Shemeska's Planescape Storyhour - (Updated 14February2024)

Shemeska

Adventurer
Speaking of things coming back, I've been rereading the Demented cycle as preparation for one of my campaigns. Any chance that the remaining four entries will see the light of day any time soon? Not to add more on top of the already far too long list of requests we've given you ;)

I ended up scrapping the draft that I had in progress for the Architect which had lingered for several years on my desktop, and just in the past year I came up with a concept for his entry that I'm genuinely proud of. Sometime this year I should finish it. It's one of those too good to pass up things that latched onto your brain and demands to be written. I really enjoy it when that happens.

The Dream Reaver has a few pages of a draft written, but I keep futzing with where I want to go with her story, and if I want to bring in Larsdana ap Neut (who harbored the attention and/or presence of that baernaloth prior to being imprisoned by Helekanalaith).

The Ineffable has a few pages written, and so does the Shackler. I might end up scrapping the latter and restarting, not entirely happy with it.

No ETA on any of these, but they will all be finished (I have worked on the Architect this year).

EDIT: Also, while we're at it, was the caldera where Mydianclarus met with the shadow-that-is-strongly-implied-to-be-Vorkannis the same caldera that Leobtav found Vorkannis in?

Precisely the same caldera. Nice catch there :)

And as an aside, my apologies for being very very slow about finally finishing those stories and the gap in storyhour updates till recently when I've gotten back into it. Once you're out of college and in theory a responsible adult with a job, a mortgage, and freelancing RPG work on top of a professional day job, it really devours your time. Plus, much of my fiction writing attention has been focused on Pathfinder's cosmology (though Nisha does show up in one story). But like the grinding of the Wheels within Wheels, my original set of stories for the Demented will be completed since it's a personal pet project of mine, and likewise the storyhour.
 

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81Dagon

Explorer
And as an aside, my apologies for being very very slow about finally finishing those stories and the gap in storyhour updates till recently when I've gotten back into it. Once you're out of college and in theory a responsible adult with a job, a mortgage, and freelancing RPG work on top of a professional day job, it really devours your time. Plus, much of my fiction writing attention has been focused on Pathfinder's cosmology (though Nisha does show up in one story). But like the grinding of the Wheels within Wheels, my original set of stories for the Demented will be completed since it's a personal pet project of mine, and likewise the storyhour.
You've got nothing to apologize to us for. Life always has to come first and most of us can completely empithize. Besides, I think that the Great Beyond and Book of the Damned were worth pay the price of slowing down the updates for a while. The whole short-term pain vs long0term gain thing :)

I ended up scrapping the draft that I had in progress for the Architect which had lingered for several years on my desktop, and just in the past year I came up with a concept for his entry that I'm genuinely proud of. Sometime this year I should finish it. It's one of those too good to pass up things that latched onto your brain and demands to be written. I really enjoy it when that happens.

The Dream Reaver has a few pages of a draft written, but I keep futzing with where I want to go with her story, and if I want to bring in Larsdana ap Neut (who harbored the attention and/or presence of that baernaloth prior to being imprisoned by Helekanalaith).

The Ineffable has a few pages written, and so does the Shackler. I might end up scrapping the latter and restarting, not entirely happy with it.

No ETA on any of these, but they will all be finished (I have worked on the Architect this year).
No problem, I was just curious since I had recently read them again and loved those stories. I found this bit on the Dream Reaver while trolling the archives, which I must say is thoroughly disturbing. Well done. I wonder if we've met either of those children? Anyhow, I'll just go back to being patient and waiting for the next instalment to come out.

Although... if I could impose, I've been trying to work on some sketches and simple art of the Demented, but I can't really find a physical description of the four that we don't have stories for yet. Would it be possible to get brief physical descriptions of them from you? I think it would be really neat to see all thirteen of them in one image together.

Precisely the same caldera. Nice catch there :)
Interesting. Very interesting...
*Goes back to combing the story for clues and plot hooks for his own suckers PCs*
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
No problem, I was just curious since I had recently read them again and loved those stories. I found this bit on the Dream Reaver while trolling the archives, which I must say is thoroughly disturbing. Well done. I wonder if we've met either of those children? Anyhow, I'll just go back to being patient and waiting for the next instalment to come out.

Do you want me to definitively answer that question? It's relevant and very spoilery.

I'll happily confirm at a bare minimum that 'The Dreamer and the Fiend' does take place within the continuity of this Storyhour (and Storyhour 2).

