Shemeska's Planescape Storyhour - (Updated 14February2024)

Shemeska

Adventurer
Colcook frowned inwardly as he adjusted the mirror. It wasn’t heavy, but he’d been holding it up for more than two hours. Frankly, despite his supreme talents –in his opinion, wasted on Sigil at times– it was impossible to hold it at the precise angle necessary for someone moving about when you yourself were blindfolded and couldn't tell where it needed to be.

A slight splash of water and the rustle of shuffled papers interrupted the mock-tiefling’s thoughts.

“More to the left Colcook,” Came the relaxed, half-hearted but yet still abominably arrogant command of his employer, the King of the Crosstrade. “I can’t see all of myself with you slouching like that.”

While Colcook stood at one end of the windowless chamber, Shemeska lay in the very center, lounging in the middle of a deep marble tub inset into the floor, casually half submerged in a bath of perfumed water bubbling at a slow boil. Sigil’s patron saint of malign decadence drifted naked beneath the surface, obscured by a partial covering of carefully pruned and scattered Agathian crystal lily petals, each dusted with enough naturally poisonous pollen to kill a dozen men.

For the past hour the Marauder had alternated between staring self-absorbingly at her own reflection in Colcook’s mirror and browsing through and penning comments upon more than a dozen notes, balance-sheets, and ledgers hovering in the air above her bath. Also drifting in loose proximity to the fiend was an ornate glass pipe with a mixture of sweet herbs and mild euphoric hallucinogens smoldering at its tip. She would occasionally reach for it, take a prolonged puff and exhale the smoke in the direction of a naked aasimar girl of questionable maturity kneeling at the water's edge.

Not blindfolded as Colcook was, the cervidal-descended aasimar subserviently went about polishing the fiend's claws when they emerged above the surface. Of course the aasimar was blind, her eyes gouged out intentionally, so the drugged smoke’s hallucinogenic effect did little to phase her, but the callous intent on her Mistress’s part was still there, to say nothing of the mutilation.

Pursing and then licking her lips, the Marauder swirled, sniffed, and sipped from a slender crystalline flute filled with a deep red-black wine.

“Let me ask you something Colcook,” The fiend spoke as if at a business meeting, despite the baroque and hellish absurdity of the scene, “How many cases of this did you and yours manage to steal from Muriov Garianis last week? It’s quite good.”

“Five cases Madam.”

She smiled and took another taste. “Sweet but not overly so. Not fruit forward; mild tannins. Decent mid-body, hints of cherry, leather and tobacco. Judging by this alone, I suppose that the Prime Material isn’t entirely just a source of mortal sh*t and larvae. Bring two cases of it here tomorrow. The others you can distribute to our friends in the Lady’s Ward taverns that are on my good side. One or two bottles can show up in the Black Sails though, just to rub Garianis the wrong way and let him wonder which of his people f*cked up this time.”

"As you wish Madam." Colcook's voice was prompt, measured and professional.

The 'loth smiled and mentally uncorked the wine bottle, topping off her glass with an effortless dance of telekinetic force spread between the bottle, the glass, her pipe, and the dozens of documents hovering above her.

"I am done your fiendish majesty..." The aasimar's voice was soft and unobtrusive, flat and almost devoid of emotion, bordering upon despondent. Compared to Colcook, she was less of a servitor and more of a pet.

The fiend paused and held up her feet, examining the manicure of her claws there and then to her fingertips done earlier. Approving of the job, she slid one foot over the edge of the tub to run the claw of her big toe along the line of the aasimar's jaw, pricking the skin and leaving a red line of her appreciation painted in the passing edema. "I approve. Good girl."

"What color would Mistress desire?" The aasimar glanced sightlessly in the direction of a tray of brushes and paint.

"Well I suppose that depends on what I'll be wearing tomorrow." The Marauder glanced at her reflection, concentrating on the image and altering it to show her form dried and dressed in various collections of cloth and finery, moving through various options and pondering the resulting matches in paint and gloss for her claws. "Should I wear the blue empire gown I wore at the Wheel two months ago during which I entertained those Merkhants? Or perhaps something displaying my form in distinctly less modest of a light such as the purple keyhole gown with the open, laced sides and..."

