Shilsen's Eberron SH (Finished - The Last Word : 9/20/15)

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GrandArchon said:
>_<; Vore is... A type of sex act where... One partner canabalizes the other. Swallows them whole, actually. God, I shouldn't even know this....
Ah, I feel wiser now. Especially since that word has so much more applicability in a world where Luna runs off with unsuspecting young nobles.

Speaking of which...

* * * * * * * * * *

Aurala turns to Haydith and says something which the Angels can’t overhear. The princess frowns slightly and replies, drawing a laugh from the queen, who then leads her on to meet a few more waiting people. While doing so, Haydith transmits over the link to the Angels, “Why did Luna do that? I thought all of you would be staying here.” There is a tinge of irritation to the mental tone.

Darro ir’Lain, having missed the disappearance, looks around and then asks Gareth, “What happened?” Maddox is the one he replies, marked disapproval in his tone, “It seems that Gareth’s friend Luna decided to leave with one of the young men she was talking to. They disappeared, so I presume it was magical transport. Gareth, do you know what she is doing – and why?” Darro, frowning slightly at the information, looks to the paladin for an answer too.

Adal – who did see the couple’s departure, as well as the noble’s signal to Aurala – also looks a little quizzically at Nameless. “It seems your friend found our soiree a little boring. I’m not surprised Kamran did. He’s not known to be very active at courtly gatherings, preferring to spend his time in the country, so I was a little surprised to see him here. His mother, Lady Belissa ir’Kemiria, is the one I was expecting.” Nameless notes the surname, which is that of the second person (a Lady) whom the unknown guard warned the group of.

Lord Murat, whose back was to the disappearing pair, completely misses their departure and continues waiting, looking more and more expectantly at Six, for whatever response the warforged provides. Conversely, the ladies around Korm do notice the disappearance and quickly clutch at the big orc. “Oh my!” says one, “Did one of your friends just disappear with … er, whoever that was? Is there anything going on?” Then, looking down, she quickly adds, “My, you really are muscular!” She looks back up, batting her eyelids in what is presumably meant to be a coquettish manner but simply makes her look like she has sand in her eye, and says archly, “Is everything they say about orcs true?”

Gareth responds over the link, with obvious irritation but no surprise, “My apologies, Princess – we knew this might happen as Luna is not very good at the social aspects of life. In fact we tried to arrange for her to not be at this event. If need be, I will apologize directly to the queen.” Nameless’ mental voice puts in as well, “Don’t worry, Princess. If there’s any threat to you, Luna will quickly re-appear. She never misses a chance to roast, maim and dismember people.”

Haydith’s reply is accompanied by a mental giggle and has a significantly less irritated tone. “That’s all right. Aurala seems fine with it. I was just curious. Carry on, and hopefully we won’t have any more surprises.”

Gareth nods mentally and then turns to respond to Darro. “Luna is not one for social gatherings; in fact she is not one for anything social. She teleported away with one of the younger nobles. As for what she is doing – well, something I do not approve of. Do you know who that noble was? If he plays his cards wrong, we may need to contact his next of kin.”

Darro frowns slightly and steps over to a nearby pair of courtiers who were looking in the same direction and are now clearly discussing it. After a quick question and answer, he walks back and says, “I gather it is young Kamran ir’Kemiria she left with. And I presume – and hope – you’re joking about the next of kin. Lady Belissa ir’Kemiria, his mother, likely wouldn’t take well to anything happening to her darling boy.” He grimaces slightly, as if at an irritating or painful memory. “You are joking, are you not?”

Maddox replies dryly, before Gareth does, “Having spent a couple of days with Luna and Gareth, I’m guessing the answer is – no, he’s not joking.”

Gareth pauses to transmit the information about the name over the mental link, and then turns to Darro. “As Maddox has said, I am not joking. Luna is, and no pun intended, a force of nature. If this Kamran behaves to her liking, and that is yet to be determined, then he will be fine – but she is very fickle, quick to anger, and even quicker to strike. She is impulsive, a child ... and unfortunately we are her parents.”

Nameless conveys much the same idea about their resident homicidal shifter to Adal. “Luna finds pretty much anything boring that doesn’t involve chaos, mayhem and flame strikes.” Nameless adds dryly, “I sometimes think our greatest contribution to the safety and security of Eberron is that we keep Luna occupied and her destructiveness channeled to constructive purposes. I shudder to think of what she might get up to left to her own devices. We might look back upon events like the Daelkyr invasions as times of comparative stability and safety, by comparison.” Nameless says with a deadpan expression.

