Planescape - Divided We Stand Chapter 1: The Drawing of the Five
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  1. #1

    Planescape - Divided We Stand Chapter 1: The Drawing of the Five



    Reality is not always probable, or likely.
    Jorge Luis Borges

    "Weird tales, eh?" rasped the aging bard. "Yeah, I've got a few. Mind you, yer askin' a berk that lives on a giant, floating ring at the top of an infinite spire, so yer definition o' weird an' mine might be a touch at odds, if ye tumble ta what I'm layin' down. But I wager I know a tale or two that'd turn a Slaad's ear purple, if ye've got jink and bub t' spare.

    "Lessee... I could tell ye 'bout the time some addle-cove modron went down into the Caverns o' Thought and came out a convert. Or p'raps th' one about the feller, couldn't die for tryin'? Naw, they've all heard that 'un.

    "Ah, I've got just the one. Starts like most do, with a big, cosmic slip-up..."
    Instructions
    Please introduce your character in a short vignette. It can be dramatic, comic, tragic, or simply mundane. Anything that introduces your character well is fair game. There's just one rule: please end your post with the sentence, "Then, without warning, he vanished completely."


    Last edited by Hella_Tellah; Sunday, 12th September, 2010 at 03:12 AM.

  2. #2
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    Pinder - Chimpanzee Druid - with his faithful Husky steed Sessay

    The forest here was dense and dark, despite the midday sun high overhead the wooded canopy. Shafts of light would penetrate the leaves and branches, yet nary a few would reach the forest floor, providing just enough illumination for those wont to see.

    On a rock Pinder perched, his toes grasping the corners, knees winged out, and hands resting between his feet. Sessay, coated in mud to hide his scent and color, sat alertly behind the chimp. Through the heavy brush, the young druid could hear and see the movement from several of his targets, carrying limp, young bodies of other simians into the deeps of their cavernous lair. He could understand why they chose this location, its dankness left it undesirable for habitation, cultivation, or visitation; perfect for their illegalities.

    This mission, however, wasn't one of engagement, merely one of reconnaissance, of which Pinder had done quite well. Not only had he uncovered the cultists' whereabouts, but he had seen them transporting bodies, whether dead or alive, he knew naught.

    Out of his peripheral, he noticed another figure emerge from the brush heading toward the dubious entrance, this one dragging a body, by the size it was not much older than adolescence. After a few more steps, the body groaned, forcing the figure to drop its legs, a loud thud and puff of dry earth issuing forth. The dark body stood over the groaning victim, leaned down and picked up a large rock in two hands, bringing it overhead and downward with a quick, violent strike.

    Pinder, for his part in things, shouted in surprise and shock at the brutality, forgetting his place. Sessay howled. Quickly the cultists' figures turned to address the obvious intrusion, making their way hastily through the brush toward the perpetrator. A look of panic crossed the young chimp's face as he fumbled for his spear, and then, without warning, he vanished completely.

  3. #3
    Sooner or later, everyone learns that Sigil is a bad, bad place to be if you’re penniless. Even the knights of the Lady’s Ward, with their mountains of jink, can be seen sniffing the poverty with distaste when their sedan chairs come too close to the Lower Ward.

    Vorrin knew that trouble was ahead when he spent his final copper.

    The last job was simple enough. Sit outside the Mortuary and try to believe some clueless sod’s contract out of existence. It hadn’t worked, as far as Vorrin knew, but he’d kept his end of the bargain – eight hours a day for three weeks. The sorry Prime who’d hired him had paid up what little he had left, and that was over a month ago. Now Vorrin’s pouch was empty and he was reduced to begging in the Great Bazaar like so many other bubbers who hope had abandoned. To make matters worse, he had to endure the jibes of those that knew of his unusual profession:

    “Hey, Vorrin, you heard the latest? Someone found the top of the Infinite Staircase!”

    “Hoi, Githy! Believe this! The modrons and the slaadi have settled their differences and are all living happily in Bytopia with Pelor and Lolth!”

    “Hey, you! Would you believe me if I told you that the dabus have written an opera? Yeah, the first performance is tonight, in Acheron, and they want you to be the guest of honour!”

