Shemeska's Planescape Storyhour (Updated 29 Jan 2014) - Page 101




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  1. #1001
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    They arrived in Tradegate with barely an hour to spare before the bodaks’ gazes would have wrenched their dead companions back to a blasphemous unlife. Initially, the cleric they approached, an elderly priestess of Garl Glittergold had been reluctant to aid them, given that they were not worshippers of her patron. Mention of how long it had been since their friends had died, and just what had killed them, and that the two bodies lay sprawled in a pile on the cleric’s doorstep was sufficient motivation however for her to change her mind, and change her mind quickly.

    The cleric had probably not moved that quickly in the past half a century, but with her ample motivation at hand and soon to rise up uncalled for, she shuffled her arthritic bones like a woman half her age. The ground was hallowed and the bodies blessed before they were both pulled back from the beyond.

    Despite the priestesses original reluctance, she was well paid for her aid, and after that they took an evenings rest in an inn that Clueless recommended, and in which he somehow managed to get them all put up for next to nothing after a brief chat with the innkeeper. Clueless seemed pleased with himself and spent most of the evening talking with the man and a couple of his friends while the others called it an early evening and slept.

    The next morning they departed back to Sigil and went about taking care of their own typical activities in the City of Doors, and seeing to anything that might have popped up during their time on the Astral. And indeed, a number of things had, or soon would.


    ***


    “Why does no good mail arrive when we’re gone doing something outside of Sigil?” Toras asked as he sorted through a pile of letters that had collected in their recent absence.

    “Eh?” Florian asked as she looked up from a mug of ale.

    “Yeah, I mean that when we’re not here we just get junk mail and bad news.”

    “And employment offers.” Nisha chipped in as she tapped against the glass of the bell jar that she’d stuck over top of the Factol Hashkar and Factol Karan dolls.

    “True,” Florian said. “At some point we should really sit down and take a look at those two that we got a while back.”

    “At the least give the sender a yes or a no.” Toras replied. “Some response to let them know that we’re not just ignoring them.”

    “While we’ve been ignoring them of course.” Nisha said with a grin.

    “Son of a…” Toras said.

    The letter he held up was dripping some sort of musty grease. The crudely lettered envelope was labeled “Free Sample!”.

    “Weren’t you going to stuff him in his own hat?” Nisha asked.

    “…” Toras didn’t respond.

    Florian snickered as Nisha began to softly sing ‘Toras is afraid of the mephit’.

    “The hell I am! He’s just annoying and we already told him to remove us from his advertising list. One more time like this,” Toras held up the envelope with some matter of putrefied animal carcass stuffed haphazardly into it. “One more time and I’m going to go over there and kick his ass.”

    “And stuff him into his hat.” Nisha added.

    “That too.” Toras said as he tossed the envelope through the fire portal.

    “Retribution.” Nisha said.

    “Huh?” Florian asked.

    “Mephit retribution.” The tiefer replied. “Seamus is just being Seamus because you keep tossing junk into the elemental plane of fire. You ever wonder if maybe you hit a fire mephit on the head or something at some point and maybe some weird form of mephit solidarity exists and Seamus is just being a pain in the tail because of something you did in the first place?”

    Toras looked at her like she had a hole in her head.

    “Do you actually believe that?” He asked.

    “Not in the least, but I said it anyway.” She said with a grin. “So what else is there in the mailbox today?”

    “A couple advertisements, nothing much to say about them, and…” Toras paused and held up a think letter. “And a letter from Harnack and Associates, Public Advocates, on behalf of… what the hell?”

    The letter was emblazoned with an advocates seal and the seal of the prominent Lady’s Ward inn and tavern known as The Twelve Factols.

    Florian asked for the letter politely.

    “This cannot be good.” She said with a firm tone to her voice.

    And indeed it wasn’t.

    Dear sirs,

    On the advice of legal aides, the owner and proprietor of the first party, The Twelve Factols, the well known and centuries standing Lady’s Ward inn, respectfully demands that the second party, the relatively new Clerk’s Ward drinking hole known as the Portal Jammer, cease and desist using an advertising gimmick that directly infringes upon a similar device used by the first party.

    For several centuries, the first party has gained fame and renown for its association with the carved representations of the 12 factols who met upon the future site of the first party during the waning days of the then faction known as the Expansionists. These twelve carved statues have become inextricably linked with the first party and are both a commonly associated source of advertising and visual symbol of the inn.

    It has come to the attention of the first party that the second party has used a series of factol related figurines in their own establishment in order to garner a portion of the first party’s public name recognition and a source of profit at the expense of the first party. Due to the extreme similarity between the long-standing and pre-existing use of this device by the first party, it is advised that the second party immediately cease and desist in the public display of their own similar advertising tool, and make no further display of them in public.

    If this is not met within a tenday, the first party has been advised to seek legal recourse in the City Courts, including, but not limited to, injunction against use of said device by the second party, sanction by the Innkeeper’s Guild, and financial restitution to the fullest extent allowed by law for those profits gained by fraudulent association with said advertising device of the first party.

    - Harnack and Associates, legal representatives of the 12 Factols



    Nisha turned her head sideways and held the Factol Karan doll protectively.