Additionally, the line in Storyhour 2's opening post, spoken by the being formerly known as Anubis "There is no such thing as a quiet death." is talking about more than one thing/person, but it does come into play as far as Larsdana is concerned. But I don't want to spoil anything.

Although... if I could impose, I've been trying to work on some sketches and simple art of the Demented, but I can't really find a physical description of the four that we don't have stories for yet. Would it be possible to get brief physical descriptions of them from you? I think it would be really neat to see all thirteen of them in one image together.

There's already a description of the Architect (when the PCs go visit Pitiless to see Ghyris Vast), and I've got descriptions for two of the others in the story rough drafts. I'll need to track down the original description of the Dream Reaver from my notes, because otherwise I'll run the risk of conflating her with Alazhra the Dream Eater (the lovecraftian horror'rsque god-thing that serves as Pathfinder's night hag patron - the former did inform the creation of the latter).

I'll get you those descriptions later today or tomorrow. :)
 

81Dagon

Explorer
Do you want me to definitively answer that question? It's relevant and very spoilery.

I'll happily confirm at a bare minimum that 'The Dreamer and the Fiend' does take place within the continuity of this Storyhour (and Storyhour 2).

Additionally, the line in Storyhour 2's opening post, spoken by the being formerly known as Anubis "There is no such thing as a quiet death." is talking about more than one thing/person, but it does come into play as far as Larsdana is concerned. But I don't want to spoil anything.
At first I thought it was going to be Alpthis and Apteris... but obviously that ended quickly, which made it all the creepier. Shemmy? A'kin? Shylara? EDIT: Yethmiil Kal'suth? Felthis Ap'Jerran? Both of those are much less likely, but interesting thoughts. /EDIT I'll stay patient... I've managed to not read any of Storyhour 2 as it is to avoid spoilers until this one's finished. Interesting though.

There's already a description of the Architect (when the PCs go visit Pitiless to see Ghyris Vast), and I've got descriptions for two of the others in the story rough drafts. I'll need to track down the original description of the Dream Reaver from my notes, because otherwise I'll run the risk of conflating her with Alazhra the Dream Eater (the lovecraftian horror'rsque god-thing that serves as Pathfinder's night hag patron - the former did inform the creation of the latter).

I'll get you those descriptions later today or tomorrow. :)
Thanks Todd, you're the best!
 
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Shemeska

Adventurer
At first I thought it was going to be Alpthis and Apteris... but obviously that ended quickly, which made it all the creepier. Shemmy? A'kin? Shylara? EDIT: Yethmiil Kal'suth? Felthis Ap'Jerran? Both of those are much less likely, but interesting thoughts. /EDIT I'll stay patient... I've managed to not read any of Storyhour 2 as it is to avoid spoilers until this one's finished. Interesting though.

You'll find out. :)

We'll also be seeing almost all of those that you named again in the future - only Yethmiil Kal'suth doesn't show up again.


Alashra the Dream Reaver - overtly female rather than the standard genderless appearance of most of her kindred. Exceptionally elongated, withered arms and legs, with a purple-black mottling across her flesh. Exceptionally long, purple tentacle-like tongue that tastes the air like a serpent. A low fog tends to surround her, actually composed of a thin, misty ethereal protomatter. Eyes entirely composed of a milky, brilliantly luminous white sclera like full moons. Tangled long black hair. A very vague similarity to night hags might be noted, and she may or may not have had a role in the creation of that race from selected hordelings in the Waste. Infected/Harbored within Larsdana ap Neut the First Majestrix of the Furnace, Scribe of the General, and architect of the Tower of the Arcanaloths.

The Ineffable - no distinct physical form. Its presence lurks in its surroundings, manifesting out of them. Imagine a flight of nycaloths overheard, and then out of the negative space between their shadows cast upon the ground, those spaces start moving, crawling up from the ground, flowing together like droplets of tainted water and the vague form of a baernaloth emerges out of that. It's never seen in full light, and ambient light sources will snuff or dim to prevent a full examination of its form. More often it manifests within the warped reflections of others in water, mirrors, or polished surfaces, moving on its own accord rather than their motions.

