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Shemeska's Planescape Storyhour (Updated 29 Jan 2014)


This is starting off with a prologue and back history to set up the story for folks before the introduction of the player characters. I'm late in getting this written since the campaign is a year and five months in progress already. Oh well, better late than never.

The wind from the void contrasted bitterly as it rushed with gale force over the burning slopes of Khalas. Beneath its rage, unyielding in its face, an iron city crawled upon legs of grafted flesh over the landscape of Gehenna’s first furnace. Titanic and eternal, the Crawling Citadel had existed since before the rise of Dis in Baator and Tu’narath in the Astral. Of those cities that still existed upon the planes, only Sigil could truly claim to have utterly predated it.

Within the depths of the city the first Ultroloth, the General of Gehenna himself sat and pondered over a great table of maps, diagrams and figures. He sat tracing out the desired path of the armies of both the Baatezu and Tanar’ri, and the required actions of the Yugoloths in order to balance both sides in the war, yet make it seem as nothing more than the eternal stalemate between the sides. Let no pattern of influence fall to the eyes and minds of the other fiends. Let them remain ignorant of the truth, and even ignorant of his existence. After all, his very hand had played a role in their very creation as the waste left over from his purification of the Yugoloths.

Around his neck upon a chain of cold iron hung a black sapphire that gleamed with an inner luminescence, the Heart of Darkness, the artifact that he had created at the tutelage and instruction of his makers, the Baernaloths, the Gloom Fathers, the first fiends. The inner light of the Heart shed its faceted patterns and shadows across the maps before The General, the rest of the chamber a study in inky darkness, and empty except for its maker.

With brilliant ease the prince of Ultroloths balanced armies and tugged upon the strings of power that would profit his race and provide the raw data of their grand experiment into the nature of evil that was the Blood War. This time however, something weighed upon the being of The General, a subtle but persistent tug upon his black soul. For the first time in eons he was uncertain and troubled by this. Whatever it was, it seemed oddly familiar upon his mind as if he had once before felt its touch. The General paused and pondered, his eyes shifting in patterns of malign color, with not a drop of emotions behind them in the cold and detached clinical evil that permeated the thoughts in his brain.

In the darkness behind the General, the shadows stirred suddenly and took form, congealing rapidly into a figure that stood heads above the ultraloth prince. Milky, cataract filmed eyes gazed down upon the General as the form placed its bony hands upon his shoulders. The General did not react at the touch, seemingly unfazed and unconcerned at the being’s sudden presence.

It lurked above and behind him, gazing silently across his work with a mad and knowing gleam in its features and its mannerisms. Despite the fact that the greatest Yugoloth since the very beginning of time stood beneath this second being, the chamber felt polluted and sullied by its presence, something more foul than its normal occupant by far.

“You have a feeling in your brain that you cannot shove to the side, or destroy or dominate or explain. That troubles you my child, does it not?”

The General spoke without turning to face his better, “Yes it does. And I’ve felt it once before, when I was newly formed from the Waste, when you first spoke to me. It was there then, but I never felt it again till today. Tell me, what is it?”

The Baernaloth, Lazarius Ibn Shartalan, The Architect smiled a rictus grin down at his creation and tool. Diseased and noxious thoughts bubbled to the surface of his pit of a mind and he spoke once more, “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. No, it will forge it.”

The General of Gehenna turned and looked up at this one of his makers with respect bordering upon awe, “Tell me what I must do then.”

The Architect leered and replied as The Heart of Darkness dimmed at random, but seemingly in response to his words, “Then listen and do as I instruct. This is what you must do…”


In a forsaken corner of Krangath, the frozen and dead 4th furnace, a bitter wind stirred the ash of a vale cut into the flank of the mount. Sitting upon the broken block of stone that was once, and would be the foundation stone of a buttress to the shattered cathedral whose ruins stood before him, Sarkithel Fek Parthis looked up from his musings. The ashes upon the ground stirred in agitation with the fevered thoughts of the Baernaloth as his dead white eyes sparkled with madness.

“It begins, finally it begins.”

The Chronicler, 5th of the Gloom Fathers screamed aloud into the sky, a manic bellow of exultation passing from his wasted lips and echoing out across the ravaged foundations of the city that surrounded him. The incinerated and frozen ashes of fiends and celestials alike stood around him as well with expressions of shock, panic and fear patterned across their faces, statues of solid ash all of them. Sarkithel paused in his excitement as a fit of phlegmatic coughing overtook him and several minutes later he stopped and wiped flecks of blood from his sallow lips.

“Just as we said, just as we planned, everything will fall into place. All that remains to be done is to wait and to watch for the signs to manifest themselves. Isn’t that right?”

The Baern chuckled to himself and gazed once more around himself to the city of ash and its dead as the wind began to rise and the ashes began to whisper back to him in fear and apprehension of it all happening again.


At the same time deep in the hinterlands of Pluton, third layer of the Waste, the fiend once called Oinoloth, then and now called Anthraxus the Decayed seethed in displeasure. Gazing across the blighted, dead landscape of stunted trees and despair taken physical form, he felt a surge of purpose. Too much time had passed since he had stepped down from his position as Oinoloth of the Wasting Tower of Khin-Oin in favor of the Ultraloth Mydianchlarus. The words that his usurper had whispered to him had, at the time, filled him with fear and shock. At their potency alone he had abdicated the Seige Malicious and surrendered his position to his lesser.

Those words had spoken of his own doom in the shadow of Khin-Oin, of prophecy whispered by the Baernaloths, and things to come. But none of it had come to pass, not a single bit of those truths had become a reality. He had been deceived and his hunt for confirmation of those same words had come to naught, a chase after shadows, legends and half-truths. His search for confirmation had even led him to approach the deities of the Waste, those spawn of mortal belief, and to abase himself before them in hope of being granted their power as a proxy. All of them had spurned his attempts. The Godless Yugoloth had remained so.

Anthraxus turned away from his gazing across Pluton and the Hill of Bone and towards the city of Center. There it would start and it would end at Khin-Oin when he reclaimed his throne and rightful position as lord of his race. Lies would not stop him this time. The once and future Oinoloth would come into his rightful place again.


