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.
"Thrull not fond of gladiators. Thrull just want to write poetry and sing songs," says a deep voice from the other lump. It sits up, revealing it to be a half-orc in hide armor with long scraggly black hair. He doesn't seem like he's going to win any beauty pageants any time soon, but he has an air of easy charm about him and seems rather likable, for a half-orc. He indicates himself.
"Thrull Elfkiller. Thrull is a bard." He looks at Aramil and Lucan and frowns. "Thrull not actually kill elves. It just Thrull's name. Thrull not get to choose it." He nods to Asheroth and Pavick.
"You guys get caught too, yes? Thrull is sorry. This place is terrible. Thrull have friends when come here. Now, no friends. All dead. Hopefully you not die too. Thrull will protect you," he says, looking sad. "Thrull not going to lose anyone else to stupid fiends, even if Thrull not know you yet."
"Not that I don't want to get to know you two better, but the devils that bought us seem to have concocted something rather nasty to kill us with. I assume those indentions in the arena", he says indicating the slight dips in the terrain, "are platforms or contraptions that can be raised into the battlefield to add new challenges and dangers for us. Or are those recent additions?"
All the while, Ash is thinking to himself:
Why is Mephistopholes not here? What has he done to fall out of favor with Nessus? Or is Asmodeus merely cutting Mephistopholes out of the glory of...of...Hells! I don't even know what this is! It looks like war is coming. But with who? Are they getting into the Feywild War? Does this have to do with the demons? The Blood War? Whatever this is, I'll bet Mephistopholes wishes he had an invitation to this dance.
Thrull raises an eyebrow at Aramil and answers in Elven.
"<You have very interesting poetry in your lands. Perhaps someday I will get out of this place and I can go. Perhaps we can all go together, yes? We will win our way through this mess and manage to escape, if we work together.>"
He turns to Lucan. "Bard, yes. Thrull is a good Bard. Thrull will sing a song if you like? It might help you get inspired for battle." He nods, pulling a triangle from his bundle of bedding, beginning to keep time with it. You think this will be an utter mockery of music, but then he starts singing what you quickly realize is an Elven battle-hymn, although you don't think you've ever heard it sung in so deep a bass voice before. Still, the half-orc's voice is excellent, and the triangle accompaniment doesn't seem as ridiculous as it first did now that you listen to it.
Eltain nods at the devil as he goes to join Zyrr in the room, leaning over the drow's shoulder.
"This is a terrible idea, 'Captain'. You do pay me to be honest, after all. Devils drive hard bargains, as I'm sure you know. Be hard to make a profit here, especially if this Zorella is interested in those prisoners." He says, glaring at Zyrr. "They may not make it out of this alive, and then how are we to sell them?" His voice is hard, and the implication he's making is all too clear. He straightens, frowning.
"So, is there anything I can get you? Any particular time you want to meet this Zorella?"
Pavick lets out a little squeek of approval when the half-orc reveals himself to be a singer.
He pats Ash on the arm. "You worry too much. Of course there are dangers out there; it is an arena afterall. Until they are revealed there isn't really much we can do about them. So for now, relax!"
As Thrull begins his song, Pavick dances with the music. He sways and spins to the unique combination of a deep orcish rumbling voice and the high pitched tinkling of the triangle. While dancing, Pavick addresses Aramil, "What are you on about now, burning frost? I didn't think frost was flammable. In fact, I think it is well known doing the opposite, being inflammable. Wait, that's not right either. Oh well, you get the picture."
Ash shakes his head to clear his thoughts. "Not worried. Just trying to be ahead of the game. And I agree with the crazy guy. Frost can burn." He gives Pav a wink with a sly grin.
Knowing that the gnome is probably right, Ash settles down and listens to the half-orc, partly amazed that such music could issue from such an unsightly creature. Caught up in the song, Ash begins to tap his foot in time, periodically chiming in with a harmonic note.
"I do value your honesty." Hugo replies as he examines his face in a mirror, refining the age lines in his red tiefling face. "But we don't have a clue what's going on here, and doing something disagreeable before we do could see us just as dead as whatever poor creatures the slaves are about to face. Speaking of which, I have every faith in their abilities, and we're under no obligation thus far so once we've won our prize we can sail off with no more harm than perhaps a few arrows in our sails. If you're complaining about the bet itself, what's the harm of a little wager?"
Down in the arena, Karlvan scrapes a knuckle across his ear to soothe an itch.
Hugo turns to regard Desmond with his touched-up face. "And we'll go meet Zorella right after you fetch me some wine and two glasses. ...If you don't mind."
Once Desmond has returned with the requested refreshment, Desmond pours two glasses and adds some Goodnight Tincture to one.