The Minister of Magic smiles politely, his expression slightly uncertain, as if he were unsure whether Nameless is actually telling the truth or joking. “But anyway, your idea regarding the adventuring groups is an intriguing one. I presume, since you’re mentioning this to me, that you’re obviously not restricting yourself to Brelish groups. Are you thinking of keeping this a purely private venture or trying to form some kind of larger organization, like a smaller version of the Wayfinders, for example? Maybe gaining some sort of official status or even aspiring to royal patronage, perhaps? After all, you are providing security for one of the heirs to the throne of Karrnath, whose safety is a significant concern of the Brelish court, and are hobnobbing with the ruler and heirs to Aundair tonight. I’m sure someone of your intellect has noted the potential options you have here.”

“It does occur to me that each of the Five Nations has its own specialties that could work well in combination,” replies Nameless. “If it were a transnational organization, it might well provide some useful back channels of communication. As well as hopefully forming friendships that would help to mitigate tensions between the countries.”

Adal thinks silently for a few moments. “That would take some doing, but it might be a worthwhile possibility. Since you are on such a short trip through Fairhaven this time, I doubt much can be done to that end, but I’ll keep the possibility in mind and think about it. I believe Haydith may stop here again on the way back to Breland, which will give us a chance to speak on this matter again, and I shall have time to see what I can arrange in the meanwhile. Do you think you shall be making any arrangements to this end while in Karrnath?”

“I will do what I can. I think this is something I will have to devote some attention to. Gareth is a people person, which I am ... not, and will probably thrive on this sort of task. I should probably have started organizing something before this, but unfortunately, it is very easy to be diverted by the press of people who want something from us. I’m sure you are familiar with this, given the position you hold.”

Adal grimaces slightly and says, “Yes. One of the negatives that comes with access to great power, whether political, arcane or otherwise.”

Switching topics suddenly, the alienist asks, “Can you tell me anything about people or groups that might be opposed to the ir’Kemiria’s or Lord Murat? Do they have any particular agendas that people might be opposing? Their names have come to our attention in some peculiar circumstances. Of course there is little that comes to our attention in a straightforward manner and nearly everyone we encounter has some sort of agenda when they talk to us.”

“The ir’Kemiria’s and Murat?” This time, there is no concealing Adal’s confusion. “Well, that’s Murat talking to your warforged friend there. As for enemies or opposition, it’s safe to say anyone in this strata of the nobility will have some, as I’m sure you know. Murat less than most, I’d say, since his interests are a little unusual. He fancies himself a social reformer and is, unless I miss my guess, chewing your friend’s ear about the so-called warforged situation. Kamran ir’Kemiria has not much of a presence at court, and while his mother was, she has been less so for a while too. Coincidentally, considering what we were discussing earlier, Lady Belissa actually studied at Arcanix for a long while. But tell me, how exactly did they come to your attention?”

“Someone spoke telepathically to me and the rest of my group, warning us about them. Someone with access to unusual magic, possibly a psionicist of some sort, perhaps even an outsider of some kind. With all the creatures and entities who have spied on us, I do so look forward to being able to master mind blank.”

Adal’s frown barely falls short of a scowl, and he glances around the room, as if in search of lurking psionic outsiders, before smoothening his expression. Looking back to Nameless, he says, “Follow me, please.” Adal turns and makes his way through the crowd, exchanging the odd couple of words and odd social comment, until he reaches a small curtained side door, with Nameless following a few paces behind.

Across the room, a mildly concerned looking Darro is asking Gareth, “So there is a real likelihood that your companion may hurt Kamran? If so, then we might have a serious proble…,” when the paladin notices Nameless proceeding out of the chamber after Adal. Six and Korm, each with significant reasons to focus on things other than those speaking to them, notice Nameless’ departure too. Gareth messages over the link, “Nameless, is everything okay? Where are you being taken to? Do you need backup?”

Nameless responds, “I’m fine. The gentleman I’m talking to had some private questions. I’ll let you know if anything alarming happens.” The reply draws the attention of Haydith, who hadn’t originally seen Nameless leaving. She comments, with a mentally audible sigh, “You people are some of the strangest protectors a princess could have. Try not to get in trouble,” before giving her attention back to the conversation she’s engaged in.

