Ongoing Games (In-Character)Play-by-post games are going on in this forum as we speak (well, read). All threads on this board are actual games, so please, only post on a thread if you are a player of that game.
It's been over a month since the beholder Glydax died beneath the Feywild. The six companions, the "Heroes of Fallcrest" have drifted apart across the planes.
The Inn of the Lady's Favor was one of the smaller inns in this corner of the Market District, but that didn't mean it wasn't busy. It seemed that every Inn and tavern in Sigil was filled to capacity lately, particularly those such as the Lady's Favor which cater to a wide variety of clientele. Waiters ran in and out of the kitchen, frantically trying to keep up with their orders. The Githyanki at the bar wanted Feywine; two bald dwarves ordered another round of ale as they discussed a delivery of mining equipment; An immensely fat human had requested another order of Thri-Kreen legs which he loudly insisted were a delicacy. A clutch of Thri-Kreen across the room eyed him, debating about whether to see if the same held true for fat human legs. Near the stairs, a lively flute tune would rise above the noise, its player the focus of attention for a group of purple-skinned Quom. In the corner, an Illithid politely asks one of the serving girls to bring some "nutritious and stimulating sustenance, taste irrelevant" for his friend, a human who stood next to the him unmoving, unblinking, and drooling slightly.
The flute music stops, and the player steps down to a smattering of applause. As he makes his way through the crowd, a waiter hands him a drink and gives a quick bow. The half-elf, Lucan, leans against the bar and examines the tavern (his tavern, technically. Well, half of it at least). As he observes the crowd, an elven woman who had been sitting at a table (squished between two drunk minotaurs) stands, makes her way over to the bard, and whispers in his ear: "I've made up my mind, and I'll tell you what I know. I'll be back in a week, have your friends meet me here."
With one last icy glare, she wiggles her way across the crowded room, and the woman Kala Laroux slips out the door into the rainy streets of Sigil.
The young man, Thom, paused to catch his breath. By Melora, these mountains were high! As he panted, he glanced around, trying to gather his barings. He'd been rarely been this far into the wilderness before. Wait. There, between those two trees. That's what he'd been looking for.
Renewed, he begans walking again, and soon found himself in an open pasture, filled with thick green grass and beautiful wildflowers. A small stream trickled through the middle of the field, babbling pleasantly, and scattered in front of him, without a care in the world, was a flock of the fattest goats he'd ever seen.
In the middle of the field, what he could have mistaken for a menhir had he not known better, was The Shepherd. With a grin, Thom waved at the massive figure, and jogged across the field to meet him.
Thom gives the huge figure a toothy smile. "Wow, you're a lot further out than I was expecting. I thought you were still in the foothills, not all the way up here." He stops, and digs through the small bag slung over his shoulder. "A message came for you. Some weird looking man with a strange accent. I told the guy I'd deliver it, since he wouldn't have had a chance figuring out these mountains. He said it was urgent, so I figured I should get it to you right away."
He finally finds what he's looking for, and hands a large piece of parchment to the thick rocky fingers of the creature in front of him. The parchment is sealed with red wax, and imprinted in the wax are three slightly wavy lines parallel to one another, with two diagonal lines crossing in the middle.
Ok, calm down. It's going to be fine. The young halfling glanced down at her shaking hands, and immediately clasped the railing on the stairs to try and steady them. Just knock, wait for a reply, give him the message, and leave. Very cool, very professional. As if you do it every day She continues climbing the stairs, her knees shaking. This is all part of being in training, you get to interact with the masters, and learn from them.
The young girl, Martina, had been accepted as an apprentice at the Septarch's Tower just a week prior. She'd only just started her training, but had already heard the rumors and stories of the great Pavick Roslow. His meteoric rise from a wizard barely finished with his apprenticeship to one of the Guild Grandmasters in only a few months; how he saved the entire town from a crazed dragonborn; fighting demons in magical lands; single-handedly leading hundreds of gnomes to freedom after killing an entire fortress full of giants with only one eye...
Martina's knees again weakened. When she was told to take the message to Grandmaster Roslow, she immediately remembered the story that Willie Mishra had told the night before: "I hear that Grandmaster Roslow once got so mad at an apprentice who messed up a magic missile spell, he turned the apprentice into a frog and threw her out the window!" Naturally, all the other wizards in training immediately began speaking up. "I heard he killed a dragon!" "I heard that he's friends with a drow and a giant rock!" "I heard that when he gets bored he summons elementals to do tricks for him!"
No, no, no! Surely they were lieing. He wouldn't turn an apprentice into a frog! Would he? The young halfling steels herself, and knocks on the wooden door. Moments after knocking, the door swings open, soundlessly. Cautiously, Martina steps inside. "G-G-G-Grandmaster Roslow?" she calls out, her voice shaking a little bit. She pauses, looking up in awe at the model of the planar cosmology that fills the upper portion of the room. For herself and the gnomish grandmaster, it posed no problem, but any human or elf that tried to walk through these quarters would have issues. From the back room, she hears a shuffle of papers. Swallowing, she moves forward, and calls out again. "Grandmaster Roslow? A message arrived for you, sir! From Sigil!"
Isadore, captain of the Printempest House guards, whirls around, bringing up his blade to block the attack. Bloody hells he's gotten fast... Isadore takes careful, deliberate steps. He wasn't used to the cold. The bits of ice and snow drifting from his opponent were distracting, and made the ground slick. Ok, let's see how this bloody snow-drinker fares against 'three-fans-under-the-tree.' The captain of the guard switches into the new sword form, and moves forward like a viper, his sword coming against his opponent again, and again, and again; but each time his attack is blocked. Suddenly, the creature in front of him disappears leaving behind a flurry of snow, blinding Isadore's vision and disorienting the older Eladrin.
Isadore heard the rush of air behind him, but it was too late, he looked down, and at his chest was his opponents sword. Sehannine damn it... Isadore growls, but finally mutters "..I yield." He shoves away the practice sword at his chest, and stands, examining Eltain. "You've been practicing. Last week you couldn't block that attack."
