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Tuesday, 31st December, 2002, 11:25 AM #171
Gallant (Lvl 3)
These ingredients make my brain fart.
Tuesday, 31st December, 2002, 11:46 AM #172
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- Arnhem, the Netherlands
- Read 0 Reviews
ø Block Maldur
Dont give up, you can do it!!
Tuesday, 31st December, 2002, 12:29 PM #173
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Originally posted by mirthcard
These ingredients make my brain fart.
Wednesday, 1st January, 2003, 03:33 AM #174
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
14 hours....i hope noone is planning a hungover post :P
Wednesday, 1st January, 2003, 02:08 PM #175
Novice (Lvl 1)
I moved to Florida on a whim the day of the contest. Spent the last little bit getting settled in. Should hopefully have my story done in the next 3 hours or so. Should be cutting it just under the wire.
Wednesday, 1st January, 2003, 03:49 PM #176
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
official 2 hour warning
Wednesday, 1st January, 2003, 05:44 PM #177
Gallant (Lvl 3)
mirthcard vs. Milo Bloom
The Dance of Lifey Death
An non-combative adventure for 4-6 characters of any level
At dusk, as the party is traveling on a road through some hilly countryside, they spy a small group of people dancing in a line (Picture #2) along a ridge above them some distance away, going in the same direction as the PCs. Although the people seem quite obviously animated and perhaps even jovial, no sound issues forth from the group with the exception of the melancholy drone of a flute played by a cloaked figure who is leading them. None of them (including the leader) seem to take notice of the PCs, no matter how much noise they make or how they try to get the dancers' attention.
If the party attempts to make their way up the ridge towards the dancers, they will soon find that the climb is rockier than it had first appeared. To add to the difficulty, no horses can make the trip and the light is fading. Those PCs who have the ability of flight, teleportation or can traverse rocky terrain with ease, will find that the dancers (although appearing to be slowly dancing) move with an unnatural speed and always seem to be just out of their reach. The PCs can more easily follow the dancers by staying on the road, which runs parallel with the path along the ridge that the dancers are taking (although the dancers do stay a bit in front of the party the entire time).
Eventually, the party will hear the sound of approaching hoofbeats behind them on the road. Slowly coming into view is a ragged, bonethin horse with a rider that looks much the same. (If the party has decided to travel in the opposite direction of the dancers, then they will have this encounter a little bit sooner.) The rider's hoarse throat calls out in the direction of the dancers, but it is hard to make out the words. As soon as the man on the horse realizes that the party can see him, that they are not a part of the dancing group, he will become quite frantically ecstatic and spur his mount towards them post-haste.
If the PCs decide this is an attack, they can kill or subdue the poor b@$t@rd with ease. If they do not, the man will drop from his horse, landing hard on the ground, in front of them. He will struggle to his knees and begin pouring out a hoarse, throaty litany of who he is, all the while begging the party for help. He will refuse any healing or comfort, constantly watching over the party's shoulders for the progress of the dancers in the distance, wanting to get out his plea but not wanting to lose sight of them.
The wretch's name is Harun, and he has been chasing the Dance of Lifey-Death (as he calls it) for longer than he can remember. His mother Eustice and his mentally-challenged son Robard have been taken by the Angel of Death and are being lead, dancing, to the Underworld. Eustice and Robard felt that they were a burden to Harun, so they committed a joint suicide to save him from having to take care of them. Soon after Harun found their bodies in his home, his body froze so that he could not move. A naked woman entered. Harun could only see her feet as she bent over the bodies of Eustice and Robard and made them rise from the dead! After they left the home together, Harun's body was free from its magic hold. As he rushed outside, he could see Eustice and Robard joining the dance as the naked woman, her ornately tattooed back (Picture #4) turned towards him, pulled on a cloak and took out her flute to lead the Dance of Lifey Death. He has been in dogged pursuit of them so that he may rescue the pair from their doomed fate. He begs the party over and over to help him, going so far as to grab at their legs and try to kiss their feet.
