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Sunday, 28th August, 2005, 05:39 PM #1031
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Yep. Though there's one worse coming up here (Involved 7 percentile rolls at a risk of Dead dead. Like - no resurection dead.)
Sunday, 28th August, 2005, 09:43 PM #1032
Gallant (Lvl 3)
- Join Date
- Sep 2002
- Read 0 Reviews
ø Block demiurge1138
Wait... is Kiro a new PC (presumably, because Skalliska has been kidnapped)? Or just a favorite NPC?
Sunday, 28th August, 2005, 09:50 PM #1033
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
PC. We may have mentioned this in the past - but a good friend of ours was shipping out at the end of the summer to California. Being one of the best GMs we've ever played under and a serious Planescape fan, he got slipped into the game for a short amount of time as a last round of fun. He played Kiro, with highly memorable style.
Last edited by Clueless; Monday, 29th August, 2005 at 04:27 AM.
Monday, 29th August, 2005, 04:25 AM #1034
Novice (Lvl 1)
- Join Date
- Jan 2004
- New Mexico
- Read 0 Reviews
ø Block Graywolf-ELM
I'm looking forward to the new turn to the story, and the new character.
Oh, the update was as good as ever.
Monday, 29th August, 2005, 04:47 AM #1035
Novice (Lvl 1)
Dire turn of events? It gets better...
Wednesday, 31st August, 2005, 01:08 PM #1036
Great update. Looks like the PCs will have no choice but to go hunting the rakshasa after this... if they manage to figure out who's behind the attack. Looking forward to learning whether the victim survives.
Saturday, 3rd September, 2005, 05:30 AM #1037
Superhero (Lvl 15)
“It is an interesting city.” Kiro said, thinking for a moment. “I’ve never really seen anything so huge. It’s just amazing really…”
At that moment Tristol stood up and walked over towards the bar where Florian and Fyrehowl were chatting up the clueless looking patron. In doing so, he walked in line of sight to the main entrance to the building. He lingered there for scantly a second before moving to the side, letting a customer edge past him as they got up from their own chair. Glass shattered, ears rung, wood splintered and caught fire as something struck the floor inches from where he had been standing.
Tristol stood there, stunned and shocked as he looked at the burning furrow gouged into the floor. It was oddly silent for him there in that moment; he didn’t hear the screams of the bar’s patrons erupting in fright or the shouts for him to get out of the way, screams of warning and incomprehensible bellows from people rushing past him for the entrance.
“Tristol! Move!” Florian shouted to the aasimar.
He wasn’t listening and in the moment he didn’t realize that the assailant was probably aiming for him again. She was.
A second ensorcelled slug of iron and alchemical silver tore into the table behind where Tristol had stood, upending it and hurling it, spinning, a few feet away with a ragged hole torn in its surface. But once more, the mage hadn’t been standing in the path of the shot that would have otherwise taken his head from his shoulders. Seeing his inaction, Kiro had glanced around hurriedly and then tackled the mage to the ground, throwing him out of the way and probably saving his life.
Tristol came to his senses and picked himself up off the floor as the skinny looking priest ran a hand through his hair. Kiro seemed a bit shocked at his own actions, almost like the sudden heroism wasn’t normal to him in the least.
They both looked around as the room was a blur of chaos and stampeding people, broken glasses, spilt alcohol and upended furniture. Fyrehowl grabbed Tristol, dragging him backwards, and Florian pushed Kiro away from the entrance where the unseen assassin was getting aim at them.
“Everyone out of the way of the door!”
“Get away from the windows!”
Clueless grinned and abruptly walked in front of the large, bay window at the front of the inn. The one man screamed at him and a few other huddled patrons turned away, expecting to see his brains splattered across the floor in seconds.
The bladesinger craned his neck and peered across the street, vainly trying to see where the assassin was standing. A split second later there was a loud ‘crack!’ as something impacted on the window, newly replaced with force walls, exactly in line with Clueless’s face. He blinked in a bit of sudden surprise.
