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Wednesday, 6th October, 2004, 04:50 AM #241
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Originally Posted by Clueless
Thursday, 7th October, 2004, 02:29 AM #242
Superhero (Lvl 15)
Originally Posted by Clueless
Thursday, 7th October, 2004, 04:28 AM #243
Novice (Lvl 1)
- Join Date
- Jan 2004
- New Mexico
- Read 0 Reviews
ø Block Graywolf-ELM
Same here. Nice Long post. I don't always comment. The clepto saves the day by getting back all the plot catalysts.
Friday, 8th October, 2004, 03:32 PM #244
Dont tempt me Shemeska. I have a built in microphone in my laptop. Be prepared to do a mephit recording this weekend! *insert pathetic evil laughter attempt here*
Saturday, 9th October, 2004, 07:23 AM #245
Superhero (Lvl 15)
Originally Posted by FyreHowl
And a note for everyone, I spent most of this week doing thesis work in my lab and writing up another story only tangentially related to the storyhour so I'm not going to have this updated till sometime monday evening. (Spring break so I'm not teaching lab at all next week so I'll actually have monday evening off to write).
Well, I could stay up all tonight and not sleep and get it done, but I'd then fall asleep during the final session of Clueless's alternity game tommorow. So expect an update monday sometime.
Saturday, 9th October, 2004, 04:42 PM #246
Superhero (Lvl 15)
Saturday, 9th October, 2004, 07:37 PM #247
Well, I'm patient ... yet. Not sure how long that will last. It's been a while since the last fix, you know? The WotC Planescape board doesn't help anymore and what few material I own is running out, too ...
Tuesday, 12th October, 2004, 01:25 AM #248
Novice (Lvl 1)
It doesn't help I can't access Planewalker from work either (thinks it's a porn site of all things!!!). It really get's my goat...
Tuesday, 12th October, 2004, 03:46 AM #249
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
*BOGGLE* Yer kidding right?!
Tuesday, 12th October, 2004, 06:05 AM #250
Superhero (Lvl 15)
"And in the eyes of a jackal I say KABOOM" - Smashing Pumpkins 'XYU'
Clueless, Skalliska and Nisha dove for cover behind bits of rubble while Toras and Florian raised their weapons and stood their ground. Tristol was cringing in anticipation of a second flurry of bolts even as he whispered the words to a spell of shielding. Had any of them been watching Fyrehowl they would have seen the lupinal seemingly step out of the way a split second before the bolts hit their intended target, a staggering amount of either luck or cadence guided instinct.
Long seconds passed and no more bolts cut the air with their passing and all around there was silence and nothing more. Skalliska’s reptilian snout poked out from behind a collapsed waterspout, “…thought you were being followed? Only thought?! I think rather settles it!”
“…oops?” Came the tiefling’s reply.
“Umm… if you’re trying to kill us, you’re a really piss poor shot you know…” Toras said as he glared out into the surrounding rubble. No reply was forthcoming however.
“I don’t think that was intended to kill us. I think that was a warning and nothing else. Someone doesn’t like us looking into certain things.” Clueless said as he glanced over to Nisha who was bantering over the definition of ‘safe’ in ‘safehouse’ with Skalliska.
Slowly they all spread out into the surrounding rubble and found no evidence of anyone still remaining in the area, not that they could find anyways. Fyrehowl nearly swore that she could smell a faint lingering scent of raw steel and oil, but nothing else to betray the evidence of their assailant; then Nisha found one thing.
Laying partially concealed in line of sight of the entrance to Nisha’s safehouse were a springloaded series of crossbows that seemed primed to fire in unison when keyed from some distance away, likely from a magical charm that had since been exhausted. Lying next to the mechanism was a single sensory stone.
“Cute… they left us a message.” Florian said as he picked it up.
As the cleric did so, both Nisha and Skalliska winced and blurted out at once, “Let me check it for traps!!”
“It’s not trapped. Not unless you count a cliché as a trap.” Florian said as he handed over the stone to his companions who listened to the message stored within the gem each in turn. The stone’s message was simple and short, “Were I hunting you, you would already be dead. Desist in your current line of investigation or I may change from watching to otherwise.”