The tortured screams and agonized howls of the petitioners molded to form the walls of the Tower of Incarnate Pain were music to the ears of a jet black Arcanaloth who sat and smiled within a chamber at its apex. Vorkannis the Ebon looked with the reddish pink eyes of an albino, oddly contrasting with his shadowy coat, at the projected images of his guests. They were a cross-section of their rank within the Yugoloth hierarchy, the powerful and the influential, all unable to take their proper role under the yoke of the faceless masters of Khin-Oin.

The Ebon stood and spoke, “Mydianchlarus is worried over reports that Anthraxus seeks to regain his position atop Khin-Oin. Good, that’s how it was meant to be. Anthraxus has a burning hatred now and an eagerness for allies and old connections to fall to his side. He needs to build his base of power before he can challenge his successor.”

He sneered and bared gleaming fangs, pausing for effect as he looked at the other two looking back to him. “This is where we have our chance to play them both for fools and claim what is ours.”

The image of the red robed, chocolate furred Arcanaloth to The Ebon’s left spoke, “You sound as if you planned this from the start, or at least know more about this than you’re willing to let on. I can certainly muster a significant force on my own, and you as well from Bubonix’s old position. We all still wonder how you managed that. But again, how can you be so certain of this?”

Vorkannis smiled, amused at the question, “You sound so much like Larsdana when you have doubts. She would be proud of you, is proud of you. You will tell her I give my regards after our meeting, yes? Such a light upon your work she is still.”

Helekanalaith the Keeper of the Tower of the Arcanaloths looked taken aback and once again he pondered how in the hells his compatriot knew certain things. He’d been asking himself that question for centuries now as The Ebon had climbed the ladder of power quickly and without question. It didn’t entirely make sense. For starters he’d simply walked out of the Waste without a past, at least as far as he could tell.

“Indeed. Send me the information you promised and I’ll set the wheels into motion from my own position, only if you can assure me of certain things. And if I receive certain things. You’ve yet to ask my price for aid in this gamble, I’m risking everything.”

The Ebon glanced away from the Keeper and towards the other image where the 3rd Arcanaloth sat and slowly preened before a mirror, her ears tilted and pivoted towards her colleagues.

“And my most elegant Marauder, is your self imposed exile in Sigil still as enjoyable a game as ever? I know you’ve managed to advance your self more there than here within the lower planes, and you’ve enjoyed yourself to no end, despite other mitigating factors, despite other persons.” He smiled at her sneer at the last point.

She turns and regarded him arrogantly, “You know full well what I’m capable of, but you haven’t given me the tools I asked for. You just told me what you wanted from me, and the reasons. Now tell me how to do it and with what. Otherwise I’m content enough here dodging shadows and blunting ogres and titans. And like my erstwhile superior in Gehenna,” she smiled at Helekanalaith, “I’ve not yet been told what I will receive from our little deal. I’ll grease the wheels from my end, but I only give favors in exchange for others. You better than most others should know how we work.”

“Indeed I do, better than anyone else I assure you I know how we work.” Vorkannis glanced down and smiled inwardly before looking back to his conspirators.

“I have a question for you both, answer me and you will have what you ask and we will set this third wheel into motion, a wheel among wheels of conspiracy, the wheel within wheels.” His eyes flashed more red than the dim corpse light of Carceri and The Ebon snarled and barked out a series of words that grated the air and caused the walls to ache and distort.

The other two Arcanaloths looked disturbed at the incantation, “What was that, and in what language, I’m unfamiliar with it.” The Marauder said, dropping her typical pretense of vanity.

“That my fellows, was a question. Spoken in the tongue of the Baernaloths, the Gloom Fathers. I know it well, fluently in fact.” Vorkannis smiled again.

Helekanalaith, looking once more at ill ease replied for himself and Shemeska, “And what does it mean?”

The light of Carceri through the window sparkled in his eyes as he answered that question with one of his own, THE question perhaps, the root of damnation, “What is it you want?”

The two other fiends paused and answered their future lord in turn.

And thus it all began, bits and pieces of the puzzle sliding into place across the lower planes, all part of something greater, all the players claiming to know the answers, the plots, the details and contingencies. Thus it began.
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Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
Well written; you'd think you wrote hundreds of pages of Planescape material, or something. :p

Is this off of notes, or purely from memory?


First Post
You know I was just browsing this fourm when the words planescape caught my eye. Not only did I find a planescape story hour but one by one of the planewalker team. This is a great gem to find and I hope it continues being a gem. Also this post is to subscribe.


Imperial Mountain Dew Taster

Wow, that was an impressive intro, I'm pretty excited about this SH as I love planescape! I look forward to it!


Re: Pkitty

That was all backstory that happened before I ever asked the players for character concepts, and so it never got notes for it per say. However all of those NPCs and most of the places and events were involved enough that I wrote down what happened. I just havn't bothered to grab my notes from a year ago at look at yet.

Re: everyone else

When I update to the point where the PCs get involved I'll be using some longhand notes jotted down on the typed out notes and I have a few chatlogs to incorporate since one of the players got started off with a solo session or two before joining in. Nothing like telling the DM "Hmm... I can't decide on equipment or backstory, make him an amnesiac." This allows me to hold up the "Screwing you now, bend over. You are my living, breathing plot hook, enjoy." sign towards the player. :D

I've also got fiction from the PoV of some of the NPC's both before and during the campaign floating around. There's some random short stories and an ongoing journal by one of the fiends that is, well, not kosher for posting here.

Some of the players have been writing IC journals and I may include portions of them from time to time to get their viewpoints involved. But I probably will be updating twice a week or so just so that I can manage to catch up eventually with the current campaign a year and some months removed from the current post. *chuckle*

I'm having fun here though, and I'm taking this as a challange to write it all up in this format from the stacks of notes and such on paper. Though my writing can be awkward at times and I apologize for my habit of massive run on sentances. ;)

Hope you enjoy though.


Shemeska said:
Nothing like telling the DM "Hmm... I can't decide on equipment or backstory, make him an amnesiac." This allows me to hold up the "Screwing you now, bend over. You are my living, breathing plot hook, enjoy." sign towards the player. :D

*curtsey curtsey* That would be me. This if I recall has been my character with the largest 'shoot me here' sign attached for GM pleasure. ;) I'm looking forwards to reading this.


First Post
Re: The bit parts

Shemie, I registered here for no other reason than to remind you not to forget the bit parts. :D

I wanna see every little tiny insignificant detail...


