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Monday, 17th August, 2009, 07:44 PM #201
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Monday, 17th August, 2009, 09:18 PM #202
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
I'm sure the party is beyond happy that the cauldren is gone...or is it? Awesome update Sagiro, and any update, even a smallish one, is a welcome update.
Tuesday, 18th August, 2009, 05:37 PM #203
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Tuesday, 18th August, 2009, 05:57 PM #204
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Sunday, 23rd August, 2009, 03:24 AM #205
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
Sagiro’s Story Hour, Part 295
Not On The First Try
The Company teleports back to the Greenhouse. With Posada's Boundary dissolved and the Uncrossable Sea not so uncrossable, teleportation magic makes the world a much smaller place. They have noticed an odd phenomenon, though: when they go from Kivia to Charagan, time seems to shift. The sun moves eastward in the sky, and it seems to be several hours earlier. When they blip the other way – from west to east – it gets later.
For a couple of hours the wizards pore over the papers found in Praska's underground hideout. There's much that is useful, interesting, and disturbing, but the most relevant information falls into four different categories:
1. Praska's desire for the Null Shadow Cauldron was driven (ironically) by a desire not to be discovered. Specifically she sensed that the Diviners' Guild of Hae Charagan was on the verge of finding her out, and was planning on sending Null Shadows to eradicate them. (The Company had enlisted the Guild some years back to scry Mokad, after the Black Circle had kidnapped Praska. The diviner who they retained, a fellow named Ragmir, had been assaulted back through his scrying spell, an occurrence so shocking that he dropped the assignment and claimed never to want to see the Company again.) Ever since that day, the Diviners had been attempting to discover the identity and whereabouts of the Black Circle presence in the city.
Praska was convinced that the Guild was about to discover her hiding place, “despite my countermeasures.” There are some brief notes outlining her plan to steal the Cauldron from the Cosnor estate in Kallor: what spells and scrolls she'd use, the best time to strike, etc.
2. There is a leather-bound book containing full operating instructions for the installation and use of the Null Shadow Cauldron, along with the rituals required for preparing a “Shadow Chamber.” There are several kinds of Null Shadows that one can call forth from the Cauldron -- what you get depends on what material components you throw in while performing the rituals. There are seven different kinds of Null Shadows, all of which are immune to magic, but which have different abilities and powers. Ones made with emerald chips (as they discovered) can drain constitution. Topaz chips generate disease-causing Null Shadows. The sapphire flakes would produce Null Shadows with limited spell-casting powers.
There are occasional references here to "the other two Cauldrons."
3. There are numerous outlines of ideas for how the heck one might rescue Emperor Naradawk from the prison-Prime of Volpos. Along with each one is an admission to the effect of "that'll never work." Praska seems to think that Mokad's plot to align Volpos and Abernia was their best shot, and now it's pretty hopeless. She also writes that "There may be other ways in the main library, but that's locked up in the Spire's impregnable bakery in Tal Hae." (On this last topic, she also refers to "... the numerous times we've tried and failed to get inside.")
4. She writes that "the collaboration with the others is going poorly." She goes on to bemoan the lack of cooperation from these others: "they only turn on the circle once a month, they act unnecessarily mysterious, and they tell me nothing." In particular, she refers to "that thing that leads them."
The Company ruminates over this new intelligence. Most disturbing is the fact that there are still two more Null Shadow Cauldrons in existence, though it doesn't seem like Praska has access to them. But the party is gobsmacked at the reminder that they have the Black Circle's “main library” squirreled away in the Greenhouse. Aravis thinks for a minute that might simply be a reference to the Evil Black Book they have locked in a trunk, but Kibi remembers that after defeating and killing Mokad, they ransacked a whole room full of papers, books and scrolls from the Cosnor estate. Those were stuffed into a closet and forgotten, but surely a thorough reading of those materials should be a near-term priority!
It's news (though not surprising) to the Company that the Black Circle has been trying to force their way into the Greenhouse, and they all thank Abernathy for his potent warding abilities. (It has been heretofore impossible for anyone to enter the Greenhouse uninvited.) Dranko wonders if their house-keys are a potential liability.
