close. While there was no light here to indicate the end of a day, all those native to the Underdark seemed to develop a surprisingly accurate internal clock. Shutters closed on shop fronts, carts were wheeled back to homes, and stalls were cleared and closed. Even the sparse handful of shops on the very fringe of Synd that catered to surface-folk doused their lights and locked their doors. The "night" dwellers of the city began to emerge: the criminal element stretched its legs as unsavory folk met in taverns and crooked guardsmen prowled the streets .

    A bare-headed grey dwarf stables his unusual mount at an inn, glancing up at the towering mass of the Spire of Lords as he settles in his steeder. As he entered the city, he could not help but see it looming everywhere he went, its unlit heights disappearing beyond the extent of his darkvision. As he enters the inn to find a room, a feeling of dread comes over him -- surely nothing, he told himself; just getting jumpy from all the odd looks he'd gotten from his unusual holy symbols.

    A robed, fiendish-looking man sits alone at another inn, a simple-looking haversack in the empty chair next to him. He looks anxiously around at the few unfamiliar folk left in the common room at this late hour -- a pair of drow talking quietly together in one corner, a bald and white-bearded duergar drinking alone at the bar, and another character whose race was impossible to tell due to their entire body being swathed in heavy black robes and cloak. As the tiefling looks around, his eyes pass over the window out of which he can see the Spire of Lords nearby. As his inn is near its base, he can make out the emblem of the Merchant Council -- scales with coins on both sides -- above the large wooden front doors. His eyes move away from the window and continue their nervous search of the room's sparse inhabitants, wondering where on earth his father's friend had gotten to.

    A golden-haired woman moves nervously through the streets of the city, looking quite vulnerable despite the mace hanging at her waist and the bow and arrows on her back. The ever-present lack of any light at all pressed in on her, and her eyes darted around constantly as she perceived things in mere black-and-white. Her heart beat a military march and her breathing was quick and shallow. Light footsteps sounded on the lane behind her, and she glanced over her shoulder. She saw nothing, however, except the massive Spire of Lords in the center of the city. She thought she caught a flash of light up high, far beyond the extent of her strange darkvision, but as she only glanced for a moment before hurrying on her way, she may have simply been imagining it.

    A figure that some of the less intelligent folk took for a child moved lightly and adeptly through the alleys of the city, looking for an inn that was less seedy, as an establishment completely lacking in seediness seemed to nonexistent in this city. As her eyes moved about for signs of trouble, her hands unconsciously twisted to check the weapons concealed up her sleeves. A skinny almost-human-looking youth approached her with an attempt at fierceness writ on his face, but after a second glance decided she was not worth it and scampered off. As a smug smile played on the gnome's face, she looked down the lane where the boy had disappeared, only to find herself staring straight into the heart of the city at the Spire of Lords. Its banners hung limp as always in this windless city cave and its complete lack of windows, or indeed any features at all -- at least on its visible lower levels -- made it quite a dreary and depressing sight.

    In the minds of all four of these folk a niggling thought of wrongness wormed around, never quite on the surface and never quite in a way you could put into words. Nevertheless, they all had a sense that a storm was on the horizon -- as odd a phrase as that was in a subterranean city.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    The gray dwarf checks the harnesses on his steeder once more, checking that she's properly secured. He watches her for a time, staring into the creature's eight beady black eyes, and then nods, apparently satisfied. He clicks his tongue and hisses, instructing it to stay, and then digs around in the side pocket of his backpack, retrieving a somewhat squashed cave frog. He tosses the dead amphibian towards Hessler, watches as her mandibles flare open to snatch the morsel from the air before snapping closed, and then he turns and heads inside the inn.

    He shakes his head to clear it. He nervously runs his fingers over the holy symbol of Laduguer dangling about his neck and tapping against his breastplate, and not for the first time; there was a time where he found it's presence to be comforting, now it's merely a source of anxiety. He has a recurring nightmare that one day he will accidentally walk into the temple openly wearing the silvery sun of Pholtus instead, and would be marked as a heretic to be tortured and sacrificed. He resists the urge to take out one of those symbols and touch that, instead. Appearances must be maintained.

