Shemeska's Planescape Storyhour (Updated 29 Jan 2014) - Page 26
  1. #501

    A new year, a new Oinoloth

    A sudden uncertainty ran through the minds of both Mydianchlarus and Anthraxus, a fear that the other might have called the third army into the battle, or worse, that some other enemy had entered what had been a two-sided war between them. Several seconds passed with both of them waiting for a reaction from the other.

    “They are not mine either…” The Oinoloth said preemptively before lurching into the hasty casting of a dozen defensive spells over himself.

    As the newly arrived army rolled in waves onto the field of battle, the Mother of Serpents fully solidified into being upon Oinos from Belarian, the 4th Gloom, and fully three of its heads turned to focus upon the trio of archfiends.

    Anthraxus screamed in anger at the thought of his revenge, so long planned, slipping away from him at the moment of what would have been his triumph momentarily. The former Oinoloth stood his ground and raised the Staff of the Lower Planes at the progenitor of all hydras and hurled a bit of himself into the effort as the ground shook with his fury. Like a burning, falling star in reverse, leaping from the earth into the sky, the anger of the Decayed hurtled towards the Mother of Serpents, striking solidly upon one of its heads and making the sky rain blood.

    The Altraloth Typhus shuffled backwards as he watched one of the heads of the great beast explode into a bloody cloud of bone and viscera, leaving only a charred and broken stump behind while the remains fell like a storm across the landscape. Typhus screamed out in fear and attempted to teleport to safety when he saw the stump of the ruined head begin to shift, tremble, twitch and regrow… He screamed louder when his teleportation ability failed him.

    Anthraxus felt the same sensation as Typhus did when he too attempted to teleport further back into his own lines only to have the ability fail him utterly. However, unlike Typhus, he never had the chance to stumble backwards physically, as one of the massive heads of the Mother of Serpents lashed out at him with the force and speed of a falling mountain.

    The scream of pain from the former Oinoloth rose above the clamor of battle tenfold it seemed when the great serpent severed his body at the waist, snapping down to rip his legs off just below the hip and leave him helpless upon the ground and trailing a frothing stream of mangled innards. Mydianchlarus stood in shock, uncaring as Typhus dashed past him in panicked retreat, only staring at his crippled enemy as the titanic head of the serpent withdrew back up into the sky. Current and past Oinoloth watched in shock and pain blurred vision respectively, as before that head withdrew to strike down hungrily at a cluster of slasraths under the banner of Mydianchlarus, the reddish glow within its eyes sparkled, coalesced, and erupted in a flickering bolt of lightning to ground itself between them both.

    Hovering several inches above the molten crucible his entrance had sprung into being was a single figure, well known to both archfiends in his presence. Vorkannis the Ebon, installed into his position as Overlord of Carceri following the ascendancy of Mydianchlarus as Oinoloth, and the vanishing of the former Altraloth lords of the Tower of Incarnate Pain in the Red Prison.

    The Ebon was wrapped in robes of darkest blue that seemed to fray at the edges and merge directly into the hazy flickers and tendrils of shadow that lapped up from his feet and streamed off of his body like wisps of smoke. He glanced at both archfiends with a smug sense of superiority; a study in darkness with only the odd, pinkish red of his eyes and the gleaming ivory white of his fangs giving contrast to his robes and sable dark fur.

    Mydianchlarus’s eyes glowed a brilliant reddish-orange, reflecting the Oinoloth’s anger at his subordinate’s treachery. He threw out a thin arm and motioned his retinue of Ultroloths back and away so that he would have both traitors to himself in single combat. The Ultroloths did as ordered.

    The Oinoloth’s mind sharpened to a blade and thrust out at the lesser ‘loth before it was blunted a half dozen times, the mental parries taking the sound of soft but feral laughter. The mental jousting was repeated in sorcery a moment later as both fiends sent a dozen or more spells to test and probe at each other’s defenses, protections, vulnerabilities, and contingencies. As the air hummed with hurled spells, the Ebon gave a feral smile and exaggerated bow to his lord the Oinoloth.

    “I regret that it must come to this my Oinoloth, but you see child, I have grown impatient in the time that I have had. Perhaps I might even spare you the pain that I have in store for the Decayed. Swear your loyalty to me and I might spare you the same. I regret that while my hatred is directed not to you, and only tangentially directed to your predecessor, you simply happen to stand in my way. And I can’t have that…” The glint of distant explosive cascades reflected off of the Ebon’s glistening fangs as he looked to the Oinoloth and to the mangled but still living Anthraxus.