    “I imagine legal trouble!” The Factol Darius doll proclaimed loudly, one of the Anarchist cell leader dolls having apparently let her out from under her soundproof bell jar.

    “The hell?” Toras said as he stared at Florian and the letter.

    “They’re f*cked in the head.” Florian said angrily. “Uppity Lady’s Ward sons of b*tches.”

    “Oh they can’t be serious.” Toras replied. “It’s an intimidation tactic. We’ve gotten tons of business lately, and even though we’re on the other side of the city, they’ll just throwing a temper tantrum.”

    “Yes, they are.” Florian said. “And I’m going to take care of this before it goes any further.”

    “Don’t do what I’d do!” Nisha warned.

    “What would you do?” Florian asked as she grabbed the letter and made to leave.

    “I don’t honestly know.” The tiefling replied. “But it’d be inventive I figure.”

    “Heh.” The cleric said with a chuckle. “See you all in a few hours. I’ll be getting a lawyer on retainer and then going to the 12 Factols in person.”


    ***


    Jurgen Reiersen sat in his office, a small room set off to one side of Deep Hall in the recesses of the 12 Factols. He was sipping a glass of port and reading a copy of the Tempus Sigilian, taking his mind away from anything to do with business. He’d spent the majority of the past day in meetings in the room above Brynn Ohm’s tavern, the Dancing Dragon, going over Innkeepers’ Guild business.

    “At some point the Black Sails, Styx Oarsman, and powers forbid, the Bottle and Jug will simply realize that they’re not considered peers and they won’t get into the guild’s good graces, or hells, the guild itself.”

    He rolled his eyes at the very idea of allowing those establishments, and similar, smaller upstarts in that same class into the fellowship that he himself was a noted member of. It wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, and it worked best to ignore some of them, bully others, speak kindly and do nothing for some in deft game of hollow promises, and just ignore others entirely. Obviously one didn’t bully the Styx Oarsman… the clientele wouldn’t exactly take kindly to it, but others that worked well, sort of like the legal barrage he’d fired off at the Johnnies-Come-Lately in the Clerks Ward, the Portal Jammer or whatever in Hashkar’s name they called themselves.

    “The Wayfarer was much more pleasant than them.” Jurgen muttered. “Why’d it have to change its name, go out of business, and fall into new hands?”

    The answer was obvious though in some ways: the portals that had been its trademark had scrambled or vanished during the Tempest of Doors and thus taken away its claim to fame. The name change to Portal Schmortal hadn’t saved it, but the new owners apparently had a better gimmick.

    He leaned back in his chair and gave a disgruntled sigh. The door crashed open a moment later.

    “Who the hell are you?!” Jurgen sputtered as he jumped up from his chair. “Get out of my o…”

    The smack of parchment against his face shut him up.

    Florian glared at him as he snatched the letter off of his face and looked at, then back up at her, finally recognizing who she was.

    “You’ve heard from my advocates,” He said, puffing up his chest. “I think that’s all that I need to say. You?”

    Florian clasped her hands in front of herself before tossing the remainder of the pages of the letter in Jurgen’s face.

    “You have no case! F*ck off!”

    The owner of the 12 Factols sneered as she left and slammed the door to his office shut. His desk rattled and his wineglass tipped over, drawing let more ire to his face. Fine, shun his polite bullying; he’d be impolite the next time. He was important, he was rich, and he was well connected within the Innkeepers Guild, something that they very definitely were not, and would never be at this point.

    “Have it your way.” He said with a smirk, an idea already forming in his mind.


    ***


    Later on that afternoon, Tristol and Clueless sat in the back room of the inn looking over the various items that they had taken from the Rakshasa Siddhartha. Unfortunately most of the fiend’s possessions that might have shed some light on his intentions and activities on the Astral had all been called back to him in the moments following his escape. Still though, they had a name, and they had a book that seemed to be some manner of log regarding arrivals to Maanzecorian’s godisle.

    “Now this is interesting.” Clueless said, pointing to a passage in the book. “This is written in githyanki, and it looks like the warlock, not the Rakshasa actually penned this all.”

    Tristol glanced over and nodded.

    “Let me know if you find anything in there.” He said. “I’m not having a huge amount of luck on finding anything about that Rakshasa based on his name or his claimed house.”

    The aasimar was surrounded on his side of the table by stacks upon stacks of books on Acheron, Rakshasas in general, and purported histories of the noble houses of their society in Acheron. It had been slow going, and there had been no reference found to Siddhartha, or to any ‘House of the Blackened Paw’, at least no yet.

    “Ok, now this is interesting.” Clueless said as he read the warlock’s book.

    “The warlock made a record of one ‘Lady Brampandra’ arriving at the godisle about a month ago.” Clueless explained. “And the warlock included some comment on that after the fact. And I quote, ‘Lord Siddhartha’s sister arrived today. My request to take part in the warding creation was denied, as was my request to watch. She told me that I wouldn’t understand the process. ‘Mageling’ she called me. That her brother has promised me much, and has always kept to his word, is the only thing keeping me from killing the presumptuous bitch for that insult.’”

    Tristol blinked.

    “By comparison he might have been.” He said. “The magic in the warding over Maanzecorian’s corpse was freakishly powerful, and I don’t fully understand it myself. Whoever she is, she’s more powerful than her brother apparently.”