How can the party refuse such a pitiful and pathetic plea?
What's really going on:
The majority of Harun's story is true. Eustice and Robard are dead and they are being lead to the Underworld, but they did not commit a double suicide. Instead, Harun selfishly killed them because they we becoming too much of a burden to him. His pursuit of them is to ease his aching conscience. His doomed fate is to pursue them over and over and over again (neverending, much like Sisyphus) until he can admit to himself that he was the one responsible for their deaths. The party are the ones who will hopefully bring about this conclusion, thereby ending Harun, Eustice and Robard's suffering.
The other part of the story that is different from Harun's interpretation is that the woman is actually the Angel of Love and not the Angel of Death, as Harun speculates. She knows that Eustice and Robard are the innocent victims of a horrible crime committed by Harun and she is actually leading the entire group of dancers to the Otherworld (Beyond Life), not the Underworld (Death), as Harun speculates. Anyone in the party can try to make a Knowledge (religion) check to figure out who she is. The DC is 35 if they are just going by Harun's hasty description of the tattoo, however. If they get the chance to actually see the tattoo in the flesh then the DC drops to 20.
The Main Event:
Once the party has agreed to help Harun, they can continue in their pursuit of the dancers. They will soon come to find that the path of the dancers and the party's road converge - the combined path leading through the open trunk of a tree whose roots emanate from either side (Picture #5). In the half-light of dusk, Harun and the party watch as the dancers and their leader enter the trunk and disappear! Once all of the dancers are gone, a deer crosses on the other side of the trunk, showing that the path still continues there.
This is the gate to the Otherworld. Once the players decide to cross through the trunk (from either side, it doesn't matter), they will continue along the path into the Otherworld. The surroundings in the Otherworld are the same once they come out from the tree trunk, with only the subtle difference being that dawn is rising rather than dusk fading (DC 15 on Spot check). The dancers are nowhere to be seen and it may take a bit of time before the party realizes they are in a different place. A solid clue (pun intended) is that the tree they came through is solid now. No matter how the party investigates, there is no going back.
Anyone with tracking ability will notice that the path here looks much more heavily traveled than the one that they were on before. All of the tracks lead towards and over a hill in the distance. Harun will bound forward toward the hill calling to the party to follow. When the round the top of the hill, they will see a man standing off the path next to a stone marker with a hawk resting on top (Picture #6).
"This one cannot go any further, for anger and blood are his mistresses" intones the man with the hawk as he steps in front of Harun, "his place is not with us and neither is yours. Peace is our only weapon," With that, the man points at Harun and he falls to the ground, comatose. If the party checks, Harun is fine but cannot be stirred or awakened.
If the party decides to attack the man, he will pull a highly decorative shield (Picture #3) from under his cloak and proceed to engage the party, fighting defensively. It should be obvious to the party that he is not trying to kill them, although he will try and subdue them if he can. The man should be of sufficient experience and skill to give the party a struggle, but not so strong that he cannot be overcome. The hawk who will do constant, annoying flybys to try and impede the party's combat. The shield is magical and will help his effort at defense, however if the party defeats the man, the shield should not be an overpowering item for them to have. If they kill or defeat the man, the hawk will fly down the hill (squawking loudly) towards a weird looking village in the distance - a mish-mash of strange, contrasting bits of architecture (Picture #1).
If the party decides not to attack or break off their attack with the man, they can try to explain themselves. The man will listen to them and if they are truthful, he will then say, "Those you seek lie in the valley below," pointing to the weird village. At which point, he will step aside and let them pass.
The party can find the Angel of Love, Eustice and Robard in the village, which is the final resting place of those of many cultures who are pure at heart. If the party tries to parlay with any or all of the three, they will find out the true story of Harun. They can then return to him, at which point the man with the hawk will revive Harun. If the party can convince Harun of his true role in Eustice and Robard's deaths, they will be allowed to leave and the Angel will reassure the party that Harun will be dealt with accordingly.
