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Aramil mulls over the options for a moment. "Lucan, with the prophecy, the Prince would likely try to freeze you."
He sighs. "I cannot abandon our armies in the Feywild lightly, though you do bring up valid points. Moreover, the distressing idea has occurred to me that these events may not be disconnected. Lolth is known as the Demon Queen, I don't doubt that the Prince would be willing to consort with devils... I think we should break the Prince's external power source in the Chaos, then continue into the Abyss. I think we'll find some solutions deep in there."
Avatar by Strategos
Last edited by Mando Knight : 07-19-2012 at 12:10 PM.
Asheroth, after perking up at Lucan's suggestion of going after 'Lu and the Devils, nods in agreement."Well, if you're looking into going to the Elemental Chaos and the Abyss, it sounds like you may have use for a professional demon hunter and someone who has some experience in the Elemental Chaos." The Tiefling extends his hand. "So, mind if I tag along?"
OOC: For traveling to the Elemental Chaos, you've got a few options.
1) Find a Portal, most likely to the City of Brass but potentially anywhere in the Elemental Chaos or the Abyss (particularly the upper planes).
2) Pilot Zyrr's 'jammer there
3) Book passage on a spelljammer or Astral Skiff piloted by someone with a bit more experience in the Astral Sea
In addition, is there anything else you'd like to do in Sigil before you leave?
"I have never seen any evidence that he has. He's an archfey, Aramil, not some desperate mortal with a need for cheap tactics. I highly doubt he's sunk that low." He sighs. "But I know the regard most fey hold those of the Winter in. Which is to say, no regard at all." He shrugs. "I'm quite used to it by now myself." He frowns and looks at Aramil.
"I don't believe for a second this is related at all. You know exactly what triggered all of this mess with the fiends, and it wasn't the Prince of Frost. He can be saved, Aramil. We can at least try." He sighs again, looking troubled and sad. "I'm tired of killing nearly everyone I meet, of fulfilling useless vendettas. For a time I was angry that I wasn't there when you fought Koliada, to get revenge on her for corrupting my mother. Then I realized that it was useless, and being there to take my vengeance wouldn't have done a thing to help my mother." He frowns. "Killing the Prince won't undo any of the war or anything that's happened. Look, I'm not saying we should waltz in there with a bouquet of flowers and skip around like idiots until he kills us. I'm just saying... It doesn't always have to end with a sword." He sits and buries his face in his hands for a moment. He looks tired and worn-out and haunted, his face even paler than normal.
Asheroth's words bring him around.
"We'll need a guide, yes, feel free to come along. I'm worried about your friend too, but..." He sighs. "Honestly I'm worried about everything lately. Everything seems so bleak and hopeless."
"You misunderstand me, Eltain. After a fashion, crueler fey and devils are not dissimilar, particularly in their manners in dealing with contracts and agreements. If the Prince entreats with devils, he does so as a valued client in a mutually beneficial arrangement, not in blind desperation. He may be proud, but he is shrewd and cunning. Underestimating the extent to which he'll go to grasp power was in part what led to the war and Tiandra's imprisonment."
"Aramil, we still have no evidence of that. I've been there in the Winter Lands this entire last year and still seen no evidence of such a thing, and it's not like we haven't been looking for everything on the off chance we found something to use." He sighs. "Did you listen to nothing I said just now?" He shakes his head sadly. "Heh. I came here hoping for help, but I guess hatred just runs too deep..." He stares vaguely at the general direction of the map on the table, snowing lightly.
Ash turns to Lucan, "Thanks for the support, Lucan. I am of the same mind as you. Lu in the hands of devils is a bad thing. Probably worse than anything else." Then to the group, "My friends, in light of Lucan's support, I would like to stress the importance and severity of Alluvius Ruskin being in the hands of devils. She knows more about portals and planar travel than anyone I can think of. If her knowledge is used by the devils that have her, they could invade any plane. And a diabolic invasion would make the War in the Feywild seem like a barroom brawl in comparison. Not only for my own sake do I ask this, but for the sake of the worlds, we must find Lu before the devil's break her!"
"So that's one more critically important matter on top of the current critically important matter of the war in the Feywild. Let's analyze this. We can either work to bring down the barrier now, or rescue Asheroth's portal princess now. First let's look at what happens if we rescue Portal Princess Alluvius."
