Lady Despina's Virtue - Continued
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    Lady Despina's Virtue - Continued

    Sorry for the slight delay
    Unfortunately for some reason I can't retrieve my password - I have therefore elected to take the logical step of registering as "Sepulchrave II" - notice it's also capitalized this time.

    I thought that a new thread was probably in order.

    Many thanks to all of you for those "bumps"...



    Eadric waited outside of the doorway for a few moments and, upon hearing no reply, assumed the Duchess was still abroad and went to find her. Ortwin, still within the effect of the silence spell, now found himself staring at the Duchess in fascination: she merely sat up in bed, screaming voicelessly.

    Fortunately it was dark and his hood was drawn up, so that she hadn't recognized him. Or so he hoped. He scuttled over to the window, outside of the range of his own magic, quickly pronounced a sleep spell, and the woman fell into a cataleptic stupor [alas, she is a lowly 3rd level aristo]. Hopefully she'd wake up, and think the whole episode had been a bad dream. If questioned, the Bard made a note to recount his own, horrific "night terrors," when he'd been under lots of stress. Ortwin opened the window, looked out, waited for a guard to pass, and clambered down the ivy into the quadrangle.

    Still within the confines of the chapel, Mostin waited patiently, amazed at the sudden and dramatic disappearance of his three new companions. The blood in the font interested him, although he was unsure as to its significance as an omen. Almost without thinking, he cast a detect magic spell to see if anything was untoward. The font radiated a faint aura of evocation, but a residue of divination remained in the air nearby as well. Mostin's interest was piqued. Someone scrying perhaps? Surely not! Who would dare scry on Mostin the Metagnostic? Unthinkable. And he surely would have noticed. He brooded for a while, and then invoked detect scrying.

    There it pulsed, high in the west transept of the chapel, around ten feet above the ground: a colour pool.

    Mostin’s stomach sank, and he groaned. Someone – or something – in astral form, had got the jump on him. He leaned against the font, stroked his hedgehog, and tried to put things together in his mind.

    A few minutes later, Ortwin scuttled back into the chapel. "Where are the others?’ he asked "Have they returned yet?"
    Mostin gave a negative grunt.
    Noting the alienist’s discomfort, Ortwin pressed him. "What else have you divined?"
    Feeling indignant at his own oversight, with his ego battered and his reputation on the line, Mostin erupted into a characteristic fit of screaming, which left the bard rather bewildered and demonstrating to Ortwin for the first time Mostin’s precarious grasp on sanity. The bard waited patiently while the alienist vented. Mostin eventually calmed down, and related his latest findings.

    "An astral gate? Here in the chapel? How splendid!" Ortwin’s irony and mirth were barely concealed. "Who do you think was looking at us? Perhaps you should inquire more closely. The vision dweomer might…"
    "Yes, yes, yes." Mostin replied, and grudgingly invoked the vision spell.

    The alienist’s eyes glazed over and he drooled for a few moments.
    "So what did you see?" Ortwin asked anxiously.
    "Er…I’d rather not say, until I’ve had time to think about it."
    "I’m sure the duchess would be eager to know about the colour portal."
    Mostin looked venomously at the bard, and picked his words carefully. "I saw an…entity…observing us."
    "Perhaps you could be a little more specific."
    "The name Rurunoth springs to mind," Mostin added.
    Ortwin, unschooled in demonology, looked blank. "Is that supposed to mean something to me?"
    "He is a demon," Mostin explained.
    "Ahhh! Small, medium or large type?"
    "Er…VERY large," the alienist confessed.
    "So he was responsible for the blood in the font?" Ortwin inquired.
    "Most likely," Mostin replied.
    "And the trees wilting, food rotting and such?"
    "That would seem plausible."
    "Well, that’s good. At least its not a bad omen from Eadric’s tedious god. We can relax on that count. What do you know about this Rurunoth?"
    "He is a servitor demon to one of the abyssal princes," said Mostin.
    Ortwin twitched reflexively. "It’s OK. You don’t need to say his name. I can guess which one it is…"

    After the others had been located and apprised of the situation, Eadric launched a barrage of questions towards Mostin, none of which, from the Paladin’s perspective, proved to have satisfactory answers:
    "…but this is holy ground, how could a demon…?"
    "The astral plane is not holy ground," Mostin explained.
    "So the omen…"
    "Was not an omen," Mostin explained.
    "And your communing with Lord Oronthon…"
    "May or may not be entirely reliable," Mostin confessed grudgingly. "And technically I was inquiring, not communing."
    "But you don’t know its veracity for sure?"
    "No, but the answers seem to fit plausibly if they were delivered from a deity of Oronthon’s type."
    "That doesn’t mean anything, does it?"
    "No, not really," Mostin admitted.
    "And this ‘Rurunoth’ – he is a Type VI demon," Eadric ventured.
    "That phraseology is somewhat antiquated, but yes, more or less."
    "We should find Despina. We need to talk to her again, " Eadric’s voice conveyed a mixture of longing and apprehension.
    "Fool," Ortwin muttered, shaking his head.