But... finding Praska is still the highest-priority item on the agenda. Morningstar casts find the path to “the location where Praska fled using her word of recall. " The spell points her due east – just as her earlier circle dances had done. Aravis scries Praska, expecting her to be shielded, and is shocked to see her clear as day through the scry sensor. She is sitting on a bench, surrounded by a green lawn – maybe in a park? – and reading a book. She looks neither injured nor perturbed. The party doesn't trust the image one bit.
Aravis casts detect magic through the sensor, and there is some magic on her in small amounts – conjuration, divination and enchantment.
The party makes its plans – to teleport around while the find the path is still up, in order to triangulate on Praska's position. Aravis is well-stocked with teleport spells, so off they go, first to grounds of the Golden Goblet in Djaw. They arrive behind a hedge in the expansive back yard where they hope to go unnoticed. As expected it's six hours later than it was when they left – getting on towards evening. The find the path is now pointing southwest instead of east. They consult their map of Kivia, seeing what's in that direction. The most likely target now is the coastal city of Kai Kin.
A gardener comes around the hedge, sees the seven of them standing there, and drops his spade. But he quickly recognizes them – they're the incredibly rich guests who were assaulted here not long ago, the ones Balthazar said should be showed respect and deference no matter what they do or say. The gardener bows low, picks up his shovel, and asks if there's anything he can do to make their stay behind the hedge more pleasant. The party politely declines.
Their next teleport-stop is the abandoned and ruined golem-city of Repose, one of the stops they had made while questing for the Crosser's Maze. It's exactly as they remember; a dry wind blows through, stirring up the untraveled dust. Not much of a tourist destination, Repose. A golem trundles up dragging the disintegrating remains of a cart behind it, and silently awaits further orders.
Now the find the path is pointing north-east – directly back to Djaw!
“If she's in the southwest corner of Djaw, we're going to be really embarrassed,” Dranko mutters.
Aravis is out of greater teleports, but he still has two more of the normal variety. He casts again, intending to bring them just outside the northern wall of Djaw. But, as any wizard will tell you, teleporting is an inexact science, and mishaps are an inevitability if you make enough trips.
There is pain, and the awful experience of being more or less mashed together. Someone's arm is sticking straight out of Grey Wolf's chest, and Morningstar's left leg seems to end in three different feet. But a moment later they become untangled, the pain subsides, and they are outside the towering wall of...
“That's not Djaw,” Grey Wolf says, pointing up.
The flags flying on the city walls clearly display the symbol of the God Nifi, and there are numerous Delfirian guards patrolling the top. One of them sees a group of armed intruders down below and yells.
“Halt! Put down your weap...”
But Aravis is already casting again, and this time there are no screw-ups. The wall of the Delfirian metropolis of Firebrand is replaced with the very similar wall of Djaw.
“I feel like someone reached into my stomach and swirled their fist around,” Dranko says.
“I feel like... ooooooh,” Ernie looks distinctly green.
“Hey, does this mean Ernie's no longer a virgin?” Dranko asks, grinning. “Because I think my....”
“Oooookay!” Aravis says, desperately wanting Dranko not to finish that sentence.
The find the path is in fact pointing back into Djaw, and there's some group head-slapping at their unnecessary detours. Once inside the city walls they wind walk, and less than a minute later they are descending onto one of the manicured green lawns stretching between buildings in a large campus of church buildings. They land next to a park bench, which Morningstar's spell indicates is where Praska went after casting word of recall. It's also the bench upon which Praska was sitting (according to Aravis's scry) less than ten minutes earlier.
There's no sign of Praska.
A priest, comfortable in a white silk robe with gold trim, walks calmly toward them. He had watched the party wafting down from above and then turning solid with great curiosity.
“Welcome,” he says pleasantly. “Are you in need of assistance? Are you wounded?”
“Where are we?” Flicker asks.