Zyrr grabs a salt shaker and a pepper shaker, sets them on the table before him, and picks up the salt shaker. "War against the Winter court." He turns it upside down, letting the salt fall out onto the table, against all laws of superstition. "As we sail to, wander around, and likely fight across Baator, the war in the Feywild will rage onward as it has. If our blind seer is telling the truth, we have an indeterminate amount of time before the drow and the winter fey catch our armies in a trap. If we can stop that trap from springing, we have more time." He sets the salt shaker down, three-quarters full. "Even so, the Spring and Summer courts will lose time, troops, and strength as the siege continues. That's what is at stake on that end."
He picks up the pepper shaker, and holds it upside down, shaking it a bit to get the flow of black grains started. "Portal Princess and the Devils of Baator. Assuming we set this aside to bring down the barrier, we must then strike at the Prince of Frost and either kill him or..." He sighs and gives Eltain a look. "peacefully convince him to back down. So we sail to, travel through, and fight our way across the Elemental Chaos, and then sail to and fight our way into a besieged fortress. A much bigger investment of time. Meanwhile, assuming nobody else rescues her, Alluvius is likely being first bribed for her knowledge, then tortured, and possibly mentally assaulted for the information. During this time, no lives are lost. But if Ash is correct, and her lore really is that useful to devils and they're that aggressive," He lets the half-full pepper shaker fall onto the pile of grains beneath, shattering the glass. "once we lose this one thing, this one mind, we face a mess the planes might not be equipped to clean up."
The drow picks up a piece of shattered glass delicately and sets it off to the side. "Color me convinced, I think we should help Ash out first."
Avatar gladly adopted from Ink!
"Hold on. First, do you have any leads to where they've taken her? Second, I find it difficult to believe that one of the most ancient evils in existence would need to kidnap a mortal to press her for information about portals. I find it far more likely that they're holding her to keep others from using that information against them. Third, I have an inkling that this is related to the last time we rescued someone from devils."
"First, yes. Lucan and I found out that Belial's hired tiefling thugs kidnapped Lu. We followed the captors' trail into the Clerks Ward to a cinderwood doorframe that was a portal to, we assume, one of the Hell's. After 'questioning' a troll who saw them enter the portal we learned the passcode to enter and hurried back here to inform the rest of you." Ash takes a breath. "Second, Lu's knowledge of the doors and portals in Sigil would be invaluable to any army trying to invade anywhere. No matter how ancient or evil they are. Kidnapping her would be a smart preemptive strike against a foe looking to circumvent your defenses, but also a good way to circumvent theirs in turn. Her knowledge is extremely fatal in the wrong hands." Another breath. "Third, the last time you rescued some one from devils!?" Ash arches an eyebrow.
"I make it; you buy it."
Last edited by Orsik Vondal : 07-22-2012 at 09:49 AM.
Eltain raises an eyebrow as he leans forward, reaching out with his left hand to grab a pinch of salt and toss it over his left shoulder. Frank gives an annoyed whinny as some of the salt hits him and nips lightly at Eltain before returning to his examination of Yuri, Eltain patting him apologetically as he goes.
"If you needed snow for your demonstration, you could have just asked me," he says, giving a half-hearted smirk as he scrapes a small snowball together from the snow that's accumulated on the table from him and tosses it at the drow playfully.
"You raise some good points," he says, thinking. "Further, while I know nobody else here has the slightest regard for the people of the Winter Lands, I do." He sighs.
"It isn't entirely out of pity that I want to see the Prince redeemed rather than murdered. It's also the political situation." He sighs. "The war has left the Vale of the Long Night almost entirely in shambles, and your troops are not the sparkling examples of goodness you'd like to believe them to be."
"Thanks to the siege and the war, many of the common people of the Winter Lands starve in their homes, or have lost them entirely to soldiers thinking it sport to burn 'those snow-drinking vermin'. We do what we can to help them, but our resources are not as vast as those of the rest of the Feywild. Nor is the Prince the only threat. Congratulations, you killed Koliada. He still has dozens of powerful Archfey and normal Fey under his sway. Many of whom hate each other. You'd love it, Zyrr, the political structure of the current Winter Court is just like that of the drow, and the Prince right now is just like Lolth."