    “Maybe not as sane either,” Clueless added, “Given how she took apart those githyanki to use them as components of that spell.”

    “I’ve got to agree with you there.” Tristol said. “And actually, I found something here to back up what Siddhartha said about his house.”

    Clueless leaned over to look as Tristol pointed at a symbol of black silhouette tiger’s paw surrounded by a halo of stylized flame.

    “According to this book there is a house by that name, ‘the Blackened Paw’, it is, or rather –was- a minor noble house on Acheron’s first layer of Avalas.” Tristol said as he read from the book.

    “Now it doesn’t mention any names of the family members, mostly because the notes seem to say that it was largely destroyed by a more powerful, rival house, at some point in the past century. Though it does say that it’s believed that at least some lesser members of the house did manage to survive and go into exile.”

    “Leaves it open for our brother and sister pair of fiends to be members of that house.” Clueless said.

    “And it might explain why they’re on the Astral, and not in Acheron.” Tristol added.

    “With a bunch of fellow exiles too, renegade githyanki they were working with.” Clueless said.

    “Still doesn’t give us a full idea of what they were actually doing there with Maanzecorian’s corpse.” Tristol mused. “It might be worth it to go out there again and look around some. Besides, Skalliska still needs to go see what she originally went out to find anyway.”

    “When she’s up for it, I don’t have a problem with it at all.” Clueless said.


    ***


    Tristol sat with Fyrehowl, trying to relax and rest his eyes after his earlier book combing with Clueless. The mage was musing over what it all might mean, but his musing was really halfhearted as he sipped from his drink and finally, for once since their time in the Astral, started to settle down into a more calm state of mind.

    “So what’s your opinion about the whole mess with the 12 Factols?” The lupinal asked. “I don’t really think there’s all that much similarity between our dolls and their statues. They’re not all the same factions, and none of them are the same people.”

    Tristol nodded and took a drink, not noticing as Fyrehowl surreptitiously glanced over his shoulder and then immediately glanced back to him as if avoiding staring at something in that direction.

    “Well, Florian can handle that.” The mage said. “From what she’s told me before, back on Toril she, or one of her relatives had some manner of schooling in law. She can handle it.”

    Fyrehowl stood up, still consciously avoiding looking behind Tristol, towards the entrance to the inn.

    “Somewhere to go?” Tristol asked.

    “Yeah…” Fyrehowl said. “I remembered that I had a practice session at the Great Gymnasium in a little while. What with all of the stuff going on today, it nearly slipped my mind. See you later!”

    Fyrehowl turned and walked upstairs, never once looking behind her. Plausible deniability. You don’t have to say hello and feign politeness if you never saw the person in question…

    Tristol had a sense of dread all of a sudden. Cipher abruptly leaving the room without any real plausible reason, not ever good. His tail bottlebrushed when he did slowly turn to look towards the entrance, and sadly he made eye contact.

    The King of the Crosstrade stood in the doorway to the inn.

    Tristol squinted his eyes in a moment of painful anticipation. This couldn’t be good.

    The fiend looked at him, smiled and slinked across the room in his direction. The Marauder was dressed in a sparkling green and teal gown, and bedecked in her typical gaudy array of jewelry that could have been auctioned off to feed the Hive for months. Oddly, for her at least, she seemed in a pleasant mood as she made a beeline towards Tristol, followed behind by her pack of guards and toadies.

    Tristol opened his mouth to say something, either a curse under his breath or a feigned greeting, though he really truly found himself wishing that banishment spells worked within Sigil. The Marauder didn’t give him the chance to speak first as she waltzed up.

    “Fancy meeting you again Starweather.” She purred.

    “Yes, fancy seeing him again at his own bar.” Clueless muttered under his breath as he watched it all nervously.

    “So, Miss Marauder,” Tristol said cautiously. “To what do I owe this visit?”

    She smiled back at him, looking a perplexing juxtaposition of a perky socialite and a hungry animal picking out a choice portion of a sun-bloated carcass.

    “I simply happened to be in this area of the city” She answered. “And I said to myself that I just –had- to drop by and speak with you, plus I’ve heard a little bit about your inn. Color me curious.”

    Tristol’s tail was still poofed out from his discomfort.

    “We did so happen to get off on a bad foot last time we saw each other. Didn’t we?” She said, a tinge of apology lingering on her tongue.

    Tristol opened his mouth but she spoke again after a moment’s pause.

    “Yes we did, and I really should apologize for that.” She said to the mage.

    “Drop dead.” Clueless thought to himself. “That’ll serve as an apology.”

    “But since we did get off to such a poor start, I think I really do need to make a fresh start with you, get to know you, and find some commonalities.”

    “I…” Tristol said haltingly before she once more cut him off.

    “Walk with me.” She said abruptly as she leaned in and hooked an arm around his waist like she was accompanying him to a dance floor as his date.

    Clueless winced and shook his head as a startled and really overwhelmed Tristol stumbled along speechlessly with the King of the Crosstrade out of the more densely populated center of the common room of the inn.

    “I trust that you received my letter of apology.” She said, leaning a bit into Tristol’s shoulder.

    “Yes, we did.” He replied.