    “Who are you? What are you? No arcanaloth could have mustered this support, this level of treachery; not even one granted status as Overlord of Carceri.” The Ultroloth prince said as he pointed his blade at his very own Judas.

    The Ebon turned back to the Oinoloth with an amused look playing across his muzzle. “No. You’re right, one couldn’t. But you know me, don’t delude yourself into thinking you don’t. Or rather, perhaps I should say you knew me once in a manner, and then, thinking yourself better, abandoned me. Wrap your mind about that while I exterminate your predecessor.”

    The arcanaloth began to hover closer to the crippled body of Anthraxus, but then paused as he felt an unwelcome sensation of being watched. He snarled and began to whisper softly, nearly under his breath, a mixture of curses, invectives, and incantations. Thirty yards distant from where he and the two other archfiends stood, Tellura Ibn Shartalan watched expectantly, the Baernaloth wrapped in the guise of innocence; understated blasphemy.

    “… you are not welcome here Bitch… you had your chance, and I…” The Ebon snarled in the mother tongue of all guttural languages, Baernaloth, which the other archfiends recognized but did not themselves speak, before trailing off as he turned around to face the Shepherdess. There was nothing there where the Baernaloth had sat only moments before, and the Ebon glanced around warily for several seconds with a look of keen suspicion crossing his otherwise confident features before he was certain she was truly gone.

    No sooner had he returned his attention to The Decayed before a flurry of spells erupted from the outstretched hand of Mydianchlarus. The Ebon counterspelled or deflected all of them with an almost dispassionate series of gestures and whispers, all in the same guttural tongue he had spoken in before. Those spells he deflected shot out and devastated whole columns of troops where they struck, such was the force behind the Oinoloth’s attacks. But, the first volley of spells dismissed, he continued till he hovered over Anthraxus.

    The maimed Altraloth spat blood up at The Ebon and vainly tried to reach his staff that lay just out of his grasp. “You… you were the one who told Mydianchlarus those words. You wanted me to step down, you set us against each other to serve yourself. I’d be proud of you if I wasn’t going to feast on your heart!”

    Anthraxus’s left hand shot up and slammed into The Ebon’s chest. There was an explosion and spray of blood around the two fiends, and when it settled to the ground the Ebon was smirking.

    “Contingencies are beautiful things, especially when they’re not visible to your opponents. For what it’s worth I wasn’t expecting a physical attack and you can say you surprised me, in a way.” The Ebon said as he looked down at the other archfiend who was missing an arm from the detonation of his own spells funneled back at him and the explosive contingencies that had surrounded the Ebon.

    “And yes, I did tell those words to Mydianchlarus. Prophecy is beautiful, self-fulfilling prophecy even more so, and you played your role in it perfectly. You have at least that to be proud of, impure wretch that you are. And this is all about purity you see…” The Ebon said as he began to whisper the words of another series of spells like undertones mixed in with his own voice.


    ****


    Halfway across the battlefield, nearly on the other side of Khin-Oin, the forces of Anthraxus fought a slowly losing battle versus the forces of The Ebon and a wedge of the smaller Baatezu force. Leading the counteroffensive for the forces of the former Oinoloth was the Ultroloth general Palinarius, marshal of his own regiments and those mercenary troops out of Center.

    Palinarius currently stood above the prone form of a Hamatula whose broken body had been pinned down by the tridents of two Mezzoloths. Rather than killing the Baatezu immediately, the Ultroloth was slowly torturing it to death on the battlefield. Already a bloody series of incisions laced across the bowels of the lawful fiend where the Ultroloth had begun to slowly excise its intestines, meticulously separating their loops from one another and placing hair-thin cuts across their surface to expose to the mildly acidic air. All the while, the yugoloth general taunted the lesser fiend with release if it would only curse the name of the Hag Countess.

    And then, something happened during the last stages of the torture, right before the Ultroloth was certain the hamatula would expire and exhale its last cursed breath. Right before that point, something seemed to reach in and snuff out of the fiend’s life and replace it with another.

    “Have you missed me… my lord?” The hamatula said with a mocking, almost sultry tone, as its eyes began to exude a greenish glow.