The other conclusion is, without question, the wrong one. If the party reaches the village only to attack the Angel or any others, they will find that no one will resist and they can slaughter to their heart's content. Of course, that negates their ever leaving this place. As soon as the Angel is killed, the Otherworld begins to darken quickly, the plants begin to die, the buildings crumble and all hope fades for those remaining.
OOC: Happy New Year!!!
Wednesday, 1st January, 2003, 05:44 PM #178
Novice (Lvl 1)
Jean watched the area below from his vantage point atop the building as Mikal stashed the package he had been carrying. He had a good view as the large ball-like fountain was currently off so that the drains could be cleaned. He considered putting an end to the man’s life. If control hadn’t been so insistent that determining for whom the amulet was intended he would do just that. Kent had been very clear that even more so than now that he should avoid any incident that would require extra effort to cover up.
The implant in his ear clicked as the familiar sounds of Elise, control’s sentient computer, brought his link online.
“Target lock confirmed. Initiating psionic awareness sequence. Standby for data influx.”
Jean felt his mind expand, and he was aware of every living organism within the area around his vantage point. As his brain adjusted to the new sensory input he began to separate the humans from other creatures.
He sensed Mikal slink past a group of round structures that comprised the parks offices. After a few moments of sifting through the people in the area he detected the two men coming from the opposite end of the park and heading towards the package.
“Control, we have pick-up confirmation. Should I engage the targets?”
“Negative, scan targets and continue to center one one three dash six.”
“Roger control, scan and bolt confirmed.”
Once again the orders issued by control defied all sense of logic. Jean knew enough to guess at the package’s importance. Allowing it to be taken by a rival faction could cost the organization several decades of maneuvering. He could only assume control sensed a greater return by allowing the drop to take place. Grimly he took out the pen-like pocket scanner and aimed it at the first of the two enemy agents.
“Target one scanned. Transmitting data results now,” the scanner’s electronic voice chimed in his ear.
From what he could tell as the data flew past his eyes the first agent was outfitted with standard enhancements. The scan on the second agent revealed that he didn’t seem to be equipped any differently. Their muscle and speed enhancements were hardly a match for his own augmentations.
After the two agents had made their pick-up and exited the park area, Jean removed himself from his vantage point and headed for his motorcycle. A short time later he sped away into the afternoon Los Angeles traffic.
Jean stepped through the main entrance to the do downtown Los Angeles library. The main area was less crowded than normal for this time of day. He moved towards the rear of the library heading directly for the rare books section. Once he reached the shelves that held the collection of rare works, he scanned them for a specific text. Pulling the book from its resting place, he flipped through its pages looking for the illustration that would open access to the hidden passage. It took little time to find the page with picture containing a road running through the trunk of a large tree. Placing his forefinger on the image of the deer standing within the hole cut by the roadway. He registered the slight hum of the circuitry within the page as it scanned his DNA sequence.
The shelving in front of him slid back slightly and then rotated on a center axis. Reshelving the book he entered the security tunnel that led back into center one one three dash six. As he cleared the door it resumed its original closed position and security scanners moved over his body searching for any tracking devices that could have been secreted on his body.
Kent was waiting impatiently for him when Jean reached the command chamber. He noted the monitors were currently displaying a scene from somewhere in one of the former Russian states. A group of farmers were walking through their fields moving to investigate an object that crashed to the earth.
“I don’t suppose it occurred to you that as soon as possible meant just that? You finished scanning those two agents almost three hours ago, I sincerely hope the delay was for something important.”
“Sorry about that, I had to pick my daughter up from dance class and make sure she made it to her friend’s slumber party.”
“Ah yes, a man should always make time for his family. You just never know when a given moment may be the last one you have to spend with them.”