Adal passes through the doorway, walks past the one guard beyond and halfway down the corridor he is guarding, and then says without preamble, “Where did you get this message? Do you have any more of an idea how it was transmitted or by whom? If someone is sending telepathic messages to the princess of Karrnath’s escorts, I need to find out who or what. And why the ir’Kemirias or Murat are mentioned. Anything you can tell me in this regard would be helpful.” Adal’s voice is significantly clipped now, lacking the casual bonhomie that it had moments ago. He pauses to look at Nameless speculatively, and then adds, “Or any magical aid too, if you can. If you’re in a position to look forward to casting mind blank, you evidently have resources just as powerful as rumor has it – and maybe more.”

Nameless shakes his head. “I doubt this person is a threat or even here any more. They probably want to use my group to some end, at some point in the future. We’ve had similar events happen to us in the past and the knives lie in the future, not in the present. It is also possible that this was set up to disrupt this event for some reason. So I would urge you to take no hasty actions.” He then proceeds to detail the circumstances of the incident. Adal listens silently, adding only a question or two, his eyes hooded in thought.

Having completed the narration, the alienist opines, “The way that they quite openly sent the message to us indicates to me that they are prepared to defeat or evade any spells we might use and that includes true seeing. Whatever they are, they clearly know who we are and thus are almost certainly conversant with our capabilities, and would likely not have done this if they weren’t confident that they could evade any efforts on our part and those of the guards. If I thought otherwise I would have acted already, regardless of the diplomatic flap it might cause. Should you wish it, I can activate the true seeing I have prepared, but I would appreciate it if you’d notify the guards – and especially any Medani or other dragonmarked security – that I’ve done so. I would like to keep things discreet. However, I have a permanent arcane sight and I have detected no suspicious illusion or transmutation auras since receiving the message.”

Adal nods slowly and says, “I’ve got no intention of raising an alarm without more justification, but I do want to investigate this further. Thank you for all the information. I think it’s best if you return to the party. I’ll inform a couple of reliable people to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Please do so too, and if you see anything, do nothing but simply let me know. Unless you think there’s the danger of violence, in which case I’ll leave things to your discretion.” He smiles thinly. “I hope it won’t come to that. Thank you again.” Adal gestures to indicate that Nameless should return the way they came out, turns and heads down the corridor.

Nameless returns to the party, which winds down gradually. Six manages to refrain from punching the highly irritating Lord Murat, who seems convinced that the big warforged should use his fame and position to campaign for warforged emancipation and equal rights – with Murat’s aid, of course. Korm manages a slightly less complex task, namely to protect his virtue from the assault of the two middle-aged baronesses. About an hour after Luna disappeared, when Haydith and Aurala bid goodbye to each other. The princess and her entourage head back to their quarters. After all, there is a busy day tomorrow before Haydith makes her departure.

As they head back, Gareth falls in line behind Haydith, whispering to her, “I hope you enjoyed your evening. Is there anything else you would like to do before we head back to your quarters?”

Haydith glances sideways at Gareth and whispers back, a hint of mischief in her voice, “I can think of a couple of things, but then we’d have to lose the rest of your friends and all of my escort, which might draw a little attention. Talk to me about it when we get to Korth.” She giggles softly and then looks away.

Arriving back at their rooms, the Angels begin to make preparations for the night. A little worryingly, there’s still no sign of Luna. On the positive side, nobody has returned screaming, bleeding, or on fire, to report on her whereabouts.

* * *
Outside the ballroom, Luna and her date appear midway down a large hall, startling a pair of lounging guards and the serving maid chatting with them. As the latter gives a startled “Eep!” and flees, the guards quickly drop hands to weapons, before recognizing Luna’s companion. He waves dismissively at them, while saying to her, “Now that was brilliant! My carriage is down this way.”

Less than ten minutes later, the two are pulling away from the royal palace inside a very comfortable carriage. “And here we are,” says Luna’s escort with a bright smile, as he sinks back on the cushions beside her, before sitting up and adding, “But I have the advantage of you, since you do not know my name and I do yours. I am Kamran ir’Kemiria.” He bows and takes her hand, delicately placing a kiss on its back.