From across the practice room, you hear clapping. "Well done, Eltain! That was phenomenal!" Toveliss stands, and walks across the room to the half-fey. "You really are getting quite good. I think you should re-consider my offer. When my wife and I return to winter lands, if you accompany us I assure you that you'll receive the finest training in the Winter Court."
Before Eltain has the chance to respond, Selene enters the room, bearing a thick envelope with a red seal. "Excuse me, sirs; mylord" she gives a polite now of her head to Eltain & Isadore, and a deeper bow to Toveliss. "This message just arrived for Sir Eltain." She hands the envelope to the half-eladrin, before adding "Lord Aramil received one as well, I believe he's meeting with Lord Printempest and Lady Limara." She curtsies, and exits the room without further comment.
Toveliss gives a thoughtful frown. "My wife has certainly been spending a lot of time couped up in those rooms wither her brother and father. I hadn't realized how close they were, but I guess it's understandable, given her father's sudden recovery." Toveliss sighs. "If you're going up there, would you do me a favor and remind Limara that I'm still waiting for her to settle on a date for our return to my home? She keeps on putting it off, but perhaps if she hears it from someone else she'll actually pause to consider it." His face takes on a frustrated look, but he says no more.
"That's odd. It's from Sigil, apparently." Limara tosses the envelope across the table to Aramil as the servent exits. "If that Corellite got one too, it's most likely from your bard friend. I've heard he ended up in Sigil..."
Limara stands, and stretches, her back sore after bending over a table, staring at maps all day. "Are you ever going to tell Eltain that Jaquel thinks he's Certhiel's son?"
Lord Printempest pauses from his examination of troop supplies, and looks at his daughter. "Why should Aramil be the one to tell him? You're the one who's related to him, now that you've gone through with that ridiculous marriage to his half-brother." The Fey Lord looks at his daughter pointedly, a dark cloud appearing above his head. This had been a touchy subject.
Limara meets his gaze, and leans forward. "I thought we were past this. We didn't know if you were going to recover, and if I'd suddenly broken off the engagement, the Winter Court would have been suspicious!"
Lightning flashes in the small cloud over Lord Printempest's head, as he arches an eyebrow. "And how suspicious do you think they are that you refuse to return to your husband's home? He's well within his rights to request it, and every day you delay going into winter lands makes you appear more and more suspicious. I understand why you don't want to go, but you made your decision and now you must see it through."
Limara sits down in a huff. This argument had happened before, and she still had no response for her father's words. Instead, she attempts to change the subject. "So, do you agree with my thoughts on the troops?"
Lord Printempest glances back down to the paper in his hands, and the cloud dissipates. "I agree. We can't make a stand against the Winter Court with the troops we have now, even with a few more months to train them. We may need to look into mercenaries."
Limara nods "That's what I was afraid of. I can find out what all is available on the prime, but my guess is we'll need to send someone either to the City of Brass or Sigil to find the type that we need." She pauses, and looks to Aramil. "Thoughts, brother?"
A cracking whip sends the goblins scurrying. Goblin slaves were cheap and abundant in Xendor'alln, and there were always a few who thought they could get away with skimping on their duties. Byldyn gives a smirk of satisfaction as the slaves run away. He re-coils the whip, and attaches it to his belt again. "That felt good. Hadn't gotten to use the new whip yet." Byldyn chuckles, and turns back to face Zyrr."Now, where were we? I think you were just about to try and counter my extremely reasonable offer for a batch of your poison with something ludicrous." He pauses as they pass in front of a set of double doors with a spider motif, and shrugs. "Here already? Well, I guess we'll have to finish this later. If you make it out alive, that is. Good luck with the females..." Byldyn gives another smirk, and moves off quickly around a corner.
A slave (looks to be a captured half-elf...) walks up to Zyrr, and motions for him to follow her. She says nothing (but that could be because her tongue had been cut out years prior), and leads him through the double doors. Upon entering the room, the slave girl immediately goes into a deep bow, as the two clerics of Lloth look up from their lounging to see what the disturbance is.
The priestess on the left, named Tri'pathi (sixth in line for the matron seat of
house Morvyndis) speaks first. "Took you long enough, male. When we summon you, I expect you to run. If it happens again, I'll have your feet fed to the Draegloths."
The other priestess, a tall female named Somalinga, sits up. "Zyrr, would you be so kind as to explain this?" She tosses an envelope, opened, across the room. It slides across the floor and comes to a stop at Zyrr's feet. Before Zyrr has a chance to look at it, Somalinga speaks again. "We've been extremely generous with you Zyrr. We let you go out alone and unsupervised on the surface world; and even after we find out you consorted with the day-walkers, we still alow you to live. I hope you appriciate how fortunate you are." She pauses to take a drink of wine, before continuing. "However, now you've begun receiving mail from them. We've taken the courier to the temple for "questioning", but I thought I'd give you a chance to explain before we add you to the list of those to be sacrificed to the Spider Queen?"
Tri'pathi gives Zyrr a level look. "Who is this "Lucan" and why does he want your help? Is this some sort of code?"
Below is the message that was received:
Hope everyone is doing ok. Sigil is great! A bit damp though. Sorry to bother you, but I need some help. I'm trying to track down my dad, and apparently one of the last people he was seen with was a "handsome human" named Dellarin. Remember him? I think I've got a lead, but it's supposed to be dangerous, and I'd feel a bit better going with people I trust, particularly if demons are involved. If you can, come to the Inn of the Lady's Favor in Sigil. Just ask for the owner (That's me! Well...half of it, is). We're meeting the contact on the 24th day of Trith, so please come quickly! Hope to see everyone soon!
- Lucan Thoene
This is the continuation of the "Adventures in Fallcrest" game. The first part of the game can be found here, The second part of the game is here, and the third part is here
Eltain lays a comforting hand on Toveliss' shoulder and smiles cheerfully.
"It can be hard to leave lands you've known and loved all your life, Toveliss," he says gently, "Even if I was never really close with anyone at the temple I grew up at, it was still hard to leave when the time came. And many who are not from the Winter lands find them foreboding and are afraid of the tales they've heard. I'm sure she'll be ready soon enough. But I'll bring it up to her." He reads the letter and frowns. "I'm afraid I have to go see Aramil, this is unfortunately something that can't wait. Thank you for your help, Isidore, and you as well, Toveliss." He bows and leaves in search of Aramil.