Only Clueless recognized the voice as that of Adamok Ebon, the Bladeling he had just seen in Seamusxanthuszemus’s shop in the Market Ward who was rumored to be the pet assassin of Shemeska the Marauder. Except she had supposedly been in the beastlands for the past few days… unless seeing her in the mephit’s shop had simply been part of her watch over Clueless or his companions. It was troublesome to say the least, but the bladesinger said nothing of the matter to his companions as the walked back towards the Clerk’s Ward, though later on he would privately talk to Nisha regarding it all.
Over the next hour or so they collectively sat and discussed their next course of action on a number of topics. Clueless and Nisha put forward their intention to hunt down one of Clueless’s former companions that they had reason to believe was currently in slavery in or around the city of Death of Innocence on 2nd layer of the Gray Waste. Meanwhile Fyrehowl mentioned that she felt it prudent to speak with Chairwoman Rhys of the Sigil Advisory Council, and former Factol of the Transcendent Order, about what they had discovered about Garroth the Blind, and in a roundabout way rumored happenings in Elysium.
“Why Rhys? What connection does she have with Elysium?” Tristol asked, curious about the lupinal’s line of reasoning.
“She’s the former factol of the ciphers you know, and her faction has a fairly large number of members, or former members at least, on Elysium. Outside of Sigil you won’t find more ciphers than in Elysium, despite their tendency to be of a fully neutral alignment. Their particular aspect of neutrality is internal harmony, and it fits very well with the outward benevolence of Elysium.”
“True… I guess you have a point there.”
“And in any event she might be able to help us in getting an audience with one of the highups in Rubicon, the guardinal fortress on Belarian.”
The others nodded in unison, more or less. Skalliska seemed hesitant on the matter.
“Is there gold involved?” She asked without a drop of shame.
“…” Was the common response to the question and there was an awkward silence for several seconds before Clueless responded, “Yes there’s gold involved. Don’t worry, you’ll get a share of anything we find.”
“I’m sure we’ll find plenty of gnomes for you to kill and steal their stuff and act out stereotypes I’m sure. And if not, we’ll drop you off in Tradegate and let you work your magic.” Toras muttered under his breath and was elbowed by Florian to tell him to shutup before the kobold heard him.
And so, after a shared meal, they split and went their separate ways. Clueless and Nisha slunk towards the lower Ward and the Styx Oarsman to find a bit more information before they went to the Gray Waste, and the rest of the party gathered there things in preparation for an early trip the next morning towards ex-Factol Rhys’s office.
“So… why exactly are we going back to a fiend bar where the patrons are likely to eat you as much as they are to laugh with you over a drink?” Nisha asked Clueless as they approached the Styx Oarsman.
“I’d like to ask the Mezzoloth in there a few questions. Rule-of-Three mentioned he knew of a portal to the Waste fairly close to where we need to be. Whether he’ll tell us anything is another matter, but I guess we’ll find out.” Clueless said as he walked up to the doorman and handed him a bag of coin. Nisha smiled and swished her tail happily as they were both motioned in without comment.
Inside, little had changed in the mood and demenour of the establishment since their last visit. Clueless scanned the rear of the room for the Three Toads and found the Slaadi attempting to juggle two empty mugs while the quasit behind the bar yelled at her.
“Stupid Slaadi! You’ve broken two today already! You don’t pay me enough to break everything in here!”
Meanwhile the githzerai behind the bar was still washing the same mugs repetitively as Clueless and Nisha sat down at a table across from the stairs. Clueless noted that the Mezzoloth was near the stairs and the other bouncer was by the front door; Rule of Three was presumably upstairs doing something in a set of three, as he was wont to do.
The bladesinger was about to approach the Mezzoloth when the cambion near the door straightened abruptly as the door swung open suddenly, surprising him as a tall, extremely thin woman walked into the bar wearing elaborate armor and a large sword at her waist. None of the other patrons looked disturbed at the githyanki as she entered, but Nisha nearly spit her ale and Clueless immediately looked away.
“Talk about people you don’t want to see in places you don’t want to be.” Nisha said as she wiped the ale from her face.
“Yeah, tell me about it.”
Djek N’larr’s skin glimmered a faint metallic blue, the same color as the blob of psionic ectoplasm that Clueless had partially bribed her with when they had last seen her in the mazes.