Deodrathas said:
Shemie, I registered here for no other reason than to remind you not to forget the bit parts. :D

I wanna see every little tiny insignificant detail...

By bit part do you mean 'plays little consequence'? Or do you mean 'you don't see him till he pops out with the stabbity death!' ?

*grin* Fun fun, Sutekh told him everything, yep. :D


Inventor of Super-Toast
Awesome. Between this and Blackdirge, we've got two of the three fiendish races down. So, who's up for devils?

Anyway, Shemeska, I love Planescape, and this Story Hour looks great. Keep up the good work.

Demiurge out.


First Post
Interesting opening, oh King of the Crosstrades. I am quite interested in seeing where these things lead. There have been some hints of course, there are few scraps of knowledge that the Orrery misses when scouring the planes, but hints are one thing while the true story is quite another.

Further installments must be written to fill in the gaps in my records. I do hope you will oblige.


The next update will be sometime this week. It would have been last week, but real life and job took priority. So it's on the way, and I also wanted to write enough to reach a natural pause point for the next installment. It's in the making.

And as far as where things are leading, imagine the feeling of that lookout guy on the Titanic thinking he might have seen a spot of ice on the water. That's the case here. Just the tip of the iceberg.

Jaspar Arelius

First Post
A stately alhoon enters, followed by his thrall companion...

*has a seat, adjusting his robes, and waits for the story to begin*

(Hey Shemeska, think I'd miss out on more of your tales? Or chances to bug the Ooze out of you about Vecna? Heheh...)


Update 2: Enter 'Clueless' - this update sponsored by a snowstorm cancelling classes

A slow and wet sensation crawled across the man’s face like the caress of a lover, but a foul smelling and gritty one… He blinked and opened his pale blue eyes, a slow drizzle of water cascading onto his face from the drainpipes of the ramshackle building that he was sprawled next to.

He brushed the mud from his face and sat up, wincing as he did so from a soreness that pained his body from no specific source. Glancing around at his surroundings, confused and uncertain, a worry ran through him of things he should have been frightened or angry over, but they had fled his mind.

He blinked again at the realization that everything had fled his mind. His name, where he was, what he was doing here, his memories were an empty slate devoid of these things.

“Huh?… what the hells…”, he looked down at himself, damp and spattered in mud as he was for any clue of what had happened. As he glanced down, the back of his head began to throb under his rain spattered blond hair. The pain suddenly made him aware of the bruise and bleeding at the back of his skull from a heavy blow that had knocked him out. A second pain erupted from his left ankle from underneath the rough homespun trousers he wore.

He was dressed in dirty peasants clothing, nothing special about them to distinguish him from any random beggar or bubber on the streets. A simple shirt and a dirty cloak completed his attire of anonymity. Hanging limply from his waist were the leather ties upon which a belt pouch had hung, though only a few inches of severed leather remained.

:):):):)…” he murmured as he glanced down the cluttered alleyway, wondering if the thieves that had bobbed him might still be close. The two buildings he sat between in the muck were poorly cared for, dilapidated and largely bleached of any colors besides muted grays, browns and blacks. In fact, everything around him seemed infested with a wet melancholy that festered on the air. He shrugged it off and stood up, his trim and athletic build flexing subtly and mostly hidden underneath the simple clothes. He winced again at a sudden pain in his ankle as he rose to his feet and put his weight upon them.

He looked down at his ankle but didn’t see any blood on the ground, or on his feet. In fact his feet were both bare and cold, the thieves evidently having gotten away with his boots as well as his jink. “Sod it all, why was I in this… wherever this is anyways?”

His ankle still throbbed and the muscles felt sore, something had happened to it even if nothing showed. He reached down to pull up the pant leg to examine the flesh, and found something that seemed even to his amnesiac mind out of place. Embedded in the flesh and perhaps bone of his ankle was a single, smooth, egg shaped cobalt blue gem. It was cool to the touch but gave off a slight tingling sensation when touched. It didn’t feel right, it didn’t seem like it should be there.

His inspection of the gem was suddenly interrupted by the sudden noise of a door swinging open into the alleyway. The abrupt noise caused him to start as a black, reptilian humanoid stepped out of the opening and hurled a hissed curse back towards the occupants of the building he was leaving. The language was dark and guttural, conveying force and authority, and the man understand every word of it.

“You’ll have better bub next time for me or I’ll see to it you and my teeth get acquainted! That swill isn’t good enough for a piking Tanar’ri!” the reptilian creature spit at the last word he spoke and a name or designation, of ‘black abishai’ came bubbling up to man’s senses from.

The Abishai slammed the door behind itself and strode down the alley towards the man. It stretched out its draconic wings and shrugged off the effects of whatever it had drinking and strode forwards, ignoring the man who backed up against the wall to avoid it.

It passed him with a thick smell of brimstone and acrid reptile odor that washed over the air. He followed it as it passed, and as it reached the end of the alleyway it paused and turned to him with narrowed eyes.

“What exactly are you staring at mortal?” it spoke in another, less harsh language that the man also understood and knew to be planar common.

“Nothing, I just… no, nothing, sorry.” He looked away as the Baatezu growled and walked down the street.

He breathed a sigh of relief, straightened his back and stepped away from the wall out towards the main street when he stepped upon something cold and hard underfoot. He looked down to see a long metallic object partially buried in the muck that he had been sitting over. A sword of a dull greenish steel, otherwise sharp and well manufactured. He reached down to grasp it and found it familiar feeling to his touch, comforting even.

He cleaned the sword off on the edge of his cloak, then removed the garment and wrapped the sword carefully bundled in the rough cloth. “Odd that they left that, it looks nice. Hell it’s mine, at least it feels that way and I obviously took care of it.” He looked around and kicked at the mud to test if anything else of his had slipped into the mire, and finding nothing else he walked out of the alleyway onto the main street some twenty feet distant.

He gazed out of the alleyway down both sides of the street, the buildings all with the same color bleached and apathetic feeling. The few people wandering the streets were dressed in similarly muted colors, none of them seeming to be in either a hurry or to have much motivation in their movements. The dim grayish light from overhead was filtered through fog and clouds, and its mood seemed to say that the sun had withdrawn to sit and pine away the loss of the blue sky, depression taking over the roll of sunshine and washing down to light the city itself.