    The identity of the sorceress who had snatched away the spirit of his victim was instantly known, and Palinarius answered her question with the point-blank detonation of a crackling bolt of black lightning at the hamatula’s head. As the ozone laced smoke cleared to reveal the charred and partially melted corpse on the ground, the Ultroloth heard the voice again.

    “Perhaps you don’t remember me quite as well as I’d hoped my lord. Shall we try again?” The voice came again, mocking and acerbic, a second time from one of the two Mezzoloths that had flanked the Ultroloth.

    “The necromancy spells have done wonders for your complexion… traitor.” The air hummed with the Ultroloth’s retort before the Mezzoloth gave a hateful scream and hurled itself at the general.

    The possessed fiend was killed in short order, and the other Mezzoloth as well, a moment later, after it too succumbed to the will of the otherwise unseen arcanaloth. Palinarius touched a trident wound in his side, judging the extent of the injury, when he was struck a glancing blow from a jagged spike of lightning. His contingencies took effect almost instantly and a second later he was shielded by a series of spells and standing several yards away to look at his assailant finally in the flesh.

    Shylara the Manged stood over the two Mezzoloth corpses with a trail of black smoke slowly curling up from her taloned hand where she had hurled the bolt at her former superior. The arcanaloth was snarling and nearly foaming at the mouth in fury as she glared up at the Ultroloth, wearing what was best described as a blue velvet loincloth and two strips of blue leather wrapped around her body to only barely cover her flesh in discrete places before joining at the neck.

    “I have a new lord, and he has promised me much. You live now only because The Ebon forbid me from killing you during the time I served you in Center.” Shylara snarled before licking the blood from a cut on her forearm, “And I am under no such restrictions now…”

    Their sorcerous duel lasted nearly an hour, and for a time it seemed as if the battle raging around them avoided the vicinity due to the spells the two hurled at one another like insults. But at its conclusion, the Ultroloth was dead and the Ebon’s consort was crouched atop its body, screaming till her voice cracked, as she clawed at the dead general’s mutilated face. Shylara was herself badly injured from the battle, the illusions covering her cursed and manged appearance dispelled, her body scorched heavily and bleeding from multiple wounds as she repeatedly vented her psychotic fury at the Ultroloth’s corpse.

    “My Love will be proud of me this day. I will sit at His side and damn all of you that stand in His path. My Love will be proud of me, and you will not stand in the way of me basking in His approval…My Love will be proud of me and I will give PAIN to make it thus… don’t think this over… I will kill you for sport and wrench your spirit out of the plane itself to punish you again and again and again if my Love but wills it happen…”

    Her own troops and those of her allies left her alone to repeatedly mangle the face of the fallen Ultroloth, fearing that her own irrational hatred might be turned towards them if she was interrupted. And so, they left the blood spattered arcanaloth, a solitary, screaming figure upon the field of battle who incinerated a half dozen groups of fiends loyal to the enemies of The Ebon who strayed too closely to her position. But elsewhere, in a battle of his own, The Ebon was immensely pleased with her, his delightful, blind little tool.


    ****


    Halfway across the battlefield, the Altraloth Typhus, Warlord of the Lower Planes and General of the Infernal Front, was running and fleeing the field of battle. The archfiend was screaming in shame and terror, running for his life, and abandoning all rational sense except immediate self-preservation.

    Typhus was confused, overwhelmed by the utter collapse of his plans and strategies that had, before the battle, seemed brilliant and masterful. Indeed, his battle plans designed alongside Mydianchlarus were that, except they were also inflexible and rigid, incapable of being modified to account for the sudden appearance of a third and fourth army on the field of battle. And, upon the collapse of his plans, the Altraloth reverted to a confused simpleton without a full sense of what to do and where to go, reacting only on instinct. Still, the archfiend was still that, an archfiend, and so despite his lack of wits he was still a force to be reckoned with, and those hunting him were well aware of that.

    Typhus was babbling incoherently when he slammed into an invisible barrier and sprawled on the ground for a moment before snarling and looking up. Some thirty feet above him hovered a group of fifteen arcanaloths dressed in the robes of the Tower Arcane of Gehenna, all of them having originally pledged themselves to the Oinoloth Mydianchlarus; all of them had gleefully lied. Surrounding the circle of sorcerous fiends were a flock of Nycaloths, perhaps double their number in total, and the winged fiends were slowly descending to surround the Altraloth.

    “Traitors! All of you! How dare you betray the Oinoloth!” Typhus snarled and spat as he looked up at the circle of arcanaloths and the central figure among them that his hatred was reserved for.