Twenty minutes elapsed during which the 'loth never stopped talking about her wardrobe options.

“...but given how much heavier velvet and fur seem to be on the verge of coming back into style, I do think that I’ll be paying a visit to that new eladrin dressmaker on Gold Lantern next to…”

Interrupted, the ‘loth snarled as there came a sudden knock at the door.

“Enter,” She said in far too reserved and demure a voice. The faintest glow of purple flame danced in her eyes as she lay her hands on the cold stone rim of the pool and clicked her claws with restrained anger.

One of her tiefling guards stepped one foot inside, holding a hand over his eyes and looking at his feet, apparently well aware that he was not allowed to look. His voice was hesitant and worried, “Your fiendish majesty there was…”

She cut him off with the same false calm in her voice. “I do believe that I stated that I was not to be disturbed for the next five hours while I relaxed in the bath. Perchance you didn’t hear me? Or has the Lady issued an edict that I’m not allowed to occasionally indulge myself without interruption?”

“There was…”

“This had better be important,” She cut him off a second time, “or your blood will be upon my hands tonight. In fact there may still be blood even if you have a good reason for this disturbance, if I so desire it…”

“A letter arrived for you.” The tiefling replied, furiously squinting his eyes shut and continuing to avert his gaze obediently as he heard the fiend emerge from the water.

“Oh is that all? A Letter. Obviously such world shaking importance as a bit of mail could not wait till after I’d finished my bath, gone over finances, and had my way with a concubine or two.” She sneered and shook her head, pausing to run her claws through the still-kneeling aasimar's hair, “A letter you say. From who?”

“I… don’t know.” The tiefling answered, cringing in fear, expecting to wake missing one or more fingers or some other body part.

The ‘loth could have cared less about mortal sensibilities and social mores concerning clothing or lack thereof as she stood there, dripping wet, her fur slicked down from the water, but in her mind there was something to be said about making them think you cared just as much as some sugared high-born mortal tart saving herself, and then tormenting them with their own discomfort and worry. There was pleasure in that. This time however, she was genuinely annoyed by the lack of tact in disrupting her bath, especially when she'd been in the middle of considering the intersection of her body and Sigilian high fashion.

“You don’t know?” She hissed. “Then why in the Oinoloth’s name did you even bother thinking it of enough importance to interrupt me?”

He cringed and the answer was swift to his lips, as if an explanation might divert the spells congealing in her mind, “Because the man who arrived with the letter self-immolated upon announcing that he had it to deliver to you.”

Shemeska blinked, derailed in her thoughts, ears suddenly perked and alert, all of her various pretenses dropped for the moment as she stared at the letter in her assassin-groomer’s hand, ready to dispel any spell-trap or ward herself if it was too late. But no, the letter was non-magical, or at least it appeared to be. The envelope was simple, pale white in color and addressed in elaborate, hand-penned script “To Shemeska, my beautiful monster.” What followed was the tripartite symbol of the Oinoloth.

She snatched the letter with trembling hands, “You are dismissed.”

The tiefling nodded obediently and quietly saw himself out, followed a moment later by the blind aasimar girl. Shaking slightly with worried anticipation, the Marauder waited and then looked up at Colcook.

“You are dismissed.” Her tone carrying a mild annoyance, only barely cutting through her own humbled anticipation, “That goes for you too Colcook.”

“But…”

“Get. Out.” She added a soft snarl to punctuate the command before then literally barking it out a second time at double the volume and breaking her normally cultured demeanor. “GET OUT! Dismiss the other guards and lock the door. I am not to be disturbed for the remainder of the evening unless it’s the Bladed Queen herself at the doorstep.”

Reluctantly Colcook put down the mirror in his hands and made for the door, closing it before removing his blindfold. As he turned his key in the lock, his mind raced through the possibilities of what the letter contained and how he might put it to his advantage. He did know one thing for certain however: many rilmani were disturbed by long-term proximity to other outsiders not native to the Outlands, especially the more powerful ones that epitomized their alignment. In his time posing as the Marauder's guard and servitor, he'd grown used to a certain amount of evil that wafted off of her like a stench more potent than the most toxic of her perfumes. The letter in her hand however had nearly caused him to gag and wretch from the other side of the room.