The street itself was muddy with the slight drizzle, but not as muck-laden as the alleyway had been. To his left the street seemed to incline slightly, and decline to the right. Looking to the right, some twenty meters distant, the Abishai walked down the street. As it closed to within distance of a small man huddled on the stoop of a building, a thin plea of “Jink?” carried on the wind. It was answered by a whistle and a crack as the fiend responded with a sudden backhanded crack.

The begger slumped, unmoving against the wall of the hovel, and the fiend continued walking, barely pausing its stride. The amnesiac frowned and moved towards the slumped figure, muttering a cautious, “…are you ok?” as his hand closed tentatively over the blade of his sword. For whatever reason it seemed that his hand was naturally gravitating back towards the hilt of the blade, unconsciously settling over it.

But pausing to kneel next to the begger, he reached out his other hand to touch and check to see if he was alive or badly wounded. There was no response but the begger’s chest rose up and down in a slow pattern. At the very least he was alive, just not responding.

"...hey. Are you... well. That's a really stupid question for me to be asking isn't it. I mean clearly you aren't ok, you got knocked out... um."

He frowned again and brushed aside the cowl over the other man’s head to reveal a thin angular face, uncertain now if they were male or female. Their hair was thin, stringy and dappled with muddy water, their eyes closed but slightly almond shaped.

"Cause if you were ok - you'd be telling me where I was I bet." He looked around and sat down on the stoop beside the unconscious man and cradled his bundled sword in his lap. "... great."

As he sat, drizzling rainwater falling across his head and shoulders he sighed. Between glances down at the unconscious beggar he strained to remember who he was, why he was here, and anything else at all. The Abishai as he now firmly remembered it being called had seemed to be in a hurry. But to be honest he wasn’t really sure why he’d be in such a hurry. After all, what would be the use of it all. Why bother when whatever it was wouldn’t matter anyways…

“Are you gonna wake up now?” But it wasn’t as if the sword had helped him at all. What good was it? He’d still been left for dead in that alley, cold, wet, muddy…

“…yeah, but if I was hit from behind… I wouldn’a been able t’use it…” He paused abruptly and looked around again in confusion. His thought running all the more depressive and apathetic. Somehow he knew this wasn’t normal, even if he couldn’t even remember his own name. It was almost as if by sitting down and brooding upon things he was unconsciously reflecting the depressive, color leeched and gritty surroundings, or that wherever he was was similarly leeching the color and feelings from him.

"... don't like this place. Ok - you're coming with me - you'll wake up in a happier place - then you'll tell me where I am, right? Right." The begger remained unconscious, but despite not getting a response he put his sword across his back, bundled in the cloak, and picked up the man at his feet.

"I mean, I was awake and this place is getting to me. You're asleep - can't imagine what it might be doing to you.”

The man hefted the rag bundled figure without difficulty, most of their weight apparently being clothing. They seemed unhealthily thin and malnourished. Under the cloth they had to have been a stick figure of a person.

“You're thin. And you still can't hear me, so I'm still being silly."

Coming further into view as the clothing slipped and settled as they were lifted up, one of beggar’s feet was a white cloven hoof, bony and emaciated. The sudden word, ‘tiefling’ sprung into his mind along with the idea that he was still somewhere upon the planes. Wherever that was. His mind was supplying words, terms and ideas without encasing them in their original context that he had apparently known before.

"Ok. So you're a tiefling, I wonder why they call em' tieflings." He picked up the beggar and carried him down the muddy street in the hopes of finding a place seemingly less depressing, or at the least safer than in the middle of the street where a fiend had passed by only minutes before.

The street continued on moving downwards slightly for several blocks before opening up onto a wider square. Four streets branched out crosswise from it with the buildings surrounding the square appeared to be a mixture of boarded up, abandoned and burnt out shells. Several people milled about the square, all ignoring the man and his unconscious partner, either passing through as quickly as possible or sitting still, looking as despondent as the man’s own thoughts had been minutes before.

The man glanced around and up, suddenly filled with the odd prickling sensation of having been watched from above and behind. He stiffened to see a large blot of shadow dance across the square as something large tracked across the rainy sky but was gone by the time he turned around. He shuddered and make haste down the widest of the four streets.

As the street grew wider it was filled with more foot traffic, a strange mixture of depressive looking humans, tieflings and full blooded fiends, lots of fiends. Uniformly they ignored him and he passed uneventfully down the street till it split into two forks.

Passing down one of the forks at random he kept his eyes wide and alert, looking for an alleyway that if it were possible in this place, was less depressive than the one he had woken up in. Gradually the rain stopped but the sun, if there was a sun here, had failed to emerge from the gloom overhead. However as if to spit the city and shame the sun, the wind began to pick up making it that much more colder and uncomfortable.

He stopped and glanced down the street to where a freestanding stone archway rose in the center of the street to a height just over the rooftop level of the surrounding buildings. Over the top of them he could also make out the rise of a similar stone arch down the path he had not taken when the street had split.

Glancing up at the archway as he neared closer to it he put the tiefling down and shook him slightly, “Hey. You awake now?”

The tiefling gave little reponse but a slight moan. However, this near to the archway that dominated the center of the street the air was laden with a sense of wrongness and despair.

Something sparked in his memory and firmly told him not to proceed. Nothing definite or elaborated upon, but a creeping dread related to some past knowledge or experience. The feeling grew more intense as a tall human strode past to stand before the archway. The figure held up something indistinct in his hand, spoke a word and then vanished into nothingness through a swirling portal that appeared in the center of the archway.

The portal lasted only a few seconds, but the apathy of the town was a drop of water in an ocean compared to the sudden flood of despair and agony emenating from out of the archway. The man hesitated and backed away several steps before collecting the tiefling in his arms again.

“…oh. This doesn’t look good. Ok, no.” he turned and walked back down the street the way he had come, the portal to his back still casting traces of misery into the grief saturated air. Back towards the fork in the road, the other street seemed less drained of life than the others he had entered thus far. In fact in comparison to the area that surrounded the portal, this street seemed almost a polar opposite. He smiled.

As he somehow expected, a second similar portal stood a block away down this second path of the original fork in the road. Several minutes later and he stood at the base of the obvious portal entry and smiled up at it, his spirits perking up as he placed the tiefling against the side of the archway.

“Hey, you, wake up.” He poked his companion, “Come on…”

While there were a few random splashes of actual color on several of the building on the street, the street was still cold and unattractive. The archway was composed of a smooth, deep white marble whereas the other one had been of grayish black granite. Glancing up at the arch, the keystone seemed to be engraved with a symbol that resembled a single large torus.