“What does control have on the agenda for me now? Is there some child they need followed or perhaps a nun’s personal belongings they need me to rifle through?”
“Nothing so glamorous, we need you to head to Kazakhstan and pick up an item of great value to our plans. Once you have it in your possession, make your way across the border to the Russian city of Novosibirsk. I will meet you there to receive delivery of the package.”
“How soon until I leave?”
“We have you scheduled to arrive at your target location at oh nine hundred hours. Don’t be late and remember to dress for the occasion.”
“Understood, now if you will excuse me I need to start packing my gear for this little excursion.”
“Thirty seconds to drop point, Jean. Prepare for HALO jump.”
“Roger that. Suited up and ready for target zone.”
The ground slid by at a dizzying pace as the craft moved at speeds unattainable by conventional vehicles. Jean smiled, knowing that there would plenty of reports of an unidentified flying object tonight. Fortunately, no one suspected the truth as to the origin of the strange craft that sometimes plied the night sky.
The pilot’s voice cut into the silence of the bay, “Target zone reached. Drop bay opened.”
“Exiting bay door in five…four…three…two…one. ”
The rush of air brought on a fleeting sense of freedom, and Jean closed his eyes for a moment to enjoy it. Seconds later he was opening his chute and descending gently to the earth.
Even in the early morning light he could make out the shadowy outline of a man standing beside a small boulder ahead of him. Sitting on the rock next to the man was a large falcon that gazed at his approach with something akin to interest.
Nothing to do but make contact with him and if he is his contact pick up his delivery. If the man was nothing more than mundane, he could easily be taken care of.
“The sunrise around here is absolutely amazing. I really should visit your country more often, but my business rarely takes me here.”
“We try to please our tourist in every way possible. I must say it is not often I am allowed to be of service to the organization.”
“Your english is very good, spend time in the States?”
“Learned it in Germany, actually. I’ve been on assignment here for the last five years, looking for this.”
With that the man pulled out a large round object wrapped tightly in protective material. He didn’t bother to offer it to Jean, just rested it on the rock next to his bird. Jean crossed the distance and offered the man his hand palm down to facilitate the ident process.
“There is no need for that, you are known to me. I have followed your movements within the organization.”
“I’m flattered someone has followed my career so closely, though I am curious as to why.”
“I only became interested after your assassination of Princess Diana made it look like the media was responsible. Not only that but you maneuvered Charles into a position where we had greater control over him.”
“That’s probably the only assassination I had ever done that received large amounts of media coverage. There was some fear afterwards that the organization would be exposed because of the scrutiny that the remains and crime scene received. Things could have easily gotten out of hand if not for the massive diversion of information that was done.”
“A monument to the control we exert over the forces of society. But I am keeping you from your duty at hand.”
Jean loaded the package into the waiting jeep and turned back to the man.
“Thank you for your service to the organization, I’m sure Kent appreciates it as well.”
After a flash he was speeding away from the meeting area heading for the Russian border. The falcon was flying in a slow circle around where he had left the man.
The Russian countryside fell away as Jean raced his vehicle towards Novosibirsk and his meeting with Kent. He doubted Kent would be as pleased with the results as he was anticipating. He was sure the delivery could wait until this evening after he had taken care of a few things.
The hotel room was dark and the smell of liquor and cigarettes hung in the air when he entered. In the dim light he could distinguish two separate people lying in the bed still sleeping. Creeping across the room he noted the smaller of the two shapes breathing changed and it became restless.
Slowly he eased himself over Kent’s sleeping body and gently rested his gun on the pillow next to his head. As the smooth plastic touched his skin his eyes bolted open and he stared into Jean’s eyes.
“Jesus Jean, you scared the hell out of me.”
“Evening Kent, why use me for your personal project? Did you think I was so used to following orders I wouldn’t suspect anything?”
“No it’s not that at all, gently now Lynn let’s not encourage him to remodel my skull just yet.”