Straightening up, Kamran says, “Excuse me,” and leans over Luna, pressing close to her as he reaches for a spot on the side of the coach. Moving a well-hidden catch in the ornate paneling, he opens a cubbyhole to reveal three bottles, four glasses and a closed velvet box. Extracting two glasses, a bottle and the box, he places the latter on Luna’s lap and sits back to ask, “Wine?” Before she answers, he indicates the box. “Chocolate.”

Ir’Kemiria? Luna has a fine memory when it involves warnings or threats – or candy. She concentrates, tapping into her shifter heritage, and her nostrils elongate and the hairs on and around them extend. Luna sniffs carefully at the chocolates and the wine and, detecting nothing suspicious, accepts them both. Kamran watches curiously, with the odd combination of a slightly furrowed brow and an amused smile, and asks, “Something wrong?”

“No,” says Luna, having taken a swig of the wine and followed it with a couple of chocolates at once, remembering that the flattery she had been receiving, however gratifying, was in the end, clearly insincere, “While I can understand why anyone would have the need to escape such a tedious and drawn out affair, and while it was great fun to vanish in the middle of it and break up the tedium a bit, could there be a reason for your interest in ... ‘quality time,’ shall we say ... alone with me? I mean other than any great undeniable physical attraction, which no one could in any way blame you for having.” She winks and smiles. “Oh, and nice choice of wine and candy.”

Kamran smiles back and lifts his glass. “Very perceptive, Luna. I’ll freely admit that I had hoped to have a chance to spend some quality time with one of the Guardian Angels. People of your abilities, and fame, are in short supply. Didn’t you see how those at the party flocked around you and your friends? And these are the rulers and peers of the realm of Aundair!” He takes a sip of his wine and continues, “And speaking of undeniable physical attraction, once I saw all of you there really was no way I could focus on anyone else, of course. I may lack many abilities, but I do have good taste.”

Kamran looks silently at Luna for a few seconds and then leans in. “But, if I’m not mistaken, you and I have a little bargain to fulfill. You mentioned something about interesting scars. I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours.” He smiles and leans in further…

Not so quick! Luna turns slightly to look into the box of candy and quickly pops another one into her mouth, before turning to Kamran with a large chocolate-stained grin. “Scars, you said?” She leans back – and slightly away from her companion – and pulls back her sleeve to the shoulder. “See?”

As Luna turns her arm to catch the light of the magical lamp in the carriage’s corner, the series of razor-thin white scars left behind by Mordain’s modifications gleam very slightly. They are especially strong around her wrist. Luna taps that area and says, “Let me tell you what this came from.” She then proceeds to tell Kamran about her symbiotes. The young noble begins by looking slightly disappointed at her pulling away, then intrigued at the sight of the scars, and quickly runs through confusion, mild disgust and great fascination over the course of her story. He interrupts with a number of questions, and by the time she is well into her story, is leaning back comfortably and chatting with her, with absolutely no signs of his initial disappointment at her dodging of his physical advances. Luna keeps her story focused on the symbiotes in particular and touches on Yarkuun Draal, but goes into no other details about the group’s adventures, despite a couple of probing questions from Kamran. As the conversation continues, Luna finds that the apparently garrulous noble can be quite a good listener too.

About twenty minutes after they left the palace, the carriage begins to slow. Kamran pauses and looks out a window. “Aaah! Here we are.” He indicates the large manor building the carriage is entering. “This is my home, though I generally prefer to spend time in the country.” The carriage soon comes to a stop and Kamran steps out, extending a hand for Luna to follow.

When she does, Luna finds a couple of attendants waiting for them. Kamran asks, “Would you care for some dinner? I know they had food at the palace, but what with everyone walking around and trying to kiss as much ass as needed, I doubt much eating got done.” He grins and adds, “Or should we get straight to dessert?”

Luna stretches as she emerges. “Well, after being enclosed for so long just now, I don't think I would like to go and sit anywhere. We can stroll a bit if you like.” She looks around, noting the size of the building and the apparently extensive grounds extending into the darkness beyond. “Now,” she continues, “I have told you a fascinating story, and now, it is your turn. While I was curious to know why you wanted to engage me privately, and you do have excellent candy, I must caution you that I am not a woman of great patience. Nor am I one for these subtle intrigues that your courtly friends seem intent to mire themselves in. I am tired of the farce. So I ask you to speak plainly and to speak now.”