Avatar gladly adopted from Ink!
"I wasn't saying to do anything yet. Merely making a note... Sir." He sighs and claps the disguised drow on the shoulder.
"I hope you're right about that. I've faith in them as well, but I worry anyway." He shrugs
"Rather quick, aren't we? Then again that imp did tell me she doesn't like to be kept waiting. Which I don't find surprising." He shrugs and goes to get the wine, keeping an eye out as he walks through the ship for anything that might be of use or able to turn things in the group's favor. When he reaches the kitchen he greets the staff cordially.
"Do forgive the intrusion. My master has sent me to retrieve him some wine. He prefers dark, heavy reds, if you've something suitable?"
Thrull grins at the reaction to his song and the antics of his cellmates.
"Thrull never see ice that burn. Ice melt, yes. Even the deepest frost can melt, if the conditions are right." He looks pensive. "Thrull hope to melt lots of ice. People not like Thrull, always cold at first. Thrull want to melt all their hearts and have them like him." You sense from the inconsistency of his improper grammar that it's an affectation, much like the triangle.
As the battle hymn comes to a close, Ash strides over to the opening of the cell that overlooks the arena. He peers out past the blood soaked sand to the cages opposite. His expression, now away from the others, becomes somber.
I can't die here. I'll be damned forever. Never again will I see my father. I have to survive. Like every other time! Whatever they throw at me, I'll show them! Show them I am worthy. Worthy of so much more than torment. More than torture. More than hell. I want it back. Me. My life. My soul. Give it back to me!
Ash clenches his teeth to hold back the emotion that grips him. In rage he slams his fist against the cage bars sending a small shower of sparks to the ground! "Not today!" he barks at the open coliseum. "Not...today."
Ash turns back to the other prisoners in the holding cell head hung expecting the inevitable looks.
Ash unclenches his fist and breathes out an agonized sigh. He lifts his head, and his eyes are filled with sorrow. "Forgive me. It wasn't your song, Thrull. My...I... There's a lot weighing on me right now. I just... I need to live. Through this. And everything else he throws at me, so I can prove I'm... I'm worthy of it."
"I make it; you buy it."
Last edited by Orsik Vondal : 08-16-2012 at 06:48 PM.
As the half-orc begins his song, the various ships of the infernal legions start moving in, encircling the open arena. As Thrull's song comes to a close (which was almost as good as Lucan could have done, but not quite), the devils and soldiers of hell are lined on the decks of the ships, looking down on battlefield. The legions begin banging their weapons on their shields in a slow, rhythm. The rattle of sword on shield becomes louder and more intense, a racing heartbeat that thunders across the arena, calling out for battle
------------- Zyrr & Eltain ---------------
When"Desmond" ventures to the kitchen, it takes a bit to communicate that by "heavy reds," he wasn't asking for blood for his master to drink, but actually wine. But before too long the drink is brought back and "Hugo" slips in his secret ingredient.
A few minutes later, the familiar face of Zorella arrives in the doorway. She briefly glances at Eltain as she strides in and takes a seat next to Hugo. While her long gown previously had been so sheer it was almost transparent, this gown somehow manages to be not only transparent, but actually illuminating what most women would try to hide. Her walk across the room is sensuous enough to make even the most chaste paladin reconsider his vows, and as she takes a seat next to Hugo, she pulls in tight against the tiefling, pressing in all the right (and very wrong ways). Trailing after her, a bearded devil strides in, carrying a cup on a silver platter that he presents to Zorella, before taking his place just beside her, staring straight ahead.
"Well now...this is a pleasant surprise." She twirls a finger around Hugo's hair, examining it casually before nodding to herself, seemingly satisfied of something. "Here I was, neck-deep in the work of the Great Lord, but still wondering how to get back as some pesky mortals who troubled me a while back. When low and behold, they should appear giftwrapped before me." She gives a deep, sultry laugh and places a six-fingered hand on Hugo's thigh. "The bard, the general, and the wizard won't survive the arena, I've seen to that. And you've taken the paladin for your own manservant (and I'm willing to make an offer for him later, if you'd like). You arrive on the ship the drow stole from my sister, so I assume he's dead. But tell me..." She leans close, and her perfume wafts intoxicatingly over Zyrr. "What happened to the one called Shepherd. I would very, very much like to get my hands on him, and if you could help me I'd be ever so grateful." Her hand slides further up Zyrr's thigh, and the other hand begins to slowly undue the buttons on his shirt.