The Shackler - most often manifests as a possessing force rather than with a distinct physical form - in these cases the possessed individual is followed by a subtle clatter of dragging, trailing chains including leaving tracks on the ground to show the passage of those immaterial chains. They may also later manifest heavy bruises in the shape of manacles on the wrists, ankles, and a collar around the neck. The actual Shackler itself is half again as large as most of its kindred, and wears heavy iron manacles on its wrists and ankles, all of which trail multiple broken lengths of heavy chains (sometimes silver, sometimes cold iron, sometimes golden). Some manifestations of the Shackler have a long train -almost like a tail- composed of meters long lengths of chain woven through or otherwise anchored into its spinal column - all of which move as if they were a living part of it.
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
Devoid of its imprisoned god, the Cathedral of the Chained God and the surrounding domain continued along an inevitable death spiral towards something between implosion and dissolution. By the time it vanished into the trackless hinterlands vistas of the Outlands, the party was miles away, flying as swiftly as possible in the direction of the Spire. The amount of time that it would take them to return to the outer ring was of course entirely variable, but at most it would take them a few days time.

They had little clue as to where they were headed; either Plague-Mort or Curst would be their ultimate destination if they continued on their way until the plane saw fit to release them into an environs where they would be able to teleport to a more hospitable gatetown than those of Carceri or the Abyss.

It took them two days, but eventually as twilight fell, they saw Plague-Mort on the horizon.

"I don't recall Plague-Mort being that... festive..." Nisha quipped. "Not that I too terribly mind. The place could certainly stand to be a little more like Xaos, aXos, SoaX, Froggy Town, whatever. But that doesn't look normal for here."

Normally the walls glowed red under the sun, and a certain number of fires would be burning and issuing smoke just from the standard operation of forges, fireplaces, and the occasional bonfire used to burn whatever unfortunate fell afoul of the political favor of the Arch-Lector. Now however, a great pall of black smoke rose up from the city and the darkening skies above it exploded with frequent if irregular showers of flame and sparks.

"That's because it's under siege." Florian instinctively rubbed her holy symbol.

Nisha stuck out her tongue, "Well that would explain that then."

Collectively their minds raced back to a few days prior when they had observed an army of baatezu in the employ of the Hag Countess marching in that direction along with a motley force of yugoloth mercenaries in tow. Plague-Mort appeared to have been that army's direction.

"Wow," Toras's voice contained no small measure of surprise, tinged with respect. "That's one hell of an unexpected move."

"Have they done that before?" Tristol asked, ears twitching with curiosity. "Assuming that it's Blood War related."

Florian shrugged, "I can't see why it wouldn't be."

"Well the whole city has been sacked before, numerous times, but never to my knowledge by a baatezu force." Fyrehowl scratched her chin. "Most of them time its been a tanar'ri army, usually because of some political squabble between the powers that be in the gatetown and one or more in the Abyss."

"Yep," Clueless nodded in agreement. "And most of those times the whole city slid into the Abyss within days of the siege."

"In any event," Fyrehowl gestured towards the gatetown. "I'd rather not stick around unless you all want to be explaining ourselves and our business here to another bored 'loth that would sooner hurl lightning bolts than jot down our names."

"I figure we'll hear about it from one or another tout in short order crying out the events." Tristol was already preparing to cast a teleportation spell. "So where to now?"

Sigil was first on their minds, but they had unfinished business left to finish. With Leobtav dead, they needed to tell his former colleagues and employees in Verdania - Doran principally - and they were still owed payment technically for their time in Pandemonium, though unless it was offered by the remaining staff at the Institute, they weren't going to be ghoulish and push for it.

Doran and most of the others already knew what news they would hear when the party arrived in Verdania. Caught between joy at the group's survival and resigned lament over Leobtav's descent into madness and news of his death, it was a short, awkward, and relatively somber meeting. One question evoked a moment of silence however:

"What of Ficklebarb?"

Nisha excused herself, and Toras answered, glossing over the specifics but making clear that with the death of one, so went the other. It wasn't fair, but the universe gave no such promises of fairness. Justice was the closest that they might achieve, but even with justice, they only had to think of where that pursuit had gotten Alisohn Nilesia.

"You did what you needed to do." Doran sighed and stared at his desk, trying to avoid the scattered papers from the Pandemonium expedition, many of which contained the names of the dead.

"We did what he asked us to do." Toras corrected, not specifying if he meant Ficklebarb or Leobtav, but really was there necessarily a difference when it came to what had been more or less an act of mercy?

"What was there in the Outlands?" Doran's voice was wary, but a wizard's curiosity was a powerful thing. "What was he looking for that caused all of this?"

Nervous, wary glances were exchanged, followed by shrugs and expressions of lingering confusion.

"The tiere deity was there," Florian explained as Doran's eyes went wide. "Its corpse at least."

"Corpse?" Doran's confusion echoed his guests'. "I'd assumed that Cilret was going to release it, or ransom its freedom in some capacity. No?"