Kamran looks mildly surprised and just a trifle disappointed again. He turns to the two waiting attendants and says, “You can go. We’ll be in … when we’re in.” The attendants depart, as has the carriage, leaving the noble and the druid alone in front of the house, though a couple of guards are visible at the gate. “Come,” says Kamran, indicating one of a pair of ornate benches a little distance away, which stand beside a decorative fishpond, “Let’s sit and speak plainly, as you put it.”

Once the two have walked over and seated themselves, Kamran cocks his head and studies Luna for a moment, and then says, “You are an unusual woman, very different to the ones I normally find myself around. And no, that’s not flattery or anything else. Just the plain truth, since that’s what you asked for. To be completely and utterly honest, I did go to the dinner with the intent of meeting and getting at least one of the Angels to come here. My mother, Lady Belissa, asked me if I would do so, since she wished to speak to one or more of you. And before you ask, no – I don’t know why.” He grins. “Being a mama’s boy, I agreed to do so, but not being as good as she might like, I made a minor change. She had wanted me to arrange for one of you to come here tomorrow morning, since she is out currently, but while speaking to you, I thought it might be nice if we took off. That way, we could … entertain each other here rather than putting up with a loud and boring party full of people trying the courtly intrigues you mentioned, and my mother could speak to you tomorrow as she wanted, if you don’t mind.”

Kamran pauses, clearly considering something, takes a deep breath, and says, “I’ll continue to be completely honest and speak plainly, and I hope you won’t be upset, since you did ask me to be. I like athletic women and those who speak their minds. I’ve also, like most, heard a lot about the Angels. Having met you, I thought it would probably be very interesting to spend the night with you, and the fact that you will leave tomorrow and neither of us will see each other in the immediate future is probably a bonus for both of us.” He takes another deep breath and says, “I do think you’re fascinating and I’d love it if you would stay here with me. That’s the plain truth. But if I’ve offended you, I’ll have you dropped back to the palace. Hopefully, you’ll still be willing to meet my mother and speak to her tomorrow, but if not, that’s okay too. So, what do you say?”

Luna quickly considers the proposition(s) and then replies, “Unfortunately, I don’t think I can be gone all night without disturbing the rest of the other members of my party, but I can return to the palace and ask if they would like to return in the morning – though I think they would probably want to know why. I'm sure if they agree to do so, they’ll send Gareth – our mouthpiece. I’m not much for these sorts of meetings and we are already running errands for as much royalty as we can handle.” Definitely as much as I can handle! We’ve got royalty coming out of our collective arses here!

Before Kamran can say something, she adds, with a mischievous grin and a very bright sparkle in her eye, “But I don’t have to return immediately, since that boring party’s still going to last a while. You said your mother’s away, right? I’d very much like to test your mother’s bed – and see if it is properly broken in. If it’s not, perhaps we can assist?”

Kamran’s face quickly runs through the various stages – and a combination – of surprise, mild shock, delight and amusement. He guffaws and says, “That, if I may repeat myself, sounds a scrumptious idea! And the rest of your ideas sound excellent too.” He rises and extends a hand with a mock-bow. “Milady, your boudoir awaits!”

Luna rises, grinning, and says, “Thank you kindly, gentle sir,” and links her arm through his. As they walk towards the manor building, she says, “Now here’s something I didn’t mention to you, which I think you should know, since it may affect my friends’ reaction to you and your mother.” She then proceeds to tell him about the telepathic warning from the unknown soldier. “So,” the druid concludes, “That’s the reason your name triggered a slightly more careful response from me than normal.”

Kamran listens carefully, with a slightly confused expression, and then finally shakes his head. “I really have no idea what that might be about. Naturally, a lot of people at court have magical abilities, but who could be warning you about me – or my mother – and Murat, whom we barely know from Galifar, is beyond me. My mother might have some ideas, since she’s got some skill in the arcane arts. Not me.” He grins. “I’m a lover, not a sorcerer.”

. . .

A little over an hour later, Kamran is also naked, soaked in sweat, presumably very sore, and snoring gently, with a very contented expression on his face. Luna, just as naked and only slightly less sweaty, stretches languorously beside him, a contented expression on her face, and looks down almost fondly at him. Not that much stamina, but at least he had some skills. And that was a damn sight more fun than the stupid party! She grins, as she thinks of what the others must be going through, and then rises. Stretching again, the druid looks around the chamber. A little investigation is in order. I might find something interesting.