    Eadric trooped off towards the south tower, where Despina and a number of other handmaidens were quartered. Ortwin and Mostin followed the Paladin from the chapel and Nwm, reluctantly, tagged along.

    As they walked across the courtyard, the Druid observed Mostin carefully avoiding the cracks in the flagstones, and stroked his beard thoughtfully.

    "Isn’t this rather suspect," Ortwin mentioned archly, "you know – four men descending upon a bevy of maidens at two o’clock in the morning. Not that I’d usually have any complaints, mind you, but I think you at least ought to show some decorum, Eadric. Mud sticks, and we wouldn’t want your reputation sullied for the sake of an abyssal wench would we?" Eadric ignored the obvious taunt, walked up to the gate of the tower and hammered loudly. A sleepy eunuch opened the door.

    "This is Eadric, Baronet of Deorham," the Paladin announced in a perfunctory manner. "I have Mostin the Metagnostic with me, and we are making inquiries regarding the events of the past few days. As an approved church inquisitor, I demand entry. Please inform the ladies to dress and make themselves presentable."

    After waiting for thirty minutes outside, the group were finally admitted and entered the reception room, where a dozen or so handmaidens – including the Lady Despina - had gathered.
    "These are routine inquiries," Ortwin assured them glibly, and pulled a scroll and quill from his belt before anyone else could speak. "Please do not be alarmed. We are merely trying to reconcile the events of the past week or so, and form them into a coherent report."
    "At two in the morning?" Complained a woman called Silla.
    "And to dispel the false rumours of diabolism which are currently circulating in the court," Ortwin added dramatically, staring at Silla. She spoke no more.
    "We will speak to three of you tonight," Ortwin continued, "You Lady Silla, as you must be anxious to return to your beauty-sleep, you Lady Esme and…er…you Lady Despina." The last words were spoken as if a random name had been plucked from the air.
    "I’ll give you credit," Eadric muttered to Ortwin, " you are a sneaky bugger."

    Only after Silla and Esme - subjected to a barrage of irrelevant questions by Ortwin – had been discharged, was Lady Despina brought in. Under the steely glare of Mostin and Eadric, the lusty gaze of Ortwin and the ironic stare of Nwm, the succubus sat demurely on a small stool, her nightgown covered by a thick cloak of peacock feathers.

    "Lady Despina," Mostin began, "You may dispense with the formalities." The Mage raised his hand, and uttered an incantation, dispelling the artificial form which she had assumed. In place of the demure handmaiden, another form appeared: horned, muscular, sexless, with eyes of fire and a pair of great leathern wings, which seemed to instinctively retract about the nude form, as if in modesty. Around the creature’s neck, hanging loosely, the group briefly glimpsed a pendant set with a single black opal, before the wings shrouded it.
    "What is that token?" Mostin asked quickly. "May I please see it?"
    "No!" The creature replied in an eerie voice, with a hint of something akin to anguish.

    "Lady Despina," said Eadric softly, "how can we trust you if you are unwilling to co-operate? Please render the item up to Mostin. It will be returned to you if it proves harmless."
    Reluctantly, the creature complied, and then resumed its previous form. Mostin inspected the amulet closely, and asked "What is this? And why do you insist on assuming a form which others would find more palatable?"
    "I have grown to like it," she replied.
    "Well, I’ve made my point," Mostin said haughtily, "it should at least dispel any infatuations about your…womanliness…that others here might feel."

    "What is the token?" Nwm asked insistently, half to Mostin and half to Despina. The Lady did not answer.
    "It is magical, with some kind of abjuration dweomer. It will take me some time to procure the items necessary for the proper analysis of this object," Mostin explained grumpily, "although I may make a cursory inspection tomorrow. In any case, it must wait. ‘Lady Despina’ – if that is your preferred name – we are about to subject you to an arduous series of tests in order to gauge your motivations and your true nature. Do you comply?"
    "No, please," the maiden began.
    "I should rephrase that," Mostin interrupted. "If you wish to remain here, you WILL comply, do you understand?"
    Despina nodded quietly.
    "Furthermore, you will voluntarily relinquish your natural demonic resistance to such methods of enquiry."
    Despina gave an astonished look, but agreed nonetheless. "I don’t trust any one of you, except you, Eadric." The handmaiden looked imploringly at the Paladin. "You must make assurances that no harm comes to me, or I will hold you and your God responsible."
    Eadric coughed, looked embarrassed, and dumbly nodded.