"He went there to kill it." Clueless explained, unconsciously rubbing his fingers across the black glass dagger that he'd plucked from the corpse atop the altar. "He wanted a worthy sacrifice to whatever thing that he'd found in Gehenna years earlier."

"Whatever thing that had found -him-," Tristol interjected. "I don't think he'd gone looking for it."

"Whatever -it- was..." Fyrehowl's voice was cagey and uncharacteristically nervous. "We don't have a clue."

Tristol glanced at Doran, "Have you ever heard of something called vor'nel'thraanix?"

Nothing so much as a flicker of recognition crossed over Doran's face. "Nothing even remotely similar. Why do you ask?"

"It was carved into the floor as part of Leobtav's devotions to whatever it was that he worshipped." Tristol's ears involuntarily folded back. "It was the only part of the text that didn't translate, and I tried multiple spells to that effect."

Doran stroked his chin, "A proper name perhaps?"

Tristol shook his head, "That's what I thought too, but I'd be able to tell that in the translation. Whatever it is just doesn't translate, as if it has no translation, or the spells I used just don't know to do with it. It shouldn't be able to do that, but it does anyway."

"It doesn't make any sense at all." Toras grimaced, "Which fits in perfectly with everything that happened from Pandemonium through to the Outlands."

"But..." Clueless paused, thinking of the look on Ficklebarb's face when he gave them permission to do what they did, "It's over now and we did what we could for him."

A few minutes of silence fell over Doran's office, but eventually it lifted as the elf's raven familiar gently pecked him on the arm. "There was that one other thing. They should know."

Fyrehowl's apprehension from earlier seemed ever more justified. "What? What was that one other thing?"

"We tried to raise the people that were murdered in Pendemonium..." Doran swallowed hard and hesitated expounding on the response.

"And?" Toras motioned for the wizard to continue. "Spit it out. What happened."

Doran frowned, "It didn't work."

"It didn't work in Pandemonium either." Florian shrugged, "I assumed that it had to do with the method of their death; some sort of death effect. So a more powerful resurrection method would be needed later."

"No different, and we tried more than once, to hell with the expense." Doran's face was ashen. "I had three different clerics of three different faiths each try independently. None of them had any luck. All of them looked shaken, and a cleric of Heimdall actually vomited after a second attempt."

"What the hell?" Florian narrowed her eyes, "The bastard Leobtav probably bottled their souls after killing them. You can't raise them if you can't rejoin the body and spirit."

"No and absolutely." Doran's reply was devoid of emotion. "You can determine if a soul is held captive elsewhere, merged with a plane or deity, and you can also determine if a soul has been consumed by a fiend or otherwise destroyed. None of those applied in this instance."

"What?" Florian stared long and hard at the wizard. "Those are the only options."

"The souls just weren't extant. Not there, not bottled in a gemstone, not destroyed. They were gone as if they'd never existed in the first place. There was nothing to draw upon to raise them from the dead."

The next half hour was consumed by discussion as to what that meant and indeed what all of it meant. Nisha was still outside, having left during the discussion of Ficklebarb, and Tristol excused himself to go see how she was doing.

"Hey Tristol," Nisha turned and looked up from where she sat beneath a tall, elderly white birch. "Things finishing up in there?"

"Just about." He sat down next to her and reflexively she snuggled up, putting an arm around him.

"I'm sorry Tristol," She sighed. "I was about to start crying in there when Doran asked about Ficklebarb. I..."

The aasimar put a finger to her lips, "It's ok. I know how you feel."

"Thank you Tristol," She smiled and put her head against his shoulder. "I think I'll feel better once we're back in Sigil. We can relax, drink something, and forget about this all for a little bit."

Tristol smiled, gave her a hug, and briefly their tails entwined.

"You're really comfy you know," Nisha blushed and tapped Tristol's nose.

Behind them, the doors to the Institute opened and the others emerged, interrupting the pair's moment of respite that was -given the closeness of and rapidly decreasing distance between their face- building up towards a kiss.

"Hey!" Toras called out, causing Tristol's ears to perk and his tail to bottlebrush, and Nisha to give a startled squeak. "We'll be back to the Jammer soon enough, and then you two can get a room..."

"We weren't..." Nisha paused, blushed and looked over at Tristol, giving a genuinely happy smile as she looked into his eyes. "Ppppbbbtttthhh!" She stuck her tongue out at the half-celestial as Tristol stood up and brushed his robes off.

"Let's get back home, shall we?" Tristol extended a hand and helped the tiefling to her feet.

"Sounds good to me."