    He strides over to the bar and drops coins enough for stabling and one night's room and board on the counter, plus a g'shnakki, a popular duergar ale distilled from a poisonous mushroom. He nods to the innkeeper and orders the drink, waiting for him to take his money before stating, "Impressive spire, out there." His voice is low, but quite clear. He waits to see if the innkeeper will volunteer information before he presses for more details.
    Last edited by SlyJohnny; 2012-08-21 at 10:50 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    This image you have of European peasants huddled fearfully in decrepit hovels while packs of baby-eating wolves terrorize the countryside has no basis in reality.
    Murgan, dwarven footpad
    Slade, half-orc Oracle of Ancestors

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    For a fortnight she had travelled; fourteen days without the light of day to guide her steps. Once, such an ordeal would have left her disfunctional, frozen in fear and anxiety at what lurked in the dark. No longer did she cower in the corner - now, she could walk without light. But the fear still flirted with her heart, each strange noise or sudden movement causing a staccato beat in her chest and sending a tremor up her spine.

    The two weeks were long and lonely, but eventually she came to the place she had been told about near the entrance to the Underdark, Synod. As she entered the city, she could only marvel at the fortitude of its inhabitants, for their perserverance in calling such a dark place home for so many years. Or perhaps it was stubborness. Even the Spire of Lords in the center of the city evoked solidity ... and stagnation. Then, as she took a deep breath, she almost choked. There was something else here, something she could not exactly pinpoint or describe ... except to say that there was a wrongess, a charge in the air that felt for all the world like a coming storm.

    Pausing for a moment, Alissa closed her eyes, reaching for the symbol within her robes. "Faith is a belief in the things we cannot see, cannot touch, and cannot prove ... and yet we still know them to be true. The light has not abadoned you any more than you have abandoned it. Find it in the little things ... a smile, a flower, a kind word ... your own heart ..."

    The whispered words fell flat, seemingly swallowed by the darkness. But they had served their purpose, bolstering the young woman enough to continue her journey. With jaw set, Alissa continued walking, eyes now searching for a place to stay.

    There would be plenty of time later for enlightenment ...
    Posting may be distracted for the next few months - I'm in a bit of transition!
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."


    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!

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    Verstaadt leans back in his chair, scowling at the bar's patrons, pondering his next move. He considered going back to the place he was supposed to have found Athosh and leaving a note, but there was no telling if and when the old spellcaster would find it. Worse, if something had happened to him- and the young Tiefling's sense of unease led him to suspect that this was the case- the note might only lead that selfsame trouble back to Verstaadt. No, it was wise to wait and observe. He would gather up all the information he could before committing to a plan of action. At least, until his coin ran out.

    The conjurer tipped his chair forward with a slight bang, returning it to its proper position. He scooped up his bag with grace surprising for a creature so ugly, and bellied up to the bar. Once he had secured the bartender's attention, he inquired, "Hey, you, barkeep. Is there anywhere in this wretched place I might find a scholarly institution? I'm looking for a few academic associates, and since no one seems to value intellectual inquiry in this godsforsaken hole, I haven't had much luck. Any advice?" If the fiend-blooded mage realized he was being abrupt or rude, he gave no indication of it. He did, however, brush some greyish matter from the sleeve of his robe onto the surface of the bar. "Apologies for that. Alkaloid residue. The stuff gets bloody everywhere when you're mixing reagents."

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    The barkeep at The Rusty Bucket, also a duergar, takes Durrost's coins with a nod and a grunt, turning around a moment to fill up a mug with g'shnakki before setting it down in on the counter. At mention of the Spire, he shakes his head in disgust and spits on the floor.

    "The Prick o' Pricks, ye mean?" he growls. "Alla them pricks need their giant prick to sit in while they bleed us dry."

    Meanwhile, at the Lords' Retreat, the half-ogre barkeep stares stupidly at Verstaadt as he spouts off all those big, long words, and then shrugs cluelessly and goes back to wiping out mugs.

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    Durrost grunts in agreement. "Sounds right. Tower like that, city like this." He pauses as he takes a long drag of his ale, tastes and swallows, and then nods in appreciation. "Who are the biggest pricks around here, then?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    This image you have of European peasants huddled fearfully in decrepit hovels while packs of baby-eating wolves terrorize the countryside has no basis in reality.
    Murgan, dwarven footpad
    Slade, half-orc Oracle of Ancestors

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    Vassi ghosts through the city in a way that makes the phrase nearly literal; few can be as stealthy as a whisper gnome, and she had yet to meet another gnome quite as quick or quiet as herself. She had been in the underdark for quite a while, now; ever since she had entered it with the others, so long ago. It had only been a year, really, but it seemed like ages. She missed them, which was odd for her; Vassi had never had a family before she had set out with an adventuring party, and she hadn't expected to grow close to them. And yet, here she was, getting lost in a large city thanks to the distraction of thinking about them.