“Across the street. On top of the counting house.” Clueless said. “Can’t see them directly, but that’s where the shots are coming from.”
“Nobody run out the door!” Toras shouted as a patron was shot in the side as they bolted from the inn.
“Stay here.” He continued, holding up his arms and trying to get the attention of the screaming, frightened patrons, some of them drunk. “Stay behind something or go into the kitchens or upstairs and hide till we have this taken care of!”
Most of them listened, some of them didn’t, but it was the best that they could do as they quickly gathered together in the back room of the inn to quickly make some sort of plan. Florian made it a point of bringing Kiro in along with them given his quick thinking before.
Once gathered together they stared at one another with grim expressions and cast periodic glances towards the door. Every minute or so Fyrehowl opened the door a crack and glanced out to make sure the assassin hadn’t followed them into the inn.
“Alright, they’ve got us pinned in here.” Clueless said.
“And whose idea was it not to put in a secondary entrance when we remodeled this place?” Florian asked.
“They’re on the roof across the street though.” Toras said. “I’m going up to our roof and looking for them. And if they make a move on street level, they’ll be getting a nasty surprise.”
“Jumping off the roof might be a bad idea…” Nisha said with a tad of concern. “You’re not me, and you don’t have wings.”
“Ring of feather fall.” Toras said with a dismissive shrug.
“So alright, you’re going for the roof.” Clueless said, nodding to Toras. “Fyrehowl and I can go out the front door and draw their attention.”
Kiro glanced at them awkwardly and waved a hand tentatively.
“I just came in looking for a place to sit down and maybe get something to drink…”
“Congrats, you’re involved now.” Florian said, slapping the bewildered looking cleric on the back.
“And you got a sandwich out of it too.” Nisha said. “Our sandwiches come with attempted assassination plots. New sales gimmick!”
“Ignore Nisha.” Toras said.
“Yeah, she’s craaaaazy.” The tiefling stuck her tongue out as she got up and glanced out the door again.
“Ok…” Kiro said meekly. “What do you suggest I do?”
“Well, what –can- you do?” Tristol asked.
“A little bit of magic.” He said. “Whatever Sutekh wishes to provide me with. I listen and he guides me, I can’t say much more than that. I just follow what he wishes of me.”
“Alright, stay back and hang around with Tristol and Florian.” Clueless said. “Just be ready to throw spells if you see the assassin or they come down to street level.”
“Sh*t.” Toras said suddenly.
“What?” Fyrehowl said.
“Skalliska.” The fighter muttered. “Anyone know where the hell she is?”
“Damnit.” Florian muttered. “If she’s out alone she’s making a target of herself, and I doubt that stupid Rakshasa would be so cheap as to only send one assassin.”
“Rakshasa?” Kiro asked, still looking awkward and folding his hands in a bit of self-conscious prayer. “Just who did you anger enough to kill you?”
“Long story.” Florian said. “You’ll find out soon enough.”
“Alright.” Clueless said. “We’ve got a plan, so let’s go.”
Of course, all good plans never work out exactly as hoped.
Toras was struck in the back by a sword as he emerged from the back room, and as he stumbled backwards a series of flaming, arrow shaped bolts erupted from the outstretched hand of another man that lashed out and hurtled into Clueless and Fyrehowl.
Both of the men, one of them human, the other one an aasimar, were dressed in slick, black armor and carried a combination of equipment that marked them as both fighters and some manner of magic user as well. And both of them had black tattoos glowing softly on the back of their left hands: a dark, backward facing tiger’s paw surrounded with a halo of stylized flames. It was a symbol that Clueless and Tristol would later recognize as the personal, and former noble house symbol, of the Rakshasa, Lord Siddhartha.
Toras jerked to the side, avoiding a deeper wound by the slim tapered blade of the first assassin. He slashed back at the man but missed as the hired killer simply fell backwards and vanished into a patch of shadow cast by a ruined, overturned table, reappearing across the room, preparing to cast a spell.