The bedroom that Kamran and she are in is a large and spacious one, which can be divided into two by a large pair of curtains, with the bed and a dressing area on one side and a comfortable sitting area on the other. The sitting area also includes a large desk. Shelves on either side of the curtains hold a very eclectic collection of books, ranging from lurid romances (“Kiss of the Changeling”) to political satire (Kessler’s “The Five Ducks”) to historical studies (“Last Days of the Great War”) to esoteric magical texts (“Bakua’s Manual of the Planes”).

After padding around the chamber carefully and examining it magically and otherwise, Luna finds a few things. Two of the drawers on the desk are unlocked and contain writing paraphernalia, some files with business and other papers, etc. Two other drawers are locked, both with minor abjuration auras on them. One contains something within that also has an abjuration aura and a few other minor auras. There is also a spot behind a bookshelf near the bed where there are minor abjuration and illusion auras, but Luna can’t work out how to get to it without moving the entire bookshelf. The dressing table too has a couple of locked drawers but some others are open, containing cosmetics and a small collection of tasteful jewelry, with a couple of fairly costly pieces (if not by the current standards of the Angels). There are two locked closets, one on either side of the dressing table.

Luna considers for a few seconds whether to try breaking into any of the locked areas or even to pick up some of the more attractive jewelry. A soft snore from Kamran interrupts her, and she glances back at the bed. Hmm – I could smack him over the head, and he’d probably wake up with nothing more than a little hangover and none the wiser. But, after a second’s thought, she gives up the idea. After all, Kamran seems to have been honest and has definitely provided an interesting diversion for the last couple of hours. Plus, Luna thinks with a grin, I think I already left him one new scar already.

With a last look around the room, Luna collects and dons her clothes, transforms into a large bird and takes to the air, heading out of a window and back towards the royal palace.


shilsen said:
Gareth pauses to transmit the information about the name over the mental link, and then turns to Darro. “As Maddox has said, I am not joking. Luna is, and no pun intended, a force of nature. If this Kamran behaves to her liking, and that is yet to be determined, then he will be fine – but she is very fickle, quick to anger, and even quicker to strike. She is impulsive, a child ... and unfortunately we are her parents.”

This party can do so much commiseration with Beautiful Beard. He feels the same way, except he's a single parent with a party of children.


carborundum said:
Great stuff!

I've got this great feeling that it's all about to kick off, though!
Thanks. And we shall have to see. Luckily, with this group of PCs, I live on the edge of "about to kick off" a lot :)

To vary things a bit, for the forthcoming update I may jump forward to the next part of the airship voyage after Aundair.

ajanders said:
This party can do so much commiseration with Beautiful Beard. He feels the same way, except he's a single parent with a party of children.

Bah, humbug! Kids, like Luna, tend to be completely unpredictable, or at least highly so. Which is admittedly true for Audhild. But Cedric is utterly predictable, if not in a way Beard would like him to be. Quellen is fairly consistent too. And Davmorn is a little nuts, but he's reliable nuts too. And you're the one who gets us into a lot of scrapes anyway, like when we have to save your ass from an ogre mage assassin while running around in a house dealing with the lord of the Wild Hunt, the troll that ate the Billy Goats Gruff, Richard the dog-headed Lionheart, a cross-dressing French ogre murderess, etc. All for you, man - all for you!

To add a little context for other readers, Beautiful Beard is ajanders' dwarven warblade PC in a group where I run Cedric (a version of the character in my World's Worst Paladin thread in my sig). Audhild is our elven druid, who is strangely alike Luna in being homicidal and pyromaniac. Quellen is the elven ranger/rogue turned assassin. And Davmorn is a binder with a habit of killing gobs of people by whirlwind attacking them with a mug while lying on the ground (long story).

And Beard is slightly ... um ... persecuted by the others, hence the self-pity. It's all a pose anyway. He loves Cedric with a love that dare not speak its name. Or something like that.


First Post
I thought you'd all be happy to know that in an upcoming Eberron game starting in 2-ish weeks, inspired by this story hour- I'll be playing a gnome. :)


Vorput said:
I thought you'd all be happy to know that in an upcoming Eberron game starting in 2-ish weeks, inspired by this story hour- I'll be playing a gnome. :)
Excellent! You're going to be playing a beguiler, aren't you? After all, every gnome, even at its mother's knee, already has levels in beguiler :]

And in further celebration of your impending gnomishness, here's the next instalment. As mentioned earlier, I'm jumping forward to the Serenity's departure from Aundair.