    She looked up to where her feet had taken her, and she nodded to herself; while The Rusty Bucket wasn't the classiest name for a bar or inn, it was a decently well put-together place, and one could usually tell more about a place by its upkeep than by its name. She opened the door and leaned inside, taking a quick glance around before entering. She slipped through the room, more or less silent, before climbing up onto a bar stool, kneeling gracefully on top of the stool to put her head at the 'usual' height.

    She took a moment to find her voice, which had grown even quieter than usual after a long period of solitude and silence. "Excuse me," she murmured, waiting for the grey dwarves to finish speaking. "Could I trouble you for a half-pint and a gnome's portion of whatever's cooking?" She glances to the dwarf on her side of the bar, and she nods politely. "I didn't mean to overhear, but are you new around here as well? I've just come into the area, and I was wondering if you had any news of interest."
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    Durrost turns to examine the whisper gnome as she takes a seat nearby, sizing her up. He rubs a gauntletted hand over the side of his face, scratching the edge of his beard, and wonders whether she's here to grift him somehow or whether she really is new to the area.

    A svirfneblin traveler. No... its skin is a lighter shade, and the hair is too long, too thick. A surfacer, then; a rock gnome. What is it doing down here?

    He decides to be guardedly friendly. "Yes. I have only just arrived, and know little of this place. My name is Durrost." He pulls one of his gauntlets off, sets it down on the bar, and extends his bare hand to Vassi. "This city is new to you as well, then. Have you been in the Underdark long?" he inquires politely.

    Durrost tries to keep his expression neutral and conceal his own curiosity. He realizes that this is the first person from the surface he has met who is not a slave.
    Last edited by SlyJohnny; 2012-08-22 at 08:02 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    This image you have of European peasants huddled fearfully in decrepit hovels while packs of baby-eating wolves terrorize the countryside has no basis in reality.
    Murgan, dwarven footpad
    Slade, half-orc Oracle of Ancestors

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    Vassi smiles back at the dwarf pleasantly as she tries to decide if pickpocketing him would be in poor taste. While she tries to make up her mind, she decides to actually have a good bit of conversation; while her people were filled with silence instead of music, no gnome truly hated conversation, and she had been without for a long, long time. "I have indeed, though not nearly as long as those who were born here. I have merely adopted the darkness, through necessity. You're a native, correct? Have you ever seen the surface?"
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    Durrost nods, replacing his gauntlet as the woman speaks. He decides not to pry about what necessity drove her down here; that kind of question seldom gets an honest answer. He finds himself even more curious now, wondering why someone would ever leave the surface, unless it isn't all it's cracked up to be

    "Yes, I was born here. I've never been to the surface. I've heard so many things about it that don't make sense. It is said that there are entire roads between places up there that are paved and maintained like city streets, always the same route and safe for travelers to walk on. Is this true? And that the cities are full of people who can't fight, but still live safely. I don't understand how that can be. And the sun shines like a bonfire that burns out every night and relights every morning, but even at night, there is a giant sphere in the sky that glows balefully. Doesn't that make it hard to sleep?"

    Durrost abruptly realizes how quickly he's speaking, and laughs at himself. "You must think me foolish. I am sure these are just children's stories. What would you say is most different about life down here?"
    Last edited by SlyJohnny; 2012-08-23 at 03:14 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    This image you have of European peasants huddled fearfully in decrepit hovels while packs of baby-eating wolves terrorize the countryside has no basis in reality.
    Murgan, dwarven footpad
    Slade, half-orc Oracle of Ancestors

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    Vassi's smile grows more honest as the man speaks; partially because it is obvious that he has no malicious intent, and partially because she was a journeyman at heart, and she loved a good fable. To hear myths about the surface, or at least distorted facts, was an odd kind of pleasure.