At that point, a chime fills the room, and a frown briefly flashes across Zorella's face before she changes it into a pout. "Oh, looks like the battle is going to begin. Did you want to watch the fight, or would you like to continue our private conversation?" her pointed tail twitches and quivers as she watches you eagerly.
-------------- The Arena -----------------
The chime echos throughout the arena, bringing the clash of sword on drum to a sudden halt. On the largest barge, a wide door opens in the middle. The creature that steps into the opening is one of the most repulsive you've seen. A massive, slug-like being with bulging eyes, a wide mouth, and a drooling tongue. Swarms of flies buzz around the creature that he casually waves away with fat, stubby arms, and his entire body glistens with a layer of slime. Yet even at the sight of this disgusting monstrosity, you can feel fear creeping into your heart. The longer you watch the creature, you feel despair and disgust cling to you, like a black oil oozing across your innards. You feel dirty and grimy, as if you could never feel clean again no matter how long you washed.
In a croaking voice, Baalzebub, lord of the seventh layer of hell, announces "WELCOME TO THE ARENA!" The crowd of devils immediately raises a cheer, as the call for bloodshed is raised.
"Tonight, we have a special treat. The combatants today will be fighting not only for their lives, but for the honor of joining the mightiest army assembled since the dawn war!" Again, thunderous applause breaks out across the ships around the arena, each filled to the brim with laughing, whooping devils.
"Our challengers are mortals. Gladiators of the highest quality who want nothing more than to spill your blood, and mine!" Baalzebub points a stumpy, slimy arm towards the cage where the party is located, as jeers and insults begin raining down on you. Bits of food and filth are tossed your way, pelting you between the cage bars.
"But who shall they face instead? Let it never be said that Baalzebub is without a sense of fairness, for they will choose which of their opponents they wish to face!" Again, Baalzebub has to pause as the crowd reacts, but eventually the slug quiets them. "Disgraced in battle, charged with treason, but eager to prove themselves to their brothers in arms again, we have...THE 23rd LEGION OF DIS!!"
Across the arena, the cloak from one of the other cages is removed,and inside you can see a squadron of devils armed to the teeth. Most are legion devils, but a pair of bone devils and chain devils can be seen lurking in the back. However, your eyes are immediately drawn to the creature in the middle, a devil that towers above the others, radiating heat and power, a flaming mace in its hand and a circlet of iron on its horned head. The Pit Fiend raises its mace, and the crowd bursts into cheering and whooping.
Baalzebub lets the mad cheering continue for a few moments, before raising a hand. "Truly, these are worthy adversaries. But couldn't the same be said for the scourges of the Astral Sea whose name strikes terror into the hearts of travelers from Sigil to Celestia? My lowly subjects, I present to you the GITHYANKI RED WINGS!"
The cloth from the second cage drops, and inside a huge red dragon gives a roar so fierce that the entire arena shakes. The dragon gives a blast of fire through the cage bars, and even from this distance you can feel the heat. On the Dragon's back and near its feet, a dozen githyanki warriors raise their silvered swords towards Baalzebub in a battle shout, as the whispers and betting immediately begins rippling throughout the crowd of onlookers.
Again, Baalzebub lets the murmurs continue for a moment before again requesting silence. "Both the Githyanki and the disgraced 23rd legion are battling to prove themselves worthy of fighting in the armies of the great lord Asmodeus. But who shall have the honor of proving themselves first?" The Lord of Flies runs a fat tongue across his slimy lips, and turns to face the party. "So, what say you? Do you wish to face the remnants of the 23rd legion, or the Githyanki Red Wings?"
Ash turns to Lucan, "I'll let you go ask him." He begins to make phantom finger strokes in the air. "But by my calculations it is...the size of the fangs...minus the radius of the pupils...carry the three...not the fight I want to pick."
"I make it; you buy it."
Last edited by Orsik Vondal : 08-18-2012 at 08:06 PM.
"Good luck with trying to find Shep. Nobody knows where he is now. Someone else got to him first. If only I could have helped him..." He slumps, then pulls back the hood on his altered outfit, giving Zorella a world-weary, broken glare.
"And yes, this miserable son of a whore murdered Zyrr. And I couldn't help him... Thanks to you." He glowers at her. "Paladin, hah. Not anymore. I fell after what we did back then. You've already got your revenge on me, Zorella, you just don't know it yet. I'm not a Paladin, I'm a Warlock." He spits the word as if it were dirty, black bitterness in his voice. "I had to swear myself to the powers of the Feywild just to be able to continue fighting. But I couldn't do anything to heal Zyrr, so the man I loved died in my arms, and then I became a slave. All because of you. I hope you're happy. At least then someone would be." He shakes, fighting back tears. He composes himself and pulls his hood back up, covering his face again.