“I don’t know her and she doesn’t know me…” Clueless said as he did his best act of completely ignoring her.
The githyanki simply waltzed into the bar, supremely confidant and looking like she had a second lease on life. That Garroth the Blind was dead, and no longer harrowing her regarding her having not killed Clueless and his fellows, probably had something to do with it. But she took a seat at the bar and struck up a conversation with the quasit before she hurled a full mug of ale into the face of the githzerai bartended who barely registered the action as the alcohol splattered on him, the bar, and the floor.
“Tell me he ‘aint a piking Bleaker…” Nisha whispered into Clueless’s ear.
“…yeah.” He murmured back.
The rest of the bar however was not as resigned and uncaring as the Bleaker and the room erupted into a chorus of laugher, snickers and jeers. Clueless ignored it all and tapped a bit of jewelry he was wearing, a small silver choker. He’s had the collar crafter for himself a day previous in the market ward by a gnomish jeweler. The only feature the choker had was a small glass sphere that held a minute drop of the golden liquid he had recovered from the Tower Sorcerous in the mazes, and while he still had little idea of what exactly it was, he had some small knowledge of what it was capable of. When he tapped the glass bubble a small catch was sprung and for a moment it opened and exposed the drop of liquid into contact with his skin. When he felt it contact he pictured in his mind a clairaudience spell and felt it form and burn within his mind before he activated it and removed his finger from the choker.
Nisha simply kept sipping her drink and eavesdropping as Clueless did likewise with the aid of the spell. Over at the rear of the room he heard the Hydroloth Schliphis chuckle under her breath and say something to her fellow fences, Pollixen and the Insufferable Massix.
“What did I tell you? Just like it was supposed to be. Our hands are washed of this now, and we’ve already been paid, so nothing to worry about at all. Let whoever’s game this is, let them play. Not like it has anything to do with us anyways.”
“Well they get of our business now but…” the Slaad muttered.
“And you got us into that…” The Hezrou grumbled to the ‘loth.
“And it's only helped us since then hasn't it? She's gotten us twice the amount of buyers for the stuff that comes in here, and we barely do half the work anymore. Suits me just fine. We just need to make a delivery on that other bit down the Styx a week from now, but that's for later.” Schliphis said before she glanced over to the bar where Djek N’larr was still taunting the nominal owner of the bar.
“I'm just waiting for those Gith to go at it, gonna happen one of these times, Bleaker or not.... Unless the Quasit has him under his thumb more than I know.” She snorted and quaffed a shot of some vile fiendish alcohol the color of tar and nearly the same consistency.
Nisha kicked Clueless under the table suddenly and he glanced up at her. In between two sips of her drink she mouthed to him, “The Toads are looking at us… I think we need to go, talking o the Mezzoloth or not…”
Clueless sighed and nodded then got up and quickly but calmly walked to the door, Schliphis’s eyes burning into his back the entire time. However the bladesinger never let up on his spell even as they walked out of the bar and strolled down the street. When they neared the edge of the spell’s range, Clueless motioned for Nisha to pause and wait for a moment while he continued to eavesdrop magically.
About five minutes later he heard ‘Rule o’ Three’s upstairs Colcook.’ in the voice of the Colorful Cambion. And then his spell was snuffed, deliberately by someone on the other end.
“Oh son of a…” he whispered as Nisha raised an eyebrow. “Someone noticed the spell and countered it. One of the Marauder’s guys just walked in there and was going upstairs to talk to your favorite githzerai.”
“Favorite? He gives me the creeps…”
“Half the people in there give me the creeps, the other half scare me. But I’ll be damned if I’m not trying to listen in one that meeting…” Clueless ducked out of the street and into an alley before he repeated his previous trick and called a clairaudience spell into his mind once more. The second time he tried it though it felt somewhat taxing, but he ignored the effect and tried the spell once more.
The banter of fiends filled his ears once again and he managed to center the spell’s area of effect on the tap room and then manipulate it from there. However, around halfway up the stairs it simply faded out, and while he could move it around further the area around Rule of Three and Colcook was a dead zone where the spell seemed to be actively suppressed.