Back beyond the locked door, Shemeska slipped back into the tub, having only hastily tied her hair back to avoid dripping water upon the paper. This was more important than her own appearance. Sensing much the same aura from the letter as had Colcook, the Marauder reacted not with sickness, but something between carnal desire and religious ecstasy.

Panting and flush in the face and tips of her ears, she stared at the letter, written by the Oinoloth's hand for her eyes alone.

‘My beautiful monster.’ The letter was addressed. The Marauder's eyes danced with sparkling, exploding stars snuffling out the life of their satellite worlds. He’d called Shylara the same appellation before as a term of pseudo-affection. Of course his use now was likely hollow and only intended to spur jealousy. But still, Shemeska smiled and put a hand across her breast, ears blushing furiously. She actually deserved the appellation of course. She was genuinely worthy of the Oinoloth’s attention. She’d helped him ascend to the Siege Malicious. The other one -her former apprentice Shylara- was a puppet, pet, and weak-willed whore. She on the other hand, unlike Shylara, had risen to power out of her own skill, her own power, her own ferociously duplicitous intellect. Unlike her former student -and briefly more than that- she was a legitimate colleague and peer to the Ebon, though yes, she wouldn’t mind the same carnal attentions herself if it improved her position and fortunes.

With only her head and hands above the waterline, the Marauder relaxed and opened the letter, her excitement causing the candles in the room to burn brighter with flickering amber light. The letter had been expected eventually of course, it being a response to her aide in the Oinoloth's ascension, and more to the point a response to her answer to his question to her, posed prior to that point.

"What is it you want?" She whispered, kissing the envelope gently and leaving behind a purple imprint of her lips.

That was the question that he'd asked her and Helekanalaith, and while she didn't know what the Keeper's response had been, her answer had been swift.

"Importance," She’d whispered then and whispered again now, feeling her ego engorge, “From my lips to your ears my Oinoloth.”

Thinking back on the moment, she recalled how, for a split second, she’d considered asking for A’kin’s head on a silver platter, still conscious and screaming. But no, that was too petty even for her, and the Ebon promised things of much greater scope. As for A'kin, she’d enjoy taking him down herself and either leaving him powerless, devoid of magic, and begging for her mercy, or just begging on his knees, looking up at her as something unto itself. He was an annoyance but to tell the truth the back and forth of their complexly byzantine dynamic over the millennia was something she enjoyed on some level like a game played out ever so slowly that of course she would ultimately win. Oh yes she would, when she was ready, and he’d be on his knees…

She paused with a furious blush and soft snarl, realizing that she’d been breathing far too heavily at the thought. She flushed the petty self-indulgence from her mind with a look of distaste -as was the dignified response for a high ranking member of her caste to such thoughts- and glanced back at the parchment.

“My beautiful monster Shemeska,

Here is the first part of my payment for your aid and support. Below you will find a detailed drawing and a map. Yes, it exists, and it is there within your city still, though its origins vastly predate both its appearance in Sigil and your tenure therein. I desire it and you will have your people find it for me. It will be useful in the future in your hands and your hands alone for the role that you, my Shemeska, will play in things to come. Before then, it is yours to keep safe within Sigil, since I very much doubt that if it left the city it would ever be allowed back in. Use it with extreme and utmost discretion.”

Vorkannis the Ebon - Oinoloth of the Waste, Overlord of the Fourfold Furnace of Gehenna, and Lord of the Scarlet Prison of Carceri.”

Shemeska’s eyes went wide as she looked down at the drawing –again in the Oinoloth’s hand– and recognized it for what it was from what few descriptions that she’d come across during her many thousands of years in the Cage. Silver but not silver and etched with swirls of black impurities in the shape of runes in no known language. The symbols were said to blur on their own accord and strain the eyes, and they did, even in the Ebon’s drawing. It was said to be far heavier than it should have been and forged in the form of a simple, antique skeleton key.