    Helekanalaith, the Keeper of the Tower Arcane, looked down upon the archfiend dispassionately, his hands clasped behind his back as he hovered in the air staring down, both literally and metaphorically, at Typhus through gold rimmed spectacles perched on his snout, “How dare I? Imbecile…”

    Typhus hurled a crackling greenish ray from his hand up towards the Keeper, only to have one of the Nycaloths suddenly have its eyes glaze over and promptly hurl itself into the path and be disintegrated instead of its superior. The Keeper chuckled like a teacher at a well meaning, but ultimately wrong and failing student.

    “You overreach your place arcanaloth! You follow an over glorified member of your own caste instead of your Oinoloth, the most powerful Ultroloth on the lower planes.”

    “Ah yes, so says the idiot archfiend, lecturing me, the Keeper of the Tower Arcane, on matters of caste, protocol and obedience. Tell me… you were a Mezzoloth when you bargained with the hags for your power, yes? Don’t presume to speak to me as anything less than your better if you wish to speak to me of matters of caste.” Helekanalaith snarled back at Typhus.

    Typhus brushed off the words and abruptly changed track, abandoning his previous path of logic for another. “And why do you follow the Overlord of Carceri when you are his superior by right of position amongst the members of your own caste? You are the Keeper of the Tower, the highest of your caste, and he is not. He should be following you, not the other way around.”

    The Keeper seemed amused by the protests of the archfiend, “The Ebon will want you later, and you’ve been a thorn in my side for some time with your insistence on being a free agent in the Blood War. One less thing to balance on the books now, so I can’t say that I’m sorry to do this…”

    By himself, the Keeper of the Tower might have had the ability to best the Altraloth, but it would have taken time, pain, and even then it would not have been a certain thing for an outcome in his favor. However, with a dozen others of his kind and double that number of Nycaloths surrounding them and penning them apart from the rest of the battle surging all around them, the task seemed almost easy, if not for the loss of half of those contributing casters beneath the blade of Typhus.

    Clutching a massive emerald nearly the size of his own head and cut on each facet with glowing sigils, the Keeper smiled as he dismissed his retinue and teleported back towards where the Ebon was busy with both former and present Oinoloths. But, before he vanished from sight, he held up the gem as if giving its occupant a view of the battlefield, where the army of The Ebon was steadily taking the battle, smashing the other two opposing forces between itself and the smaller Baatezu army of the Hag Countess while above it all, the Mother of Serpents was literally wading through a blood frothed sea of Mezzoloths, crushing, devouring and spitting flame or ice down upon whatever did not obey the archfiend who held its obedience in thrall.

    And, as he showed the captive Altraloth a view of the ongoing battle, he whispered to it. “We will discuss this matter later after my lord has assumed his rightful position and I am given that which I asked for when I answered his little question. Even for an idiot, over glorified Mezzoloth like yourself, you should know that power commands respect, regardless of caste, and that loyalty is bought by the highest bidder. That explains my actions here as far as you need be concerned with for the remaining hours of your existence, though I expect that The Ebon will explain things in more detail. I’m a pragmatist above all though, so really, you truly should have seen this coming.”


    ****


    Very rarely do the planes see direct battle between nearly godlike entities, but there upon the Waste, in the shadow of the Wasting Tower of Khin-Oin, three of them fought to the death. Anthraxus, already cut in half and missing an arm, died quickly when his blood was transmuted into an flammable liquid and his heart erupted in a white-hot flame to spark his blood. The former Oinoloth died as his own body confused itself in a pyre of liquid, nearly living flame that left only his ribcage and head recognizable.

    Mydianchlarus however was not already injured at the start of his battle with the Overlord of Carceri, and in fact he struck first as the Ebon sealed the fate of his predecessor. Observers to the battle might have seen what first appeared as a black cloud rising up from the hand of the Ultroloth prince that then rushed to surround the arcanaloth, taking upon itself the shape of a dozen howling, ill defined spirits all suffering from a multitude of hellish diseases.

    The spell, the swirling cloud of disease, or the concept of disease, swirled around the Ebon as he turned to face Mydianchlarus. He paused and smiled before he inhaled deeply of the cloud and sniffed at the air like the spell’s effect was a warm breeze filled with the smell of flowers or perfumes. “You haven’t had control of the power granted by your position for very long if that was your attempt at channeling it. But even if you were holding back, it wouldn’t affect me anyways.”

