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Saturday, 20th August, 2005, 07:24 PM #1021
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Not literally - the Ennie we won was silver, as opposed to gold (which the srd20 got).
Saturday, 27th August, 2005, 09:46 AM #1022
Superhero (Lvl 15)
“It’s a bad idea…” Tristol said as he sat and nursed a drink at the table behind where Clueless knelt on the floor.
“Oh I’ll be fine.” Clueless replied. “Considering how much these pissed us off originally, I think it’s ironic justice of a sort.”
Tristol bit his lower lip. “I’m not going to argue that it’s not.”
“Then don’t. Just sit back and enjoy the new windows.” The bladesinger said as he finished calling the spell to mind again. He then whispered the spell as he traced a line of golden liquid around the edges of one of the front windows of the Portal Jammer.
Tristol wrung his hands. “It’s not the spell, I know where that came from. It’s you painting with bloody heavy magic like it’s a common spell component you might pick up in the Market Ward!”
“Well then don’t ask about it and don’t watch.” Clueless said with a grin as the spell crystallized into place, glittering as a permanent and one-way force wall solidified within the window frame.
Over the past hour, he’d been replacing all of the glass windows in the Jammer with permanent walls of force, each of them the one-way force walls that Bartol Trenevain, the fire genasi sorcerer, had received as partial payment for his work for the Marauder back when he had been blackmailing them all on her behalf. On top of being more sturdy and easier to clean of the general grime and soot that carried on Sigil’s wind, they also wouldn’t break if Toras, Florian, or Fyrehowl needed to toss a stubborn drunkard out of the bar and into the street.
“So tempted to punch you like Trenevain did that time…” Tristol muttered as Clueless moved on to the next windowpane.
“But you’re too afraid that I’ll blow up myself,” Clueless replied, waving a finger covered in golden liquid. “And afraid I’ll blow up you, and the entire block of the city, if you do while I’m using this stuff.”
“Like I said when you first told me about that stuff…” Tristol continued.
“Keep it away from me!” Clueless said with exaggerated fright, mimicking the aasimar’s reaction from that time.
“Don’t blame me when you try to do too much and get yourself mazed.” Tristol said.
“I’ve been mazed before.” Clueless replied with a smirk as he stood back up.
“Your own maze.” Tristol said.
“Besides, Nisha is probably more likely to get us all mazed than me.” Clueless said sagely.
Tristol blinked and pondered that thought.
“You know, I don’t think I can dispute that.” The mage said. “Does she know about that stuff?”
“Gods forbid, no.” Clueless replied immediately.
“Good.” Tristol said, as not a minute later Nisha wandered in and noticed the new windows, and their peculiar properties.
“So,” Tristol asked, as they both watched the Xaositect toss peanuts at people in the street, only to giggle as they threw them back at her and hit the solid side of the ‘windows’. “What ever happened to Trenevain?”
Clueless had to think about it for a second.
“Well we warned him to stay in Sigil, but to be honest I haven’t really kept up with him. For all I know he might have skipped town after that first week following us getting the deed to the Portal Jammer.”
Tristol nodded and handed Nisha a dish of pretzels to toss at people on the street.
“Might be something to look into, just to make sure that he’s not planning anything to get back at us.”
“I’ll look into it sometime in the next few days.” Clueless said. “He’s probably up to no good, but nothing to mess with us. He learned his lesson already I think.”
Skalliska blinked her eyes as she stepped out of the portal from Parts & Pieces and into the brighter light and commotion of the Market Ward. Well, brighter by comparison with the gloom that the dust mephit proprietor seemed to prefer in his shop.
The portal closed behind her and she noticed a few passerby shoppers and merchants winced and glancing in her direction, presumably at the lingering smell of dust and rot carried on the efflux of air from Seamus’s more recent, and fleshy, sales. The kobold paused and scowled halfheartedly at the offended expressions she received, and probably would be seeing later on that afternoon once she walked back to the Clerk’s Ward and her companions noticed her purchases from the mephit, and any lingering smell.
“Toras can go blow himself.” She said with an amused shrug.