“You are at the Temple of Heros, Goddess of mercy and healing,” the priest says, bowing.
“Hey!” Dranko exclaims. “I'm from the Church of Delioch, God of healing, from beyond the Uncrossable Sea!”
“Yes,” says the priest, smiling. “We just learned about that three days ago.”
“From a young lady?” Dranko asks, trying to sound unconcerned.
“No. From Father Stone.”
Dranko snorts. “Is he related to Brother Tree?”
Aravis describes Praska in some detail, and the priest listens intently, but he's never seen her before.
“It's an honor to meet you,” Dranko tells him, “but we can't stay. One of our priestesses has turned evil, and we kind of thought we... um, well, it's a long story.”
The priest regards him curiously. Dranko has an idea and changes his approach.
“Say, actually, while I'm here, can you show me around the grounds? I guess I should learn as much as I can about the Kivian God of Healing, after all.”
The priest is happy to oblige. The grounds are extensive, as Heros is one of the more popular deities in the Kivian Pantheon. While he gives Dranko the tour, the others cast detect magic on the bench. There is the faint glow of a hallow all around them but no specific magics on the bench itself. A thought capture from Morningstar reveals no interesting thoughts.
They fire off a final sending to Tomnic back in Hae Charagan, letting him know of their progress, and that divinations on Praska are almost certainly to be invalid. Tomnic replies that he's not surprised, but it's good to have that confirmed. Also, that Marigold has been detained in her room under heavy guard.
They spring for a night at the Golden Goblet – no great hardship, especially considering they still get a discounted rate. It's beautiful and luxurious and with not an assassin in sight. The service is exceptional.
The staff does look oddly at Kibi, as though they're waiting for him to do something unusual. “Can we get you anything,” one servant asks him slowly, as though talking to a child.
“No,” Kibi says, discomfited. “And I can understand you quite well, thank you.”
The servant smiles indulgently and excuses himself. Kibi glares at Dranko, who can't stop himself from smiling.
“Well,” Dranko says, “you see, when you made my gloves of dexterity cause my finger to get stuck in my nose...”
“Only if you were picking your nose!” Kibi interjects.
“Yeah,” Dranko says. “So, later, I made myself look like you, and 'activated' the gloves again. And I may have given the impression that you lacked any sense of personal hygiene...”
From the foolish to the extraordinary: that night, Kibi dreams, and in his restless slumber the world itself speaks to him. Kibilhathur Bimson, child of Gela, child of Cranchus. You are still the Opener. The splinter has encased itself, I and it crying out together. It must be you who cracks its shell. Bless it with its lover’s kiss, the watcher’s hour come, and together we will cleanse Abernia.
...to be continued...
Last edited by Sagiro; Monday, 24th August, 2009 at 07:13 PM. Reason: Typos galore!
Sunday, 23rd August, 2009, 03:31 PM #206
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Never a dull moment for Team Abernathy.
Monday, 24th August, 2009, 02:10 PM #207
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Has the party gotten to powerful to do the little things in life, like go for a walk?
I guess the teleportation side trek was the 2% mishap roll?
Last edited by Innocent Bystander; Monday, 24th August, 2009 at 05:13 PM.
Friday, 28th August, 2009, 03:30 PM #208
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Friday, 28th August, 2009, 04:46 PM #209
A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)
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- Jan 2002
- Boston, MA
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ø Block Piratecat
Like Greywolf, Dranko is a pessimist, but he views that as a personal challenge.
And Aravis is right about the little things in life! We were doing something ridiculous last night - teleporting our folding boat into the middle of a ocean storm and casting Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion so that we could dreamwalk to find an island that we learned about from a dead Goddess, en route to almost making a horrible mistake, and that was the simple part of the plan - and Morningstar says wryly, "Does it seem to anyone that our life has gotten a little bit weird?"
Last edited by Piratecat; Friday, 28th August, 2009 at 05:13 PM.
Saturday, 29th August, 2009, 01:25 PM #210
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
How far back in the Story Hour does Praska first appear?
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