    An hour later, tired and hungry, the group gathered in the empty great hall around the dying embers of one of its three large fires. Ortwin reclined on a soft chair of leather and sipped from an oversized goblet of firewine.
    They had discerned lies, detected evil, chaos, thoughts and magic. Mostin had used true seeing to determine whether any other influence was present.
    He was mentally exhausted, but satisfied.

    "She is less evil than one would have anticipated for a demon," he remarked, "and it seems plausible that her reluctance to surrender the amulet was due to a fear that the taint was still wholly on her, and would be revealed."
    "I still don’t buy it," Ortwin remarked. "It’s too convenient. We’ve probably missed something, or overlooked a niggling detail. Still, she revealed her knowledge of Rurunoth, and gave us some pointers in that direction. But we’re still in the dark about the accuracy of your communication with Oronthon."
    "Tomorrow," Eadric sighed, "we’ll go to the temple, and seek advice from the archbishop. His retreat should be over by now. And Despina is secure, I believe. But I can’t hold her for ever under ecclesiastical law, and the Duchess is bound to ask questions."
    "’IT’," said Mostin, "not ‘her’ – ‘it’"

    In the uppermost room of the ramshackle tower of owls, the door to which was guarded by Eadric’s squire, Tatterbrand, Lady Despina sat on a soft bed within the magic circle which had been inscribed on the floor by Mostin.
    "Why not sit down, Tatterbrand?" She asked politely. "Perhaps you could tell me a story…"

  2. #2
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    He's Baaaack!

    Woohoo! All right! Sorry about the pw troubles, but it's good to see you back again. A question for you:

    Your Detect Magic reveals the school of the magic surrounding an item or area, but not the spell. In your game, is this a product of the time and/or energy you spend on the spell, or is it based on caster level? Did you house rule it, or if I looked in PHB/DMG would I find it?

    Also, what would it take to detect the specific spell that had created a magic? Spellcraft check? Longer concentration? More powerful Detect Magic Spell?

    Again, very cool to have you back on the board. I missed having a cool campaign like this on the boards, especially one that's being run in my hometown.

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Zoinks! Thanks for coming back Sepulchrave.

  5. #5
    Yay! I like this story.

    IIRC, Detect Magic can reveal the school of magic if the user makes a spellcraft check and concentrates for the 3 rounds needed to get a precise reading. THe more powerful spell mentioned is Analyze Dweomer, which is like a super detect magic + identify, but requires an expensive focus. Or at least, that's what the spell Mostne couldn't cast yet sounded like.

  6. #6
    Glad to see it continuing at last! It was threatening to overtake Wulf's and Piratecat's story hours and it was almost exclusively bumps!!!

    Horacio will be happy I'm sure. Somebody should e-mail him to let him know.

  7. #7

    Thank you

    Sepulchrave,

    I really want to thank you for returning and moving ahead with this Story Hour. I'm sure it's a lot of work for you, but it's really fantastic (what characters!), and your efforts are much appreciated.

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    Glad your back!!!

    The anticipation was worth it! I really got a kick out of the characters referring to the balor with the antiquated term "Type IV Demon."

    Anyway, thanks for continuing your story,
    C.I.D.

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    It's great to see you back! I plugged this thread on the general disussion forum, BTW.

  10. #10
    Your Detect Magic reveals the school of the magic surrounding an item or area, but not the spell. In your game, is this a product of the time and/or energy you spend on the spell, or is it based on caster level? Did you house rule it, or if I looked in PHB/DMG would I find it?

    Also, what would it take to detect the specific spell that had created a magic? Spellcraft check? Longer concentration? More powerful Detect Magic Spell?
    More-or-less as Victim says. Detect magic is 3 rounds for the specific school of magic. Identify (the "Cursory Inspection" mentioned by Mostin) still takes 8 hrs. Analyze Dweomer (also 8 hrs) has a VERY expensive focus, which Mostin didn't have available.

    Not that it matters, as the nature of the amulet was inferred by the players anyway, at least in general terms - some kind of ward against detections.

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