    “That’s good, but I figured that it wouldn’t be taken as well as a face to face apology would.” She said. “And so I’m sorry for having involved you in that poorly conceived showing of Zadara and my long-running conflict. It’s been building for a long time and it simply boiled over that evening at Jeremo’s party.”

    She seemed genuine, and Tristol didn’t know what to say.

    “It really seems unfair to have any lingering unpleasantries between you and I, and your fellow owners of the Portal Jammer who were there that night, over a spat that you weren’t and aren’t really involved in.”

    She put a bit of pressure on the arm wrapped around Tristol’s waist, nearly a polite hug if it didn’t seem so very alien to be coming from a yugoloth.

    “Plus, I have been hearing interesting news about your inn.” She continued, leaning her head on Tristol’s shoulder. “Seems that you’ve carved out quite a nice group of regular patrons in this district of the Clerk’s Ward, and you’ve got a unique way of advertising, what with the spelljammer built into the inn, and those dolls of whom I’m doing my best to ignore who happened to make them. It all adds up to a place with promise, and it doesn’t deserve the negative accusations heaped upon you so recently by a jealous berk over in my neck of the woods so to speak.”

    Tristol’s ears perked and he momentarily overlooked that he had a soul-sucking fiend leaning on his shoulder like a succubi to a virgin paladin.

    “You know about that?” He asked with some surprise.

    “My dear mage, I know –everything- in this city.” She crooned before reaching up to tap a few painted claws across his shoulder.

    “I suppose so, but we only found out this morning ourselves.” Tristol said.

    “Reiersen is an idiot and he’s been vocal about this latest fabricated hassle to his fellows in the Innkeeper’s Guild since before he sent you that legal statement.” She explained. “It’s unfair what he’s doing obviously, and you don’t deserve it. Fight it, take it to him, that’s what I’d do.”

    She paused and pondered.

    “Well, no. Actually I’d move a Tanar’ri brothel into the building next to his as a first step, a polite nudge before I decided to take it personal. Suffice to say he’s being a daft pompous fool without any merit to his claims, and you don’t deserve any of it.”

    “Well, thank you.” Tristol said with a nod.

    “It really would be a shame I suppose if anything untoward happened to him…” She said with a smile as she looked up at the aasimar.

    Again, Tristol wasn’t really sure what to say. Was she honestly concerned about them, or just showing off her level of potential influence?

    “Well, it has been pleasant meeting you again Tristol.” She said as she removed her arm from around his side and stepped back to look at him face to face. “I’ve enjoyed seeing your establishment, and perhaps I’ll take a closer look in the future. But till then, take my apology for what it was, and let’s hope that we understand each other a little bit better now, yes?”

    For just a moment, Tristol was honestly pleased with what was happening. Though she might not have been entirely sincere (as a yugoloth could she be?) in her apology, her public show of regret would at least do something for him and the Portal Jammer simply because of who she was, and the words she was saying, regardless of the fiend’s true feelings. And perhaps she did actually harbor some glimmer of sincerity in her apology.

    “So,” Shemeska said as she flashed as a mouth of fangs at Tristol in a fiendish smile. “Can we let the past be the past, and just forgive and forget all of that previous unpleasantness? Again, I truly am sorry for it all you must know.”

    Tristol smiled back and his tail began to swish slightly behind him.

    “I think we can.” He said. “It was very thoughtful of you. Thank you.”

    But it was too good to last, and while Tristol was momentarily caught up in the hope that she might actually, for once in her life, be acting in a kind way, she shattered that hope and stomped on it.

    “Good boy!” The fiend said abruptly as she reached up to pet Tristol square between the ears like a puppy.

    She ruffled her hand atop his head, scratching him there between his suddenly drooping ears like she might have done to a pet for but that one stunned moment before turning around and gracefully walking out of the inn as if nothing untoward had happened.

    Perhaps she was simply that oblivious to others…’ Tristol thought as he just stood there stunned by what she had done. But no, no way in hell, he realized, that wasn’t just an unthinking social faux pas on her part. The bitch had built him up and treated him like a child, like a puppy, there in front of his employees, his customers, and his friends. She’d done that entirely on purpose to spite him.

    Tristol grew red in the face and fumed with rage as the yugoloth walked out the door with her gaggle of toadies and purchased admirers in tow. A telepathic laugh echoed in his mind just as she left, though it was faint and might have been from somewhere else in the dull commotion in the inn, but real or not, it sealed in his mind what her entire purpose had been there just then.

    The b*tch had set him up and played him, just to see him stumble, just to mock him in public, just because she could. And at the moment, outside of rage and not giving her the pleasure of seeing him fiercely upset or being foolish enough to do something rash about her petulant, childish abuse, there was precious little that he could do to counter it.

    He’s been back in Sigil for less than twenty-four hours and already it had gone from relaxing to pissant, and the night was not yet over.


    ***


    Clueless opened his eyes in the dark, stepping back from the proverbial wall of sleep. Something was not right. The room was filled with a soft silvery glow from its single window, and the hair on the back of his neck was erect with that prescient feeling that he was not alone.

    The bladesinger was on his feet in an instant, and he knew then that he was still asleep as he looked through the window and saw the bizarre, otherworldly scene beyond.

    Through the open window there was not Sigil, not the Clerk’s Ward, but rather the silvery void of the Astral Plane. The view turned slightly as he watched it, as if his room itself was free floating in the gravity well of the stripped corpse of Maanzecorian that he saw distantly below, tethering the room to it proximity.