"Kill him now, with nothing at all to replace him, and the entire situation destabilizes. His underlings will tear the land apart trying to sieze power, undoubtedly some of the Snowflower Order will try to sieze power, the entire Vale will be torn apart by a civil war with more factions than this group has hands. It's on the verge of chaos as it is. And who do you propose leads it at this juncture? Me? Toveliss? Some Summer bootlicker who cares nothing for its people and probably committed atrocities against them during the war?" He stands and paces.
"Don't get me wrong, I hate what he does as much as the next person, in fact many of the common people of the Winter Lands detest his actions more than most of the Spring and Summer Courts do, but right now, siege or no siege, his influence is the only thing keeping the Winter Lands from breaking entirely." He sighs. "So as much as I detest the thought of having anything to do with devils that doesn't involve stabbing that thrice-damned bitch in the gut, I have to concur with Zyrr, Asheroth and Lena. For the sake of my people, until we figure out how to keep the people of the Winter Lands safe after the murder you insist on, Aramil, we should leave off going about doing it until such time as we're actually prepared to deal with the aftermath." He nods, sitting back down.
"No, let's go rescue this woman. It's a good thing to do anyway. And an actual rescue this time, guys. Let's... Let's not do that thing we did before again." He stands once more and with a quick gesture, his priest's robes waver and change until he stands once more in his familiar plate armor, decorated as always with the symbol of Corellon.
Pavick glares are Eltain, drumming his fingers on the table as he speaks. "Don't you dare go throwing aspersions on us, as if you were the only one who actually gave a damn. I do care for the people in the winter lands just as much as I do everyone else in the feywild. Unlike most of you, I don't consider it my home, but it is my heritage and seeing it in war like this hurts. It hurts me to see so many others in pain. Common fey on both sides are being hurt by this war. The atrocities you've witnessed are only half of the story. What you've seen has happened on both sides. The healing from this war will be a long and difficult process no matter with side 'wins'. And a part of me feels like we are the cause of this whole mess. If we hadn't pushed things at the Court of Stars, maybe it wouldn't have come to this, or at least not so quickly."
He takes a deep breath, and his shoulders visibly relax. When he looks back up to Eltain, his eyes are a little softer. "I apologize. We should not be so harsh. We have a common goal: the reunification of the feywild. We may disagree at times how to best accomplish this, but it is what we all want. Please, do not mistake my desire to end the war quickly as a disregard for the people of winter, it is actually the opposite. We still have much to do before the war will end, and I doubt we'll figure it all out sitting here this night."
He looks around to the rest of the room. "You could be right about the danger that the devils cause. While I am eager to stop the war in the Feywild, if this really is a bigger threat, maybe we must do try to learn more about it first. If that is the task others want to pursue first, I will agree. But either way, I will be sending information about the drow attack to everyone I can think of before I rest tonight."
Once this meeting is at an end, Pavick will step through a convenient portal to the feywild and perform the sending ritual a half-dozen times or so, to inform several allies (Limara, Toveliss, Karl, etc) of the impending drow attack.
Eltain sighs, crosses his arms on the table and buries his face in them.
"I'm sorry. But, well, none of you even had the slightest idea what I've been up to, let alone the situation in the Winter Lands. It leads to the assumption of not caring. I could have been dead and none of you would have known. I know it's an unfair assumption, but..." He frowns. "I know what's going on in the war, Pavick. I haven't just been in the Winter Lands. I've been all over, on dozens of battlefields, in dozens of places, doing what I could to protect the innocent, doing what I could to help those in need. I've pulled hundreds of wounded soldiers from battlefields. Some of them I was able to get to help in time. Some I... wasn't. So many times I've held the hand of a dying man, been the last person they saw and their final comfort..." He shakes, not bothering to try to stop the tears.
"I've done what I could, and all without help. The only help I or the Snowflower Order has gotten has been from individual people I've helped who decided to join my cause." He sighs. "We funnel information to the Coalition when we can, help where we can without violating our principles. But that relationship is one-way; we get neither assistance nor information from them and I suspect they hold us in not much better regard than they do the rest of the Winter Fey." He stares at the map.