Eltain bows to Lord Printempest and Limara as he enters the room, and gives a lesser bow to Aramil.
"Good afternoon, Lord Printempest, Lady Limara, Aramil. How goes the planning?" He grimaces. "I'm afraid Toveliss has asked me to remind you that you haven't yet set a date for visiting the Winter lands. I think he's starting to either feel suspicious or unloved, neither of which are particularly good right now." He frowns. "I hope I'm not interrupting too much, but Selene told me you got a letter from Lucan as well."
The staggering rock of a man leaned on a gnarled, thick piece of wood, spun all around with lengths of vine, the head of which was oddly curved and fresh with green and yellow leaves. The rock-man's free hand moved with such perfect grace that, as he moved his massive thumb beneath the fold of the small paper, the red wax lifted gently off the opposing side unbroken and pristine. The letter was ceremoniously withdrawn and unfolded carefully so as to not rip the fragile page between his far sturdier hands; he brought it up to his outcropping of a nose and squinted at it with his kindly lustrous black eyes. His face frowned, and his lips puckered into an oddly grumpy sort of look for such a blithe and serene figure. He tucked the gnarled stick between his bicep and his forearm, freeing his other hand, which he then thrust into the coarse, fibrous folds of his worn grey cloak. When the hand re-emerged, it held between two massive fingers a delicate object, the fingers almost seemed to cradle it between them; the edges glinted with gold, and the light glinted off the clear, reflective surfaces.
The Shepherd, for that was his name, unfolded the glasses, for that is what they were, as delicately as one would lift a small kitten, and with painstaking care, he placed them right on the bridge of his rocky nose. Satisfied, he rolled his shoulders brusquely, and brought the paper up to his face again. The rock-man hummed as he read it, a meandering sort of rumble from deep within the caverns of his chest. It took him quite some time to read the letter, for he perused ever word as if it had some hidden meaning he had to discern before proceeding to the next. The Shepherd finally smiled, a beaming sort of smile that curled the edges of his mouth in such a pleasnt sort of way, and tucked the letter away. His eyes twinkled behind the small glass disks on the front of his face.
"Let me give you a jug of milk for your family." He finally spoke to Thom, his voice like a rumbling crack of thunder in the still pasture. "Something for your trouble."
The Shepherd turned about, and beckoned him towards the little thatch cottage nestled against the mountainside.
Up in his room in the Inn, Lucan paces. "Do you think they'll come?" he says aloud. He doesn't wait for an answer. "Of course they'll come. They're my friends, right?" He stops, staring across his bed to his bookshelf, piled high with books that he fully means to read when he gets around to it. "Well, I'm not sure about Zyrr. And Eltain was always pretty annoyed with me. But Shep'll come, I'm sure of it. And Pavick. And probably Aramil, if he's not too busy with all those war preparations. They'll come to help their friend, and bring the others." A worried look crosses his face. "What if they don't know I'm their friend? I didn't think of that! I signed my last name, but they don't even know I have a last name. I didn't know until a month ago! They'll think it's from some stranger, and they won't come at all." He starts pacing again. "I could send new letters. That's what I should do. But if they've already decided it's some stranger trying to lure them to Sigil, they won't even read new letters. What can I do, Lena?"
A tiny woman, seated on the bookshelf with her legs swinging beneath her, jumps from the shelf. She drops a few inches before her transparent wings catch her and carry her into the air, to where Lucan still paces. She bobs along beside his head, speaking reassuringly in what sounds like a high-pitched garble to anyone else. Eventually he calms. "You're right," he says. "I shouldn't be so worried. They're smart, and they know where I went. They'll figure it out." He yawns.
"Hopefully they'll be here soon," he says, lying on his bed. He closes his eyes and is soon asleep. Lena waits until he starts to snore before settling down on her pillow. Soon she's asleep too.
Zyrr is led through the familiar halls with his ever-present wry grin. "Good luck? How do you think I've survived thus far? I sweat it." he replies casually, before spending his preparation time casting all jest aside. Wit can earn you protection on the streets, but it can kill you quickly when subservience is demanded. The assassin pays the half-elf slave no mind; down here, surfacers are either furniture or spies.
Zyrr enters the chamber with eyes downcast, rising to meet the females' gaze only after waiting for Tri'pathi's typical greeting. "My apologies, mistresses." he says with a bow. "When I received your summons I was -" He stops himself. Different rules in this room, he warns himself. She does not care why, she only cares that you were not at her beck and call. "I was only happy to answer." he finishes. Once the paper arrives at his feet, he reaches down to pick it up but does not dare pull the letter out of the envelope until Somalinga finishes speaking. The word "Lucan" raises an eyebrow, and the rest of Tri'pathi's query only serves to elevate the rest of his forehead.
"Trust me." Zyrr replies while staring at the envelope. "If you were to ever know Lucan you would laugh at yourself for using his name and 'code' in the same sentence. He is a useful fool from the surface; smart enough to be somewhat trusted, stupid enough to be simply trustful. He is one of those who helped me learn what I've brought back."
The assassin pulls out the letter. "I trust our spies know what a silent mobilization looks like. I told you, the Eladrin courts are preparing for their own House War." With the reward for their "generocity" adequately dangled, Zyrr skims through the letter. As he does so, an odd, almost warm smile creeps onto his lips. "It's a freelance job offer." the male explains as he folds the letter back up. "A little unfinished business with the associates of an incubus we killed together under the name of Dellarin. He offered me a job of killing some of Lolth's followers. I managed to negotiate him down to killing a single enemy of the Spider Queen, and he gave me this in return." The assassin whips out his cold-iron dagger and holds it up to the priestesses blade-down; Tri'pathi was always too bloated with confidence in this chamber to feel threatened by him here. "It seems Lolth may have woven my strand to the surface again!" the assassin declares, lips parting around hungry teeth. "I've cut the hand off an enemy of our Dark Mother, and perhaps its heart may now be revealed. Do I have her favor to cut it out as a tribute?"