“The Shadow Sorcelled Key…”


****​
 
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Erevanden

Explorer
Intriguing, immersive, great as usual :)

As an infrequent visitor to the boards, this is a good occasion to ask some questions I had in the back of my head for some time now:

1) Do you make statblocks for the more unique and powerful npc's in your campaigns - creatures like Vorkannis the Ebon, Shylara, the Demented, Master of the Hunt (we all know who) or Lothar ?

2) Are such creatures just advanced specimens of their kind (in case of outsiders and such) or do you gice them special, unique abilities ?

3) Do you use "background cutscenes" in your campaigns ? (a kind of handouts for players, basically short stories about things like enemy activity or events taking place paralel to the campaign timeline, or perhaps in the past, that are important to the campaign but players do not take part in them and generally know nothing about them - like the Vorkannis "landing" or oblivion compass situation)
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
Intriguing, immersive, great as usual :)

As an infrequent visitor to the boards, this is a good occasion to ask some questions I had in the back of my head for some time now:

1) Do you make statblocks for the more unique and powerful npc's in your campaigns - creatures like Vorkannis the Ebon, Shylara, the Demented, Master of the Hunt (we all know who) or Lothar ?

2) Are such creatures just advanced specimens of their kind (in case of outsiders and such) or do you gice them special, unique abilities ?

3) Do you use "background cutscenes" in your campaigns ? (a kind of handouts for players, basically short stories about things like enemy activity or events taking place paralel to the campaign timeline, or perhaps in the past, that are important to the campaign but players do not take part in them and generally know nothing about them - like the Vorkannis "landing" or oblivion compass situation)

1) If stats apply for them / if the PCs might interact with them in the context of rolling for initiative yes. It might be ridiculously dumb for them to do so, but if they so choose to attempt to sucker punch an archfiend, I'll have numbers for that archfiend.

2) It depends on the creature in question. Shylara for instance was an arcanaloth with added sorcerer levels so that she was a 20th level caster when the 3.0 arcanaloth innate spellcasting levels were included. I think I had the Marauder around a level 25 spellcaster with some unique abilities. One of the Demented by the name of Methikus sar Telmuril 'The Flesh Sculptor' had around 2k hit points and a unique stat block, unique abilities, etc. If it was going to be in a situation where it was even capable of being harmed, it had stats if there could be combat.

3) Sort of. A few times the PCs were able to scry on distant events (they were watching when Vorkannis rose to Oinoloth for instance), but the cut scenes in the story hour are just me fleshing out what was happening in the larger campaign world off stage from the PCs.

The PCs did visit the 'landing' and the Oblivion Compass, the very briefly mentioned pool in Elysium, other places etc.
 

Erevanden

Explorer
Sweet :D

I see that you provided some incredibly cool concept spoilers for the unique Baern abiliites in one of the previous posts. :cool:

Are you willing, at this point of the storyhour, to spill some information about others ? :blush:

I'm particularily interested in Lazarius Ibn Shartalan "the Architect", Harishek Ap Thul'kesh "the Blind Clockmaker", Sarkithel fek Pathis "the Chronicler", Severeth Na'Halastrian "The Wanderer" and Chorazin Ibn Shatalan "The Thrice Damned".
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
Sweet :D

I see that you provided some incredibly cool concept spoilers for the unique Baern abiliites in one of the previous posts. :cool:

Are you willing, at this point of the storyhour, to spill some information about others ? :blush:

I'm particularily interested in Lazarius Ibn Shartalan "the Architect", Harishek Ap Thul'kesh "the Blind Clockmaker", Sarkithel fek Pathis "the Chronicler", Severeth Na'Halastrian "The Wanderer" and Chorazin Ibn Shatalan "The Thrice Damned".

All of them have previously appeared in stories* of their own or in the storyhour (and they'll show up again), with the exception being Chorazin. He/She/It hasn't appeared yet other then being mentioned by name.

*all of which were hosted on Planewalker
 

Erevanden

Explorer
Oh, I know, I know, read each and every one more than once, those little masterpieces :cool:

This question should propably go to the Rogues Gallery thread, as I was referring to your post obout the unique abilities of the baernaloths:

Well I do recall some of them off the top of my head.