The next few minutes were a complicated blur of frenzied swordplay and spellcasting, but the way the assassins were fighting was unholy. At some point during the fight, one of them, the shadowdancer, was stabbed through the heart by Fyrehowl and he died then and there. Only, he never stopped fighting and a moment later the ragged hole in his chest was sealed and be began breathing again.
“F*ck this.” Toras said. “Go join the Keepers.”
Regeneration or not, the assassin’s screams were short-lived when he was hurled through the fire portal on a one way trip out of Sigil and out of range of his intended targets.
The shadowdancer snarled and backed away towards one of the darker corners of the room, near to where he could easily escape the same fate as his companion, and dart out of range with his own supernatural affinity for shadows if need be.
“Siddhartha will keep sending us.” The man said. “He or Brampandra will keep sending us or others till they have your heads on pikes or silver platters. They will not let this matter rest.”
The man jerked and dodged a blast of ice and cold from Fyrehowl.
“It doesn’t matter what you do, you can’t kill us.” He said grimly. “They won’t let us die.”
“We’ll find out.” Clueless answered.
More minutes passed and while they slashed his armor to ribbons, his wounds still healed; likely a property of the magical tattoo the fiend had engraved on the man’s hand. Conventional fighting was getting them nowhere, and the longer the fight dragged on the more the main room of the inn was being devastated and the better a condition the assassin was looking.
Finally, Florian grew tired of it, invoked the power of her deity, and slapped her hand across the shadowdancer’s chest. The assassin shuddered and dropped to the ground, his life snuffed out by the force of the spell. They watched though in horror as the tattoo on the man’s hand began to pulse as if were going to restore him to life, or simply take direct control of his body like an animated object.
“Cut his hand off!” Fyrehowl shouted.
With a single stroke of his blade, Clueless did just that, but the effect was not what was expected.
Like a living thing of its own, the severed hand scuttled across the floor like an obscene insect, leaping up with fingers as legs, dangling limp tendons from its severed wrist and leaving a trail of blood and viscera. The tattoo was still active and still seeking to carry out its creator’s will.
“Holy!” Toras said as the hand sprung from the floor and leapt at his throat.
He caught the undying appendage and struggled to keep it away from his neck, but then realized that as he kept it from strangling him, its fingers were jerking as if it where trying to cast a spell.
“Somebody stab the damn thing and pin it down!” He shouted as he slammed it down onto the surface of an adjacent table.
Nisha’s sword was impaled through the thing’s animating tattoo a split second later and finally the gore spattered hand stopped moving as the tattoo itself was gradually mangled by its own frantic movements to escape its impalement.
“Mystra preserve…” Tristol said with a mixture of nervous amazement and honest fear.
“So was it one of these two who were shooting at us?” Fyrehowl asked.
“Good question.” Toras said as he picked up the corpse and tossed it out the door.
Before the corpse hit the ground it jerked as something struck its chest and sent it spinning off to one side with a hole punched through it. The force of the blow was such that after punching into the body from across the street where the assassin was still situated it still had force enough to crack one of the cobblestones beneath it.
“Well…” Florian said. “That answers that.”
They could only nod as they reverted back to their original plan from minutes before.
“Ok. –now- I’m going up to the roof.” Toras said as he bolted up the stairs. “Meet you out there.”
Clueless glanced around and shrugged as he saw the hem of Kiro’s robe vanish around the edge of the door leading upstairs. The cleric was probably just overwhelmed and spooked by it all. It wasn’t everyday that you saw the dead come back to life to kill you, or severed hands crawling around with the same intent. Given all of that, it wouldn’t have been out of the blue if he’d simply decided to run and hide till it was safe. Besides, that was what those few patrons who hadn’t fled the inn in panic were doing.