"Do you want me to leave you to your meeting, master, or do you need me for something else?" he asks, addressing 'Hugo'.
"Thrull not like either choice. But Thrull would rather die fighting devils like those that kill his friends." He nods to the others. "I hope we make it out of this."
Ash regards Thrull as if talking to a child, "Don't worry, Thrull. At least you'll go to a better place than me. You'll probably end up in a bright and shiny place with lots of pretty colors that sparkle. Elves will be dancing everywhere like children! And you'll be able to see all your friends again...Did I just rhyme? That was weird." Ash furrows his brow. "Anyway, now we have four in favor of taking on the devils. I think it's our best bet. The legion devils will try to form ranks, but if we can separate them, Pav can probably use that to his advantage. They can all probably endure my flames, but I have some tricks that might surprise them. I will try and weaken the pit fiend. But I'll need help fending off his mace."
At Lucan's question, the dragon gives a deep chuckle that reverberates throughout the arena "Little half-elf, you need not concern yourself with such trivialities. I am Fersavictorix and for well over a millennia I have gorged myself on heroes mightier than you. Worlds tremble at the sight of me, wizards flee at my name, and you shall be little more than an appetizer to wet my appetite for the feasting to come."
The crowd above begins whooping an hollering, jeering Lucan and the others, but eventually Baalzebub holds a hand. "Silence! It appears that the mighty Fersavictorix is correct, as the gladiators have chosen to face the 23rd Legion! What say you all, are you ready to see their blood spilled to honor our great god Asmodeus?!" Baalzebub raises a slimy hand, and the swarm of flies above his head begin swarming even faster and louder as the crowd roars its approval.
Zorella turns to look up at Eltain from her position against 'Hugo' as the half-eladrin speaks. "Ah, so there's a bit of fight in you yet. Do not complain to me about losing the blessings of your god. You chose to follow him." she pauses to spit on the filth-covered ground "and so you must deal with the silly rules that he has set up. And if you were looking to swear yourself to a higher power, I'm insulted that you didn't come to me." She gives a fake-pout. "I could have introduced you to someone who could show you what real power looks like." Her twelve fingers tighten slightly, drawing a bit of blood from 'Hugo.' "Oops, sorry dear. Now, where were we before your boy interrupted? Ah yes, the Shepherd. Tell me, even if your fey-whipping boy doesn't know where he is, would you be able to tell me where I could find the Shepherd?"
As Zorella speaks the name of the Shepherd for the third time, a slight change in the air-pressure radiates out from her, and she sits up suddenly in confusion.
Out on the field, as all the hosts of hell begin clammering and calling out for bloodshed, the Githyanki and their dragon are escorted out of the arena. Suddenly, you can see a strange effect that seems to wash over the entire crowd, that looks to have started from the royal barge of Baalzebub. There's no visible source, but suddenly devils that were screaming for your deaths sit a little straighter, and begin glancing around uncomfortably.
There's an odd silence that falls over the battlefield, even as the cage doors are lowered and you find yourself facing the 23rd Legion of Dis from across the arena. In the distance, you can just make out a slight whistling noise. Normally, you'd discount it as a simple by-product of the strange breezes that blow in the Astral Sea, but the sound grows steadily louder and clearer. From the edge of the fleet, you hear a shout raise up, soon echoed across the infernal armada as a tiny object comes into view, streaking across the sky. From this distance, it looks almost like a cup with a strange handle sticking out of the top.
As the object draws closer, Pavick recognizes it from some of his introductory courses on alchemy, as a mortar and pestle, but it looks to be almost the size of a house. Before anyone can react, the strange cup-like object crashes into the middle of the arena, sending dust and ash flying up around it as the shockwaves echoes out from the impact. A moment later there is silence, as every fiend watching from above strains to see through the dust cloud to what landed in the middle of the arena.
And out of that silence, there came nothing but gouts of strange smelling smoke that wafted up from the crashed apparatus. The inside, it seemed, was entirely empty, as if some giant from the heavens above tired of its plaything, and discarded it with a shrug, tossing it into the Astral Sea below. And when the silence only grew thicker, the strange mortar and pestle answered by continuing to sit, and to smoke, and to give no answers whatsoever as to its sudden, almost anticlimactic appearance. It was simply there, lying in the sand of the arena.
From behind Pavick, there came a sound; a familiar, grating, gravely sound--a low, burbling, groaning rumble--a sound perhaps he had not heard in some time. A sound that could mean one thing, and one thing only. And the light above him and around him was replaced by a looming shadow, one that stretched far ahead in the sand. Whatever it was was dangerously close, right ontop of him; he could hear it breathing. And then it spoke.