“Wake up.” He poked the tiefling again who seemed to be regaining a portion of his color, a mild green hue. Eventually he groaned, wrinkled his face and twitched as his eyes opened.

“…hi… oh wow, I was right – you would wake up when you were in a nice street.” The amnesiac smiled cheerfully. The tiefling blinked his eyes, their pupils having the appearance of cats eyes.

“You got hit pretty hard by that Abishai. You’ve been out for a while. I didn’t think it would be good for you to just lay there in the open. It was wet.” Another smile at the tiefling and he simply sat there looking down and waiting for a reply.

Seconds later he got one. The tiefling’s eyes widened and he rolled out from the archway. Backing up and crouching against the wall of a building opposite his would be savior.

“What’dya want berk…” he snarled and glanced around nervously.

“Umm. Were you there when I got hit on the head?”

“Leave me alone, I don’t have anything. I ‘aint done anything to anyone, I’m clean with the Mocking…”

“Umm… were you there when I got hit on the head?”

The tiefling relaxed partially as he saw that no blades were being drawn and spells cast in his direction. He smiled, “…why yes. Just saw the last bit of it I did. Don’t you remember me sitting there when you walked down that alley?”

“…just wanting to confirm what I remember…”

The tiefling grinned as his eyes flashed from side to side and then refocused back on the man. “I don’t have much, what’s that bit of dark worth to you?”

“Well, I coulda just left you there unconscious on the street where I got robbed before…” he glared suspiciously at the tiefling, “look… I’m lost. Not stupid.”

“Who said you got robbed? You was out of it when they dumped you there…”

“…” he sighed and got to his feet, “Look. I just don’t know where I am, or how I got here.”

“Fine then Clueless, ignore me and soak up the greys why don’t you.” With that the tiefling awkwardly stood up and began to walk away down the street, pausing for just a second to look back.

The man began to follow him, looking annoyed, “Damnit… I just need a few questions answered… they’re really simple ones…”

“Talk is cheap for those who have something, not me. Make it quick… I have places to be.”

The man looked down and pointed at the two slashed cords on his belt, “I don’t exactly have much of anything either. Where am I exactly?”

The tiefling edged away a step, barely noticeable by anyone not acquainted with thieves, “You’re where, is what most of us are, Hopeless.”

The word struck a chord within the man’s hazy, enigma riddled mind, Hopeless was the gatetown to the Grey Waste in the Outlands. Wherever that really was, but he remembered those places, just not much about them.

The man blinked a few times then nodded, “Ok… um, can you tell me who dumped me on the street?”

The tiefling balked, “Then you can come back and ask me when you’ve got something to give now Clueless.”

He grated his teeth together, “..ok. you’ll be in the same place right?”

“Sure, it’s as good as any other place in this sodding hole. Just look for the starving tiefer.”

“…why do you stay here if you don’t like it here? I mean, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot to hold you here.”

The tiefling walked away slowly without much purpose or eagerness, it simply didn’t appear as if he actually had any places to be or things to do. A block later he vanished off into an alleyway and out of sight.

The man sighed, “Ok…” He stood there for a moment, collecting his thoughts and trying in vain to recall much of anything. Nothing as it related to his own person seemed to be within his grasp. At best over the next ten minutes of pondering he was able to apply a bit of context to his current location, Hopeless, the concept of gate towns and the plane they inhabited, The Outlands. But beyond that, all was still a vast blank.

He walked a few steps away from the arch idly, then paused abruptly as when he did so there seemed to be a pull, a resistance, a slight tug upon his whole body as he put distance between himself and the bound space.

“..whoa.” he muttered and stepped around the border of the arch, testing the feeling and the boundary of it. A few minutes of testing and the feeling seemed to be emanating from the gem that was embedded into his ankle. He continued to test the feeling before walking to the side of the street and sitting down on a stoop to think again. The gem hadn’t opened the portal, or told him anything at all besides throb slightly. Nor had it changed color or anything else.

“Well. You know what. I don’t think I’m gonna get anywhere here.” As he talked to himself, several people approached the archway from down the street, most of them shedding cloaks of muted gray and brown to reveal dress of more varied and brighter colors.

The first in their line turned around, looked at his surroundings and showily spat at the street, giving a disdainful glance to all around. Then he abruptly vanished into a swirling whirlpool of color centered within the arch.

The man blinked from where he sat upon the stoop and then watched the others proceed to perform the exact same ritualized display before they too vanished through the portal. An idea sparked in his mind that he might have just witnessed the portal key in use, and so he approached the archway again.

The tug upon his ankle returned. He walked through the archway with little effect, but at the other side, the polarity of the tug on his ankle reversed back towards the portal.

“Ok. That’s not it then. Can’t just walk through. Let’s see…” he walked around to the other side of the archway and then performed the same exaggerated routine he had witnessed the other group perform. As he did so the archway was flooded with a pale blue white light that swirled in an intricate clockwise flow. The tugging upon his ankle began to drag him forwards, urging him on towards the portal insistently. Then he stepped through.

Connecting with the swirl of colors he was immediately struck by a momentary but breathtaking COLD that vanished in an instant as he stumbled out onto a wide square in a decidedly warmer location. The air was mildly humid, and the light a pale diffuse glow casting out of the sky. Looking up there was no sun that he beheld, just that pale glow and… city streets high above him in the distance.

As he stood there gazing upwards in wonder, several people jostled him and cursed quietly as they bumped into him. Tall buildings rose up from the cobblestoned streets, most of them being curious examples of architecture. Most had tall, peaked eaves, guard spikes on their walls and roofs, barred windows, and a gothic otherworldly feeling. Somehow it all looked very familiar, the style of the buildings though not this particular street per say.

“…ok…” he murmured as he began walking across the square with a feeling of relief. There was also no longer that insistent tug upon the stone in his ankle.

“Ok, that’s weird…” he said to himself, looking down curiously at his leg where the stone sat beneath his pant leg cool and familiar now.

“Sometimes things can be!” came a reply from several steps behind him, a slight amused chuckle to the unfamiliar voice.

He turned around to look at the speaker, seeing a thin, elvish looking woman with red sparkling eyes, a faint golden skin tone and wind tousled auburn hair. Something about her seemed nonthreatening, and he had a vague sense of being familiar with her race, some kind of celestial that he couldn’t place.