    Vorrin weathered these barbs silently, patiently.

    It’s just past antipeak. Vorrin is hungry. A red-maned bauriar, furtively glancing around him and inadvertently drawing the attention of more than a few knights of the post as a result, sidles toward him.

    “So you’re the believer guy, right? You one of them Chameleons? Them Turncoats? You from Limbo, right?”

    Vorrin’s answer is quiet, almost too faint to be heard.

    “Yes, I am from Limbo. No, I am not associated with the sect called the Converts. While they abandon their previous beliefs in favour of their latest fad, I merely suppress mine for the duration of an assignment, accumulating new ones and forming them into a coherent whole.”

    The Bauriar regarded Vorrin closely.

    “Uh-huh. Whatever. Listen, I got some work for ya, if yer interested. Concerns the… ah, you know… those Mercykillers. Y’interested?”

    Vorrin licked his lips. It was the first offer of work in weeks, but the Red Death were not to be trifled with. Before he could answer, a contingent of the very topics of conversation appeared through the throng and answered the question.

    “There’s the anarchist!” cried one of the Mercykiller soldiers. “Get him!”

    The bauriar had already vanished into the crowd. Waiting to be interrogated by the Mercykillers wasn’t really a wise option for a Githzerai vagrant. But the soldiers were closing in, bristling with halberds.

    Then, without warning, he vanished completely.

  4. #4
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    A steady trickle of sweat dripped from Khalil's nose as he swayed and lurched with the motion of his camel beneath him. The sun was dipping beneath the horizon in a blaze of crimson, but still in his mail armour the heat was sweltering. At his side rode a paunchy, thick-bearded man, clad similarly, panting and fidgeting as he watched Khalil with obsequious attentiveness.

    "I must apologise again, your honour..." he began on a familiar theme.

    "It's not necessary," Khalil said curtly.

    "It's only that with the recent raids... and we can spare so few guards... and if anything were to happen to your honour..."

    Khalil let the man go on, tuning out his prattle and focusing on the dunes ahead. It was inevitable that he would provoke comment and general panic, coming to this backwater trading post with his fine silks and court manners. There was no way to make the local leaders understand that he had no interest whatsoever in the finer points of their governance or their attempts at hospitality. He was here for only one reason - and now, in the distance, he could see the torches from the dig site that marked his goal.

    It was one of the guards who first noticed something wrong - a glint of steel in the shadows of dusk. He called a halt, but almost before the word had left his lips he fell to the floor with a crossbow bolt through his throat. In a few moments of frantic activity, the other two guards had fallen, and Khalil and the fat man had been pulled from their camels and had knives pressed to their throats.

    A female figure approached, her face masked, and peered at the other man's bearded face for a moment. "Him, I know. He's useless. Kill him." In an instant the man's throat had been slit, and he slumped to the floor with a gurgle.

    She turned to Khalil and scrutinised his face; he glared back, silent. "You're not from around here, are you?" she said thoughtfully, fingering the chain of court office that hung around his neck. "Coming to inspect the dig, hmm? I'm afraid we beat you to it, but you might still get a chance to look over the finds. Be gentle with this one, boys, we'll bring him with us."

    Tw of her men stepped up, and one raised a club. The last thing Khalil saw was the cudgel coming down through the air to strike him in the head - and then, without warning, he vanished completely.

  5. #5
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    "Charms and hexes, mystic draughts and rare magic stock!" called the man at the rickety wooden pushcart. He was dressed in a ratty old robe that had probably once been rich violet velvet before time and wear had shaved it down to the stained off-lavender of the bare fabric. The ill-stitched hood of it covered the top half of the vendor's face, but the stubble on his chin was just a faint shadow of a real wizard's proud beard.

    He looked thoroughly disreputable. That was, in fact, wholly intentional. Cheapness had a particular look to it, and his clientele were the folks that knew better than to set foot in a reputable establishment.

    "You sir!" he shouted abruptly, pointing at a foppish man passing by with an owl on his shoulder. "I smell the Art upon you, if you don't mind me saying so. Can I interest you in rare ingredients, sure to give your spells that extra ZAM! they might be missing?"

    The passerby smirked at him and continued to pass by.