****​


With all that they had been through since their descent into Pandemonium, Sigil's smoke, grime, and gloom carried a curious charm that was, in and of itself, a relief from where they had been. The howling of the winds was replaced with the cries of touts, arguing ex-faction members, and overly aggressive buskers and beggars. The actual fiends were readily identifiable, none of whom were likely going to go on murder sprees, and those that wanted to do so weren't because nothing good would happen to them if they did courtesy of a silent Lady and Her flaying shadow.

With all of Sigil's verdigris-covered-cranium rat and executioner's raven-roosting charm, the Portal Jammer was even more of a respite from what they'd collectively been through on what had originally been something of a vacation and a side job to distract them from Sigilian politics and perhaps more than that, from dealing with 'loths of most any variety with the possible exception of one particular smiling shop-keep.

Back in the Jammer the first thing done was simply to sit down and relax, enjoying a few bottles of wine and some shots of Arborean cognac, both of which significantly aided in the relaxation department. Largely immune to the effects of most alcohol, Clueless doubled his consumption and added in a pair of mugs filled with some variety of Hellwine. Not to be outdone, after her second shot, Nisha took the bottle of cognac and retired to a chair on the bow of the spelljamming ship built into the inn, an overly large pirate captain's hat pulled down over her face - no one bothered to ask where she'd found the hat.

Sigil was Sigil, and leafing casually through a stack of newspapers devoted to the City of Doors showed remarkably little had happened in the interregnum in Pandemonium. In contrast to shifting layers of planes, the death of gods, and the overthrow of planar powers, the urban homeostasis was remarkably appreciated.

They had not however yet been delivered the most recent editions of the local papers. That would have to wait for a short bit longer however, as one remaining order of business from the expedition to Pandemonium remained.

An hour later they all gathered in the back room of the Jammer for the business of identifying and deciding what to do with all of the various items that they'd collected in Pandemonium and the Outlands.

The items taken from Leobtav's corpse lay strewn across the table, with Tristol sifting through the items, with the others looking on and giving their opinion on whether an item would best be saved for one of them, sold in the Marketplace, or in a few cases, outright destroyed.

"Some of this makes sense." Tristol shook his head as he stared down at the motley collection of objects. "Some of it not so much, and some of it I'd rather not touch again."

"How so?" Clueless raised an eyebrow.

"A lot of this you'd expect to find on someone that was a wizard with a minor bit of martial training, and some of it makes sense given his background as a Guvner." The aasimar looked askance at the seemingly non-magical obsidian dagger Clueless had placed on the table. "But some of it is really, really out there. Some of these things I haven't seen before, and other things that he should have had -like a spellbook for some of what he was throwing out- just aren't here."

"He didn't have a spellbook at all?" Clueless glanced at the moderately thick tome sitting on the table. Fastidiously cared for, it didn't have so much as a stray mark on its polished, oiled leather cover.

"He had a smaller, traveling spellbook." Tristol explained, motioning to the book Clueless had just made note of. "And that one makes total sense for a moderately skilled wizard with Leobtav's obvious background, which is exactly how he presented himself. But it's tiny, and it doesn't contain any of the crazier, darker spells I saw him cast. Clearly he had more spellbooks, or whatever it was he was working for was just acting through him like he was a lightning rod for some distant god of storms."

"Seems more likely the last case." Florian mused.

Tristol shrugged and continued the identification process, calling out each item for sorting as he determined what each of them was, "Ring of Vile Spells, Ring of Free Action, Ring of Counterspells with a Flesh to Stone spell currently within, a Returning Dagger of Unholy Power, and last but not least, a Cog of Modron summoning that I'm keeping for Nisha."

Clueless raised an eyebrow, "Seriously?"

The aasimar chuckled, "She said something about it 'suiting her style' and something else about a hero needing a trusty steed."

"I don't think monodrones are trusty steeds, not for her." Florian rubbed her forehead. "Tempus preserve I hope it's just a monodrone."

"What about that?" Toras pointed to a crystalline vial set off to one side.

"Yeah that..." Tristol grimaced. "It isn't magical, not in the magical item sense. Best I can describe it is that it's an unholy symbol, or some sort of focus."

"To who?" Clueless asked, "Or what?"

"Not a clue," Tristol eyed it warily, "But it's filled with ash and ice crystals that don't care to melt even though it's getting a tad stuffy in here with all of us together."

"Ashes from that place in Gehenna?" Florian wagered, remembering both Leobtav's own words and stories told by former expedition members.

"That's what I thought too." Tristol's expression turned more dubious, "But they aren't. They register as being from the Waste."