A half smile from him was followed up by a bemused, “I’m a little lost right now actually. I just followed some folks here because it was better than where I was… where am I actually?”

The Firre Eladrin fell in alongside him, matching his slow wandering pace as she glanced back towards a ragged patch of torn gray stone in the wall of a building from where he’d emerged.

“Fresh out of the Hopeless gate I take it? Can’t blame you for coming through, though you don’t look like a regular for traffic through there. Neither fiendish enough or despondent enough. Business?”

He chuckled and adopted a much more friendly attitude, finally free of the effects of Hopeless and his encounters therein.

“Well… I kinda woke up on the street with a cut on the back of my head there – so I’m not exactly sure how I ended up there in the first place.” He wrinkled his forehead at the thought, still vainly trying to place those missing memories and events.

“Ahhh…” she chuckled slightly, “Clueless, but not A Clueless I take it then? I wasn’t quite so sure when you jumped through. …but I’m being terribly rude.” She extended a hand for him to take which he did without a pause as she introduced herself, “Terelia Vistari, Lady’s ward tout by trade.”

He smiled back, her hand feeling quite warm to the touch, almost unnaturally so. “Hello and nice to meet you. I’m…” he abruptly trailed off, blinking in confusion.

“Not sure?”

“Umm… yeah actually.” He replied, perplexed and embarrassed at being unable to give her an answer. As he did so, he felt a sudden nagging sensation at the back of his head. Something about the color of her eyes, but beyond that he wasn’t sure quite where to place it.

“Need help placing yourself? I might be able to help you out. It’ll be easier if you’ve been in The Cage before, more people to have seen you. Or, if not, there’s some… specialists I know who might be able to pluck the answer from your head.”

“Um… it would be appreciated, but I can’t really pay you for it. I…” he paused and gestured vaguely at the portal behind him, “… the guy there I asked, was focused on coin.”

She waved it away with her hand, “Psssh, you’re lucky to have gotten greed in Hopeless and not some more overt action towards feeding some berk’s greed. That’d likely be a knife in your back. Rotten folks. But, not being able to pay for my services, which would normally be an issue, there’s ways to get around that as well. I get paid by the facti… guild and I can certainly afford, and enjoy just helping someone because. You could use it I think, and you’re cute on top of it. That always helps.” She winked and smiled.

He smiled back warmly, happy to have someone seemingly willing to give him a chance, “Thank you.”

"Well, come on along, the day is long, 'tis not even peak yet, a few people we can talk to and a ways to walk if you'll follow me." She took his hand in hers and strode down the street.

The man’s smile grew steadier as she began to pull him gently along, catching up quickly enough and taking an evaluation of the place as they both walked along. Her tug was gentle, not insistent and her hand was smooth with no calluses. Still it was abnormally warm it seemed and her hair was more active in moving like a collection of frozen flames wrapped around her head rather than normal looking hair.

He couldn’t help watching her as she walked. There was a practiced and subtle sway of her hips, probably to snag customers from the competition. Still she was dressed in a practical sense, not anything for seduction. Mostly leather and some brighter spots of cloth and adornments to the outfit.

As they walked, he glanced over at one of the buildings at something that looked like black ivy spilling out onto the street and crawling up the side of the structure. He walked carefully, fully aware of his bare feet considering that the slithering vine stretched out onto portions of the street.

“…what’s that?” he asked, “…some kinda ivy?”

As he took notice of it, she fell back a step and nudged him aside with a hip, making sure that he gave the plant growth a wide berth as they walked down the street.

She glances over at him as they passed by the main outgrowth of the plant, “Ivy? Anything but. Razorvine is what it’s called. Looks fine enough, but touching it’s not a good idea, the stems anyways. Falling into it’s like taking a bath in a tub full of razors. It’s a pest at best, a public hazard at worse, and it grows like mad here in Sigil. We have to keep it cut back all the time.”

She glanced down, “Damn, we need to find you some shoes too. Got them stolen back in Hopeless I take it?”

He nodded, “Nasty stuff that sounds like. And yeah, I woke up without my boots. Actually I think that I might have gotten robbed *before* Hopeless. I’m not so sure.” His toes wrinkled self-consciously as she looked him over, running her eyes up and down and frowning a bit when she reached his bare feet. In fact, her gaze lingered for a moment upon his ankle, but she said nothing about it.

“And I have no idea what *that* is. It was there when I woke up.” he said as he noticed her peculiar interest in the stone in his ankle, deliberately not looking at it himself.

“Hmm? Oh, your ankle. I learn to not ask too much about most bloods if I don’t know what something is. You don’t know what it is either?” she queried.

He shook his head. “Not a clue. I haven’t tried to get it off my yet either. It’s in there pretty solid. I’m not sure it *can* be removed, not easily anyways. I guess that’s something I should keep in mind too?”

“Hmm… another question to get answered then.” They both nodded and continued to walk, passing through a number of streets, smaller squares and then finally down a long street towards a large towering building.

As they walked, his mind was once again puzzled by something. Not the reddish color he had seen first in her eyes that had triggered a vague memory of something else. No, though that still nagged him. This time there was something rattling around in the back of his mind that had been woken up by the razorvine he had seen just then. Something about it looked hauntingly familiar but the puzzle was still jumbled.

He looked over at Terelia, “…you know – I think I’ve seen that kinda vine before. Does it grow anywhere else but here?”

“All over Sigil, and all over the whole of the lower planes, maybe some prime worlds too. Doesn’t really pin down much for you I’d say.”

He shrugged, “Guess not – oh well. So… where’re we headed anyways?”

“Well, here’s the first stop.” Terelia motioned up towards the tall structure and walked towards the wide, tree-flanked path to the main gates. “Tis the Hall of Information, a better place here now than the Hall of Records was under the Takers. Been a full cycle since then that that lot of thieves doesn’t have the place anymore. The information here is actually accessible now, which for us is a very good thing. Besides, it can’t hurt in asking.”

The doors, each fifteen feet high, opened into a large reception chamber with hallways going off up and down stairwells to other levels, and down to other vaults of books and records. To one wall, there was a number of windows, at which a number of lines formed with people waiting to request certain records or information from the clerks that milled about behind their counters and desks.