"It's true that everyone has been badly hit by the war, but the Winter Lands have had it especially hard. Basically the entire rest of the Feywild is against us, most of them don't bother discriminating between the leadership and the common people. Hells, look at what happened when I came to the Printempest Estate. Those guards should have known me, but all they cared about was that I was a Winter fey and whether or not they got to torture me before they killed me." He sighs. "The Winter Lands are not exactly a place with a lot of resources. Frankly, we don't have any. Snow and ice. Great, we don't lack for water if we can find something to melt it with, but little grows there in the best circumstances and most of our food comes from hunting and trade. Trade has been utterly cut off and the war has scared off most of the game. The people have nothing, Pavick, and nobody does anything about it. Except the Prince and the Snowflower Order. He does it to keep control, we do it because we care. But our resources are limited, we have no help, and there's only a few hundred of us." He sighs.
"It... Doesn't make for very hopeful thoughts. I spoke out against the war, as you know, but I don't know that there was anything that could have been done to stop it. And I asked for mercy for the Prince even then. That hasn't changed. Maybe the Winter Court is nothing but a bunch of monsters, but... Well, the Coaltion isn't all good either, and I want to believe that people can change." He sighs. "Maybe I shouldn't have come back. Maybe too much time has passed and we've all changed too much..." He stares at his hands miserably.
"At any rate, someone should try to figure out where that portal actually goes so we can prepare."
"You know, for a guy who specializes in frost magic, you sure do produce a lot of hot air." Then to the whole group, "The way I see it, we have to convince General Printempest that finding Alluvius is of the utmost importance. I never meant to sidetrack your endeavors in the Feywild, General, but as I and others have said, this new development may prove worse than the war. I'm not saying it will be a walk in Arvandor, but I do believe it is the most pressing matter at hand."
"You know, when I wind up insulting others, it's at least without meaning to and I apologize, as you just witnessed. Given that you've gone out of your way to be as condescending and insulting to me as possible since you arrived, despite my repeated offers of assistance, you've little room to talk about hot air." He sighs. "Besides, we have to keep warm where I come from somehow."
"As for Aramil, we're doing this whether or not he wants to come. He's not in charge here, this group has always been a democracy. If this is as vital as you say, we should stop bandying words and get down to it."
"Didn't mean to cause an offense," Ash says raising his hands defensively. "I just mean that the General is the last member we have to convince. Everyone else seems to be on board, and I would not want anyone to feel jilted in not taking another course of action. I would rather have unanimous agreement. Though that is not always possible." He plops down in a chair and laces his fingers again.
"Eltain is right, though. The longer we wait and discuss this the more stinking cloud will hit the wind wall. We can reopen the portal. We have the gate. We have the activation sequence. And we can look through Lu's files on portals in Sigil to find out where exactly it leads. So, General, are you on board?"
Aramil runs his hands through his hair. "I still have many questions. How could a mortal with such knowledge get into a position to be abducted against her will? If what she knows is so important, the churches of Vecna and Ioun at least would be working to obtain or protect the secrets themselves... what are they doing about this? Is this the first time she's been abducted? Are you certain that this is a duty we must accomplish ourselves? Are there not other adventurous types even in this very tavern who would be just as willing to save such a contact? Eltain, why do you continue to doubt me?"
Eltain nods to Asheroth in acknowledgment, then arches an eyebrow at Aramil in confusion.
"What do you mean, why do I continue to doubt you? I've said nothing of the sort." He frowns.
"Though I suppose I do question how bloodthirsty and dismissive of the troubles of others you've become. Look at you, practically throwing a fit at the idea of spending some of your precious time saving someone in danger. You know, the more I think on it, the more I realize that how useful she may or may not be is utterly irrelevant. It's the right thing to do, Aramil. The good thing. Corellon would approve of such an endeavor, and so do I. Someone needs our help. Are you truly so hesitant to give it? Has your title gone to your head and made you think dealing with individual lives to be beneath you? Such things are never beneath anyone. Where's the Aramil I knew, who cared for people and didn't try to throw around orders at his equals and friends? This is for the sake of good, Aramil. Embrace it."
"I think his hesitation comes knowing what other good could be done, and possibly for more people, in the time that we spend searching for this Lu person. If we spend our time hunting her down, there are a lot of other people that could possibly be helped in that time. It is in part a matter of weighing where the most good could be done. And in this case, based on what we currently know, I don't think we can say one necessarily outweighs the other. That's why I'm really willing to pursue either endeavor."
Pavick pauses, then gives Aramil a good-natured mock salute. "But if you think he's ever given me a command, you'd be mistaken. I just trust his counsel and sometimes follow his advice."