Normally the quickest, most preemptively agile of them all, Fyrehowl bolted outside. The cipher was largely a blur of silvery blue fur and white robes, her sword already drawn and her ears and eyes keen for any hint of the exact location of the assassin.
“The hell…?” She said bluntly as she realized that she wasn’t alone outside.
Kiro stood in the middle of the street, glancing up at where the assassin was now standing and preparing to leap down to the street. He didn’t seem quite so meek as before, and the lupinal only then noticed the pair of gleaming swords slung through the cleric’s belt; she didn’t recall having seen them earlier when he was eating his sandwich in the bar.
But regardless, Fyrehowl shrugged and readied herself to charge the assassin once they dropped down to the street, but Kiro moved first. Acting out of the blue with a freakish level of making some manner of gesture or prayer and hurling a bolt of black energy at the killer on the rooftop. The assassin was struck in the chest and she stumbled in pain and weakness. Then, only partially recovered, she half leapt and half fell off the building to land awkwardly on the street below a moment later brandishing a pair of gleaming knives.
Three stories above the street, Toras looked over the edge of the roof and smiled. There was no sign of any further hired killers, and so the one below was ripe for the picking, and Toras wanted to do it in style. Style however seemed to be the only thing in his mind rather than common sense, and certainly not that tiny voice in the back of his head screaming in vain that he wasn’t wearing his ring of feather falling.
“Not even looking up. Totally preoccupied with them down there. You won’t see what hit you.”
Toras grinned to himself as he aimed his sword at the figure of the assassin down below and hurled himself over the edge of the roof.
Only seconds later with the wind whistling in his ears that voice of reason in the back of his head finally made itself known. With the ground rushing up to meet him, he realized that his ring of feather falling was in his other set of pants.
The woman snarled and slashed at Fyrehowl even as a cluster of magic missiles struck her from Nisha and a moment later a flamestrike conjured by Florian enveloped her. Like the other two assassins she didn’t seem to be bothered by pain, and her wounds were regenerating even as they fought her.
“Why the hell are you doing this?” Clueless demanded as he parried a slash from her blade as she darted away from the lupinal and towards him.
“I have to kill you.” She said, breathing raggedly. “I don’t have a choice in this.”
The black tattoo on her hand pulsed with a sickly glow and she staggered from a stab to her midsection.
“How many of you are there?” Fyrehowl demanded.
“It hurts…” The woman said, her eyes and tone of voice giving a very different impression than the scowl on her face. “We obey him and the pain is lessened. We obey or he sends us punishment and we do as he wishes regardless.”
Fyrehowl was about to say something else when she noticed a shadow falling across the street. Her ears perked and swiveled at the sound of rushing air and a scream from above. She glanced up and dove out of the way a moment later when Toras slammed into the street at a speed of three stories worth of freefall.
The assassin didn’t look and didn’t pause, and instead stabbed at Clueless before a lightning bolt from Tristol spun her sideways and sprawling across the street.
“We served him before. Willingly. He has no honor, only goals and tools.” The woman’s expression strained to be anything but coldly merciless.
She was stabbed repeatedly, barely noticing it all, but in turn she left Clueless stumbling backwards from a half dozen wounds, each of them bleeding far more than they should have been.
“Kill me.” She said, even as she flicked a knife into Tristol’s shoulder.
“Please. Please stop this. He won’t end this. Ever.”
She lunged for where Florian was tending to Toras on the ground, but she stumbled and coughed as Kiro had managed to dart around behind her while her attention had been on Clueless.
The skinny, passive cleric withdrew his swords from where they were lodged, side-by-side in the assassin’s back. A keen observer might have noted that one blade had penetrated her heart and the other had gone through a lung - absolutely crippling blows – but after a brief pause and stumble, her body seemed to tighten and attempt to attack again with unnatural vigor, even as her head lolled lifelessly.
The woman was dead, but her service to the Rakshasa, like the other two assassins before her, would not be ended by something so pithy as mortality.