He nodded as they entered the building, “Yeah, I guess it can’t hurt to ask.”

Approaching the lines, Terelia smirked, “Look’s like it’ll be a wait, hope you don’t mind. Good thing we started early. She blinked and a glimmer of flame sparkled within.

“…I guess. Do they actually have a line for folks who can’t remember who they are?” his eyes grew wide then looked back at her, “I guess so. Wow.”

She smiled back, amused at his good natured naiveté, “No, this is how it usually is, but it's a longer wait if you aren't paying, or paying much. The sages take jink, the Dabus work for free, but it also means a longer line."

Pointing towards the clerk at the nearest window she continued, “See him, or her, or it, whichever there at the window? That’s a Dabus. Ubiquitous little servants of The Lady.”

“Dabus?” he looked and nodded, another question already forming in his mind, “Who’s the Lady?”

Her eyes quickly glanced over and she nudged him in the ribs gently, “Not so loud there…” she makes a half unconscious sign over her heart, “I’ll explain later, or you can ask the Dabus. They’ll be happy to explain, though it might not be as informative as you might hope. But She’s a question without an answer really.”

“I…ok.” he nodded and held back more of a similar question.

“After here if we don’t find what we’re looking for, we can always try the Gatehouse. Amnesia and that sort of thing, head problems, are their strong point in a way. We might also try the Civic Festhall, see if your name pops up there in any of the sensory stones.” She smiles particularly at the mention of the Festhall.

“That sounds fine with me.” He looked up a little bemused, then back at her, still not exactly sure what question to ask when they reached the top of the line.

Eventually after about ten minutes, the line split in two as another window opened. Soon enough they both stood before the window looking up at the mostly expressionless face of the creature that stood behind it as a clerk. A shock of white hair stood upright upon its head over two pairs of horns, one goat and the other ram. It wore simple robes with little decoration or ornamentation, and seemed to bob up and down very slightly behind the window. In fact it almost seemed to be floating on the air rather than standing.

As both of them stood there looking up at it, the air over its head shimmered and the following string of symbols appeared, floating in mid air. First an arrow pointing to the man, then [hat –T + VE, (a man climbing a mountain then slaying a dragon and being rewarded by a king) + (a man being ignored by a crowd and thrown out of a town)]

The Dabus continued to patiently hover as the two translated, eventually folding its arms into the sleeves of its robes.

Clueless (by default he’ll be referred to that) slowly mouthed out the words and symbols with his head tilted to the side before blinking with sudden insight, “Oh! Yeah, um. Well, I don’t actually remember who I am. Is there something here that can help me find out who I am? Or even just find out what my name is?”

The Dabus projected more symbols and pictures over its head, “No stranger are you, for you have been here before, though with different questions then. Your name you did not leave. Though your answers lie both within Sigil, without and within. I cannot tell you more, save that some questions are best left unanswered.”

“Oh…” Clueless nodded with faint disappointment in his voice. “Can’t you tell me what questions I asked before?”

The Dabus nodded and projected another string of rebus symbols, “Before you asked us the portal key to one of the spheres of Carceri. You left without fully receiving the answer to that question.”

“Carceri? Ok… odd. Thank you.”

Tarelia looked up at the mention of Carceri, “Well, razorvine grows there, if that jogs your memories any.”

Blocked memories stirred slightly but in the end, nothing budged and nothing revealed itself. Clueless spoke with disappointment again, “No, only vaguely.” He frowned and nodded in thanks to the Dabus. “Nothing’s really fitting together yet as to what happened.”

As they began to step away, Clueless paused and looked back to the Dabus, “Oh yeah…”

Terelia stopped as well, “He had one other question you could answer for him. He wishes to know about The Lady.” She cringed just slightly as she mentioned this as if uncomfortable with it.

Above the head of the Dabus, a single picture appeared in answer to the question. A face, female in appearance, stoic, grayish or dull metallic, surrounded by a halo of jagged, slashing, razorsharp blades that sprouted like hair and seemed to merge with her head rather than being worn like a headdress. He felt instantly uneasy for having asked the question and the rebus image vanished after a few seconds.

“O…k….” he murmured quietly, still ill at ease before looking back to the Eladrin.

“Well, that’s probably about all the answers to your questions that we’ll find here.” She motioned with her head to the door.

Clueless nodded back, “Yeah, still it gives me a few clues. Like where I may have gone looking for something before whatever it was got me in trouble. Something like that.”

They walked on and out of the building but he still couldn’t help but feel cold and unnerved by the Dabus’s answer. Eventually the Eladrin led them back towards The Lady’s Ward, eventually working her way towards a similar section of the city shed repeatedly referred to as The Clerk’s Ward. It was, as she explained, the quickest way to the Gatehouse without having to pass through the bulk of the Hive as she called it.

“The Lady’s ward is the rich part of the burg, the clerk’s ward can be in some places too. That’s got more businesses than homes though. Then there’s the Lower Ward, mostly shops, workshops, and the Great Foundry. Then there’s the Hive, the slum of the city and the location of a good chunk of the lower planar portals.”

Clueless nodded as she gave him a general overview of the city’s different areas as they passed through them. Most of the information was coming back to him in regards to the city itself, just no specifics. Sometimes it just felt familiar as if he’d been there before, but just couldn’t say when or why.

She continued on, “And of course there’s my own home, the Market Ward. It’s a little ways off from here, we’ve already passed through it when you weren’t looking really. The name says it all though. Most of the guilds in the city make their home one ward over in the Guildhall ward. Tradesmen and all. Make sense?”

“…I guess it does, is there a Tout’s guild?”

She smiled happily, “Sure is, I work as a sort of go between for them and the Entertainer’s guild at times. Though I work with the entertainers most often.”

Clueless continued walking along, his sword still wrapped up in the bundle of his cloak kept under his arm or over his back. Every so often he commented on the city as they traversed it, “…ok –wow-, there must be a *lot* of people here…”

"Lots, it's the center of the multiverse, the hub of the great wheel, it's to be expected I guess. Some good, some bad, some neither, but lots of them."

He nodded back hopefully, "... well, someone here's gotta know who I am then, right?"

Terelia smiled again and brushed a hand against his face, "Well we know you've been here before, so most definitely someone knows you, we just have to find them."