Avatar gladly adopted from Ink!
Pavick set down the armful of scrolls he carried in a messy heap on the desk in front of him. He peeked around the mountain of paper at the young apprentice. “Sigil you say? Must be Lucan. Who else do I know in Sigil?” he muttered as he climbed up into the chair. His desk and chair were made for someone twice his size. Nimozaran had offered to have a smaller one built, but Pavick refused the offer. As a gnome, he was used to dealing with too-big furniture anyway, and the large desk was actually nice; he had plenty of room to spread his papers out.
“Well, what are you waiting for, Martina isn’t it? Come in, bring me this message.” He wasn’t really sure about the young apprentice’s name, but thought he’d caught it in passing at some point in the last week.
The overly nervous halfling stepped into the room a little further and was immediately greeted by an angry hiss. She jumped back a step and looked down to see a very perturbed looking snake glaring back up at her. Slick, Pavick’s familiar, had been sunning himself in a patch of sunlight coming in through the window.
Pavick slid down off the chair and rushed around the desk, picked up the snake, cradling it in his arms. “Now you be careful there missy! You stepped on Slick’s tail! How would you like it if someone stepped on your tail? You wouldn’t. That’s how you’d like it.” He pointed an accusing finger at her.
All the color drained from the apprentice’s face. “You’re not going to turn me into a snake or something… are you?” she asked her shaking voice barely above a whisper.
“Nah, of course not. I’m more of an illusionist than a transmuter. I’d have to do some serious brushing up to actually turn you into something. Now I suppose I could make you turn into a snake if you like. See, you’re turning a little green already,” he laughs. “Now calm yourself down and apologize to Slick. He’s a bit testy sometimes, but I’m sure he’ll understand if you’re sincere about it.” He holds out the tiny snake that had wound itself around his fingers.
“I’m sorry, Slick,” Martina said, still sounding very uncertain of herself. Slick flicked his tongue out at her a few times then turned around and slowly made his way up Pavick’s sleeve to his usual resting place, wrapped around his forearm.
Pavick stood, looking expectantly at Martina. She looked at the floor at Pavick’s feet. “Well.”
“Well what, Grandmaster?” It was obvious that the whole ordeal with the serpent had unnerved her to the point of forgetting her reason for being there in the first place.
“The note. The one about Sigil.”
“Oh!” The color returned to Martina’s face in a flash of crimson. She dug in her pocket retrieving the message and held it out for him. Pavick took the missive and opened it, eyes quickly scanning the paper. “Hrm… Very interesting. Looks like I’ll soon be making a trip to Sigil. Tell me, what do you know about Sigil, apprentice?”
Martina shrugged. “Uh… It’s on another plane, right.” She paused searching her memory for any other bits of information. Then in one large breath, she said, “Please don’t feed me to an elemental, sir. I’m just in my first week of training. We really haven’t gotten to the finer points of the planes yet.”
Pavick just laughed. “No. No elementals. Come here, I want to show you something.” He walked over to one wall and picked up a large step-stool. He set it down in the center of the room and climbed up on it where he reached up into the model overhead and took hold of a large crank. As Pavick turned the crank, the brass wheels and levers of the model began rearranging themselves, moving different parts of the model to the forefront where they could be more easily seen. He pointed up to a large disk. “See that? That’s Sigil.” He launches into a rather long winded discussion of Sigil and its place within the planes.
Almost an hour later, Martina finally left Pavick’s office. He called out after her, “And tell the others that I’m going to be leaving again soon. I’ve got preparations to make first, but soon.”
Aramil lets his family run over the month-old argument while he reads the letter from Lucan. He had no more of an answer to the problem than his sister did, after all. He finishes as the subject changes to mercenaries. "Well, this would give me an excuse to hop on over to Sigil. It is from Lucan, and he's inviting me over to help him with an issue dealing with some former associates."
Soon enough, Eltain comes in and begins to rehash two of the last three, four topics of the Printempest family meeting. "Yes, Eltain. We were just discussing that. Sister isn't sure she'll get a warm reception at her dear husband's home, and if we go to help Lucan, we won't be here to help keep a look out for unseasonable weather."
Thom exits from the small thatch hut, jug in hand. He turns to shake the goliath's hand one last time. "Thanks for the milk, Shep. My ma will appreciate it. She always said that no one knew goats milk like you did. I'll be back tomorrow morning to check on the flock. Don't worry, they'll be in good hands."
The young man waves, as he begins making his way down the mountain.
It doesn't take The Shepherd long to gather his things. His old lavender kimono, torn and ripped and partially disintegrated from the battle with Glydax had been replaced with a new one from Lord Printempest, one of shimmering gold and embroidered leaves. A pair of iron bracelets (each engraved with a picture of his favorite goats) to give him strength, and finally that old gnarled staff with a snake carved into the head. A small amber gem now sat in the mouth of the snake, giving the already puissant weapon more power.
With that, he throws his old cloak on, a shimmering material that seemed to constantly shift colors, distorting the frame of the massive Goliath; and walks out the door.
As the Shepherd heads down the mountain, he can hear the bleat of goats behind him. Some are asking him not to go. Some are wishing him well on his journey. Some are overjoyed that they'll be able to get away with mischief.
The Shepherd moves down the hills and across the plains as fast as a galloping horse. It takes him almost full day, but his speed never falters, and his brow never sweats. It is mid-morning on the next day that he arrives at the gates of Fallcrest. The crowds part for the legendary figure, as the Monk makes his way through the cramped streets to the Septarch's Tower.
"How can no one know what's on the outside! That doesn't make any sense!" the elf exclaimed, exasperated. Martina shrugged "They just don't. Grandmaster Roslow said that the entire city is the inside of a ring, and no one knows what's on the outside."
From just around the corner, Pavick can hear the argument continue. Martina had only been all too happy to share her lesson with the other students, and the odd nature of Sigil had caused no shortage of disputes among the apprentices.
As the gnome walks across the hall and begins to make his way up the stairs, he hears a loud pounding on the front door. Not angry pounding, but more the sound of someone who doesn't know the extent of his own strength. As a servant answers the door, Pavick hears a deep, gravely voice very politely ask if "The Lucky Gnome" is available.