    "I do not think you foolish in the least, Durrost, and forgive me for not introducing myself; my name is Vassi. I daresay that you know more about the surface than the average person down here in the darkness, though much of what you know is exaggerated. There are many roads, though they are not so safe as people want them to be; during the day, there can be great crowds of folk on the great thoroughfares, but at night it is unwise to travel outside of a group, just as it is usually unwise to go anywhere alone down here." She feels a bit amused at herself, for that is exactly what she has been doing.

    "The sun is real, and it is bright and hot, but it is not a bad thing; it gives plants life, and plants on the surface make much better food than the slimes and molds of the Underdark. The weather up there can be beautiful, too; water falling from the sky, or ice; mist that washes over the land, or bands of color stretching across the horizon.

    The moon is lovely, and while it does cast light it is a gentle light that does little more than sooth ones eyes or, if you are one such as me, give you plentiful shadow to hide in. There are lesser lights, too, called stars, and they can blanket the sky in tiny pinpoints of light. I never realized how bright they all were together until I came down here.

    As to what we say about life down here? Most think that there is no life, or at least no civilization; the Underdark to them is just a series of small, dirty caves that open up into caverns that are filled with baloths and mindflayers and things that have no name. They think the Underdark is nothing but death and chaos, and that any tales of places or people down here are nothing but stories, or are massively exaggerated."


    Vassi looks to Durrost, an odd glint in her large eyes. "That's the most I've spoken in several months, you know. I've missed it, though when I came down here I was quite sure that I'd love the silence. Now, if I may ask, what brings you to the area? Why are you where you are?" She speaks the last bit like a riddle, something memorized and chanted a thousand times.
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    The gnome and the dwarf sat together and talk amiably, whilst the tiefling sat brooding at the bar over his lack of answers and the golden-haired girl walks the streets alone. And it for this reason that she was the first to feel it, the first to see it. It started off as a slight rumbling -- something beneath notice, felt but ignored. However, it continued and only grew in strength, when suddenly there was a great sound throughout the entire city and a massive brightness behind her, up at the top of the Spire of Lords as a great KABOOM! rent the whole cave. The pinnacle of the Spire exploded outwards in a massive fireball, chunks of masonry flying up to hundreds of feet out into the city, some landing in the streets, some crushing buildings and the unfortunates caught inside. The windows in every single building in the city were blown out and the buildings' occupants showered with glass and masonry. As the sound of the explosion was still reverberating from the walls, a terrible cry as of some creature echoed from the Spire.

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    By the time the rumbling registered, Alissa had started to reach for her mace, convinced of a pending attack by one of the great burrowing beasts of the Underdark she had heard of. However, the explosion of the distant Spire was completely unexpected. Stumbling backwards where her hand on her weapon, Alissa looked around, wondering what had happened.

    Then she heard the keening wail rising up in the air. Frozen for a moment, she shook her head, swallowed her fear and began to march towards the broken Spire. In order to face your fears, you must illuminate them ...

    Spoiler
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    Not sure about what rolls might be necessary, so here's a few
    Perception: (1d20+3)[4] - looking for anyone requiring aid, as well as anything coming from the Spire
    KS (Arcana): (1d20+6)[12] - did that seem like a spell, or something more mundane?

    EDIT: Ye gods, the die roller hates me!

    If there are hurt people along the way that require assistance, Alissa will pause to help them first ... otherwise she'll make for the tower.
    Last edited by Starbin; 2012-08-23 at 02:58 PM.
    Posting may be distracted for the next few months - I'm in a bit of transition!
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."


    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!

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    Ponderous buffon! Philistine! the tiefling conjurer thought to himself while the inkeeper remained silent. Verstaadt drew breath to hurl an invective against the unresponsive bartender when the explosion sounded. Debris blew in from the inn's small windows, and the mage sough to protect himself as best he could.

    "What in Bhall's name was that?" he stammered, his ears still ringing. He realized how foolish it was to expect an answer, as the room's occupants were undoubtedly as stunned as he was. He dashed outside the inn to survey the damage. Seeing the spire so devastated, Verstaadt immediately began to wrack his brain for what might have caused such a cataclysmic explosion. Of course, that question was a secondary consideration at best; the real concern was who could have done such a thing, and why.

    Spoiler
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    I'm tempted to make an assortment of rolls here (various Knowledges, Alchemy, etc.), but somehow I think we won't be able to tell what caused this from just a casual glance.