Clueless’s ears turned red at the brush and he gave a sheepish smile as they passed through the Clerk’s Ward. Along the street, all of the buildings seemed well maintained. Some of them were ornate, even garish in their exteriors. A few things seemed familiar to him, mostly it felt as if he’d seen them before in passing, rather than having been there enough to have known them in depth. But as they continued, about hallways down one particular block in the Administrator’s district, as Terelia had called it, they came into view of a small outdoor café of sorts. There were a fair number of cutters seated at its small tables, all of them talking, drinking, and generally having a good time.

A few loud, boisterous voices rang out over the street and the rest of the other patrons, their conversation drowning out those of the others around them. As Terelia got into range of the tables she turned to Clueless and made a face. Her ears seemed to perk just ever so slightly as she picked up the strains of the loudest conversation. She muttered unhappily under her breath, “Self aggrandizing trollop of a fiend, damn headdress looks like a Gelugon crawled atop her head and died…”

As Clueless get a better look at the group making the noise, he noticed first two people sitting down on one side of a table, one human and dressed in robes, the other some manner of tiefling and dressed in leather armor. On the other side of the table stood four well-armed tieflings, dressed in leather armor, blades at their sides, flanking one figure lounging in the other chair at the head of the table.

A single, jackal headed fiend sat in the chair, animatedly talking to the two others at the table, dressed in a garish blue-green gown that constantly sparkled. A large number of rings, bracelets, and other jewelry were almost stacked and layered to the point of absurdity over her figure. A tangle of what looked like living razorvine sat curled atop her head, perched between her two perked, and multiply pierced ears. Loud portions of her conversation spilled out into the street, mostly consisting of boasts, insults towards names that seemed somewhat familiar to Clueless, many of them names within the city’s hierarchy.

His eyes widened a little at the sheer amount of glitter and he muttered a muted, “…whoa…” But as he passed by, that familiar nagging sensation was back in his mind, but much more urgent this time, and very much closer to home. Clueless paused and concentrated on the feeling, his eyes unfocusing slightly as he tried to hunt the root of the feeling down mentally. Losing track of where he was and what he was doing, he finally came to his senses and looked back up, finding himself looking firmly across the way into the jackal headed fiend’s eyes.

The familiar sense he had felt from the outgrowth of razorvine earlier in the streets drew his gaze back to the fiend’s headdress then back down to her eyes, matching gazes with her. She noticed and turned to gaze back at him, her eyes narrowing and her conversation trailing away as she did so.

He knew her. He didn’t know how or why, but the eyes glaring back at him were like burning coals in his memory. Sparkling green doors to some hell. Not red like the color in his memory, but somehow that too was linked to this fiend. A Yugoloth, that’s what she was he now remembered.

Clueless nodded politely and took a half step back, confusion and alarm crossing his face. He still didn’t know how exactly he knew her, but butterflies were raging in his stomach either way as she glared back at him. A slow grin spread across her muzzle and recognition dawned in her eyes. Good or bad, Clueless hadn’t a clue.

“Umm, do I know you?” he asked, a sense of dread growing in his stomach that his association with the fiend was not a pleasant thing, and that perhaps he didn’t care to remember. Then he gave a startled yelp as he was latched around the arm by Terelia, who drug him quickly away from the fiend and her entourage.

As he was accosted away and into a side alley out of plain view he looked down with alarm at the Eladrin, “I know her, somehow… I don’t know how… I just…*do*. And she recognized me…”

He had a frightened, spooked look in his eyes as he glances back down the street, a drop of cold sweat running down his forehead. “What does that mean? I don’t know if I knew her on friendly terms of anything… she makes me nervous…I…” one hand came up to rub at the drop of sweat on his forehead.

As Terelia took Clueless around the corner of the block she stopped to push him against a wall, looking into eyes and appearing more than a little nervous herself.

“Trust the Dabus to be right… some questions are better left unanswered. I don’t know if “I” want to know just how you ended up in Hopeless without a name if you knew the likes of Shemeska the Marauder. The damned fiend runs half the crosstrades and backstabbing deals in the whole sodding burg. You just don’t know her or deal with her and come out on top. I’d put jink that whatever happened to you, she had her claws all over the deal. And that can’t be good. Nor can that.”

She glanced down pointedly at the blue-black stone embedded firmly in Clueless’s ankle. He nodded back and followed her eyes down to it as well, “…I…” his voice trailed off and he bit his lip, freaked at the sudden turn of events.

“Come on, let’s gain some distance on the ‘loth, we’ve got some more places to ask questions anyways, if you still want to find your answers.” She spoke firmly but calmly, hinged on what Clueless wished to do at that point.

“…agreed.” He replied and breathed heavily as he followed her down the street, eager to indeed put some distance between himself and the Arcanaloth.

However, as they retreated down the street, somewhere in the back of his brain he could hear the voice of that same fiend whispering to him from a memory, “But of course I can make a deal, there's never a deal that Shemeska, the king of the crosstrade, can't make. Just the price is all that it hangs on."
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Jaspar Arelius

First Post

*he glares at his thrall, who leaves with nothing more than a "Yes, master."*

Care to split a Clueless, Shemeska? It's more of a delicacy than a need, nowadays, and all this intrigue has whetted my appetite.

(Edit)*looks over at "Clueless", the amnesiac*

"No offense..."

*then immediately suggests he'd be "fine for a snack" to Shemmy, by telepathy, the only -civilized- mode of conversation among the elite*
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Jaspar Arelius said:
(Edit)*looks over at "Clueless", the amnesiac*
"No offense..."

Clueless smiles. "None taken, but I believe nowadays you'd find me a snack much more difficult to handle... this, is merely a beginning."


Ooh, this is getting very interesting, very quickly. :D
I enjoy your writing style as well.

One thing, is there a reason for which the tiefling is referred to as "they", using the plural, during the first few lines of the encounter?


Zappo said:
Ooh, this is getting very interesting, very quickly. :D
I enjoy your writing style as well.

One thing, is there a reason for which the tiefling is referred to as "they", using the plural, during the first few lines of the encounter?

You know. Now that I think about it I actually don't know why I didn't notice that either when first RPing though this online, *or* in reading it. It shouldn't technically be that way... but on the other hand it feels 'right' in my head - like it makes the subject less 'familar'. I think I'll ask one of my English professors if there is just some *really* obscure rule of English that this could fit under. (English does have rules like that, it's just a really wierd language sometimes. ;) )

Halloween Horror For 5E