    He looked around for signs of anyone else within his room, but it was cold and empty, devoid of any intruder in both the imagined surroundings and his mind it was all playing out in presumably as he slumbered. Still, wary and nervous, he walked the few feet over towards the window and stared out at the void beyond the windowpane.

    Clueless found himself scanning over the fine details of the godisle below as a hand closed over his shoulder, firm and heavy and sudden. He immediately gave an involuntary shudder but held rooted to the spot, unable to turn around immediately. There was a very intense sense that the hand holding onto him, the being whose hand it was, could simply and effortlessly intrude into his dreams, passing into them unbidden, implying a certain sense of power…

    In the reflection off the glass of the upper half of the window, not one figure, but two stood next to him, looking down and occasionally out into the space beyond, one much larger and overshadowing the other, smaller one. A tall man in a heavy black greatcoat and wide brimmed hat, and his formless, robed servant: the Jester and his companion.

    Clueless inhaled deeply and calmed himself as he watched the dim reflection of the smaller figure incline its cowled head to follow his each and every small skittish movement as it stood obediently next to its master. The taller man released his hand from the bladesinger’s shoulder and clasped them behind his back, and stood there watching the Astral for a few more silent moments before speaking.

    “Most…. Curious,” He said, more with contemplative amusement than worry, “the winds at work upon the silver void and the powers at play. So many new things you bring to my attention in your travels into which I peer but every so often in my boredom.”

    The Jester smiled at the bladesinger.

    “I’m glad you find it amusing sir.” Clueless replied.

    “I did say before that I found you amusing.” The Jester said before motioning towards the window and the scene upon the Astral.

    “I will admit to a bit of personal interest here.” He continued. “How quaint to see Maanzecorian and so many others fall into eternal slumber before myself. How… unfortunate …for those seeking to plunder his corpse to involve not only the Githyanki but now the Baatezu as well. The fiend in exiles clothing, the Rakshasa, will have much to account for won’t he?”

    The man’s servant curled a robed cuff about his hand briefly like a familiar or a child to an adult.

    “I also wait to see the repercussions of your letting free my githyanki prisoner of oh so long ago. I fear she will not like the changes in her society that will be readily apparent to her. She may strike out in anger and find her death quickly, or flee to fight another day and bring her society to its knees eventually. But, as I said, curious the winds at work upon the silver void and the powers at play. So many variables to take into account.”

    Clueless listened curiously. He wasn’t really afraid, more curious than anything else. But whatever questions he might have wished to ask, he didn’t have the chance, not yet anyway, as the Jester paused and chuckled knowingly at something he might have sensed.

    “But… alas we are not alone,” He said. “For another seeks to intrude here, and I shant be rude to them and obstruct their time or words with you and yours. Till we speak again may The Lady’s Shadow pass you by, or at least may you have the sense to vacate the field before raising her ire as in my own unique case. Farewell.”

    The man nodded, tipped his hat towards Clueless, and then stepped towards an adjacent wall where he vanished in a haze of emerald light, not unlike the fierce glow of a portal. He was gone, but with an unspoken sense that whatever had transpired there was a private matter and not to be spoken of to others. It was a heady, implied threat that he did not wish to be known within a multiverse in which he had so long been vacant. And Clueless was left alone in his dreamscape, but the dreams of that night were far from over.


    ***


    The Portal Jammer was empty and silent as a tomb. The candles had burned to their wicks in the common room, the fires were naught but white ash swirling in an errant draft or two. Not a sound carried through wall or window into the cloistered interior where its owners slept as a single, pure flame was sparked in the dark recess of the taproom.

    They all opened their eyes as a low, bestial growl awakened them from their slumber.

    They felt anticipation and dread, but no sense of oddity as they each moved from their own rooms and down to the common room whence the sound had broken the still of the early morning. They moved slowly as if swimming through water, their senses dull and incomplete, details glossed over or ignored where they did not exist within their dreaming, nightmare state.

    Together they converged within the glowing interior of the taproom where a figure sat at one of the tables, illuminated by a single candle that fell over its robed form and reflected ominously back from its feline eyes. The Rakshasa, Siddhartha sat calmly and patiently there as he lifted a cup of tea to his lips and drank.

    They watched him as he put down his drink, lifted a cloth to his whiskered lips and habitually cleaned himself before turning to acknowledge the recipients of his dream-sending.

    The tiger-headed fiend smiled at them, fangs glinting with unspoken promise of violence in the faint candlelight that shed a wan yellow glow over wood and stone and velvet, fur and ivory claws.

    “My near-death is purely a temporary inconvenience I assure you, and a minor setback. I do not forgive my grudges easily.”

    They all awoke with a start, drenched in cold sweat with only the vague half-remembrance of a fading dream of what they had all seen in the moments between Siddhartha’s promise of revenge and when the spell had ended. They had seen a pair of eyes, green at first in the fading light, and then flickering as the candle was snuffed and a wave of displeasure and hatred assailed them with near physical intensity.

    They had not seen the last of the Rakshasa. No, not in the least.