    The potion peddler grinned a snaggletoothed grin and whirled to confront the other folk who crowded past. The Market Ward had changed several days ago, creating a sort of chokepoint between the Rust Dragon's Folly inn, and Ms Marple's Jams and Preserves...which had previously been right next door. Sigil gave, and she tooketh away, but either way life meant grabbing the chances that were put before you. He took pains to get to that spot early, and so far it had paid well.

    That's when a hand landed on his shoulder from behind, and he was reminded of another rule of living in Sigil. If at first you don't succeed...find bigger friends.

    He was unceremoniously whirled about to face what he thought was probably some kind of ogre, the ogre's lovely wife, and of course...Nettle, the gnome.

    He hated gnomes. They just creeped him out with those charming smiles and round cheeks and big, cute eyes full of malice and spite.

    "Yer on my corner again," Nettle commented in his loathsome, squeaky voice. It was the kind of voice well suited only for singing gay forest dancing tunes amidst great frolicking. It was like being threatened by a six year old human. "We discussed this."

    "Nettle! My favorite customer!" he exclaimed with extremely plausible pleasure. "Why, if it wasn't for you, I'd have no business at all! How ARE you doing these days?"

    The gnome smoldered and said in his helium-pitched voice, "Not so good, frankly. You see, this two-copper knockoff managed to squirm in and steal my spot, then he undercut my prices...if I didn't know better, I'd say he was trying to put me out of business."

    "That's terrible!" the peddler lamented. "Oh, that I should live so long as to hear such a tale of woe!"

    Nettle's face petrified to granite as he lost interest in playing along, and reverted back to his primary interest of seeing his competition's supercilious smile peeled off his face, by inches at a time. "Bored now," he rasped. "Thule, punish him."

    A fist nearly as big as the peddler's head drew back and paused as muscles rippled and shook all around it. The thing...it wasn't an ogre, the peddler thought, but something with ties to Elemental Earth perhaps...emitted a loud shout and lashed that fist at his face hard enough that a white shockwave expanded in front of it.

    The peddler focused his will and held up a hand. The giant fist padded gently into it and stopped cold. "Hold that thought, sir. I will be right back!"

    As Nettle gaped in thunderstruck fury, the peddler bolted to his pushcart and grabbed his purse out of its concealed drawer. It'd been a good pitch, but the end of one thing was the beginning of another.

    An enraged roar reminded him of the caveat to that philosophy. It sometimes meant the beginning of death, which was pretty much the end of everything, from one person's point of view.

    "Allow me to make this small donation towards the success of your new business venture!" he shouted, and yanked the pushcart sideways, interposing it between himself and the oncoming titan. It lasted all of one double-fisted hammerpunch of course, but by that time the peddler was already running...his flimsy lavender robe open and waving behind him like some kind of flag.

    He got as far as the gate out of the Market Ward before Nettle managed to get a clear shot at him, and cast a spell.

    The peddler felt his arms and legs seize up, and he tumbled to the ground, no longer able to move. Fortunately Nettle and his muscle were confident, so he managed to shake the spell off just before they reached him. Unfortunately, by then, there was nowhere to run. Just an alleyway that, when he darted down it, turned out to be a dead end.

    Determined to make a show of it to the end, he grabbed an old, stained blanket off the ground and held it up.

    "Now, for my final trick..."

    Who knew? Maybe he could use it to cushion the beatdown he was about to receive. He let the blanket unfurl in front of him, momentarily concealing him from view.

    And then, without warning, the blanket fluttered to the cobbled ground of the alleyway. No one was behind it. He had vanished completely.