"Yeah we're toasting that." Fyrehowl interjected, "Right over the side in Suicide Alley, or dumped through a portal to some horrific prison plane. That's not staying with us."

"Agreed on that." Tristol nodded.

"No argument here." Toras joined in.

"So that's about it, unless anyone else has something more." Tristol was already putting away his spell components when Fyrehowl interrupted him.

"Oh, there was one more item." The lupinal reached down to her waist and withdrew a short, slender rod, roughly a foot long, without any obvious, identifying marks. "It's either a wand or a rod, but I can't tell which."

With Tristol currently occupied with identifying a large metal gear embellished with the symbol of the Fraternity of Order, Clueless took the rod and whispered the words to a spell of identification.

"It's a metamagic rod." His voice was calm and perfectly nonchalant, but mentally his eyes were wide and he wanted to wash his hand after putting the rod back down. "Not a particularly powerful one either, so probably best to sell this one."

Rather than being what he said it was, while perfectly innocuous to the touch and without any telltale marks of its nature, the rod was similar to one known as a celestial bane rod. Simply being in proximity to the rod would have inflicted a curse on any celestial, and Leobtav had augmented it to make his spells directed against any good-aligned creature -celestial or not- ever more damaging and penetrating. With the additional enchantments layered on top of this particular specimen, Fyrehowl should have been continually affected, but she hadn't been. Even more so, handling and touching the rod with her bare hands should have caused her crippling pain, like touching a hot iron, but it hadn't.

Fyrehowl had been deeply affected by what she'd witnessed in Elysium, having seen the Oinoloth rip away a part of her home plane, but prior to now, Clueless hadn't understood just how much and what that meant. She'd lost something then, and the archfiend's actions had seemingly ripped away a portion of her as well, and where she'd end up might be anyone's guess.

"Damn, I'd hoped it would be something at least a little bit more useful." Fyrehowl shrugged and turned her attention to Tristol, oblivious to Clueless's moment of well-intentioned deceit.

Clueless inwardly breathed a sigh of relief and didn't say another word to the lupinal. To be honest he wasn't sure that she necessarily understood the magnitude of her change or if she was even aware of it consciously: Fyrehowl had fallen.

Sometime between their time in Elysium's stolen layer and now, she had fallen from the pinnacle of celestial grace. Not fully perhaps; the cipher wasn't evil, and it didn't seem like she would ever fall further, but were she to die, her essence would not seek out Elysium.

For the next half hour, the items were parceled out and divided up, and through it all, Clueless didn't say a word. It wasn't his place to tell her if she wasn't aware of it, nor was it something that he needed to tell the others. What would happen would happen in its own time as Fyrehowl came to realize her own situation. All in good time.


****​


Fyrehowl's epiphany would come in its own time, but an understanding that the planes moved on their own whether you were there to influence them or not would come sooner. Completing the earlier, interrupted attempts to catch up on what had happened during their time in Pandemonium and beyond, the mail arrived, with the most recent newspaper edition at the top of the stack.

"So I found out what happened with Plague-Mort..." Toras held up the smudged, poorly set newspaper, probably rushed to print with breaking news after the print deadline.

"So what happened?" Clueless looked over from behind the bar as he stood there, tending to customers and cleaning a number of mugs.

"The headline is 'Plague-Mort sacked.'" The half-celestial read aloud, continuing on to the rest of the text, "The Illuminated take control of Plague-Mort with the aid of baatezu forces loyal to Hag Countess of Malbolge and yugoloth mercenaries. Arch-Lector and cronies publicly executed. Sect leader Green Marvent declares self 'Factol'."

"Who the hell is Green Marvent?" Florian asked with a shrug, having never heard the man's name before.

"Who the hell are the Illuminated?" Clueless seemed equally confused by the events precipitated by people he'd never heard of.

"Hold on, the paper continues," Toras waved away their questions and continued reading, "Baatezu and yugoloth armies made no entry into Plague-Mort proper after breaching the gates, but "Faction" forces of The Illuminated now patrol the streets. Access to and ingress from the gates to Sigil and the Abyss have not been impacted by the coup. According to coup leader and self-declared Factol Green Marvent, "We have no desire to disrupt the proper flow of traffic and trade through Plague-Mort. Unlike the previous rulers of this city, we are enlightened, each of us harboring a spark of greatness that we only wish to cultivate, nurture, and spread. Those of you that feel the same and wish to better yourself and achieve the greatness that rests untapped within your souls, we are here, we are prepared and we are waiting for you.""

