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Dark Days in Sion - Act 3: Scene 3

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Vandrok's Advice to Rhast

Rhast said:
Rhast knows you can demand any information you want, but thanks to Kumbakarna's cardinal rule that family do not harm each other there are limits to how forcefully you can insist.

Vandrok can read the apprehension on the little creature's face, and he is sympathetic. Vandrok knows what it means to be an outcast. He would never hurt Rhast, but from his body posturing and social queues, it is evident that Rhast has no idea of Vandrok's non-malevolence toward him. ~That's something we'll need to remedy,~ Vandrok muses. ~Rhast is revoltingly ugly, incessantly annoying, and a cowardly thief, but he does not deserve mistreatment or abuse.~

Vandrok draws close to Rhast once more, "Little Cretin, you do annoy me, but fear not. There is no honor in harming one so small as you. I thank you for telling me the shaman's name. And I will keep my word to you, although I do not know when my next hunt will be. In that regard, you will have to be patient. In the meantime, here's some advice: try not to be so annoying, and stop stealing food so often. You don't have to stop either thing completely, just do them less often. Keep your head down, and your eyes open. People despise you because you are different. I know that feeling well. So don't give them any additional reasons to despise you even more. In fact, you should concentrate on finding reasons for them to overlook your indiscretions. Make yourself useful. It's hard to do, but believe me, it's worth it."

And with that, Vandrok wanders off to find Vahr; he intends to ask him about the ones who are walking the path of blood.
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In the Cellar of Jabbar's Trade Shop

Aust: Speaks to Elloral "Please cure me of this curse."

Aust looks at the rodent-creature, bound and blind, as he speaks to Avar "I don't care how it dies, as long as it does!" He says before he raises his voice further. "Do you hear me, vermin? I plan to make it my hobby bringing your people to a genocide so deep that your descendants will avoid Cabarda for the next 100 years!"

At that point, Billanverthorne strikes swiftly, severing the head of the rhat with one mighty swing of his greatsword.

Avar grins as Elloral gasps prompting Burrai to reach over to grab her arm comfortingly. Tonights events were truly upsetting and not getting any easier. He leans towards her and whispers.

Burrai: -Whispers- "Do it now. Pray the healing calms his nerves as well."

Elloral: Steps forward and lays her hands on Aust. "Great goddess Valkauna, cure this poor soul. Let your healing powers cleanse away the curse of Vermithrax!"

[sblock=Remove Curse]
Level: Brd 3, Clr 3, Pal 3, Sor/Wiz 4
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Target: Creature or item touched
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)
Remove curse instantaneously removes all curses on an object or a creature. Remove curse does not remove the curse from a cursed shield, weapon, or suit of armor, although the spell typically enables the creature afflicted with any such cursed item to remove and get rid of it. Certain special curses may not be countered by this spell or may be countered only by a caster of a certain level or higher.[/sblock]

[Aust: You feel a great sickness ease out of your body. You are cured!]

Aust: "Thank you." He says to Elloral before he continues. "We need those in the guild and their allies to be responsible for killing Jabbar and this Vul. Yes, I'd think that would be the end of Noro and his filth. The Vul wouldn't tolerate the guild any longer."

Burrai: Clears his throat. "If we let the Vulkyrie make war against the whole thieves guild it won't just be Noro and his goons who get killed. Before Ren ran off he was leading myself and Jabbar to a meeting with Rasul. Ersun here was sent by him in fact as a potential ally..." He says gesturing towards the underfolk. "Using the Vulkyrie to kill our enemies for us is not a bad idea, but they are highly indiscriminate killers..." He pauses, choosing his next words carefully. "...as surely as everyone here needs no reminding."

Avar: "Then what should we do with these corpses?"

Elloral: "I can question the dead. The minds of the departed retain an imprint of the knowledge they had while living. However, those memories also give it something of the same will it would have had in life to resist those questions. There is no guarantee they will answer me, but I can try." She states with a heavy swallow. "Which one should I question first and what should I ask? I can only manage four questions per corpse, and only three corpses until I must pray again for spells."

[Everyone: What do you do?]
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Aletia: All you can eat

A hard lump formed in Aletia's throat, and her ears rang as though a plague of cicadas had found a nearby place to roost, when Bill off-headed the oversized rodentia.

It was shocking, gruesome and rather unexpected! Burning hatred and desire for vengeance she completely understood, but witnessing it first hand? This was something you could never be fully prepared for. Would she one day take a life like this, in a snap of one's fingers? Before judging the man on his brutal actions, Aletia considered what she might have done, had this individual brought about Vallio's fate. Yes... she would have severed a head too, given half a chance.