  6. #6
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    Feleghost walked into a small town, the black bearded dwarf being ignored just as usual, found no difficulty in entering there in the first place. The guards didn’t even notice him among the few townsfolk returning through the gates at dusk. With both his hands in his pockets, and kicking small pebbles of the dirt street, Feleghost made his way to the tavern, as the lights of the day faded away, and the lights of the fire in the houses began to bath the town in yellow and orange tones. As the dwarf approached the window of the tavern, he stood there a moment, with his sad face always present. He peeked from the window like a small child. He saw people there, happy people. Tired farmers enjoying a drink with their comrades; travelling parents with their children, eating and resting; warriors and adventurers resting from a day full of thrill and excitement. Just as his father and brothers once did. As he once did, with the people that cared for him, that listened to him.
    But they were no more… what would a dwarf like him, do in such a place now? Nothing.
    He kept walking on, and sat on the ground a few meters away from the door, holding his short legs with his generous hands, rubbing them, as they felt tired and ache.
    There remained Feleghost, until the unspeakable happened. Someone, a young human child, walked up to him, invisible for the rest, and bowed until she was face to face with the dwarf. “What are you doing here? It’s cold outside!” it was the small girl of the traveling couple inside the tavern. Taken by surprise, Feleghost couldn’t reply quickly enough. He did manage to smile before the next set of questions “What’s your name? Do you live here? Why are you so short and old? Didn’t you grow like daddy?” Feleghost blinked and was about to reply, when the girl’s father bursted through the tavern door. “There you are! What are you doing alone in here Milda?”
    “I’m talking to this short man daddy, look, he’s short like Akin but older than you, ain’t that odd?”
    “Wha- Who are you speaking off? I see no one here but that…” and then the father of the girl, distinguished the vage shape of the dwarf’s beard. Something black and hairy.
    “Who is this? What are you doing to my daughter! Get away from her!” the man sprinted forward, but the dwarf was quicker, in a pinch he stud up and moved away from the kick the man launched! The man’s face twisted with the pain that only a good kick to a stone building produces.
    “I did nothing to her, she was kind to me and I was about to reply when you tried to attack me. Not a very good example of a father. A father should be…” The dwarf didn’t finish the sentence, as he was forced to dodge a blow from the angered man, who, for a change, didn’t hear a word of what Feleghost said. The girl however, did hear.
    “Stop daddy!” he yelled, but to no avail.
    Dodging punch after punch, Feleghost got tired. “Stop bugging me I did nothing wrong!” screamed the dwarf, as he punched the man, throwing him off balance. The man tripped with a lose pebble, and fall back, against the building, cracking his skull against the stones of the tavern. A line of blood started to color the stones of the building as the man lay mortally wounded against the wall.
    “…daddy?” the eyes of the girl began to water, she turned to the dwarf, as other patrons of the tavern stepped out just to see the assassin. In the seconds they turned to see the dead man, and then again to the dwarf, Feleghost was there no more, he had banished into nothingness.

  7. #7
    They awoke in a high-ceilinged room, each of them lying in a heap among the broken down and torn apart wreckage. As they sat up and brushed off the layer of sooty grime on their clothing, they gradually became aware of their surroundings: a wooden bed frame, snapped in half; a mattress, slashed and gutted of its stuffing; drawers torn out of their chests, their contents dumped out on the stone floor; a wardrobe, now reduced to splinters. The room glowed dimly with light from a gray-green globe suspended from the ceiling. A light pulsated out from under the single wooden door leading out.

  8. #8
    Crawling to his feet and brushing the dust from his tunic, Vorrin's small grey eyes regard the others.

    Etrigan. Vorrin expresses no surprise at seeing his business partner in the middle of all of this.

    An armoured human, accompanied by a couple of animals.

    Was there someone else? No that seemed to be it.

    Vorrin takes a step over toward Etrigan and helps him to his feet, all the while keeping his eye on the unknown human and his pets.
    Last edited by Baronsquee; Friday, 10th September, 2010 at 01:32 PM. Reason: Apologies, Antithetist - I got your character description completely mixed up!

  9. #9
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    Feleghost is shaken by the recent events. He looks around, and instintively looks for a place to cover himself, without saying a word.


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  10. #10
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    Pinder, his consciousness revived, reaches for Sessay and runs his fingers through the dog's long coat. The warmth from the husky heated the chimp's hands and he could feel the slow, steady beat of his heart, lungs expanding. Whatever had happened, Sessay seemed nonplussed.

    Finally, the young chimp looked around this wreckage of a room, and those in the room with him, he grabbed his spear defensively and watched. "Who are you beasts and why have you brought me here?" he asked in a deep baritone, eying the others suspiciously.

    Spot check to notice the dwarf: Fail.
    Listen check to hear the dwarf: Success.

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