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    Vassi is moving before the explosion has really taken off, throwing herself off of the bar-stool and under the heaviest table she can find on pure reflex. Her conversation with the dwarf forgotten, she gives the rumbling thunder in the distance a moment and a half to grow slightly weaker before rushing outside, looking around for the source of the sound. Do they get cave-ins around here? That would be a terrible way to die.

    Spoiler
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    Spot: (1d20+5)[18], with Inspiration.
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    Durrost's reaction to the sudden, unexplained explosion is to leap off his stool, knocking it over in the process. With an angry roar, he unslings a nasty-looking two handed axe from his back as he kicks over a nearby table and takes shelter behind it. He's not trying to hide like the gnome is, merely use it as cover while he prepares to murder the raiders he expects are about to flood the inn.

    Once it becomes apparent the inn is not under attack and the explosion was both quite distant and very large, he blinks once, in confusion, and then barrels towards the door after Vassi. He slams through it to the street outside and stares around at the devastation expressionlessly, silently taking stock, but keeping his own council. He whistles loudly, calling Hessler over to him. "Go. Seek the wounded. Call me over if you find anyone, or are attacked. Seek. Understand?" he tells her.

    Durrost moves off through the city in the opposite direction to his steeder, tracing a meandering path vaguely towards the tower. He ***** his head, listening out for the cries of wounded survivors, and keeping a keen eye out for anyone trapped under rubble or debris.

    Spoiler
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    Spot, Listen, and... Search, I guess? To canvass for survivors that need aid. In order: (1d20+1)[20] (1d20+1)[17] (1d20+1)[9]
    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    This image you have of European peasants huddled fearfully in decrepit hovels while packs of baby-eating wolves terrorize the countryside has no basis in reality.
    Murgan, dwarven footpad
    Slade, half-orc Oracle of Ancestors

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    As the adventurers head out individually into the streets of Synd, they can see shadow move among the flames atop it. Its brightness creates a large contrast to the blackness of the rest of the cave and a form coalesces -- large, hulking, and winged, it moves towards the ruined edge of the Spire and lets out another terrible cry. As it does so, a yellowish green fog starts seeping down the tower's sides near it. Within moments it has reached street level; Durrost and Alissa, being closer to the tower, can see all too quickly the effect it has as it moves in a rolling wave away from the tower and out into the city: everyone it touches falls to the ground and remains there, unmoving. Its progress is slow but inevitable as it moves down the streets.

    Spoiler
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    Durrost does not see anybody in the immediate vicinity who was injured by the explosion. The strange fog, on the other hand...

    Those who are able may make spellcraft checks.
    @Vassi
    Spoiler
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    You see a smaller humanoid form standing next to the larger winged one.

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    Alissa gasped at the winged thing atop the broken spire, wondering what manner of devil had come to this place ... or escaped bondage. Regardless, the beast was not the most pressing concern - the deadly gas cloud flowing down into the streets was much more worrisome. Glancing around, she moved to warn anyone nearby, knocking on doors and calling through windows.

    "Run! A death cloud comes from the Spire ... run for your lives!"

    Spoiler
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    Just trying to save some lives while she high-tails it out of there.
    Just in case, here are her other knowledge skills, as well as spellcraft and lore.
    KS (Religion): (1d20+7)[27]
    KS (Planes): (1d20+2)[7]
    KS (Nature): (1d20+2)[14]
    KS (Dungeoneering): (1d20+6)[15]
    KS (History): (1d20+6)[17]
    Lore: (1d20+2)[11]
    Spellcraft: (1d20+2)[21]
    Posting may be distracted for the next few months - I'm in a bit of transition!
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."


    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!

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    Vassi needs but a half-second of observation to understand what the cloud is, and less than a quater-second after that to understand that she wants nothing to do with it. "Durrost!" She shouts, sprinting after the dwarf's steed with a speed that would shock anyone expecting the short-legged gait of a halfling or typical gnome. "We need to get out of here, now! That cloud isn't something you can fight, and you're not going to be able to help anyone if you're dead!"

    She's not quite sure why the dwarf should matter to her; logically, she probably should have just turned and run. But after being alone for so long, and after their conversation... It felt right, to stay near him. She'd like someone at her back again, after all this time.
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    Durrost turns and examines Vassi's face for a few heartbeats, before deciding that she's right. He puts his fingers together and whistles loudly. The steeder comes skittering over, and lowers herself to the ground so Durrost can clamber on quickly. He offers a hand to the gnome to help her up, if she so desires.