Clueless paused in his dishwashing and looked at Toras, "Honestly, I don't know what to make of that. Except for the Arch-Lector and his inner circle it seems to have been a pretty bloodless affair as far as Plague-Mort standards are concerned. They're treading on dangerous ground calling themselves a Faction, but they aren't in Sigil so..." He shrugged.

"I don't think it's going to last." Fyrehowl remarked with a shrug of her own. "I give them a week before a tanar'ri army bursts through the gate, kills this Green Marvent fellow and puts his would-be faction to the sword. It seems rather reckless to march an army on the city and stage a coup, plus calling yourself a faction."

"Well if nobody knew who he was before, half the people on the planes probably do now." Tristol remarked, looking up from where he thumbed through Leobtav's spellbook, half-hoping to discover something hidden away or encoded.

"He's doing it the right way you know," Toras motioned to Marvent's quote in the paper, "If he wanted to grow an obscure sect into a faction, this is brilliant, because he just set up shop, opened the doors, made sure everyone knew who he was, who they were, gave enough information to get people intrigued, and then invited everyone in with more or less an open call to join them. This wasn't reckless at all, it was premeditated genius."

More discussion of the events followed, but largely they were happy to have avoided becoming entangled in the siege itself.

"Soooo..." Nisha sat down next to Tristol, smiling and flitting her tail side to side with a pronounced jangle of the silver bell at its tip.

Tristol glanced over; she was smiling behind the rim of a glass of wine - his glass of wine in fact that was no longer on the table in front of him. "Yeeees?"

"Let's go out somewhere." Nisha smiled and the bell on her tail tip rattled happily, like some sort of chaotic, inverse rattlesnake.

"Where to?" Tristol put away the book he was reading, noting that she'd spent some time

"I don't know." She shrugged, "Someplace nice. Not that the Portal Jammer isn't nice in its own way. But it's too familiar for having a date night."

"Date night huh?" Tristol smiled and his tail began to happily swish back and forth behind him, "So somewhere nice? Dress up?"

"Yes aaaand yes please." She bobbed her head and took a slurp of his drink. Her hair had actually had some attention paid to it he noted. Either she was planning something, or she was just feeling particularly romantic in response to Pandemonium, which was incredibly sweet the more than Tristol considered it. She was really something special.

"Anything at all like that?" Tristol noted that she'd actually put on some sort of lip gloss, which she normally didn't, "Somewhere just randomly selected?"

"Exactly!" The tiefling quipped, tugging on Tristol's sleeve and leading him off for whatever mischief, romance, or mischievous romance she had in mind.

Ignoring the two lovebirds, Toras went about going through the rest of the mail. As he thumbed through the stack of advertisements, invoices for the Portal Jammer, former and not-a-faction propaganda letters, and numerous poorly printed but widely distributed proclamations of civic outrage over one or another minor issue, one particular letter didn't stand out from the rest at first glance. In fact that one piece of mail was summarily dropped into the 'maybe read later' pile, but before it hit the table, Fyrehowl snatched it up in her hands, cut it open with a claw, and opened it - all in one swift, preternaturally smooth action without thought - positively Cipher'esque in fact.

"Huh..." The lupinal muttered as she read over the crisp, well-printed letter.

"What's that?" Florian asked, looking over from where she sat.

Fyrehowl held the letter up for her to see, "It's a notice about the next meeting of the Sigil Advisory Council."

"And we should particularly care because why?" The cleric shrugged. "It's just a bunch of grandstanding and arguments between Golden Lords, wanna-be-Golden Lords and ex-factols."

"That's more accurate than not most of the time," The lupinal nodded in agreement, "But for this time in particular probably because they have a preliminary agenda listed, and one of the laws involves the 'public registration of fiends, advanced spellcasters, and other persons for the public good'."

Somewhere getting ready with Nisha, Tristol's ears were apt to be burning at the very suggestion of such a law.

"I think we might want to show up." Fyrehowl grimaced at the very thought of the latter part of the law actually passing. It did not portend anything good.

"Well," Clueless mused, "We do own land, so technically we have a right to speak during public debate."

"I wonder who the hell put this one up for a vote?" Florian frowned.

Fyrehowl carefully folded the letter, keeping it for later, "I suppose we'll find out."

Pondering that question, Clueless considered the possibilities, "Who's on the council anyway?"

Clueless thought for a moment and starting naming names while counting out council seats on his fingers, "Rhys, Zadara, that Hatchis fellow, Estavan the Ogre-mage, Kylie the Tout, and a number of others that I really don't recall off the top of my head."

"Aren't a few of them up for re-election soon?" Fyrehowl asked.