----------Aramil & Eltain---------
Limara gives Aramil a pointed look. "I'll go eventually, I just need more time to get things settled here."
At the level looks from her father, brother, and half-brother-in-law, she sighs. "Fine, I'll go talk to him."
She stands, and leaves to try and find her husband. Lord Printempest stares after her for a long minute after the door closes."This never would have happened if I'd been well." He gives a frustrated grunt.
"Hmm...Sigil. Helping your friend would provide you a good cover for you to go without raising suspicion. We have some funds available in the Jaisingh bank there that you could easily access."
Lord Printempest gives his son and Eltain a smile. "How do you feel about hiring mercenaries?"
As Zyrr finishes speaking, Tri'pathi stands, a whip of snakes suddenly in her hand. "You dare to presume that you know the will of the godess?"
Somalinga hold up a hand. "Wait..." she stands, and walks across the room to examine Zyrr. She's tall, even for a female, and stands nearly half-a-foot taller than the assassin. She circles him slowly, thinking. "Very well, you may go to visit this...'Lucan' of yours."
Tri'pathi looks at her in disbelief, but before she can speak, Somalinga turns and flashes a quick message in Drow Sign Language. She keeps her body in between Zyrr and her hands, so the Assassin can see none of what was said. Tri'pathi arches an eyebrow, but nods.
Somalinga continues. "Once you arrive in Sigil, you're to immediately contact Bei'novak at the temple of Lloth. You're to report to her daily of your activities, and keep her informed at all times of your intentions. I won't have you out running around unsupervised again." She turns and gives Zyrr a smile that never reaches her eyes. "You're far too valuable for us to risk something happening to you."
"I wasn't trying to..." He sighs at Aramil's mention of unseasonable weather and gives him a hurt look.
"I'm fine with it," he says to Lord Printempest's suggestion. "It would probably be for the best if I went on this." He gives a smile he doesn't feel at all. "I'll go pack while you fill Aramil in on the details." He sighs once he's out of the room, ice crystals forming on his armor. He'd been so happy at first when he'd begun to finally be able to get in touch with his Fey side, when Aramil had managed to teach him how to teleport like full Eladrin did. But doing so had made the cold that haunted him worse, and it wasn't hard to see that nobody trusted him here and looked down upon him. He'd wanted to help, though, so he'd stayed. Maybe, he thought miserably, I should have gone back to Fallcrest with Shep and his goats. Visited Frank or something.
"Merciful Corellon, it's like they distrust me as much as they do him." He sighs again, snowing even stronger than before, and begins to head miserably to his room, wondering if there would ever be a place he belonged.
Lord Printempest stands, and walks over to the window, looking out at Eltain walking away.
"You're closer to the half-born than most here, so I'm not sure if you're aware how he's perceived and treated. He's young, and he still hasn't escaped his parentage." A warm breeze fills the room as Lord Primtempest speaks, staring out the window as if remembering something long past. "It's not uncommon for some fey to take Mortal lovers. Mortals are so...peculiar. Both full of emotion, yet steady. Immensely boring, yet they still manage to be full of surprises. It's this familiar, yet alien nature that makes some of us attracted to them. But it's rare for an offspring to occur."
He turns back to Aramil. "You've spent much of your time in the Prime, so perhaps humans don't seem as strange to you, but for most of us they're off putting, and a strange blend of fey and mortal like that is simply unsettling. He's ostracized and lonely. Plus, there's his mother to consider."
Lord Printempest taps his chin thoughtfully. "I first met Certhiel nearly 200 years ago. Fascinating woman. Intelligent, proud, fiercely opinionated. I'd spoken of her to your sister before my illness, which is most likely why she chose to accept Toveliss. However, when I knew her, she had little in common with the Prince. She enjoyed the company of mortals; found them fascinating. Always seemed to have one or two of them at her side. The Prince of Frost has such an unnatural hatred of mortals, I never would have expected Certhiel to join with him. I'm not sure what his hold is on her, but whatever it was, she seems to have gone over wholeheartedly. And until I know what happened to her, I won't trust in any Winter Fey completely." His voice trails off, as he stares out the window
The Fey lord sits up "I'm sorry, I lost myself in thought. Your friend Eltain shares the blood of someone we can't trust, and we can't trust that he won't run to her if he finds out his heritage. He may not deserve to be treated like an outsider, but I won't risk bringing him any further into the family."
"However, you've traveled with him, and I trust you to make your own decisions. If trust him to accompany you to Sigil, I leave that entirely in your judgment. Assuming you're willing to go, of course.
Pavick stood around the corner, listening to the apprentices conversation for a moment trying to determine how many details Martina had managed to retain. He smiled to himself, hearing that she was getting most things correct.
When he heard the gravelly voice requesting the Lucky Gnome, Pavick gave up any attempt at being unseen. He raced toward the front door. With a quick gesture (ghost sound) he sent his voice there ahead of him. "Yes. Tell him I'm here!" Pavick's voice said from a location just above the servant's shoulder. Just a few seconds later, Pavick rounded the corner himself. He almost knocked the servant aside as he skidded to a halt next to Shep's massive leg. He threw his arms around the monk's knee. "Long time, no see! How's the herd?" he asked extracting himself from the rocky leg.
"Grumpy and belligerent." The Shepherd answers, stooping down to a more proper level with his good friend. Unfortunately, seeing as though the Shepherd had to stoop to simply talk to normal-sized fellows, even at the lowest he could crouch down to he still loomed over the little gnome. He planted a gentle hand on Pavick's head, and ruffled his light colored hair; a sudden stricken look crossed the Shepherd's face and his hand immediately recoiled.
"I apologize." Shep bowed his head respectfully, and removed his hood from his bald, gray head. "I had forgotten you are now Master Pavick." Shep's face grows paler still, "...and I called you the Lucky Gnome to your servant."