    "What is happening? Do you want to ride with me, or can you outpace the cloud yourself?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    This image you have of European peasants huddled fearfully in decrepit hovels while packs of baby-eating wolves terrorize the countryside has no basis in reality.
    Murgan, dwarven footpad
    Slade, half-orc Oracle of Ancestors

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    Vassi doesn't take a moment to consider as she accepts the ride, leaping onto the strange mount's back, her slight weight not nearly enough to make the creature notice. She grips Durrost around the waist, and with wide eyes she stares back at the oncoming mists. "That's a spell, most likely, and they can't travel forever; we just need to get out of its range, or outlast its duration. That thing up there, on top of the tower; that's some kind of demon or monster, and it was likely either sealed in the tower somehow or conjured there by a very powerful spellcaster. Either way, I do not want to get close to it, either."
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Durrost grunts.

    "So the city is being attacked from without; that, or those fools within the Spire have conjured something they cannot contain or control." He looks back over at the cloud as he bids Hessler to skitter away from it, trying to ascertain whether the cloud spilled out of the tower towards the figure as some kind of defensive response, if the creature caused it, or if it just flooded out from the tower as a random side effect of the damage.

    "If the beast merely wishes to revenge itself on its summoners, I'm not going to risk my hide getting in its way. If it rampages through the streets, though... I'll not let it kill these blameless people."

    He eyes Vassi. "Where do you think we should head? Other than just 'away.' "
    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    This image you have of European peasants huddled fearfully in decrepit hovels while packs of baby-eating wolves terrorize the countryside has no basis in reality.
    Murgan, dwarven footpad
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    Vassi looks back at the creature, taking in more detail now that she's slightly safer. "That is a very noble sentiment, and I commend you for it, but look at that thing. Or rather, don't look at it because you're 'driving' and let me describe it to you: it is several times your size, or the size of your mount. It can fly, it has bulging muscles, terrible claws, and it almost certainly has magical power to go along with that.

    We can't fight that, at least not as we are. We can run, we can hide, or we can die. I choose to run, so that when I become stronger I can be sure in the knowledge that I will have this old foe to come back to and slaughter, revenging these poor lost souls."


    She allows her words a moment to sink in before continuing. "As for where specifically, I arrived here because I stopped planning my direction, and started wondering, aimless. I may have wanted to die, though I couldn't tell you for sure. I have no idea where to do, other than away."
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  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Durrost looks over at the gnome, frowning slightly. He chews on her words for a few moments, and then says reflectively, "I think... it is better to have a place to run to, than to run from. Running is sometimes necessary, as you say. But I know it to be lonely. So it must have been a very ugly necessity that drove you down here. Even uglier than this one." he says, nodding his head in the direction of the creature. The question hangs in the air, unasked.

    Having built some distance, Durrost draws Hessler into a slower pace and turns to watch the creature to see what its doing now, observe where it appears to be going, and to see if he can make out any other details about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    This image you have of European peasants huddled fearfully in decrepit hovels while packs of baby-eating wolves terrorize the countryside has no basis in reality.
    Murgan, dwarven footpad
    Slade, half-orc Oracle of Ancestors

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    Vassi smiles a bit at the dwarf's polite inquiry, and she considers how to best answer him. She looks back at the demon as she does, trying to determine if it has moved or made any further action during their retreat. "I will freely admit that I have committed many crimes in my life, though nothing that I deem serious; pickpocketing, theft, sneaking into a private academy or seven, theft of guild secrets, and jaywalking, among others.

    But I was accused of a murder that I did not commit, in a town that was extremely insular, human, and untrusting of what they called 'demihumans'. I had to flee the angry mob, and I fled down here; and I will admit, after so much time on the surface it was nice being down here. My eyes have adjusted quite nicely, and I can see further with my darkvision than most can; and I have strong nightsight in color, whenever there's a light source around.

    I came down here with another gnome, too, a quiet gnome like myself; we're a little different from normal gnomes, you see. Most gnomes have music inside them, laughter and light and cleverness. Gnomes such as myself are still clever, but we have silence in us, so much that we can make it spill out into the world. We do not practice fancy illusions or pursue whimsy; we are fast, and calm, and lethal."