* * * * * * * * * *

The Angels stand near the rear of the Serenity, watching the walls and towers of Fairhaven retreat slowly behind them, their glow turning from silver to gold in the light of the westering sun. “Well, that wasn’t too bad,” says Korm.

“Yes,” agrees Nameless dryly. “We came out of there alive, haven’t added too many enemies that I know of, and Luna didn’t kill anyone – also, that I know of. I can’t remember the last trip we had of the kind.”

“That’s all right,” says Korm, with equal pessimism and cheerfulness. “We’ve got more than enough time for people to kill us before we finish the trip.”

* * * * *
His statement comes back to Korm as his eyes nap open to the sound of a dull pounding sound and screams, coming from somewhere below him, muffled by distance and the snoring of Luna in her bear form a few feet away. It is nearly a day and a half since they left Fairhaven and early at night on the 21st, less than a full day before the Serenity is to reach Korth.

Grabbing his weapons and rushing out of the door, Korm is met by Nameless emerging hurriedly from his chamber. They both hurry past the two surprised looking guards standing before the door leading to the antechamber outside Haydith’s and the two diplomats’ chambers, and into the princess’ room. “Something’s going on below decks,” says Nameless. “We’ll investigate and be right back.”

Rising hurriedly, Gareth begins to cast a number of spells, but the alienist stops him. “Don’t get hasty. This might be a ploy to use up our resources. But I can spare a little just to be safe.” He casts one of his most powerful conjurations, causing a winged angel with a hawklike face to appear. The angel glances around and then turns a keen gaze on Nameless. “Your command?” Nameless indicates Haydith. “Guard her from any harm.” As he turns and head out the door, he pauses to jerk a thumb at Gareth, “And don’t listen to him.”

The paladin’s aggrieved, “Hey!” follows Nameless and Korm as they emerge and hurry in the opposite direction, towards the ladders leading up and down. As they reach them and head downwards, Six appears, descending from the main deck above.

The three Angels descend quickly towards the main hold, and meet the sources of the screams, two terrified and fleeing crewmen. Korm grabs one and shakes him. “Snap out of it! What happened?”

The man gasps, “In the hold! We heard a noise and went in and….” His compatriot interrupts hurriedly, “The monsters! They killed Kayni!” The continuing pounding sounds from behind them, now significantly louder and accompanied by that of smashing wood, indicate the source of their fear.

“Get upstairs and warn the crew!” snaps Korm, before heading towards the hold, followed closely by Nameless. Six pauses to call on the new powers of the harness and the black tendrils of shadow cover him and his chain. The two already scared crewmen take one look at the process and run for the exit.

Meanwhile, bursting into the hold, Korm immediately locates the monsters they mentioned. Standing a good ten feet tall, roughly humanoid in shape, with craggy arms ending in bludgeon-like globes of stone, three earth elementals stare back at Korm for a moment. Smashed and broken crates stand around them, amidst which lies the battered body of the unfortunate Kayni. Two have been pounding on the hull of the airship, and a spiderweb of thick cracks shows that some more damage might actually have breached it.

With an inarticulate warcry, the Gatekeeper rushes in, swinging a blow that puts a deep crack into one of the elementals’ torsos, though the creature’s rocky exterior is less pervious than a fleshy target would be. Immediately, the three swarm over him, mighty fists swinging. Despite his plethora of magical protections, they hurt when they hit, and with six fists smashing at him, Korm can’t avoid taking multiple painful blows.

“You might want to consider dodging a bit,” suggests Nameless, as his magic missiles blast holes in the stony lump that passes for one elemental’s head. Korm snarls back, “You think? I had no idea that might be an option!” and uses the anger to drive his blade right through the elemental’s weakened head. There is a dull rumble as the creature’s body crumbles, followed by a soft hiss of air as the falling debris whiffs out of existence.

“Summoned,” comments Nameless, as he hurls another spell. “I thought so, since they have an aura of conjuration around them.”

Korm has no time to ponder this revelation, as a stony fist hammers into his side, cracking ribs, while another glances off his parrying blade and scrapes his forehead. “Dammit, Six!” he calls, hurriedly casting a healing spell before striking back, “Get your metal ass in here!”