    The Ultroloth Prince didn’t bother asking why, or even respond at all before hurling a flurry of spells that his opponent countered, avoided, or simply allowed to take effect if he was immune to them, which was more often that not.

    “Do you know the source of the power granted by your throne atop the Wasting Tower? You’ve scratched the surface, but it and I, we were well acquainted, so to speak, before you first crawled out of the spawning vats miles beneath Khin-Oin from the rotten flesh of the tower, the blood of the Styx, and the plane itself. You are a child who would claim to touch the sky while your feet were still firmly planted in the crib.” Vorkannis said mockingly into the mind of the Oinoloth as both of them continued to hurl spells and invocations at one another at a frightening pace.

    Such was the ferocity of their battle that even the Great Serpent moved to avoid those spells of the two archfiends that either missed their intended target or were intentionally deflected by one or the other. But as the minutes of the duel stretched onwards it was clear who was the more skilled of the two.

    Mydianchlarus was fighting for his position and for his life and the strain was clearly showing by the flickering pattern of colors upon his otherwise expressionless and dispassionate face, and Vorkannis was clearly enjoying himself rather than feeling stressed. It was a dual to one of them and a game or lecturing experience for the other.

    “You know what you lack boy?” The Ebon said as he avoided a sphere of electrified ice that Mydianchlarus had counterspelled and hurled back at him. “You lack passion. You lack a driving motivation behind your actions. Certainly you can claim the promotion of dispassionate evil as a goal, but I think for some it has become a blank, bland combination of words rather than actions. It’s something you claim to represent in body, spirit and deed, but it has become a mantra only. You claim to write a book after having just learnt to pen your own name.”

    “You are an ambitious fool and nothing more. Talented, so it is a pity that I will have to kill you today as an example.” The voice of the Oinoloth sliced the psionic ether like a blade, but it seemed to blunt against a wall of oinian steel at the mind of the Overlord of Carceri. There was something about how the Ebon’s mind seemed almost to fade into the background that was unsettling to the Oinoloth, but still, they fought.

    “You would lead our race but be the lapdog of the General… surly you won’t deny that. Neither you, nor any of your predecessors could really say otherwise. You stand in the shadow of others and try to deny it exists, and I intend to cast my own.” The Ebon said as he gestured and imploded the prismatic sphere that the Oinoloth had been standing inside.

    Mydianchlarus was dazed and injured as the Ebon teleported directly in front of him, hovering silently with his hands crossed in front of him as if in prayer. The Ebon was whispering a slow and subtle litany of words in a language that burned the ears and seared into the mind of any within a hundred yards. As he whispered, his reddish-pink albino eyes glared into the Oinoloth’s own flickering orbs, and Mydianchlarus saw something in them that he recognized somehow. In that moment of recognition, something slipped through into his own mind and seared deeply where the Oinoloth’s mind touched it. Mydianchlarus stopped fighting.

    “You have something to say to me then?” The Ebon smiled as he reached out and touched the Oinoloth’s chin and made the other archfiend look up at him. Through it all, he never stopped whispering the stream of seemingly effortless incantations from the well of his mind.

    “I yield to you my lord. I submit and relinquish my claim to the throne of Khin-Oin. I offer you my loyalty.” Mydianchlarus’s mental voice was unsteady and seemingly in awe of whatever it was that he had glimpsed buried within that faint touch upon The Ebon’s mind.

    “Yes, I said I would spare you the fate and pain of Anthraxus if you pledged your loyalty to me and submitted. That I did say.” The Ebon said as he whispered the last words in Baernaloth into the air, “I lied.”

    The air seemed to crystallize into a spider’s web of spells made physical, sutured together by will and words. Woven about the Oinoloth like a hundred thousand guillotine blades they snapped taught and constricted in an instant. As the Ebon smiled and blinked his eyes, there was nothing left of Mydianchlarus but a yards wide splatter upon the ground, a fine reddish mist, and the intact head of the Oinoloth with a look of fear lodged into his eyes in their death glaze.

    Vorkannis the Ebon snapped his fingers and summoned a group of Mezzoloths. He pointed at the heads of the two former Oinoloths, “Carry them, drag them, whichever… bring them with you and follow me through the Tower. We have much to do before we climb to the top.”