Honestly the smell didn’t bother her all that much, and you could find much much worse simply walking through the Hive and the Lower Ward, yet they didn’t pick on A’kin for where he lived. Plus A’kin didn’t sell exotic bones on the cheap like the mephit did. Toras had simply gotten off on the wrong foot with Seamus, or something like that. Still, no need to worry about it at the moment. The day was still young and she’d be taking the bones she had purchased to a number of craftsmen to get their estimates for the work she wanted done before she went back to the Portal Jammer. By that point any lingering evidence of Seamus’s wares would likely have evaporated.
And with that she hefted the bag of bones over her shoulder and walked off towards the Guildhall Ward. As she did so, six pairs of eyes were watching her from out of the crowd, and they paced her for the next several blocks.
Twenty minutes later when Skalliska stepped out of the shop they were still watching her.
“Do I get to eat it?” The sorcerer’s familiar asked with a sneer as they both looked at their mark from cover of magical invisibility.
The tiefling gave no reply to the quasit sitting on his shoulder.
“Maybe smoke the meat a little bit, burn it crispy at the edges…”
“Will you tell that stupid little f*cker to shut up?” A heavily muscled ogre standing behind the tiefling sorcerer said with agitation.
The quasit snarled and blew the ogre a kiss, followed a moment later with an obscene gesture.
“I’ve got one sack for the kobold here,” The ogre replied sternly. “Won’t take all that much effort to have a second one for you too.”
“Both of you shut up.” The tiefling sorcerer said with a sigh. “You can tolerate each other for another day or so before we get paid.”
“Oh he knows I love him.” The quasit said, tasting the air with its tongue and darting the stinger on its tail vaguely in the ogre’s direction. It had been picking on and taunting the fighter almost constantly for the past day.
“Little tanar’ri sh*t…” The fighter muttered.
The three other human fighters were doing their abject best to ignore the increasingly hostile banter between the least Tanar’ri and the Ogre. One of them had a pet sorcerer in its pocket and the other was three times the size of any of the rest of them.
“You can eat him after we deliver back in Colothys.” The mage said before snapping his fingers and pointing into the scrying globe it had focused on their target across the street.
“You better be talking about the sodding kobold…” The fighter snarled as he moved into position.
The five of them and the quasit moved out of the shadows and into place, scattered in place to anywhere the kobold might conceivably flee to if she noticed anything. And then all they had to do was wait.
Ten minutes later, Skalliska walked out of the shop and they made their move.
“Excuse me ma’am?” One of the humans said, walking up to the kobold, dressed and acting as a stereotypical clueless prime.
“Eh?” She said, turning around and looking up at the man.
The human seemed rather befuddled, something that she’d seen plenty of times before. She knew his expression and she knew his type. The kobold chuckled and sighed as she waiting for the forthcoming questions.
“I’m rather new to Sigil and I seem to have lost my way…” The man said, scratching his head before looking up and the curve of the city’s opposite side far overhead.
“Where are you looking to be?” She asked, feeling more at ease and a bit smugly pleased with herself and her planar knowledge compared to him.
“Yes,” He said. “Do you know which way I go to find the City Courts?”
Skalliska paused and pointed overhead. “Well, for starters you’re on the wrong side of the city, and…”
The last thing she saw was the smile on the man’s face before a burst of white light blossomed in her field of vision from the leaded sap impacting at the base of her skull. A second later she was stuffed into the Ogre’s sack and being carried insensate across the city with the sorcerer’s familiar hanging onto the burlap and whispering sweet nothings.
Normally Clueless would be the one tending the bar at that particular point in the day, but for whatever reason Fyrehowl had taken to handling drink orders simply as a change of pace, and to give Clueless a chance to rest for a day or so since he’d been exerting himself lately with the windows and something else with ‘wardings’ on the back room. He’d been rather deliberately vague about what all he’d done, and Tristol had refused to answer on his behalf, though he seemed to know.
For the first few hours everything went well; the lupinal handed out drinks, gave food orders to the kitchen staff for some of the regular customers, and chatted with some of the patrons off and on informally. Eventually though she noticed a man walk into the inn, glance around curiously and finally take a seat at the bar.
“Can I get you something?” Fyrehowl asked him.