Eltain finishes his packing sadly and decides to go for a walk in the gardens, hoping that their beauty will inspire him and lift his spirits, but he finds himself too worried that his presence will harm the delicate blooms, and the flower he does finally work up the courage to touch is instantly coated in frost. He sits dejectedly on a bench to wait for Aramil, feeling thoroughly miserable and desperately wanting something, anything familiar and friendly.
A snort interrupts his pity party, and he looks up in surprise to see a thoroughly familiar, flea-bitten mule standing there, looking at him with an expression that clearly asks what in the hells he's doing. Eltain's face lights up in pure joy and he springs from the bench to wrap his arms around the mule in delight, the snow finally stopping and the chill about him vanishing almost completely.
"Frank! But how did you...? No, nevermind, it doesn't matter. Oh Frank, I'm so glad you're here!" He grins, stroking Frank's ears fondly, and glances skywards, whispering a quiet, fervent prayer of thanks to Corellon.
Here it comes. That name reminded him of the other world, and and he broke one of the rules of this one: Only priestesses can glean the will of Lolth. He'll be punished for his blasphemy, that's another rule. ....Except now it's his mistresses that are breaking the rules. This puts him on guard.Though his muscle tension could easily be explained by the imposing figure looming over him, the true cause of his fear is that she is changing the rules. Limits. Supervision. All in commands; Zyrr either leaves the chamber carrying these restrictions or he does not leave at all. With Lolth's clergy, a mere citizen's life has value only if it remains a reliable tool; that's another rule. "Understood."
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Pavick waves a hand in front of his face. "Grandmaster, actually, but don't worry about it. You know me, I'm not a gnome who needs the ego stroking of a big fancy title. All the tales they tell about our wonderous deeds is enough to keep me going," he says with a big cheeky grin. "I consider myself lucky to have the position I've got here, so as far as I'm concerned Lucky Gnome is still a fine name for me."
"Thank you, James, I'll take our guest from here." Pavick addresses the servant at the door. "Come on Shep, I'll take you up to my office where we can catch up." He gestures for the goliath to follow as he leads the way up the nearby staircase, chattering happily all the way. "I guess you're here because of the letter from Lucan. I assume you got one two. Well don't worry, since we last saw each other I've been doing a lot of work on planar travel. Gotten pretty good at it, if I have to say so myself. I think I can open up a gate to Sigil when the time comes."
When he's not pacing a rut in his room, Lucan's working. He works the bar, sees to guests, and generally plays host. He does not, of course, keep the accounts. He leaves that to Chauncy. But he does get to entertain the guests by playing music. Accompanied by Lena on a tiny flute, he plays songs from the elven tribe he grew up with, and from the Feywild, and some he's picked up in Sigil. He even plays a few songs of his own composition, combining themes and rhythms from a dozen different sources to create something entirely new.
And afterwards, he listens. Buying people their favorite drinks (of whatever mood altering substance their species before), he talks to them, learning what he can of Sigil, and the hundreds of rumors on the streets and the planes.
Just looking for general rumors--nothing specific. Streetwise - (1d20+14)
Bah! That's not going to amount to anything useful.
Last edited by DSCrankshaw : 03-31-2011 at 04:07 AM.
Zyrr exits the spider-chamber, and flashes Byldyn a passing grin to show that yes, his head is still fully attached to his shoulders. "You'll need to finish your bargaining with someone else." he spouts. "Good luck to yourself; you'll need that poison more than you know." With a parting wink, the assassin climbs to the outer crags of the massive stalactite House Morvyndis calls home. Thick, arcane-infused chains serving as familiar walkways, Zyrr half-runs, half-climbs to his immediate family's section, slowing as he passes the domicile of one of his young female cousins. This will always be yours, Ven. No matter who's put in it. He forces his arms and legs to keep moving to his own personal quarters. If a letter found a way to him, one definitely reached Pavick, and knowing one person around him when he takes his first steps in Sigil will be infinitely better than knowing none.
The drow grabs his tools of the trade - two small collections of alchemical appliances, and a purple wide-brimmed hat - and makes his way down to ground level, to the familiar well-beaten road to the surface.
A few days later, a drow elf carrying a wicker basket stands at spearpoint, arrowpoint, and several wandpoints outside the Septarch's Tower. "Yes, yes, exactly that. Name, Zyrr. Message, 'If you're going to see my little Pavikins anyway, bring him these and remind him he promised to come to his cousin's wedding next month.' Parcel, cookies." He thrusts the incriminating basket forward for emphasis. "Oatmeal raisin. Just somebody tell him already."
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There's a knock on the door to Pavick's study, and a young, overweight human peeks his head in. "Um...grandmaster Pavick? There's a drow outside who wants to see you? He...ah...sent a message." The human awkwardly pulls out a small piece of parchment, and reads it. "His name is Zyrr. He brought oatmeal raisin cookies, and wanted to remind you to come to your cousin's wedding? Um...and he called you 'Pavickins'." The young mage stares awkwardly at the floor, avoiding eye-contact with either the grandmaster, or the huge goliath that was having trouble finding a place to stand up straight. "Should we...um... throw him out?"
Lucan's original songs are met with generally positive reception. His "Ballad of the Disappearing Sheep Dog" proves to be the most popular, followed by a slow-paced flute duet titled: "Emo Paladin." However, his upbeat medley "There's a Drow in the Kitchen" is met with only a mediocre response, and is generally thought to be in poor taste.
As he asks around for rumors, he hears nothing that he hasn't heard a dozen times before. A bidding war over a building with a newly discovered portal; another failed assassination attempt against Rule-Of-Three; razorvine overgrowth in the clerk's ward; Some thieves arrested for trying to steal bricks and lumber off of one of the houses in the Guildhall ward. Nothing unusual.
If Pavick's inner sanctum was a nuisance for those of normal height, then for the great figure of the Shepherd it was quite a great deal of trouble. Simply walking down the passages he had to duck lest he bump his head against one of the rafters. Which he did, numerous times, despite the poise he normally exhibited. When they finally did reach his study, a few bumps on the Shepherd's head later, and he beheld the sight of the cluttered space fitted with gnome-sized makeshift passageways through piled books and stacked papers, the Shepherd froze. He watched Pavick scurry through the little tunnels, and it seemed to the goliath that the little gnome did have quite a knack for architecture; it looked like a maze of perfectly geometrical subterranean passageways. He ran his fingers through his beard; impressive as it was, and as much as he was marveling at the wonderful odds and ends that littered the room at all angles, especially the orbiting stars and moon mobile above his head that he had to duck especially low in order to avoid being clocked by a particularly aggressive sun, this was perhaps going to be one of his toughest challenges yet. And he had jumped the entire length of a river.