    A moment later his thoughts whispered out across the battlefield where the war still raged despite the death of the lords of the two other opposing armies. The Keeper of the Tower, the Ebon’s consort, and their third wheel of their conspiracy all felt a tug at their minds as their lord called to them.

    Shylara the Manged was the first to arrive, appearing at the Ebon’s feet and clutching at his robes like a worshipper at the base of an idol. It was apparent that she had cleaned herself since butchering the Ultroloth general Palinarius, though her muzzle was still matted and stained with blood as she licked The Ebon’s hands. The Ebon minded not as he motioned her to stand, and they embraced one another passionately before Helekanalaith the Keeper of the Tower Arcane appeared in the flash of a teleport. The Ebon broke the embrace of his lover and she stepped to his side respectively and lowered her head in deference like a trained pet.

    “Typhus is waiting at your leisure, but very definitely not at all at his own.” The Keeper said as he handed the gem containing the bottled Altraloth over to The Ebon.

    “Good, though there is still much to do once we are all arrived…” He said, before whispering into his consort’s mind and handing her the gem to carry for him, something that she did without question.

    As The Ebon stood over the mangled remains of both former Oinoloths, there was a long expected flash of an opening gate off to his left and a single figure stepped through. She was dressed in an elegant green and purple gown made of an uncountable number of glass beads strung on woven gold wire, and a tiara of living razorvine was perched on her head between two erect jackal’s ears; The Marauder.

    “Good of you to join us Shemeska, I was hoping that you wouldn’t remain bottled up within your Cage while we had our fun here. Tell me though, since I can’t exactly enter Sigil myself, how have the celestials reacted to losing a sizable fraction of one of their upper planes?” The Ebon said as he took the hand of the newly arrived fiendess and kissed her outstretched hand.

    The Marauder turned to the Manged and smiled delicately to the other female who was only barely repressing her urge to snarl and hiss; instead she returned the petulant, thin-lipped smile of social courtesy. Inwardly the Ebon was amused to no small end.

    “Let me kill her my Love… I beg of you… please…” Came Shylara’s mental begging into the mind of The Ebon. Clearly there was no love lost between the two, though whatever the reason might have been, neither of them was being forthcoming to anyone who didn’t already know.

    Vorkannis replied openly with a smile as he leaned over and rubbed his lover’s chin softly with endearment. However his mental reply, pumped directly into her mind was a terse, “No. She is useful to me, and as long as she is, she remains off limits to any ideas of revenge on your part. You as well, are very useful to me my love.”

    The Manged took the point and smiled again at the Marauder with smoldering eyes tinged with green flame. The Marauder returned the affection with a slight bow, a rim of purple flame lapping up from her own eyes. The King of the Crosstrade was laughing ever so slightly as she brushed past the Ebon’s lover.

    “Even with these fools dead, the battle will not end till I have taken the throne myself. Already at least two pretenders to the title have attempted to take the seat themselves…” The Ebon said as he looked up towards the top of Khin-Oin where the Siege Malicious waited.

    His three conspirators and his consort nodded to him and waited.

    “Our forces here at the base have the upper hand and it will not change at any point in the near future. The Mother of Serpents will wait here and deny entry to any not loyal to me once we enter Khin-Oin. As that point the army of Baatezu loyal to the Hag Countess, their loyalty purchased by me some time ago, will leave with their payment.” Vorkannis said with utter confidence.

    “And what is their price my lord?” Helekanalaith asked curiously and respectfully, despite the point that Typhus had argued with him earlier.

    “The mortal mercenaries here on all sides. That is their price, their bodies and their souls in trade for loyalty from the Baatezu. Several hundred thousand at the very least, many of them valuable prizes in their own right. And I have no need for them.” The Ebon said as he motioned towards the gates of Khin-Oin.

    “We have a long walk ahead of us from here to the summit, and much to do along the way. The lesser yugoloths here or within the tower will follow their inbred instructions and listen to commands given power by caste and power, they are not a worry. Any greater yugoloths within the tower and here without, they will be given two choices: they will swear utter loyalty to me or they will face first pain and then oblivion. Our purge of the race here at your birthplace will take several days, but it will be something to remember. Follow…”

    ****

  2. #502
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    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

    * post roll count doesn't match database

  3. #503
    Wonderful writing as usual, Shemeska. I hope those four will die slow, painful deaths...

  4. #504
    I'm Ray...of Enfeeblement
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    Thanks Shem and happy new year.