"A few of them yeah," Clueless nodded, "but I don't recall which."

"Whoever it was, I don't think they intend for this law to pass." Florian smirked, "I think someone is just stirring the pot before the next election."

More discussion of the forthcoming Advisory Council meeting proceeded, drinks were poured, and more mail was read, though none of it of particular importance.

"So where did Tristol and Nisha go?" Toras asked.

"Out on a date it looked like," Florian answered with a sentimental chuckle, "Nisha positively looked like she had stars in her eyes."

Collectively they all cooed and awwww'd at the pair, and then Clueless, still over at the bar smiled at something else entirely.

"Speaking of which," Clueless looked at them, "I have a Sensate to go spend some time with. Stories to tell. Times to catch up on. Experiences to share."

"Experiences huh?" Fyrehowl rolled her eyes.

"Go. Get. Have fun." Florian motioned to Clueless to leave, "Just don't rub it in, and don't make the sensory stones publically available. I don't want to accidentally come across one of them next week or next year, whenever I'm in the Civic Festhall."


****​


Meanwhile, elsewhere in Sigil, within the glitz and glamor of the Lady's Ward, others were enjoying their own particular shade of Sigil's ambiance. Plans were being made, winnings celebrated, losses mourned or drowned in alcohol, and atop the Fortune's Wheel, in a private room in the Azure Iris Inn, Wheels would soon be turning.


****​
 

81Dagon

Explorer
Awesome as always! And thank you for tossing up those descriptions. If I can get any decent work out of it, I'll make sure to post a link here. Nice to seem them get some down time. Was the obsidian dagger the returning one they mentioned? I wonder what the next wheel will be?
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
Awesome as always! And thank you for tossing up those descriptions. If I can get any decent work out of it, I'll make sure to post a link here. Nice to seem them get some down time. Was the obsidian dagger the returning one they mentioned? I wonder what the next wheel will be?

The obsidian dagger was the one used on the tiere/gautiere deity, while the +5 Returning Dagger of Unholy Power was just something that Leobtav had tucked into his belt. The BoVD was released relatively in the timeframe of this particular campaign arc, so while much of the "vile evil" I found a tad corny, there was also a good chunk of stuff that just fit to use for the fight with Leobtav.

-- Also of note --

I'm going to pause on the PCs here for the next several updates, venturing off into a side story that covers the events of a 5 hour one-shot game that I ran at North Carolina Gameday and also at GenCon, standalone but also set within the continuity of the Storyhour campaign (several of my players were in one session of it). So a new pack of one-shot PCs and some events that take place on the side and later come back to bite everyone collectively in the tail, literally and/or figuratively.
 

Akhelos

First Post
And so at least one PC found out that the Guardinal has fallen, sad Fyrehowl, well at least he did not call in a Paladin to smite her...just for testing purposes how far she has fallen *ggg*

On a important sidenote you are now responsible for more hurt players or more correctly PCs. ^^ As our group now distrusts our local Arcanaloth so much that they try to find a Copy of the Book of keeping. *whistles*

As part of this our sorceress used polymorph and a fiendring to cloak herself as an Arcanaloth and tried to sneak in the tower Arcane. And believed herself soo good because no one there seemed to break her cloak, albeit she did not know that her cloak was already breached and that she was watched...albeit someone very high up wanted to play a bit with that arrogant mortal and so ordered every Yugoloth that saw her "to play along".

And well who is that big bad Guy, well you inspired my so much that she had a little Meeting with Vorkannis (albeit I only make him in our chronik an insanly old an powerful arcanaloth, everything else would be too powerful for the intended powerlevel of that campaign) who made a deal, that their Arcanaloth will no longer bother them if the Sorceress steals an Statue from the Archive of her Family and delivers that to him...what she did, not knowing that this "Statue" is an prototyp rechargable Artifact that the yugoloth lost on this world to an holy order, which allows the user to infect an whole city with an curse comporable to an Helmet of opposite alignment, turning everyone Neutral Evil *looks innocently* ^^
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
And so at least one PC found out that the Guardinal has fallen, sad Fyrehowl, well at least he did not call in a Paladin to smite her...just for testing purposes how far she has fallen *ggg*

She hasn't fallen far (NG to N). It'll be a while before she realizes it herself, and how she finds out is amusing.

On a important sidenote you are now responsible for more hurt players or more correctly PCs. ^^ As our group now distrusts our local Arcanaloth so much that they try to find a Copy of the Book of keeping. *whistles*

None of my players trust -any- fiend at this point. :D

And the next update is written. Will be posted on Saturday.
 

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