As Pavick continued to talk, scuttling through the winding spaces, the Shepherd closed his eyes; he couldn't trust his sight in this labyrinth of hidden mishaps waiting to happen. Once false move and he could send an entire mountain of books on the theory of astral projection tumbling down upon himself. With his sight blinded, the room spoke to him, whispered its accoutrement and empty spaces; his stony flesh tingled as every aspect of the room revealed itself to his mind's eye. The Shepherd moved like a sudden bolt of lightning, darting to each spot of open floor with perfect precision on the balls of his feet; at one point when no floor opened before him in any direction he bounded straight upwards to recoil off the ceiling and shoot himself forwards. Each bound of his sandal-clad feet made not even the remotest sound as the Shepherd's form became a dark blur.
His motion ended abruptly, with the great goliath sitting politely atop a stool that would have not normally supported such a large, heavy person. He held his knees to his chest, wrapped with his arms around them. When Pavick finally turned his head to Shep, he smiled politely, as if he had been right behind him listening astutely to the entire time.
"You were saying something about a cockatrice named Bernard?" The Shepherd's eyebrows furrowed. "...what is a cockatrice?"
Eltain looks up from his fussing over Frank at Aramil's voice.
"Not really. I guess you wouldn't really notice it, but I don't fit in here. I'm half human, for one thing. No matter how much I work at trying to be more fey, I'm not. I'm half-human. And unfortunately the half of me that is fey is, well, winter. Hells, I snow as much as Toveliss does, and he's a noble. I know the winter court isn't exactly popular right now, but that doesn't make me a winter patsy. They distrust me as much as they do Toveliss, for Corellon's sake. It's not like Certhiel is my mother or anything, or like I'm going to go join forces with her. There's nobody on this plane I'd rather see dead at my feet than her except maybe the Prince of Frost himself. I serve Corellon, not the Winter Court." He snows frustratedly, a cold wind blowing it about him, and sighs.
"I just want to help... But nobody will really let me do it around here. So I'm going, whether you are or not, I guess. I'll go help Lucan and get away for a while, I guess. Stop being an annoyance." He chews his lip and strokes Frank's ear again. "I just wish... Ugh, it's frustrating. Lucan's apparently found out more about his past, but it's starting to seem like I'll never know anything about mine. Even if it is a nightmare like Jaquel said back then, I still want to know someday... At least then I'll know." He sighs. "Come on, then, if you're coming. I'm ready to go. At least Lucan can have his answers if we're lucky. I just hope Zyrr doesn't come."
((OOC: No, Eltain doesn't have a way to Sigil on his own, but he really doesn't currently care. He just wants to leave.))
Pavick looked back at Shep, "Oh uh yes... Well hrm..." At a loss for words, he turned around and mutters to himself. "Let's see 3rd pile on the left, 5th book down..." He quickly locates what he is looking for and yanks a book until it comes free. For a brief moment, it looked as if several piles were going to collapse on the gnome, but the books and papers quickly settle back into place leaning against each other in a precarious jumble.
Pavick flipped through the pages until he found the picture he is looking for. It looked like an unholy union between a rooster and a lizard. He turned the book around for Shep to look at. "That my dear Shep, is a cockatrice. Truly nasty beast. Ugly and foul tempered. And they have the ability to turn someone into stone by pecking at them. And not the good kind of stone that can still move around and walk and talk, but the kind that just sits there."
This is the point at which the young man entered. Pavick responded to him, "Certainly not! Zyrr is a friend of mine. I'll come down and greet him." Turning to Shep he said, "You might want to read up on Cockatrices actually. They could cause a real mess if one of them finds its way into your herd. It is hard to milk a statue of a goat. If you'll excuse me, I'll be right back." He hurried out behind the young mage.
Down at the tower's door, he waved off the weapons pointed at Zyrr. "It's alright. He's with me." He smiled at the drow. "I see you found your way to my mother's first," he said, his cheeks reddened slightly. Pavick took the basket and examined it's contents. "Yum!" He pulled back the cloth covering the cookies and took one out, offering the first to Zyrr. If he eats it, then he also passes cookies out to several of the others that had gathered at the door.
"Shep is upstairs already. I assume you're here because of Lucan's message. We were just catching up while waiting to see if anyone else would be along to join us for the trip." He gestured for Zyrr to follow and began to climb the stairs back up to his office.
What an ugly looking chicken. Or a rather fortunate lizard. Shep couldn't decide which it happened to be. However, Pavick had put the idea of stone goats in the Shepherd's head, and by all that was divine there was no way that thought would be able to exit quickly. He planted his small reading glasses upon the bridge of his nose, curled his finger and thumb around the edge of his rocky chin, and buried himself in the book, his head swimming with the thought of graceful, bleating rock sheep with skin akin to his own.
When he again heard the light steps of Pavick tapping up the steps to the study, the Shepherd called out;
"Mr. Lucky Gnome, would you happen to have a weasel with a mirror whose friend is a rooster somewhere in here? Because if you did, that would be very convenient when dealing with cockatrices. And if you don't, I think you should consider it."
Last edited by Haberdashery : 04-01-2011 at 01:35 AM.
Aramil chuckles as he pats Eltain's shoulder in a warm, friendly manner. "So revenge is a dish best served cold."
He looks Eltain in the eye, trying his best to sound reassuring. "Father trusts me, and I trust you, so don't hurt yourself worrying about fitting in here. The rest of the household just doesn't know you quite like I do, yet. I've got a few things to pick up before I leave, so meet me in the portal room in about an hour."
Aramil backs up a step, and starts to head off with a smile and a wave.
In an hour, he enters the complex's portal room with his adventuring bag and the old wizard. "Ready to go, Eltain?"