  5. #505
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krafus
    Wonderful writing as usual, Shemeska. I hope those four will die slow, painful deaths...

    So do I.

  6. #506
    Quote Originally Posted by Clueless
    So do I.
    You mean it hasn't happened yet, despite the delay between the game and the story hour? Darn. Is it one of your group's objectives?

  7. #507
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krafus
    You mean it hasn't happened yet, despite the delay between the game and the story hour? Darn. Is it one of your group's objectives?
    Good *lord* is it so one of our goals. Heck, my character's stated goal by the end of this first arc was to *shave* the Marauder. Personally.

    The trick is that these are some *big* guys we're mucking with. Admittedly we do end up seriously *F*ing up Shylara. In multiple meanings of the word in the case of one of us. You'll see what I mean as time goes on.
    Last edited by Clueless; Saturday, 1st January, 2005 at 01:27 AM.

  8. #508

    NEATO, Great Story Hour

    WOW, I started reading this story hour just after Christmas. It's been one LOOONNNG read, but well worth it. Don't worry Shemeska, your writing isn't perfect, but your sense of "timing/cadence" is dead-on. Congrats, now I'm really jonesing to play a good and proper planescape game. ^_^

    Couple-o-questions if you don't mind:
    How do you organize your plotlines for yourself (ie, how do you keep things straight)?
    Is there anything you use for inspiration for your fiend's intrigues? I myself LOVE intrigue-based games, but personally, I just don't have the head for it... though I'd love to learn.
    I don't suppose there's any compiled book of yugoloths and other interesting lower (and upper) planar creatures are there (i.e., in one PDF volume)? With pictures?
    Is Clueless's Half-Fey template posted anywhere?

    Again, you've got a great story-hour here. I hope to read it again soon. ^_^

    Happy New Year!

  9. #509
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    Re. plotline, since we've asked this one ourselves. One word: Flowcharts.

    I know inspiration involved a lot of NIN and Tool, with the occasional Vast. I don't know where he got what he's got plot wise - other than perhaps historical inspirations from Russian politics - but I do know what music he listens to while plotting.

    Books: Faces of Evil (http://svgames.com/tsr2630esd.html) , and Planewalker (www.planewalker.com) may have some fiend stuff and the forums have some very knowledgable folks to bounce questions off of.

    Not yet. I need to dig it out and stick it up someplace. (Currently in the editor's hands at planewalker.)

    But - that shall come in the morning. Having discovered that Uno: The Drinking Game - produces bad results when you lose twice in a row with gin and water close to hand... yeah. Me. Sleep.
    Last edited by Clueless; Saturday, 1st January, 2005 at 09:29 AM.

  10. #510
    Quote Originally Posted by Clueless
    Good *lord* is it so one of our goals. Heck, my character's stated goal by the end of this first arc was to *shave* the Marauder. Personally.

    The trick is that these are some *big* guys we're mucking with. Admittedly we do end up seriously *F*ing up Shylara. In multiple meanings of the word in the case of one of us. You'll see what I mean as time goes on.
    So you need to be higher level before tackling on some of those bastards? And "multiple meanings of the word," eh? Sounds like something pervert. Count on me being on the lookout for it.

  11. #511

    Suppositions and Conjecture

    Anyone else note how the Ebon states that he can't enter Sigil... BEFORE he ascends the Wasting Tower? One could assume that he's already attained archfiend status (archfiends aren't allowed in Sigil, right?) or, and here's the really interesting supposition for me, he's a power.

    Thanks for the quick answers Clueless. Heh, go sleep off your fun from last night. lol
    Last edited by Lobo Lurker; Saturday, 1st January, 2005 at 09:32 PM.

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    It makes a lot of time it's hinted that the Ebon is a Baernoloth in disguise -- or at least, something on par with that level. He sure is not a mere arcanoloth, but something more powerful and more ancient...

    See the battle with the Oinoloth, he had somewhat of a ninja-ultimate-power factor with him. Two archfiends attacked him and not even inflicted him a bruise... So either he's the DM's pet, à la Elminster, or he's a Baern.

    He's definitely not a yugo, anyway: "Our purge of the race here at your birthplace" -- with that sentence, he made it clear that the Grey Waste is not his birthplace.