“…Nisha? You know a way to eavesdrop on a room covered in an antimagic field or a where the folks have antiscry magic on them?” Clueless asked while still concentrating on the spell.
“Hang outside the window?” She said rather too honestly, grinning sheepingly like she’d tried the trick before on someone.
“…he- I don’t think Rule of Three would appreciate that…”
Clueless moved the spell around and tried to approach from the outside window of the chamber on the other side of the building and ran into a zone of complete and utter silence that hadn’t been there a moment before. Clearly someone was both aware of his efforts in some fashion and didn’t wish for him to listening in on their conversation.
“Damn… no luck.” He said as he ended the spell.
“'So.... what now? You done snooping? Neat spell, I'll have to learn it sometime.” Nisha quipped as she tossed a copper at a rat further down the alley.
“Anyways, yeah I’m done for now. Convenient portal of not, we need to go rescue an old friend from some slavers.”
“You been to the Waste before?” Nisha glanced at Clueless with a suddenly critical eye.
“…yeah, but I don’t exactly have very clear memories of it though.”
“Then it’s a good thing that I’m tagging along. Besides, the others should be fine without me for a little while. They’ve got Skalliska, and in any event there aren’t exactly going to be many traps or stuff they need to watch out for in Elysium, to say the very least.” Nisha said with a chuckle as they walked.
“Heck I could use the backup certainly, and the rest of the group… they have things they need to be doing. Aside from probably getting us *killed* if they came along. All that Toras has to do is open his mouth..."
Nisha snickered lightly, “So very true. And all Fyrehowl has to do is just to be there…”
“That too. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?”
“Considering that her kind make raids into the Waste clear across from the other side of the Great Wheel, she wouldn’t exactly be a welcome guest.”
Clueless nodded, “Tristol might be fine except for his own bloodline is rather obvious.”
“Yeah, of anyone, Florian wouldn’t be a problem since she’s a cleric of a war diety. Even if it’s a war deity confined to a single prime world, it’d fit given the battles on the first layer of the plane.”
“…she?” Clueless said as he shot Nisha a baffled look “…what’d’ya mean she?”
Nisha paused a moment and coughed, “Excuse me, him. Tongue slipped.”
“…um. Ok then.” Clueless said and shrugged as Nisha brushed it off and pointed up towards A’kin’s shop as they approached it on their path back to the Jammer.
Despite being fairly late in the evening there was a single light burning in the window above the Friendly Fiend. Nisha looked up at the window and remarked, “Typical.”
“Typical?” Clueless glanced at her, then up towards the single candle in the window.
“'Local chant is he never sleeps, that he's there running the shop all day, and most always there's lights burning upstairs. Fiends don't need much sleep at all I know, but still. I can't read him, despite him being patient with me and never being mean to anyone.”
"Yeah... Any idea what he'd be doing up there? Anyone ever try to look?"
Nisha shook her head before giving an answer, “Again, the chant is more screed than dark on this, but I hear tell he goes up there and screams his head off, hurls himself against the walls in hour long fits, all to get the frustration of being nice out of his system. Or that there's a portal to Gehenna up there, or he keeps stuff up there to torture, or he just has an everburning lamp and doesn’t bother to turn it off. Who's ever been up there to spread the supposed dark of it, that's what I want to know. All speculation. I don't believe most anything said about him. He’s just friendly and I’m pretty content to leave it at that.”
Clueless laughed, "I've got my own doubts on things..." The bladesinger gave a glance up at the 'grin' on the painted sign hanging above the shop’s door as they passed it.
Their trip back to the Portal Jammer passed without incident and the others seemed to have already gone to sleep when they got back, likely in preparation for their own activity the next day. Factol Darius announced their return, as always, in her own uniquely annoying way, “I have imagined two mortals returning home late!”
“Factol Darius, have you imagined a curfew for us to return home late by?” Clueless asked the doll.
“Yes!” The doll chirped before factol Sarin announced that they’d broken curfew and Factol Nilesia began muttering about punishing dire infractions of the law.
“What was the hour?” Clueless asked, knowing that it was close to antipeak at that moment but had not yet passed.
“Antipeak” The doll of the Signer factol quipped.
“Why, it *is* antipeak, and we are not in fact late Factol Darius.” Clueless said back to the doll.