Then there was another lingering thought to struggle with. The abductors. Had they physically harmed her? No. Had their actions warranted a death sentence? Arguable. It was permanently confirmed now, like carvings in an old stone wall, that guilt was decreed by association and allegiance. No wonder Bill had inquired as to her own. This level of connectedness, pack mentality, was something very foreign to the young elf.

How much more death was this city to bring before her youthful gaze? A pure soul had been thrust into a world of endless tragedy. But the moon would still shine, and she would suffer this dark immediate future as a means to an end.

There was discussion now of a magic that Aletia had no experience with. Speaking with the deceased. ~Incredible!~

Aletia gaze Ersun a quick glance, curious what he made of all this. The underfolk had been rather quiet...
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Bill Has An Idea!

Elloral said:
"...Which one should I question first and what should I ask? I can only manage four questions per corpse, and only three corpses until I must pray again for spells."

Bill is using an old, oily rag to wipe the blood off of his blade, but the action is completely muscle memory, as he does not appear to even realize that he's doing it. His attention is completely focused on Elloral now, and he acts as if the beheading were of little or no consequence, showing no further signs of emotion about the event; it seems that his emotion had been spent in the act itself, and that he was now, once again, completely at peace. There is even the slightest hint of a smile (satisfaction for justice served?) on Bill's face.

Billanverthorne: "Perhaps one of your spells should be used on Jabbar? If Aust is worried about how to proceed, we could question the corpse about Jabbar's contingency plans, and perhaps get a sense of what his intentions were. Since he was our friend in life, I doubt he would even try to resist the spell. What say the rest of you?"

Bill looks around at the rest of the party, awaiting an answer.

Ersun feels tired, most of all things. There is no order and no guidance here, an ironic complaint from him, given his relationship with authorities, but maybe something of his militarist tribe did rub off on him. He leans onto their makeshift table and listens to Aust's introduction into their conversation, followed by Bill's sudden execution. It did not faze him, stranger things have happened recently, he merely sighed.

Aust's mention of no restraint seems to strike awfully true, about the group, himself included.

He shifts his stance a little and stretches his shoulders and arms, hoping to get some blood circulating.
"The rhat should know at least one or two base of operations, a list of that would be nice, starting with where did he come from... Only questions work, or would something like List all places and houses your organisation uses as base? too? The latter would be better, in the first case phrasing is more complicated... All known associates would help too, it could rat on its fellow rhats. A third would be what plans/orders did he know of for the following few days."

He shifts his stance a little again as he gives himself time to think.

"Jabbar, he already gave the leadership over to Burrai, but I barely knew him, or the shop or any of you for that matter, so I might not be the best judge on what could be asked of him."

"As for the Vul..." he makes a little gesture as if presenting an imaginary actor. "Maybe he has some dirt on a fellow Vul which can be used for blackmail."

He leans back onto the table and curiously awaits what input the others have.


Zaen Najafi

As thunder bellowed, Zaen tossed and turned inside his small cottage, disturbed not by the howling winds and rain that rattled his shutters but by the vision within his dreams. He watched his uncle Jabbar fall to his knees as a Vulkyrie Javelin impaled him through the shoulder. The pain of that strike sent a shudder of pain through Zaen as surely as if it was he who suffered it, assuring him this was another vision of the present, not the past.

The look of rage and hopelessness that came over Jabbar, staring up at that hated winged Vulkyrie hovering over him was heartbreaking. Zaen understood these were his uncles final moments, though he could not comprehend the fullness of the scene or the context of the situation at hand. What he saw were only flashes, glimpses of battle through a fog, or indeed in this case, a storm.

Zaen felt himself whispering the same prayer Jabbar did before the lightning strike fell the Vulkyrie in Ishvars name. The fall of the creatures smoking, ruined corpse unto the muddied streets was the last thing he witnessed before everything faded to black. An instant later his own eyes snapped open already welling with tears.

All his life Zaen had been visted by visions of events of past and present, but not like this. Zaen sat up in his cot, gasping for breath through sobs all at once overwhelmed with grief in a cold sweat. Zaen had a close relationship with his uncle. Even if Zaen had no desire to be a smuggler, they were like minded about that fact that rule by the Vul was something they both hated, but largely tolerated when there was worse to worry about.

Zaen remembered the story behind Jabbar's scar and how close he came to death by a Vulkyries javelin once before in the alleyways of Masaeus. That javelin allowed him to escape a greater evil than the Vulkyrie. This time, it gave that same evil a better chance to survive. Like two sides of the same coin, fate played cruel tricks.