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    ... *snicker*

  14. #514
    Quote Originally Posted by Lobo Lurker
    Anyone else note how the Ebon states that he can't enter Sigil... [i]BEFORE[/b] he ascends the Wasting Tower? One could assume that he's already attained archfiend status (archfiends aren't allowed in Sigil, right?) or, and here's the really interesting supposition for me, he's a power.
    It's perhaps a safe assumption that Vorkannis could be considered an archfiend already, simply by virtue of his place as Overlord of Carceri/Lord of the Tower of Incarnate Pain. And archfiends can't get into Sigil in general.

    I won't actually answer the speculations here since it took around 2 years in game for the PCs to find out the full answer to that. Power, archfiend, Baernaloth, something else... time shall tell.

  15. #515
    Quote Originally Posted by Gez
    See the battle with the Oinoloth, he had somewhat of a ninja-ultimate-power factor with him. Two archfiends attacked him and not even inflicted him a bruise... So either he's the DM's pet, à la Elminster, or he's a Baern.
    He's gotten hurt before in the campaign, and I actually wrote stats out for him fairly early on. Further on in the campaign, Toras sucked punched him in a dead magic zone and seriously enjoyed the experience. "And yes, that was truly satisfying." - Toras's player

    He's definitely not a yugo, anyway: "Our purge of the race here at your birthplace" -- with that sentence, he made it clear that the Grey Waste is not his birthplace.
    Without fully answering anything, a clarification here: Our was him using the royal 'we' effectively, and 'your birthplace' was specifically referring to Khin-Oin itself, and not the Waste in general. I should have been more clear. But, that said, you can take that to perhaps presume that Khin-Oin might not be the Ebon's birthplace.

  16. #516

    More speculation...

    Hmm, it was also implied (although, I may just be reading too much into the dialogue) that the Ebon used to be Oinoloth. Any comments about that Shemeshka?

  17. #517


    or Wow, depending on your moral standpoint

  18. #518
    A little overt, but then, how better to cement your command than by showing your superiority in terms universally understood?

    Good *lord* is it so one of our goals. Heck, my character's stated goal by the end of this first arc was to *shave* the Marauder. Personally.
    Now THAT is an admirable aim. Just imagine the headlines in Sigil's newspapers ...

    And of course there's no better way or better place to spend the early morning than here, reading. I should go to sleep sometime, though.

    Dakkareth, what a way to begin a new year. well, the second day technically, but whatever.

  19. #519

    Impressive

    As always Shemmy, most impressive. Vorkannis is even more of a mystery now then before...

    I think that the interesting thing is what Vorkannis thinks of the Altraloths as 'impure' and the (now deceased) Oinoloth as a coward. I wonder why the Ebon seems to hate the leaders of the race so much? I can understand the night hag spawned Altraloths... and I suppose that he wants to rule, outside the shadow, so killing the other leaders is how to do it... hm.

    But you know me, don’t delude yourself into thinking you don’t. Or rather, perhaps I should say you knew me once in a manner, and then, thinking yourself better, abandoned me.
    Ancient evils then... but then, maybe this has something more to do with the fact he definitely dealt with both of them in the past. Or maybe...
    Something stirs my little chosen one, first of your kind. Something that stirs the winds of the lower planes and forces events and processes into being in its wake. Something that would destroy you if we allowed it to do so. But that is not what we wish, and not what we have planned. You are destined for much that has not come into being yet, and neither will this deviate you from your destiny.
    But would the Ebon be the agent of this stiring? Or the stiring itself? Or neither, perhaps...

    “… you are not welcome here Bitch… you had your chance, and I…” The Ebon snarled
    Interesting. Calling the Dire Shepherd a bitch is very uncontroled... perhaps Vorkannis loosing his cool, something we hadn't really seen before now. But why? The knowledge that she might be able to control even him?

    And most interesting, I thought...
    “You lack passion. You lack a driving motivation behind your actions. Certainly you can claim the promotion of dispassionate evil as a goal, but I think for some it has become a blank, bland combination of words rather than actions. It’s something you claim to represent in body, spirit and deed, but it has become a mantra only. You claim to write a book after having just learnt to pen your own name.”
    "You lack passion"-- It's like he's doing this just so that someone who cares about the goal is in charge (and helping himself, like any 'loth). The obsession with Pure Evil is reminiscent of the Baern, but the means are more direct, it seems like, than most Baern would be. Perhaps he's a Baern who's not demented? He doesn't seem to care about law or chaos.

    Maybe not though. I'm beginning to doubt my earlier conclusions...

  20. #520
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