The man blinked and looked up at her, he seemed tired and a bit forlorn or down on his luck. She’d seen his type before, usually they ended up utterly drunk by the time they left the bar.
“Oh, no thank you.” He said. “I’m fine… I’ll be fine. I just wanted a place to sit for a moment.”
He paused and caught his breath, just sort of giving a blank stare and calmly sitting there.
“Is it alright if I just sit here?” He asked cautiously.
“Yeah, sure.” Fyrehowl replied. “It’s not a problem at all. Sit there as long as you like.”
“Thank you.” He said, bowing his head and clasping his hands together in some manner of religious gesture. “Sutekh bless you.”
For another twenty minutes Fyrehowl continued serving other patrons and simply let the man sit there. He didn’t bother anyone, he didn’t ask for anything, and he largely just faded into the normal crowd, not standing out really in any particular way. But as perceptive as the lupinal was, she couldn’t help but eventually notice that he was glancing longingly at the food the other patrons nibbled at and he seemed more than a bit hungry and generally underfed.
The man was praying silently as Fyrehowl rapped her knuckles on the counter and slid a plate in front of him. He looked up into the celestial’s smiling face and then at the sandwich on the plate.
“Enjoy.” Fyrehowl said, pushing the plate forwards and into his hands. It took him a moment to realize that she was offering it to him for free.
“Oh, thank you.” He replied, taking the sandwich tentatively. “I don’t have very much money though, I might not be able to pay for…”
“Consider it on the house.” Fyrehowl said to the man. “You look hungry.”
“You’re very kind.” He said with a smile as he took the sandwich, “I haven’t really gotten to eat much since I came to Sigil.”
“Why is that?” The lupinal asked.
Meanwhile, a dozen feet away, Florian and Toras both sat together at one of the inn’s tables. They were both watching the scene unfolding at the bar.
“This is why Clueless tends bar usually.” The cleric said to Toras. “Fyrehowl’s going to give the place away if she stays there too much longer. Some poor berk sits down and looks hungry and she just hands him food.”
“She’s a celestial.” Toras said. “You expected differently?”
“Not really,” She replied. “But if she makes a trend we’ll have a line around the block stretching back to the Hive.”
“True…” Toras replied as Florian got up and walked over to the bar.
The man was thin, extremely thin, and he looked like he’d been walking for days before taking a seat there at the bar. He wasn’t wearing any armor and didn’t seem to have any magical trinkets about him. His hair was a thin, pale blond mop and his eyes were an unremarkable chocolate brown. His drab colored, homespun clothes were covered with a sprinkling of dust, the ends of his sleeves were thread worn, and his pants were patched in various places; worn but well tended.
Florian listened as the man finished the meager meal and explained himself to Fyrehowl.
“I’ve been on my own for a while, about a week or so.” He said. “That’s how long it took me to travel from my village in the Outlands to a portal to Sigil.”
“Why’d you leave? You don’t really look like you took much with you.” Fyrehowl asked.
“Well…” He gave a soft, resigned sigh. “Khaasta attacked the village and I hid. They didn’t find me. I just kept quiet and prayed to my deity to keep me hidden. But by the time I knew it was safe to come out there wasn’t anyone left.”
“I’d heard of Sigil and so I simply started walking, hoping to make my way here.” He said, spreading his hands. “I put my trust in the wisdom of my deity and he whispered to me where to walk and where to travel in safety. And so here I am.”
“I take it you served as a cleric in your village?” Florian asked him, extending her hand. “Florian of Amn, priestess of Tempus.”
“Kiro,” He said, shaking Florian’s hand. “I guess you could say I’m a cleric of sorts. I was a cleric in training, but my training is pretty much ended at this point. My mentor was killed or carried off by the Khaasta, and so I’m all that’s left to carry on the traditions of our village.”
“Pleased to meet you Kiro.” Fyrehowl said, echoed a moment later by Florian.
The man opened the satchel on his back and removed a large, leather-bound book. It was old and hand mended across its surface, showing the signs of repair over the space of many years and reverent care at the hands of its keepers. Kiro placed it on the counter and brushed his hands across the surface where Florian could see the stitch marks from where pages had been bound by string into the spine.