Jean flicked his eyes at the woman; she had slid out of the covers and was sitting on the edge of the bed. The tattoo on her back caught his eye with its intricate circular pattern and Chinese characters. He thought it looked like something of a map as he eased the gun away from Kent’s head, facilitating the shooting of her if needed.
No one moved or breathed during the next few seconds, until Kent broke the silence.
“Nice and calm Jean, you wouldn’t want anything to happen to that lovely daughter of yours would you? Lynn could you get the photographs please, that way we can get all this hostility out of the way.”
The women slid from the bed and reached for a packet sitting just next to the television. She opened it and set the contents where Jean could see the photos of his daughter.
“She is a lovely girl, and should grow into a beautiful women as long as her daddy does as he is told. Where is the shield?”
“I’ve hidden it.”
“How very smart of you. I suggest you bring it tomorrow to the park across the street and hand it over.”
“I could kill you both now.”
“You could, but then who would stop that terrible accident from befalling your precious little girl?”
Kent knew he had Jean, his shoulders slumped and he looked at the photographs with a hint of sadness in his eyes. The pistol lowered and was soon residing back in its holster.
“Tomorrow then, do try not to be late. It could cost your daughter much more than the latest gossip from her friends.”
Kent had obviously not been there long when Jean arrived at the park. The women from last night was obviously hidden somewhere nearby. He tossed the shield onto the grass in front of Kent, who bent slightly to inspect the roman artwork encircling the large bulbous center.
“Exquisite. You will, of course, tell our masters that as of this moment I quit?”
“I will make them aware as to the state of your affiliation with the organization.”
“Understand it’s nothing personal, I’m just tired of all this sneaking around behind the world’s back. I will, of course, keep my mouth shut about everything I know. In fact, I plan on disappearing from view entirely and living out my years in relative comfort.”
“I’m sure they will understand. You have what you wanted. Call off your assassination and run for all you are worth.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that just yet. Not until I am safely away and can be sure that you are not going to follow.”
Kent scooped up the shield and took a few steps towards the street, only to turn halfway back.
“You realize I could have you killed now. I’m not going to, a girl needs her dad when she’s growing up you know. Look, I’m really sorry for using you the way I have.”
Lynn had disengaged the cloak suit she was wearing at this point and Jean could see the rifle cradled in her hands. She faced him as they headed towards a waiting car, and he noted that the rifle never left his chest. As he watched them go, he idly rubbed the stone in his pocket. He almost wished he could wait until he was sure they had opened the secret compartment in the center of the shield. There wouldn’t be time for that; he had a plane to catch back to Los Angeles. As Kent was opening his door and starting to enter the car, Jean pulled the stone out of his pocket.
Both heads turned his way and he saw the shock in their eyes when they realized what he was holding. He allowed himself a smile; if they thought that was bad it was about to get worse. Slowly he raised his other hand and opened it enough they could see the trigger.
The next few seconds became nothing more than a blur of motion and reflexes. He darted to the side as the woman fired off several shots in his direction. Kent was starting to throw the shield away from him. Sadly neither of them appeared to have any augmentation to aid them. He pressed down on the detonator he held and watched as the shield exploded in Kent’s face. The shards ripped through both people standing next to the car as well as shredding most of the vehicle.
Picking himself up from the ground Jean looked to make sure that the mundane casualties had been minimal. He was sure that this would be harder to cover up than most of his actions, but well worth it. His masters would be most pleased with the small stone he carried in his pocket. After all, it wasn’t every day one of their agents recovered the philosopher’s stone.
Wednesday, 1st January, 2003, 05:48 PM #179
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
photo finish! simulposting with 1 minute left!!!
Wednesday, 1st January, 2003, 05:48 PM #180
Gallant (Lvl 3)
Man, was that a b!+ch or what?
I could've tightened mine up some more, but I was afraid of going overtime again.
Good luck, Milo!
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