“Now that I’ve imagined you, you talk back to me. Why must my own imagination mock me…?” Darius lamented.
Clueless leaned over and whispered to her, “Perhaps you’re trying to tell yourself something?”
The doll said nothing else before Clueless put her underneath an empty mug.
“Be back in a minute or so…” Nisha said as she walked up the stairs towards her own room. Clueless nodded back to her and headed up towards his own to grab a few things of his own.
Once the half-fey walked into his own bedroom he noticed, almost immediately, that something was laying atop his dresser that hadn’t been there before he’d left to the Styx Oarsman. He glanced at the stack of scrolls and letter beneath them that were all embossed with a familiar blue grin insignia on the letterhead.
“Well now.” He murmured “…you’ve been busy my grinning friend.”
Clueless whispered the words to a simple cantrip to detect any latent dweomers and was surprised to see that the entire stack of papers glowed with a soft, and fairly strong telltale hue, not only the sealed letter. Glancing around the room curiously to perhaps tell how the intruder had actually entered his room, or if they might be still lurking, Clueless saw nothing else out of the ordinary.
“Well, let’s see what you have to say…” He said as he opened the letter and began to read.
“The friend of a friend of a friend of a fiend let it be known your ankle has been bothering you a bit more lately. These should help alleviate your problem for the time being. Each will last roughly 18 hours each, triggered by command word, rather than completing the spell.”
“Very busy indeed…” Clueless said with a low smile to himself.
The letter was signed by the ubiquitous blue Cheshire grin, and the swirling symbol for the Wheels Within Wheels. In the margin of the letter, next to the symbol for the fiendish cabal was written a command word. Once Clueless made a mental note of the word the entire letter began to glow slightly with a pale green phosphorescent light.
As the letter began to glow brighter, Clueless raised an eyebrow and tossed the paper into the air as it rapidly disintegrated into nothing. The paper of the letter simply aged to dust rather than dissolving or burning and was gone before it hit the floor while the scrolls, all twelve of them, still sat upon the dresser welcomingly.
“Very nice…” Clueless said as there was a knock at the door.
“Come in.” He said without a glance as Nisha walked in tentatively.
“I've got my stuff, and Garroth's portal keys, though if you want to wait till the morning, that's fine, he's your friend. I'm just coming along to help if you need it.”
"Let me just grab some jink and we'll be off." Clueless said before turning and tucking the scrolls into his backpack with a grin.
“Sounds good to me, I'm gonna go play with the Factols. Come get me when you’re ready.” Nisha said with a chuckle as she walked off.
A minute later and Clueless was downstairs with several bags of jink, hopefully more than enough to buy back his former elven companion twice over. As he entered the taproom, Nisha was giggling at Darius.
“What?” Clueless asked.
Nisha didn’t say a word, but simply pointed over towards the Darius Doll.
Clueless glanced over to look at the Signer factol who was smiling humbly and had the Factol Rhys doll standing next to her with a hand on her shoulder.
“Rhys?” Clueless asked the doll.
Rhys said nothing, but Darius looked up at Clueless “I have imagined a less annoying me... with some help.”
Clueless laughed. And then burst out laughing as he heard exaggerated kissing noises coming from Nisha.
Nisha was sitting over to one side of the bar with the Factol Karan doll and the Factol Hashkar doll, making kissy noises and pressing them together with mock passion.
“The others will never understand! We can't keep our love secret forever! We have to stop seeing each other… I know it hurts… but I'll always love you!” Nisha was saying in a mock Hashkar voice as Clueless glanced over at her. She looked up at him, a puckish grin on her face and blushing heavily.
“…oh. That’s bad…” Clueless said once he recovered his composure.
Nisha grinned wryly for a moment and put the dolls back up on the mantle.
“Ready to go?” Clueless asked her.
“About as ready as I can be. Got everything I need right here.” The tiefling replied, hoisting her ubiquitous satchel.
Clueless nodded, “One of these days you know, I’ll ask.”
“About what?” She asked as she silently clip clipped up next to him.