Death-by-Vulkyrie was something every Najafi feared everyday of their lives. Ever since the hated Vul seized the Summaran throne through trickery and deceit the Najafi family swore to overthrow them by any means possible. Yet despite their best efforts, the Vul have long since established themselves as the dominant power, naming the land the Kingdom of Vulkh after their own king nearly a thousand years ago.

In the many centuries since that awful turn of history, influential clerics, smugglers, bandit-lords and wealthy merchants of the extended Najafi family have secretly plotted together towards their fall, eventually dying for it as the Vulkyrie (or their network of informants & spies, the Vulfear) track them down and root them out.

The Najafi name is old and proud, bespoke of chieftains of a bygone era when the people of Summara were nomads, trading and warring with each other as tribal clans. Najafi's see themselves foremost as leaders, raised with a leaders detachment and willingness to sacrifice the few for the sake of the many.

Zaen's education and upbringing were no different. He was raised by the finest tutors, scholars and sages the family had at their disposal. These learned men recognized his dreams early on as something more than a child's fanciful imagination. They whispered of it as 'Ishvars blessing' and the family elders coaxed him to join the priesthood as one of the gifted hoping his influence would help turn the faithful into another weapon they could use against the Vul.

Zaen's mindset as one of the faithful however was exactly that, one of many. He did not consider himself special, gift or no gift. He believed every one of the faithful deserved the respect and guidance of the priesthood, as it was written in the holy text of the Ishvaran.

Unfortunately this attitude was not shared by the rest of his family who believed the cause mattered more than whoever had to die for it. Zaen was pressured to lead his own revolts in the name of Ishvar as soon as he was old enough to wield a sword and a spear. Zaen staunchly refused, suggesting instead that volunteers should be recruited who had no family to worry about if they were captured or killed.

In truth Zaen was more than willing to put his life on the line for the sake of the people, but only in their defense. Yes the Vul were tyrants as much as monsters, undeserving of fairness or mercy, but acts of violence encouraging their animosity would not bring justice or peace to the people. Whenever a successful Najafi plot managed to kill a Vul, many more innocents usually suffered for it.

After years of arguments about his future Zaen agreed to a compromise with his family. For now he would serve as a contact and an informant, nothing more. He would take no active part in any of their plans. He wished to be left alone to choose his own battles and lead his own life, much the way Jabbar did... or had.


Zaen rose from his cot, pulling on his robes as the storm battered against his small cottage built on Cabardas central hill. Grief quickly shifted into concern as he considered what Jabbar's death might mean for the good townsfolk of Cabarda. What would the rest of the Vulkyrie do when they found one of their own in such a state? Death-by-lightning could be accidental, especially in a storm such as this... but Zaen knew how distrustful the Vulkyrie usually were about accidents.

Oftentimes the ambushes arranged by his family to lure Vulkyrie to their deaths were made to look like accidents, but rarely convincingly enough. The other Vulkyrie here would likely blame its death on some lawless spellcaster, or worse, a cleric! He'd seen that sort of rashness before. Vulkyrie were highly distrustful of spellcasters of any sort.

As a race the Vul had no deities of their own. They mocked and disrespected all religions, only tolerating them so long as they were spoken too and regarded as equals to the many gods their subjects worshiped. Zaen saw this sort of blaspheme many times in his travels. It was a bitter thing to tolerate, but easier than watching what the Vulkyrie would do if they felt disrespected.

Zaen wondered why Jabbar found himself on the street on a night like this? Like himself, Jabbar wasn't willing to dedicate his life to plots against the Vul. The good people of Vulkh had other enemies to contend with, enemies within who thrived on the culture of corruption and disparity the Vul prospered from. Enemies without who gathered strength while the Vul ruled oblivious in their arrogance.

Jabbar didn't get into much detail with Zaen about the evils that almost killed him in Masaeus. Zaen always figured he was trying to do him a favor by not letting him get involved, but he'd heard enough in his time away from the family to have an idea. There was another evil spreading through the land that was far more insidious and calculating than the Vul. An evil that Jabbar warned the family about on several occasions.

Zaen heard about those efforts to sway the Najafi family elders. As expected the answer was always the same. 'First we defeat the Vul, unite the people and restore the Kingdom of Summara. Together the people can defeat any enemy. Help us do that so we can help you.'

Zaen hated the Vul as much as anyone. In this moment in fact. as his hands balled into fists, he felt like he hated them most of all! He also felt like the elders were wrong about something very important. What they should have said was. 'First you unite the people. Together the people can defeat any enemy. Period.'