"Speaking of saving time. If you've got easy access to Lu's records and know exactly how to find out where the portal goes, great. But I do provide another option. I'm a bit of a planar expert myself, and I know a ritual that might help. Give me an hour and a few materials, and I can figure out where it goes and maybe a couple of other bits of information."
"If only you trusted mine," Eltain mutters softly as the gnome continues on to other subjects. He sighs deeply, keenly and painfully aware that a year of separation and the war have made him an unwanted outsider among the people he'd once thought of as family.
Pavick looks down at the tabletop for a moment. "How does he manage to twist everything I say into some sort of personal attack? Maybe I should just stop trying to correct that notion. It only seems to dig deeper," he thinks.
Ash looks down and away with the "Awkward" look on his face...
Clears his throat. "Soooo, General, we would love it if you would lend your support to our endeavor. I personally promise that if we run into a dead end, hopefully not literally, I will throw my efforts into plumbing the depths of the Elemental Chaos looking for the energy source of the Ice Queen's curtains. And I believe I speak for everyone when I say, we probably couldn't do this without you. So what do you say?"
OOC: I know that we were waiting for Armail's response, but I don't want to put the game on pause for everybody while we're waiting on that. For the moment, let's assume that he agrees with the rest of the party, and if there needs to be further discussion that can happen.
In the meantime:
Pavick - if you're going to spend time analyzing the portal, could I get you to make a history check in addition to whatever rituals you decide to cast
Lucan & Asheroth - Are either of y'all going to get in touch with any more contacts in Sigil, or is there any information you want to try to learn?
Zyrr - Any last minute communications you wish to send to the crew of the spelljammer?
Eltain - Do you have any messages for the Snowflake order or for Veldrin?
Aramil - Anything you wish to communicate to the troops back in the feywild?
Aramil sighs. "Very well... you seem to be set on your path... I don't agree with it, but I need your help as well. Get as much information about what lies beyond that door as you can, and be prepared for anything. If your friend is as important as you say she is, we will need to be ready to attack an archfiend's palace."
"Pav, I am planning on revisiting Lu's shop to see if I can find anything that might assist us on our journey. If you want, you could give me a list of things you want me to look for. Or you could come along with me, look for yourself, and I can lead you to the portal for you to analyze."
Pavick smiles at the demon hunter. "Certainly. I'll need your help getting to the portal; I've got to be close to it to analyze it. First, I have to get some messages sent to allies. Just make sure that everyone is aware of the drow threat before it blows up in their faces. That'll require a quick trip into the Feywild so I don't have to send the message across planar borders. Then we can go to the portal."
He hops off his chair. "Are you sure you want to visit your friend's shop though. If she's as sought after as you suspect then she might very well have some protections in place for when she is not there. That or whoever kidnapped her might have left some surprises behind. Could be dangerous. Not that I'm worried about danger, but just thought I should mention it before we walk into it."
Pavick will be doing a lot of rituals here soon. I'm just going to go ahead and roll for them all now.
Pavick will be sending the messages I described earlier. He'll need to hop through a portal to the feywild, but in Sigil that should be pretty trivial. Here are some arcana checks for those messages. Unless anyone has any other suggestions, these are who Pavick would probably send the info to hoping to cast as wide a net as possible.
Arcana - (1d20+28) - Limara Arcana - (1d20+28) - Toveliss Arcana - (1d20+28) - Karl Arcana - (1d20+28) - House of Flowers (Liria?) Arcana - (1d20+28) - Oran's daughter (Verenestra?) Arcana - (1d20+28) - Elias or Scamander (whichever one was on our side, I can't remember, but Pavick would)
Eventually he'll also use the Analyze Portal where Ash tells him, so here's the roll for that. Arcana - (1d20+28)
And you also wanted a history check. History - (1d20+21)
Last edited by dariathalon : 07-27-2012 at 10:58 PM.
Face grave, "That is a chance we may have to take, Pav. Perhaps you and I can dispel any magical traps. Though, we might need to enlist someone with nimble fingers for mundane traps." He holds out his hands palms up. "When it comes to intricate contraptions, my hands are daft not deft. Anybody want to volunteer?"
Checking for magical traps on/in Lu's Shop.
And assuming Pav helps with checking, and we actually get inside her shop without blowing ourselves up, Ash is checking for portal records to the Feywild, Elemental Chaos and other destinations in the Hells. Also looking for anything that may work as a ritual focus to help Pav.