    ***

 

  • #1002
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    Silly Raksasha

  • #1003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerzel
    Silly Raksasha
    ...Trix are for kids?
    shilsen is broken - Crothian (and this is why)

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    Quote Originally Posted by shilsen
    ...Trix are for kids?
    Or for Taanari

  • #1005
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    Dakkareth's Avatar

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    Ouch. Miss Marauder is making friends as usual. And freaky nocturnal guests. And lawyers. Mmmhhh, a pity that the party's favors with certain Lords of the Pit are used up. Nothing better than a baatezu lawyer (and a tanar'ri brothel with unruly clientele set up next to the opponent's kip, our favourite Crosstrader has something there), if you got into a legal argument ...
    To influence the world you have to understand it.
    To understand the world you have to understand yourself.
    To understand yourself you have to control yourself.
    Master yourself and you have mastered the world.


    -Sirrash of Tolomar

    I use the Call of Cthulu cosmology with all outer planes. -- MoogleEmpMog

    Dakkareth's Data Vault
    A cool vampire game

  • #1006
    Webmonkey
    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

    Clueless's Avatar

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    Yeah. Nocternal guests are... amusing. Quite. Amusing.
    Visit Shemeska's Story Hour I and Story Hour II
    Webmonkey for Planewalker and Planewalker's Forums

  • #1007
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    Novice (Lvl 1)

    A Crazy Fool's Avatar

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    ø Ignore A Crazy Fool
    no update on friday, boohoo
    Read my Planescape Story Hour:
    http://www.enworld.org/showthread.ph...39#post3868139

    Imhotep forgives. (apparently)

  • #1008
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

    Shemeska's Avatar

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    This is just a very short, quick update here to tide folks over while I'm at GenCon. My apologies in advance if I missed any typos here in my hurry to finish it before I had to pack etc.



    ***


    The next morning was a solemn affair once they all awoke and gathered to discuss the dream of the previous night. Clueless was unusually quiet, but the others didn’t take it as a sign of anything particularly wrong.

    “Ten jink says that we see something from that whiskered rug-to-be in the next week.” Toras said.

    “Can I have the hug?” Nisha asked. “Will it have the backwards paws and everything?”

    Tristol chuckled.

    “We’ll get you something like that even if Siddhartha doesn’t waltz into Sigil looking to kill us.”

    “I really doubt he will.” Florian said. “Not his style.”

    “Too demeaning to do it himself.” Fyrehowl said. “He might spill his tea.”

    “Hired killers perhaps?” Toras asked.

    “Seems likely.” Fyrehowl replied.

    “Where’s Skalliska?” Clueless asked.

    They glanced around, realizing that the kobold hadn’t gotten together with them that morning.

    “She’s out shopping.” Nisha said. “She mentioned something about going down to buy something from Seamusxanthuszemus.”

    “Oh don’t encourage that damn mephit…” Toras muttered.

    “Whenever she gets back, whoever sees her first just make sure to mention to her that wandering around Sigil alone probably isn’t the best thing to be doing right now.” Fyrehowl said.

    “We’ve got an angry noble Rakshasa pissed at us, and if he sends people into Sigil to kill us, which seems likely, we shouldn’t be out alone.”

    Fyrehowl had just finished with that point when a piercing, rattling whine sounded through the door to the room. The lupinal’s ears twitched in instant aversion at the jarring sound.

    “What the hell is that?” She asked as she walked over towards the door.

    The sound wasn’t fading, though it seemed to fluctuate slightly along with a lower, base percussion that filtered through the door as well as a growing din of unhappy bar patrons.

    By that point the others with less sensitive ears could make out the racket as well, though none of them seemed happy about it. It was truly atrocious and discomforting whatever it was, like nails on a chalkboard or slaadi mating calls, both things that nobody, absolutely nobody wanted to be within close proximity to witness.

    “That’s not ending.” Florian said with a confused expression. “It’s getting louder. What the hell’s going on out there?”

    “Meeting adjourned,” Clueless said. “If anyone has any other ideas mention them later.”

    There was no objection and so they crept over towards the door, opened it and walked out into the main room of the Portal Jammer. None of the patrons seemed happy, many of them seemed on the verge of leaving, and some of them appeared to have already departed with only a drink left behind to perspire on the table they had otherwise been occupying.

    “Are you going to do something about those two dullards out in front of the place? I come here after I work to relax, not listen to that mess!” One of the regular patrons, a mid-level functionary in the Hall of Information complained loudly.

    “We’re seeing to it sir.” Florian replied as she gazed past the man, out the front door and to the two figures and their angry audience of hecklers out in the street in front of the Portal Jammer.

    Nisha blinked and her tail drooped immediately.

    “Oh not those two.” She said disparagingly. “Bleaknicks…”

    Standing there on a stage made from an overturned rain barrel in the middle of the street was a garish black-clad figure gesturing with emphatic melodrama as he spouted lines of putrid, drawn out poetry. Next to him stood another figure all in black seated on a stool and playing a flute made from some form of fiend skull, occasionally banging a rhythm on a pale white drum.

    Two male fensir twins, a type of troll or giant-kin unique to the plane of Ysgard, tall and spindly with gray skin, pronounced noses and chins and hideous fashion sense, they seemed intent to perform their wretched craft in the middle of the street there in front of the Portal Jammer. The speaker on top of the barrel squeaked from the movement of leather boots that went up to his knees as he motioned from one side to the next and spouted out lines of nonsensical so-called poetry. His head was shaved and tattooed with a black eclipsed sun and dark rings of wood ash circled his sunken blue eyes like a depressed mime.