Tellura ibn Shartalan perpetually had double actions each round, one for her physical humanoid body and another for her shadow. The physical form was also effectively immune to physical damage, soaking it up without suffering any mechanical detriment. Only damage to her shadow could actually harm her (which had some god-awfully-high miss chance ala a cloak of displacement or blur).

The Ineffable had some form of phantasmal killer aura going on.

Chorazin ibn Shartalan the Thrice-Damned (not one of The Demented) had some pretty hard-core flame-based effects and an obscene caster level (I want to say he auto bypassed SR).

Lazarius ibn Shartalan 'The Architect' absorbed arcane magic completely, healed by it or just auto-reversing the effects on anyone else in range (his range, not the original caster). I want to say that divine magic was one of the few things capable of actually doing damage to him.

Only Tellura, the Flesh Sculptor, the Blind Clockmaker, and the Ineffable ended up rolling for initiative in that campaign (versus the PCs and allies at least).

I'm curious about what the others could do - Harishek Ap Thul'kesh "the Blind Clockmaker", Sarkithel fek Pathis "the Chronicler" or Severeth Na'Halastrian "The Wanderer" ?

Oh, and just noticed Chorazin's flame affinity - pretty unusual for a baern :heh:
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
I'm curious about what the others could do - Harishek Ap Thul'kesh "the Blind Clockmaker", Sarkithel fek Pathis "the Chronicler" or Severeth Na'Halastrian "The Wanderer" ?

Oh, and just noticed Chorazin's flame affinity - pretty unusual for a baern :heh:


Harishek - time/probability manipulation

The Chronicler - interacted with quite a bit, but never in combat. He seemed to have a pretty crazy foresight ability though it was more a case of calculating possible futures and acting accordingly to make them happen more so than time manipulation like the Clockmaker. Consider the Chronicler to be the epitome of a dispassionate, detached, and utterly amoral researcher.

The Wanderer - never seen in combat, so it never really became relevant

Also with respect to Chrorazin. Chorazin isn't one of the Demented, and hasn't been on the Waste since nearly the beginning of time. So the wasting that affected most of the Baern and the madness that consumed the Demented isn't really a thing for him. He's rather different in some ways, but that doesn't come into play for a while. Apomps was something of a protege of his.
 

Erevanden

Explorer
Wonderful :)

Many thanks for all the great info about the Baern.

Also with respect to Chrorazin. Chorazin isn't one of the Demented, and hasn't been on the Waste since nearly the beginning of time. So the wasting that affected most of the Baern and the madness that consumed the Demented isn't really a thing for him. He's rather different in some ways, but that doesn't come into play for a while. Apomps was something of a protege of his.

Oh, I'll be looking forward to read more about this specific Baernaloth. The "rather different in some ways" part especially stokes my curiosity :]
 

81Dagon

Explorer
All of them have previously appeared in stories* of their own or in the storyhour (and they'll show up again), with the exception being Chorazin. He/She/It hasn't appeared yet other then being mentioned by name.

*all of which were hosted on Planewalker
If anyone's looking for them, whoever made this pdf managed to pull all of the stories before Planewalker went down. The original link is in the previous storyhour thread, buts seems to have also died. Fortunately, I have a copy in my Dropbox too.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/4kzhyt34ew9e1en/shemeskas_psh.pdf
 

Akhelos

First Post
Shemeshka even in her Bathroom never without a Mirror, even if you can Pity her Bodyguards. Must carry the Mirror but are not allowed to look...except if the want to never see something again. *g*

If anyone's looking for them, whoever made this pdf managed to pull all of the stories before Planewalker went down. The original link is in the previous storyhour thread, buts seems to have also died. Fortunately, I have a copy in my Dropbox too.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/4kzhyt34ew9e1en/shemeskas_psh.pdf

What has btw. happend with planewalker.com? The whole site seems to be dead. A bit sad, there were a lot of nice articles.

And after reading, all the Appendixes in the PDF (some of the storys again, like that about the Baernaloths I already saw on planewalker *g*) as a Question.
Where are Informations about the Meladaemons? ^^ Except of the stats block in the pathfinder Srd. Or better said where (in which Books) are more Informations about them? ^^

Oh and who is Inuq'Sharaq (The Collector)? Another Baernaloth not of the Demented?
 

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