Blood bubbled up and foamed on her lips, a glaze settled across her eyes and slowly her ravaged body was beginning to knit itself back together with the infernal magic that bound her into service to the Rakshasa. Willing or not, she would be alive and conscious again in minutes, but till then her body was still being forced to serve like a grotesque puppet of meat and bone.
Tristol ended it with a spell, hurling a greenish beam of light across the street to strike the woman’s chest and disintegrate her to naught but dust and ash. It was a merciful thing.
“Sutekh preserve.” Kiro said as he prayed over the spot where the assassin had fallen.
Fyrehowl sheathed her own sword while Kiro softly wiped the blood from both of his own, whispering softly in a language she wasn’t familiar with. He’d likely saved Tristol’s life earlier and he’d gotten himself involved really when he didn’t have to, and in the process he’d have drawn the ire of the tiger headed fiend currently with a vendetta against them all. She couldn’t complain at all, and having seen him in action, she had to say that for a cleric he was damn quick on his feet.
Toras regained consciousness a minute later.
“I hate gravity.” Came his pained mumble as Florian and Clueless helped him up from the pavement.
“Wow Toras, that was kinda cool!” Nisha said with a giggle as the fighter winced and stood up fully.
“That would have worked much better if I’d been wearing my ring of feather fall…” He replied to a resigned chuckle from Tristol and Florian smacking her palm across her face.
“Hey.” He said. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
The sorcerer stood in the corner of the building’s darkened interior, softly whispering to himself. The arcane phrases of the sending spell lilted off of his forked tongue and sparked the power of the incantation, hurling his subsequent words across the wards of Sigil. There was no reply from any of the intended recipients on the first team of assassins.
“F*ck…” He whispered.
Behind him, sitting under a ball of conjured light sat the human fighters, the raw hired muscle. They were playing cards and largely ignoring everything else. Beside them and paying attention the ogre was watching the sack and their captive within, making sure that she stayed bound and gagged.
“What now?” The ogre asked with a sigh, correctly guessing what had happened. The first team was dead, or at least incapacitated. In any event they had failed in their task and so made life suddenly more difficult and more involved for them, the second team.
“Hell if I know.” The sorcerer muttered. “They weren’t supposed to fail.”
“They were supposed to kill their targets.” The Quasit said, nuzzling up to the side of the burlap bag where Skalliska was bound and stuffed.
The familiar continued, whispering into the bag where it knew the kobold was conscious and listening. “Then we could cut the b*tch’s throat and be done with it…”
Inside the bag, Skalliska jerked and gave a muffled scream through the gag roughly shoved in her mouth. The quasit cackled and groped her obscenely, relishing the petty torment.
The ogre aimed a sudden kick at the quasit. There was obviously no love lost between the two of them. But the familiar jerked out of the way at the last minute and the kick instead impact the bound kobold and knocked her over with a sudden groan and soft thud from the impact.
“Quit f*cking with her, and each other.” The sorcerer said as he traced a ring of oil and crushed cinnabar on the wall to form a bound space. “That includes you Scrappletoe. He’s competent even if he’s too lawful for your tastes.”
The quasit sneered at the ogre and made another crude gesture with its tail and its mouth. The ogre ignored the pissant little least fiend as its master whispered the phrase to activate the portal latent in the newly formed bound space.
The portal arose in a swirl of color and immediately the tiefling whispered another spell of sending, this time calling out to their collective master and informing the Rakshasa of the change in the situation. The answer was quick to come and indeed the contingency for failure on the behalf of the first group had been already anticipated well in advance.
“So what now?” The ogre asked, brushing a hand roughly over the tabletop where the other fighters had stacked their wagers and discarded hands.
“Plan B.” The sorcerer said. “Pack up, bring everything with you. Toss the ransom note into the inn here in the next hour and then skip town. We make the drop off in Cathrys at Lord Siddhartha’s palace in the jungles there and then we get paid.”