Thanks to Ishvar's vision Zaen was sure of one thing. Jabbar was thinking of him when he died, hoping he would carry on where he left off.
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Zaen Najafi

Zaen paces back and forth for a while, thinking about what he must do. Memories of his uncle keep popping up in his head, pleasant memories he wishes he could hold onto and keep. However, the ugly vision of his death keeps overtaking the pleasant memories. He finds as he is pacing and with the vision of the javelin piercing his uncle his fist are balled tighter than he can ever remember. ~You are letting the anger take over again Zaen.~ He thinks to himself, "TO HELL WITH THAT" he exclaims loudly. It was a light flash and the clap of thunder that brought him back. He sat down at the end of his bed and began to think. ~What should I do, there was a purpose for this vision?~

He immediately gets up, everything is suddenly clear. He begins to pack some of his things, gathers his supplies, and prepares to leave. He Knows that he must follow in his uncle's footsteps, and perhaps a little vengeance to the Vul could occur. He decides that he needs to get to Jabbar's shop, perhaps there he can find some answers. As he makes his way toward the door a disturbing thought crossed his mind. Perhaps this was the last time he would see this cottage, perhaps the last time he will step foot in this town. He then said to himself, "I just got here anyway, it is time to move on." Zaen prays "Ishvar, be my guide." He opens the door, covers his head with his hood, and steps out into the rain and thunder. As he begins to make his way to his uncle's shop he takes one last look at his cottage. He then turns and leaves, in the distance he can see the arena. He feels the excitement of another adventure over take his anger and grief, if ever so briefly.
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Aust Thale

Aust and the Rhat

~ Bloody hell ~

"I have three questions: Who is their leader? Where is the leader? When will his leader attack?"

He pulls a canvas sack from a stack of them folded in one of the basement boxes. Jabbar was such a neatnik...Aust missed him already.

"Put the bottom half of the headless rhat in the sack and tie it. We'll toss it down the nearest gutter and see what comes for it."

Aust knows he will need to tell Jabbar's family in short order, particularly Zaen. He's not looking forward to it, and it adds venom to his grief.

Aust gently pops off tops of several boxes, "We have some things at our disposal. Potions. Some weapons and armor. Wands, and the like. And this."
He removes an ornate bolt of cloth in a deep indigo hue with alabaster piping. He lays the cloth down on a table nearest the stairs. A hole opens where the table cloth is.

"We can carry something large with it; actually many somethings. But I'm thinking this might be the best way to transport the Vul's and perhaps Jabbar's bodies from here without drawing even more attention to us."

He digs through more items, "Anyone able to use anything? But don't get greedy; you can pay for it later. If indeed we revenge Jabbar and put an end to these sewer-dwellers, consider them a thank you."

He allows the others to look over the wares. "We need to leave Dera and the slaves out of this. Do not mention Jabbar nor anything else that has transpired. One of you put the Vul remains into canvas sacks. Wrap him up good, but leave it such that one of us can unroll him. Once he's packaged up, we'll put him in the Magic Bag here. And drop this in a really good spot. Burrai, respectfully, I realize the Vul appear indiscriminate, but they actually need people to subjugate. And where I plan to put this, it'll be pretty clear who the Vul should kill. It's either that, or you come up with a better idea ."

Aust's natural affability and temperament has given way to calculation.

"But know this, comrades..." Aust speaks the term with some salt, and looks at Bill and Avar, "...I aim to misbehave."
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Aletia: Appraisals

The young elven lass had retreated a few steps, hoping for the intensity of the decision-making whirlwind to pass her by. The room was filled with emotion still, chaotic almost, as Jabbar's chosen discussed plans and potential paths.

This was a wise time to remain quiet, she decided, not wishing to draw further attention to her part in the tragedy. As for choices and opinions, probably better to keep them to herself for now too. The present was an opportunity to observe, and learn of how these brave souls might operate with their leader fallen, form a plan, and hopefully execute it. So far, execution didn't seem to be a problem for them.

Aust's magic cloth, it was a miracle to behold! Aletia's jaw dropped at the demonstration. Now that was going to be extremely handy. It got her ears perked up as from a distance she ran her eyes across the variety of tools fresh on display. Was it too soon? She felt guilty at the thought of borrowing anything from these people, enjoying a personal gain from another's demise.

Patiently she would loiter and see what became of this meeting. Should a plan be formed and tools worthy for the purpose be identified, then she'd not refuse the loan of course.

None of this stopped her looking and appreciating though. She couldn't help herself, particularly if any of the items appeared of exceptional quality. Crafting of ornaments and shaping of gems was very much part of her blood, a past life where a jovial and charismatic mother would tirelessly collect, refine and market fine goods. It was a nice memory, but brought a shadow to her thoughts with all that had transpired in the years since. Those days were gone, but maybe the skills would still serve useful.

[Appraise check just in case = 19. She is viewing from a distance of course but is seeing if anything in particular catches her eye.]

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