    She pauses, as if it was hard to continue. "But not lethal enough. Not fast enough. He was killed by horrible creatures, and I escaped with my life, and only barely. I've wandered ever since, looking for little more than mercenary work or funds to improve my quickrazors." She flips her wrist in an odd motion, and for a moment there is a glint of metal and a razor edge in the light of the fires behind them.
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    "Run! A death cloud comes from the Spire ... run for your lives!"

    Verstaadt heard the cry from down the street, and his attention shot toward the woman who had shouted it. An aasimar, robed and armored, was running down the streets, ordering everyone to escape the yellowish fog. An aasimar?Here? Still, the conjurer had no time to ponder the reasons for a divine outsider's presence here, because the celestial-blooded woman was right. The tiefling gathered his belongings and prepared to dash away from the cloud. He glanced once more at the winged beast hovering about the tower, contemplating what it was.

    He paused, just for a moment, and thought that Athosh might have been caught in the billowing smoke. Fear ran through him, and the thought of disappointing his father, of falling, chilled him to the bone. He needed to know what this was. "You there, Goldilocks!" he shouted to the approaching aasimar, "What in the Nine Hells is going on? A death cloud, you say? And what is that creature?" Were he possessed of more refined social awareness, Verstaadt might have more thoroughly considered what asking so many questions in the midst of an emergency might seem like to others. Alas, the tiefling lacked such graces, and freely pursued his line of inquiry, rather than, say, running for his life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Postmodernist View Post
    "You there, Goldilocks!" he shouted to the approaching aasimar, "What in the Nine Hells is going on? A death cloud, you say? And what is that creature?"
    Turning, Alissa saw a figure approaching that would give pause to any self-repsecting agent of good. Her hand inadvertanly dropped to her mace as the goat-horned, red-eyed devil-spawn ran, calling for information. Startled, she still remember her training, and she focused her gaze on the being in front of her. While evil seemed in abundance in this place, this man was not evil ... per se. Taking a deep breath and consciously moving her hand away from her weapon, Alissa answered him. "Something has either attacked or freed itself from that spire," she pointed to the ruined building in the distance. "I saw a huge winged figure, perhaps a ... ah ... devil or demon ... and then the cloud starting to flow outwards."

    Glancing back at the cloud that was continuing to spill outwards, she turned back to the figure. "Sir, I know not what your business in this city was, but will you help me evacuate this area? We cannot leave these innocents without warning them!"
    Last edited by Starbin; 2012-08-27 at 03:12 PM.
    Posting may be distracted for the next few months - I'm in a bit of transition!
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."


    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!

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    As the last tendrils of green fog slipped down the shaft of the Spire, the massive form of shadow and flame leapt from its perch and spread its wings, gliding swiftly over the buildings and out into one of the massive tunnels that leads away from Synd. Those fortunate enough to escape the deadly fog flee from the center of the city, heading towards every tunnel exit save the one through which the mysterious creature headed.

    Simultaneously, although unknown to each other, all four adventurers suddenly hear a strange sound inside their head; not unlike rain falling on a pond -- a confusing, alien sound to Durrost, who had never experienced rain -- but also rather like a tinkling of many small bells. It seemed to be calling them towards the southern exit of Synd. None could quite say how they knew this, but the feeling would not go away.

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    No sooner had Alissa asked for help then a strange tinkling reverbrated inside her head. Like a fall rain on aspen leaves, it seemed to pitter-patter and ring simultaneously. She blinked for a moment, surprised by the sudden noise, then glanced at the infernal creature across from her. "D-did you hear that? I don't know what it was, but it was like ... like something calling. Calling me to the south ..."

    Uncertain what else to do, she turned to make her way towards the southern entrance, or rather the exit. As she went, she continued to shout out warnings into windows and doors, hoping to give as many people a chance at survival as possible.
    Posting may be distracted for the next few months - I'm in a bit of transition!
    DM: "Why do you have so many characters?"
    Me: "Because I never embraced the strategic value of running away."


    Fare thee well, N_R ... you will missed!

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    Verstaadt looked up at the aasimar in surprise. "I... I did hear that. It could be some sort of residual effect from whatever magic unleashed this upon on. Come on, let's get out of here." With that, the conjurer headed south.

    "I'm not sure if salutations are customary under these circumstances," the tiefling said as he dashed toward the southmost tunnel, "but I'm Verstaadt. I take you're not from around here, either, eh?"

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