The gambling fighters nodded and put away their cards and jink, rapidly getting their gear in order. The tiefling glanced at one of them before putting the sensory stone down on the table.
“Toss it in through one of the windows and then meet us back at the portal down on Black Boot lane. We’ve a long walk ahead of us.”
They sat in the back room of the Portal Jammer with the door open and in full view of the shambles of the main room. Furniture was smashed, alcohol was spilt across the floor and slowly drying to a fine, sticky layer across the floorboards; the place was a mess by any standard, but most importantly they were still alive.
“I apologize for getting involved in this.” Kiro said apologetically with his hands folded in front of him.
“To hell with that.” Florian said.
“You saved me from having a slug of iron in my chest.” Tristol added, looking at Kiro. “Don’t apologize. I’m sorry now that you’ve gotten yourself into this mess.”
Kiro shrugged. “It just felt like what Sutekh wished for me to do. If I helped out, then that’s all the better.”
“Except now you may have a Rakshasa venting his anger and likely sending people after you as well.” Florian said. “And I’m sorry for that, because you weren’t otherwise going to be a target.”
“Well if there’s any way that I could help you resolve this, I…”
“Oh, trust me.” Florian said, cutting him off. “We’re going to skin this guy and have him hung over the bar. Your help would be appreciated.”
“Hey, I already got promised a rug made out of him.” Nisha protested.
“And hell,” Florian continued. “Since you’re going to be with us for a while, let’s at least make you feel a little bit at home, especially after what happened to your village back on the Outlands.”
A minute later Kiro was staring at a hastily written but still quite official document giving him ownership of 1% of Florian’s share in the Portal Jammer. He didn’t know what to say, and neither did any of the others.
“I…I…” Kiro said with a bit of a stutter. He was back to the meek and humble cleric that they’d met him as, the skinny clueless new to Sigil.
“Enjoy.” Florian said with a dismissive wave as Clueless got up for another drink for himself, and a stiff one for the new cleric.
However there was little time left for conversation or planning as a loud but muted ‘thump!’ echoed from out in the main room. Already up, Clueless drew his sword and walked out to investigate.
It was a sensory stone, hurled like a brick at the window. He’d seen enough of them simply by virtue of being involved with a Sensate and so he picked it up and walked back into the inn after making sure that there was no one lurking outside.
“Someone tried to throw this through the front window.” The bladesinger said.
“Surprise on them.” Tristol said.
“So what does that broken wristed rug-to-be have to say?” Toras asked.
Clueless nodded, activated the stone, and they each placed their hands upon it, soaking up its recorded message. Siddhartha’s voice began as an angry snarl that presaged a calm, coldly cultured demand.
“Sadly you are still alive. A pity.
At the edge of the Slags there is a burned out shell of a building with a blue domed roof on the easterly side nearest to the Hive. Come to this location, unarmed and alone, all of you, or the kobold dies a most… prolonged death.
It is amazing how much pain can be given before the body simply collapses and ceases to function. And pain is something I am VERY well acquainted with, no thanks to your piddling mageling aasimar.
In the next few moments as the voice of the Rakshasa faded from the stone, there was a sudden, brief flicker of an image that burned itself in their minds: Skalliska bound and bleeding in a dark chamber, the red carapace of a Vaath lurking over her, its proboscis snaking out towards her head.
Saturday, 3rd September, 2005, 05:33 AM #1038
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
And so the phrase "stabbity death!" came into being, with the first appearance of Kiro in a fight. Bloody speed demon.
I think dinners at the Portal Jammer can best be summarized as follows: "The Portal Jammer, awesome sandwichs, charming bar staff... and the floor show is to Die for."
Saturday, 3rd September, 2005, 06:11 AM #1039
Aaah, mobilization. And severe pwnage. And a hostage to save.
Great update Shemmy, as usual. :D
Saturday, 3rd September, 2005, 06:24 AM #1040
Superhero (Lvl 15)
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