“This is really all that I brought with me aside from a few bits of food, some water, a simple weapon. But this was all that truly mattered to me, the chronicles of our village, our tales, our legends and the traditions of our faith.” He said. “I don’t matter as much so long as I can keep our faith alive. Sutekh has kept me safe and provided for me, and so I keep my faith in him strong.”
Florian nodded. “I have to commend you then.”
“Thank you.” Kiro said, brushing his hand across the surface of the book. “I’m not really sure what I’ll be doing now that I’m in Sigil. This is a pretty amazing place, it’s hard to not just be overwhelmed. It’s all so really new to me. But I trust in Sutekh, and he will tell me what to do.”
Meanwhile, across the street from the Portal Jammer, and forty feet above street level, a single person knelt with a heavy heart at the edge of the roof overlooking the front entrance of the inn. The woman’s hands were steady as she reached into a satchel at her feet and removed a series of ornately articulated steel and wooden objects. She fit them together, sliding them into place and assembling the barrel of the weapon, feeling it nearly come alive in her hands, puissant with magical and alchemical might.
Her hands were steady as she selected a single iron ball, silver runes etched into its surface, glinting in the light, and kissed it as she placed it into the rifled barrel of the weapon. Her hands were steady and her aim expert as she lowered the tip of the weapon over the edge of the room and narrowed her eyes. And all the while her heart was screaming no and her eyes wept.
She looked across the street, waiting for the moment when she would act, her body and her hands acting with her skill but not with her own free will. Her actions had not been her own for a very long time. Choice had been denied to her; she could only obey and watch as she carried out the will of her masters.
Her right hand loaded the alchemical charge into the chamber, sliding the enchanted shot into place and she could do nothing but watch as she acted as a tool of death. That same right hand steadying the weapon in place, taking aim, it burned with the agonizing brand and symbol of her masters, the source of the compulsion raging through her mind, burning in her blood, forcing her to act.
She still heard them in her mind, the Rakshasas softly whispering to her and the others that had once willingly served them for gold, whispering those instructions over and over again, repetitious, soothing, and seductive. She saw them in her mind still, anchored to the blackened symbol upon her hand, one of them whispering their wishes, the other one silently watching and weaving the spells to reaffirm the curse upon she and the others destined to be their unwilling servants.
Their service had been done and they had returned to them in their palace expecting payment. Would that it had been that simple. Their service had continued past that point, and though she had died three times since then, or should have died, should have been allowed to mercifully die, she was still here, still breathing, still serving them. They would not allow her die.
She wept as she lowered the barrel and watched the aasimar mage step into view through the open door to the inn below, across the street.
“Know that I am sorry.” She said, her voice trembling. “Know that I am so very sorry for this.”
Aimed an inch above his heart, the cold iron ball, wrought of avalan ore, branded with arcane sigils, whistled as it cut through the air.
“I am truly sorry…”
Saturday, 27th August, 2005, 09:55 AM #1023
...aaaaand the Tiger Twins make their move.
Saturday, 27th August, 2005, 12:13 PM #1024
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Sounds like a PC's past is coming back to haunt him ... but I may just be reading too much into the assassin's thoughts .
This is a dire turn of events for the characters, indeed ... I'm looking forward to how the Skalliska arc develops.
Nice writing, as usual .
Saturday, 27th August, 2005, 02:14 PM #1025
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Nice place to end ... ratbastard
Saturday, 27th August, 2005, 08:08 PM #1026
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
It was certainly an amusing point in game for Us at the time. And yay!! Kiro has arrived! *glee*
Saturday, 27th August, 2005, 09:22 PM #1027
Novice (Lvl 1)
Musket ball of Slaying?
Saturday, 27th August, 2005, 10:04 PM #1028
Novice (Lvl 1)
shemmy! why did you wait till they put the one way force windows on the jammer you could have gotten so manny more of them.
Saturday, 27th August, 2005, 11:43 PM #1029
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
*grin* Good. Somebody noticed.
He didn't wait - I just had Very good timing.
Sunday, 28th August, 2005, 05:45 PM #1030
... and some luck presumably, avoiding to blow up and all that .
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