    The musician, his brother, was dressed and dolled up in a much less unique way, with simple black wool clothes, and only a shining silver ring in his nose standing out in any way. He piped away on his howler-skull flute, the source of the blaring noise driving away inn patrons, providing musical accompaniment to his brother’s poetry. While the fellow had a sense of rhythm, and actual talent, it wasn’t a style suited for public consumption outside of drunks in some of the avant-garde watering holes in the Hive near to the Gatehouse.

    “Hey!” Florian shouted above the so-called music. “You can’t play here!”

    They ignored her and continued, launching into another poem, much to the groans and catcalls of the crowd.

    “Ohhhhhhhh Death…”

    A discordant piping of the howler flute.

    “Ohhhhhhh Misery…”

    A rattled bang upon the drum.

    “You make me laugh!”

    A skyward wringing of the poet’s hands. A wheeze and shrill tone from the flute.

    “You make me cry…”

    A gloomy droning in lower tones from the howler-skull instrument.

    “The point of it all…?”

    The poet, Morvun hung his head and draped his arms in some exaggerated show of grief as the poem ended.

    “Listen to me.” Florian shouted. “You can’t play here, you’re running off our customers.”

    Again they ignored her and launched into another poem, Morvun’s infamous Death #258. Of course the crowd never heard them, and they never heard the crowd’s happy cheer because Florian grumbled and dropped a spell of silence over the brothers.

    Eventually they realized what was going on and they paused, stopped, and moved over fifteen feet or so till they were out of the magical silence and free to start up once again. And, once more, Florian responded by dropped a bubble of silence over them again.

    This happened three more times before she finally managed to get a response out of the pair of sullen performers.

    “Why are you doing this?” She asked them.

    “Well this is where we were hired to play today.” Morvun said.

    “We never hired you.” Florian replied. “I’d have a massive hangover today if I had gotten drunk enough to willingly do so.”

    Morvun frowned and looked away dramatically, his ego bruised.

    “Never said –you- hired us.” Phineas said. “Just that we were indeed paid to play here.”

    “By who?” Florian asked, though she already suspected the answer.

    “Chap who owns the 12 Factols.” Phineas replied.

    “Son of a…” Florian cursed. “How much did he pay you?”

    “Enough to soothe this tormented genius’ soul…” Morvun said.

    Phineas replied with an actual number.

    “How about I pay you to stop playing?” Florian asked.

    “An affront to my poetic genius I tell you.” Morvun replied quickly.

    Phineas sighed.

    “How about I pay you double to perform back in front of the 12 Factols?” Florian said, a slow grin appearing on her face.

    Much more practical than his brother, Phineas took the hint, and double the payment, as he packed up his instruments and walked off with his brother over towards the Lady’s Ward and their next venue of performance.

    “Not bad.” Toras said to Florian. “I just hope that jack*ss in the Lady’s Ward doesn’t just pay them to come right back here.”

    The cleric shrugged.

    “I doubt it. And I hope not. My ears couldn’t take much more of that garbage. Tempus forbid, that stuff was terrible.”

    “Eh,” Toras said with a shrug. “We’ll see how it turns out. Can’t get much worse than that mess.”


    ***


    An hour later and on the other side of Sigil, Reiersen was beside himself as he marched out into the street and right up to the two so-called performers that he’d earlier hired to play outside of the Portal Jammer. He’d been sitting and looking over financial figures for the last month when the blaring racket from up on the street had filtered down to his ears and he realized what it was. He was not pleased in the slightest.

    “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” He said, jamming a finger into Morvun’s stomach, looking up angrily at the so-called poet.

    “Performing… a bit of sullen irony… a flash of gloom…”

    “Shut up.” Reiersen said, jabbing his finger into the poet again. “I didn’t pay you to run away –my- customers you idiot. What wasn’t clear about where I paid you to go perform?”

    “Nothing sir.” Phineas said as he brushed his hair out of his eyes. “They didn’t care for us so they paid us more to come back here and perform for you and yours.”

    “WHAT?!” Reiersen sputtered in fury.

    “Quite lucrative actually.” The musician said as he readied his howler-skull flute for the next piece.

    The owner of the 12 Factols was seeing red as he smacked at the musician’s flute and tried to push the fensir out of the way.

    “Well if you don’t quit playing that sh*t you call music I’ll go hire myself a damn high hierophant of Ra! And once they have you turned into two sodding ugly hunks of stone I’ll have you carved down into something less depressing and rename my place the bloody 14 Factols!”

    The two brothers glanced at one another.

    “How much more you willing to pay us to go back to the Jammer?” Phineas asked.

    Reiersen’s eyes went wide and he simply began screaming incoherent threats at them as they gathered up their meager belongings and left. After they left he stalked back to his office and began plotting some other way of snubbing the Portal Jammer, though his first idea met with little success.