Pavicks eyes shifted back and forth swiveling in their sockets trying to make sense of it all. That voice behind him, it couldn't be... But then his eyes came to rest on the familiar rocky humanoid shadow that fell over him. There was no mistaking it. It had to be. Pavick spun around on his heel, blinking back tears in his eyes to see. "SHEP!"
He ran forward straight into the Shepherd at top speed, wrapping his arms around one stony leg. Any lesser man might have been caught off guard by the surprising speed at which Pavick tackled Shep's leg, but Pavick knew there was nothing to worry about. Shep had always been as stable as a boulder and his sudden presence in the face of such a dangerous battle was a huge comfort.
Pavick looked up at his friend, blinking back tears of joy. "How are you? Where were you? We've been so worried. Are you back? Like back-back?"
Ash is knocked away from the mouth of the cage from the shockwave of the landing mortar. He throws his arms up to protect his eyes. The voice from behind startles him and he spins just as Pav slams into the most imposing "man" Ash has ever seen.
"Shep...?" Ash's eyes widen to two burning coals, and then he squints. "Shepherd? THE Shepherd?" He runs a leathery hand through his long brown hair. He leans back slightly to take in the goliath's full height. "I've heard of you. But I...I didn't expect you to be so...big. I'm Asheroth Durant, Demon-Hunter." He extends a hand and swallows hard, hoping the giant doesn't inadvertently crush his hand.
The hand met Asheroth's was rocky and great in size, easily looking like it would overwhelm the much smaller hand within it. But the hand was calm, and entirely gentle, as if it were made of leaves rather than stone and mortar.
"Good to meet you, Asheroth." The Shepherd smiled. "If you are a friend of my companions here, then you are a friend of mine as well. Though, I can't say I've heard of you."
As the Shepherd emerges from the wreckage of the Mortar and Pestle, the devils again begin cheering for battle, eager to see this newcomer face the same fate as the others. The only ones not cheering are the older and more powerful devils, the pit fiends and war devils, who exchange uneasy looks with each other. Even as the group cheers, Baalzebul's eyes widen, and the slug archduke turns back to exchange a few frantic words with the archfiends Lilith and Baftis, motioning back towards the Shepherd as he speaks with his consorts.
In the room on the barge, Zorella stares out the window, mouth agape, at the arena below. She turns towards Eltain, eyes burning. "YOU! Was this your doing? I do not know what your scheme is, paladin, but I'll have your head for it!" All pretense of beauty and seduction is gone as the succubus turns to face 'Hugo.' "I want him dead. I'll pay you a hundred Astral Diamonds to have this half-eladrin sent to the arena to die with the rest of them!"
Hugo's tiefling cheeks flush as the twelve-fingered devil works her way past his clothing, clearly not sure what to make of this sudden attention. He sets the wine glasses down, and is just about to swat a hand away when a flurry of things happen all at once. First, his new acquaintance recognizes his new servant. Second, his investment finds itself sorely tested, the fools proving somewhat less foolish by passing up a fight with a dragon. Third, a giant teacup crashes into the middle of the arena. ....Correction, giant mortar and pestle.
And somehow a miracle arises out of the chaos like a phoenix. 100 astral diamonds, laid out on a platter. "Provided neither he nor this new.... statue voids my previous wager, you have yourself a deal my lady. Good riddance I say, I grow bored of him trying to elude the geas he agreed to. Would you believe he cried for days over that drow? Oh dear, if I lose this wager at the least I'll gain knowledge that the world has become a bit less confusing."
He picks up the non-drugged wine glass and takes a sip as he waves farewell to the servant of many names. "Perhaps I could buy a golem cabin boy as a replacement."
Avatar gladly adopted from Ink!
"That's okay. But may I ask...what is that? Indicating the huge mortar in the arena. And how did you get here? The last I heard you were 'lost to the world'." Ash slips his hand from the mountain's grip, glad the stone was not crushing, and drops his arms to his sides
He now had a vague understanding of why his new companions regarded The Shepherd with such reverence. This giant of a man was gentle, and Ash had the thought that if he wore a green robe and cap, he would look down right peaceful. But there was something under the surface. Like a bear hibernating in its cave, waiting for Spring and the hunt to arrive. Or a wide river, calm on top belying turbulent undercurrents. A perfect balance of control and power.
"Yeah I was going to ask about that. Looks like a mortar and pestle to me. Never seen one that big though; I can't even begin to guess at what someone would use one like that for." He pauses for a moment, tapping his foot. "Well, I can begin to guess, but we'd still need 23.6 virgins, a couple of bushels of dried carrots, and a tuba."