(In other news, the wizard's nickname is totally Old Ben. His full name is probably Benk Nobi.)
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Last edited by Mando Knight : 04-01-2011 at 01:05 PM.
Eltain frowns at the temperature joke, but lets it pass. He nods at Aramil's encouragement.
"I know, I shouldn't take it personally. Still, it'll probably be for the best if I leave for a bit. Get away from things." He snorts. "Let things cool off if you wi- Damn it, Aramil, you've got me doing it now." He grimaces, then shrugs it off and smiles. "I'm glad you trust me, at least. Thank you."
Eltain spends most of the intervening time fussing over Frank, before joining Aramil.
Their bags packed, Aramil and Eltain (and Frank) make their way to visit one of the local wizards, Ol'ben. Ol'ben was very old, even by Eladrin standards, and most people considered him little more than a crazy old hermit, but members of the Printempest family knew him to be a wizard of moderate power. He lived in a small hut just outside of the complex. Upon hearing their request, Ol'ben sits down thoughtfully. "Sigil? Never will you find a more retched hive of scum and villainy. Except of course in the Nine Hells. Or the Abyss. Or some of the Astral Dominions. Or the Underdark. Or the Feydark, or this small little tavern I found on the prime that was owned by the most fascinating..."
Ol'ben trails off, but after a moment snaps back. "Oh right, sorry. Yes, Sigil is an interesting place. However, you can't just teleport there. you've got to find a portal! Luckily, I know where one is." He flashes a knowing grin. He ducks inside the hut, and emerges a moment later with two large silver eggs.
"In the woods about two days travel from here are a pair of silver beech trees. They look a bit out of place, but there's nothing unusual about them. However, if you pass through while holding the freshly broken egg of a millennium falcon, you'll find yourself whisked to Sigil." He gives a slight cackle as he hands each of you an egg. As he turns to leave, he pauses as he sees Frank the mule. He looks back to Eltain in pleasant surprise, before kneeling in front of the mule. "Come here, my little friend"
Frank walks up, and allows Ol'ben to pet him on the nose while he munches some grass. Ol'ben glances at Eltain. "This is something I've not seen for a long time. You're a holy warrior of Corellon, yes?" He turns his attention back to the mule. "Sometimes, deities bless their paladins by providing them a magical horse that will appear at the paladin's call, no matter where you are." He stands, and looks at Eltain. "I don't have another egg to send this magnificent beast with you, but don't worry. All you have to do is call for him." he puts a hand on the half-eladrin's shoulder. "The horse will be with you. Always."
As Pavick chants, Zyrr and the Shepherd find themselves standing awkwardly in the teleportation circle. The ritual is one that has been done before, but standing around for 10 minutes waiting for the small gnome to complete the chant isn't exactly the most stimulating scene. Before long, the ritual completes, and in a flash of light, the familiar wave of nausea hits as the three are teleported across the continent. As the nausua wears off, you find yourself standing on the outskirts of a moderately sized village. It's exceptionally hot, and the humidity is nearly unbearable, but in spite of that your eyes are drawn to a set of glowing stone pillars on the edge of the city. As you watch, you see people walk up to the pillars and step through, but rather than come out the other side, they disappear in a burst of orange light.
Pavick recalls the entry he had found in the guild library about this place.
"Near the town of Veuk on the southern coast is an odd phenomenon. A permanent portal to Sigil is found in this unlikely village. It only permits creatures to pass through rather than carts or carriages (which is probably the only thing preventing this town from being a more important trade route), but the portal is unique in that no key is required. Instead, the traveler simply needs to focus on the thought of partaking in his or her favorite meal. While state-of-mind portals are not unheard of, this does seem to be without precedent.
----------------Everyone but Lucan---------------
As the Monk, Wizard, and Assassin walk through the portal, you find yourself stepping into a busy city street. Thick, smokey air fills your lungs, and a light rain drizzles down on you. They sky is gray and the light is dim, yet all around you, creatures of every shape, size, and species mill through the crowded streets, a spectacle you could have never imagined. Just glancing around in front of you, you see a group of dwarves pulling a cart, while a raksasha rides in a litter carried by four ogres. Two eladrin are in a heated discussion with a thin tiefling, while a plant-like humanoid yells at them to walk faster. On the sides of the streets, small stalls appear to be selling everything you could have imagined. Figs, jewelery, reagents, weapons, dates (the fruit), paintings, clothing, dates (not the fruit), fortune telling... It's truly overwhelming.
As you stare, a halfling walks up. "Oi, what you berks looking at? You barmy or just waiting for a guide?" Without waiting for an answer, the halfling gives a low bow. "The monik's Gerald, and I'm the best guide a group of cutters like you could ever need." He begins leading them away from the doorway (before someone else comes through and runs into you). "What brings you to the cage?"
Before you can answer, just ahead of you you see a very bewildered looking Aramil and Eltain crawling out of what appears to be a window frame of a small shop. They're both holding broken eggs.
"I didn't have the heart to tell him that Frank is a mule," Eltain remarks to Aramil as they leave. "I don't think he's sane enough to understand anyway."
Eltain straightens himself and looks around at Sigil in digust. Everything is dirty, a thousand foul beings assault his senses, the ludicrous blades adorning the buildings, and the ludicrous shape of the place! Looking overhead all he can see are the faint lights of the other side of the city, no sky or sun or stars. What a horrible place. He hates it instantly. There is no beauty here.
When Pavick exits the large academy doors, the only change on the drow's body is a very large, toothy smile appearing on his face. It is only after the mage has ordered down the guards that he moves to hand over the goods.
"I'm glad you don't mind I took the liberty." Zyrr says as he breaks off a large cookie crumb and pops it into his mouth. "I wasn't sure where you were now so I thought I'd start at your home base, so to speak. Sorry about the commotion here, I'm just glad I caught you."
Zyrr nods a hello to the Shepherd when he's led upstairs, but doesn't initiate conversation until the dull calm before the teleporting storm. As the two stand around waiting, the drow narrows his eyes at the goliath. "I should tell you. I have never been able to look at rothe the same. I blame you entirely."
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