    Though it seemed like a great idea at the time: hiring some Xaositects to deface the front of his rivals’ inn, his attempts to actually hire them all seemed to come to naught. For whatever reason none of them wanted to work for him, and the most he ended up with was a letter penned back to him on what appeared to be upside down Fraternity of Order legal stationary. Written largely in scramblespeak and at least eight or nine languages, the only thing he could make out of it was a repeated phrase of ‘Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!’ and a signature of ‘Nisha, high lord of Xaos and bringer of frustration to spoiled Lady’s Ward tavern owners, except on every 6th Friday of the month when she’s known as Ygorl the cuddliest slaadi’.

    Ultimately Reiersen decided to simply take the matter to court, maybe shop around for which judge he could buy off, given that the less than legal but not criminal route wasn’t exactly working. But of course, his actions and intentions hadn’t been missed by other persons watching such things.


    ***


    It was eight hours after peak when they arrived, just as the light had fully slipped over towards the hazy gloom of twilight and evening. Seventy-five garrulous dwarves, all members of the same clan and all members of the same massive mercenary and adventuring party. They were already singing as they moved down the street of that section of the Lady’s Ward, congregating outside of the façade of the 12 Factols, heady with wine purchased in Glorium only an hour earlier.

    With shouts and slurred chanting they gathered there on Dossy Street, raising fists and weapons into the air amid the echo of their clan name and jubilation over their recent looting of the horde of a young fang dragon in the mountains south of Glorium there in the Outlands. They were laden with as much of their wealth as they could manage to carry into Sigil and they were in a mood to spend it till they passed out.

    An hour earlier they had arranged for a massive delivery of ale and wine to the 12 Factols, an establishment that they were assured was large enough and well equipped enough to handle their numbers, their tastes, and their intended raucous celebration. Of course, things being what they were, while the alcohol had arrived in the storerooms and festhalls of the 12 Factols according to their needs, the letters and reservation of the rooms that they had sent along to the staff and owners of the establishment had suffered in transit…

    “Sir?” Aranath Neilson asked over towards Jurgen Reiersen.

    Aranath was a middle aged aasimar who served as the major domo for any larger festivities in the 12 Factols, but while he was normally a placid calm amidst any revelry, he had a worried expression on his face and in his tone of voice as he tried to catch the attention of his employer as he stood there in the door of his office.

    “What is it Aran?” Reiersen asked without looking up from his copy of the Tempus Sigilian.

    “Sir? The dwarves we set up for Storm Hall this evening. How many of them were there supposed to be?”

    Reierson grumbled and looked up impatiently.

    “Nine of them.” He said, “That’s what their letter said when they asked us to prepare a portion of the room. You should know that already, or am I paying you too much to do your job poorly?”

    Aranath didn’t reply, and he didn’t need to as a low rumble and roar reached their ears. Reiersen’s wine glass began to rattle and then tipped over as he hurriedly dashed from his desk, pushing his employee aside and burst out into the open festhall beyond.

    His eyes went wide as he watched the living tide of dwarves pouring down the 88 steps down from the street and into Storm Hall, shouting singing and already falling over one another onto the furniture and current patrons as they dashed for the alcohol.

    “Dance with me sweetheart!” A drunken, stumbling dwarf slurred lustfully as he fell onto Reierson, knocking him over with the seemingly unending avalanche of already tipsy revelers.

    Reierson was screaming at the top of his lungs as he could already see the potential for damage as the first few dozen dwarves began to make their way across the hall in a sprawl of stumbling bodies, broken furniture, and startled cries of more civilized patrons.

    “Get off me! You can’t come in here! You didn’t tell us ahead of time! We can’t handle this many people! This is an upstanding establishment not the Bottle and Jug down in the damn Hive!”

    “You’re a right fine doxy!” The drunkard said as he felt up the inn’s owner who could only watch and whimper.

    “NOOoooooooooooo…..!!!!!”

    Outside the crash and din of the joyous obliteration of the 12 Factols main tap room, a tiefling turned and smiled at the fiend standing next to him. Her ears were perked to the sounds rising up and out of the entrance to the formerly high-class inn.

    “I saw to the change in the number of revelers the 12 Factols were expecting,” The tiefling said politely to his employer. “I saw to inviting others as well. By the end of the evening they’ll likely see over three hundred, and the wine will be supplied to them for free the whole time, at least till they’re all drunk and wanting more, then they’ll probably break into the stocks in the storerooms down there. It should be amusing mistress.”

    The King of the Crosstrade simply smiled.

    “I’m such a whore for misery.”

  • #1009
    My goodness, that's evil...
    And so funny.

    I don't want to know why she's doing this.

    Actually, I think I know why. She's being honest about about being a whore for misery, and in this simple mischief, it's easier to taunt to the party and heap misery upon Jurgen Reiersen, because the party is more likely to react as adventurers tend to, meaning everyone's miserable with the least amount of effort and risk on her part.

    But I could be totally off.

  • #1010
    Inventor of Super-Toast COPPER SUBSCRIBER
    Gallant (Lvl 3)

    demiurge1138's Avatar

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    My communities:

    Personally, I think she wants to ensure Clueless' party's success as businessmen so she can continue to toy with them.

    Demiurge out.
    Villain- A Haiku by Demiurge
    The heroes await.
    They have come this far only
    To die. Ha ha ha.

    Founder, the Dire Corby Appreciation Society; Author of the Pathfinder Chronicles Bestiary Project

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