“Oh, what alls in there.” He grinned a pulled out one of the scrolls he’d been given by the Cheshire Fiend. Whispering the command word the scroll vanished in a flash of light to leave nothing behind, not even dust. There was however, a soft light glowing around his ankle in its passing, and immediately before the globe faded slightly and began to give a soft hum, Clueless could have sworn that he felt something stir inside his head; and it was NOT happy.
Clueless grinned, "I think I pissed someone off."
“If you say so.” Nisha said, giving a curious look down at the bladesinger’s glowing ankle. “Well, Garroth’s portal keys, they work from the gatetowns, or, best as I can tell, from the portal that Rule of Three mentioned. I’d suggest that we hit that one, not that I really trust him, but that info seems to be legit.”
The half-fey looked over at the tiefer, "Well - on with the rescue. While we have the time."
Nothing happened on the way to the Lower Ward, but as the air turned foul and hazy, Nisha looked up at you her companion, “You know, we never did ask the Mezzoloth about the portal and where it actually was you know…”
Clueless groaned as he realized that they’d left the Styx Oarsman before being able to ask the rogue ‘loth.
“Probably a tout around here, or we could just throw rocks at A'kin’s window and see if he answers…” Nisha said, sticking out her tongue.
Clueless snickered, "I don't think so."
Nisha stomped her hooves on the pavement playfully like a small child begging its parents for a sweet it was told it couldn’t have, “Aww…it's late, we might have been able to make him have to rename himself as A'kin the usually friendly fiend!”
“Oh - why ruin a good reputation - he works hard for it.” Clueless said with a glance up toward A’kin’s shop and its perpetually lit window, knowing full well A’kin probably could hear him.
“So. A tout - after anti-peak... yeah." Clueless turned his head to one side at the very idea of trying to find one of Kylie’s guildsmen in the Lower Ward after antipeak, a daunting task if there ever was one.
Despite Clueless’s discouragement, Nisha walked to a few alleyways, looking down each one, seemingly for something specific, “I got an idea...”
As Nisha glanced into various alleyways, Clueless followed after her with a perplexed look on his face before she finally stopped at an alleyway by a building covered in Razorvine and let out a triumphant, “Ah ha!” as she darted behind the corner.
"... huh?" Clueless asked as he ran to catch up with her.
Turning the corner, the half-fey found her standing next to a Dabus that was floating next to the wall of razorvine, holding a small sickle and a stack of razorvine cuttings.
Nisha looked up to the silent caretaker of Sigil and politely asked, “Excuse me... I'm looking for a portal to the Grey Waste and I was told it was around here. I figure if anyone would, you'd know...”
"...Hi." Clueless said with a smile to the Dabus.
The Dabus turned to regard them both, and a string of symbols appeared floating over its head: the symbol of the Gray Waste, followed by an archway, then two hatchmarks, a cube, an arrow pointing right, one hatchmark, a cube, and an arrow pointing straight, and finally an image of a small, pagoda like building and a craggy, gray and black spotted marble arch; 2 blocks right, 1 block forward.
Having answered their question, the dabus then simply turned around and began to cut at the still growing razorvine, unperturbed in the slightest.
"...Thank you." Clueless said, looking at Nisha, "...that worked."
“Wow, that was surprisingly easy.” Nisha said with a grin and with her tail flicking in delight from side to side.
"...Well, She was ticked off earlier. Maybe things are working out...? Let's.... Go. Now."
“Umm...” Nisha looked at the Dabus as Clueless referred to Her Serenity in an offhand manner. The Dabus didn’t so much as pay them the slightest glance but kept on at its laborious task of trimming back the razorvine.
Clueless smiled innocently at the Dabus and started walking after Nisha who was moving in the direction of the silent caretaker’s directions quickly. Minutes later, true to its ‘word’ the Dabus's directions led two blocks to the right, and one block forward. At the end of the path, nestled between two run down buildings and through a short, and deathly silent alleyway stood a small, crumbling, and clearly abandoned shrine of sorts. There wasn’t a bit of trash in the street, nor any beggars, squatters or rats; nothing to break the eerie silence and sterility of the venue.
Nisha and Clueless cautiously moved down the street, both of them drawing their swords in case the silence was due to a larger predator or group of thugs hiding in the shadows. However there was nothing in the alleyway but a dull sense of dread that seemed to emanate from the dilapidated shrine at the end terminus of the street.
The shrine or small temple was shaped like a small pagoda, though the roof had sagged and collapsed with time and the acid tinged drizzle of the atmosphere of the Lower Ward. The walls of the building were a gray marble or granite, unmarked by symbols, paint or decorations in any way. All told, there were no markings on the small building whatsoever, and the only non worn-down part of the place was the archway in front of it.
Clueless glanced up at the archway where there might have once been a symbol that graced its capstone, but it had been long ago worn away from time or by blatant vandalism or deliberate defacement. Whatever power it once heralded was long ago forgotten except perhaps to the graveyard of the Astral.
Nisha was looking around and she was nervous for some reason. Looking unnerved by the place, she clutched her arms around herself as if trying to stave off some preternatural chill. “Weird…” The tiefling said.
“I have a bad feeling about this place too…” Clueless said to her as he glanced into the bleak interior of the fallen temple.
“You’re not the only one, this place is definitely creepy.” She replied as she took out the portal key to the Waste. That particular key was a black pebble, a gray pebble, and a drop of tar. Taking all three components, she dropped them all collectively into a small vial of dirty water and approached the archway with Clueless at her back.
As Nisha approached the archway it began to hum slightly. Looking past the softly glowing portal to the inside of the building, it appeared to be an arched sanctuary of sorts, not unlike a temple, but covered in dust and clearly long abandoned, not even marked by the tracks of vermin. Several dead rats and insects were piled at the door, all of them facing away from the entrance as if they died fleeing out of the interior.
"Well - I don't think that's a safe place to go into." Clueless said as he followed her to the portal.
Giving a glance back to the bladesinger, she stepped through as the portal flashed a churning and morbid gray to herald the way to the three glooms. Clueless followed immediately after her, his wings springing forth almost immediately as he passed through the archway and into the vortex.
There was a sensation of falling for a brief instant before they both reappeared after a flash of utter chill that left them shivering. The two of them emerged, standing upon a rocky outcrop rising out of a soil that was half ash or dust and rock. The ground was muted gray and black, the sky was dark gray and cloudless. There was no sun but a dull and sapping grayish light all around.
Looking out onto the vast layer of Oinos, the desolate plane stretched out to the flat horizon in all directions, largely featureless, with only some small hills breaking the bleak monotony, save for one feature that demanded their attention.
Perhaps some fifty miles off in the distance, breaking up from the ground and rising out of sight was the Wasting Tower of Khin-Oin, like the spine of a dead power sticking up from its tomb in the rocky depths of the Grey Waste underfoot. A dim glimmer from the ground in that direction traced the course of a tributary of the Styx that dove into the earth perhaps a few miles from their current position.
They stood upon the first layer of the Waste, Oinos, one of the primary battlefields of the Blood War. Normally the blasted expanse of the first layer should have been literally crawling with Baatezu and Tanar'ri armies fighting each other in bloody and merciless battles of genocidal attrition, perhaps only clearing away from Khin-Oin by fifty or so miles at the least. But, in every direction, there was no fighting. Squinting to see out further in the dim light, on the horizons Clueless and Nisha could make out armies moving across the plane and some fighting even, but they were all over 400 to 500 miles away. As best as they could judge, none of them were getting near the Wasting Tower and giving it much wider berth than usual. It was odd to say the least.
Clueless peered towards the tower, looking for magic, and noticed that the earth and sky for nearly a hundred miles out from that edifice of Yugoloth domination literally boiled with magic, illusion magic. Whatever was there in the shadow of Khin-Oin was of substance enough to put a pause in the wars of the other fiends, enough to make them avoid the tower for a massive distance by any stretch of the imagination, and whatever was there was intended to be hidden from sight, whatever it was.
Nisha scuffed a hoof in the dirt. The kicked up soil was an ash gray and streaked in places with blood, all slowly being bleached of their rusted brown color by the omnipresent leaching of the Waste, “Well… no Baatezu, no Tanar'ri, no problems. Right?”
"It's not normal though. They're supposed to be around here. *All* the time around here... why are they giving this place so much room?" Clueless said with uncertainty as he looked out towards the single largest structure in the planes and whatever was lurking in its shadow.
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