In response, a dark and shadowy form dives through the doorway, spiked chain – now bathed in black flames – lashing out to slash and scorch chunks from one of the remaining elementals. With Six joining in, the three Angels quickly dispatch the remaining elementals, each of which disappears like the first.

Korm, breathing heavily and bleeding, looks around and asks, “All right. So where did they come from? Those were big, so someone using a Summon Nature’s Ally would need a version of the fifth power for each, or have to get lucky with one of the sixth power.” As he begins to heal himself, Nameless rises into the air and begins to scan the area, while Six moves over to check the damage to the hull. “They almost broke through,” he comments.

“An airship can fly perfectly even with its hull breached,” says Nameless, “But I don’t want to have to test that quali… hold on – I found something.” He indicates an area to the side and flies down. “I don’t see anyth…,” begins Korm, and then his eyes catch the glint of reflected light from the hold’s everburning torches in something on the ground. Nameless carefully picks it up with his fingertips and brings it over, to show the others multiple pieces of some shattered crystalline object. “Elemental gems,” the alienist says with certainty. “Three. That’s how they summoned the elementals.”

“So it’s probably not a spellcaster, or not a powerful one hopefully,” says Korm. “Six, can you find any tracks?”

“No,” says Six, who is already scanning the area around the spot where the gems lay. “None at all.”

“We need to get Luna here and see if she can sniff something out,” says Nameless. “Speaking of which, how come she isn’t here?” Korm shrugs. “No idea. She was still snoring when I ran out the door, which is a little unusual, since she can normally hear a fly take a crap a hundred feet away. She seems to be sleeping a lot more heavily recently.”

“I wonder if it has anything to do with that pregnancy that Mordain mentioned,” says Nameless, and then looks quizzically at Korm and Six. “I never did get around to asking what she found out from the Jorasco healer-cum-midwife she went to.”

“Umm…,” Korm hesitates, and then slowly says, “Luna said that, as far as the Jorasco woman could tell, she’s not pregnant.”

“Really? I should speak to her about it. Somehow I doubt Mordain was pulling our legs. I wonder if she was told anything else that might be worth investigating.”

Korm and Six exchange glances. If Nameless speaks to Luna, the rest of the hitherto unmentioned details about the visit will emerge. Probably in way more graphic detail than if they cover it themselves. After a few seconds, Korm sighs and says, “There’s a bit more we didn’t mention.”


“Six and I went with her … and got … examined too. We’re not pregnant either.”

When Maddox and four Karrnathi guards rush into the hold a few seconds later, they’re more than a little surprised to find the normally forbidding alienist laughing so hard that he has to hold onto a crate to stay upright.

* * *
Once Nameless has recovered, they head back to the princess’ cabin. Entering the antechamber, the group is joined by Gustavus and Theda, who emerge, both red-faced and breathing a little heavily, from the former’s room. The Angels, after a couple of surprised glances, simply ask them to follow to Haydith’s chamber. There, they inform the princess and Gareth – who had been warned of a commotion by Maddox as he led his men downstairs – what had happened and say that they should stay together in her room while they perform a search of the ship. Then Luna, still snoring blissfully, is woken up and taken to the hold.

After sniffing around in the form of a singularly obese bloodhound, Luna says, via her magical tongue, “No scent besides all of you and the three crewmen. Nobody else has been here in hours, or at least nobody that I can make out.”

“Magic?” asks Six. Nameless shakes his head. “I’d have at least picked up a lingering aura, if it’s a spell strong enough to mask any tracking. My money’s on undead.”

“It is possible,” says Maddox grimly. “The more well-preserved of undead leave no scent.”

“All right, then,” says Nameless. “Let’s assume we have at least one undead on board. We’re going to have to cover this entire ship. This’ll take a while.”

Over the course of the next hour, the Angels, accompanied by Maddox and a couple of guards, move in a group over the entire ship, scanning for magic, talking to crew-members, guards and everyone else on board, and looking for signs of anything suspicious. The search is completely abortive, doing little more than tiring and irritating most of those involved.

“Well, that didn’t do much,” complains Luna, as the group proceeds back towards the Angels’ sleeping quarters and the princess’ chamber. “I wasn’t really expecting it to,” admits Nameless, “But it doesn’t hurt to try. Of course, the chances are the aim of the attack was to distra….” He never finishes the sentence, as the sound of multiple muffled screams and shouts breaks out behind them, towards the front of the ship. In unison, the group turns and rushes back the way they came.

A few seconds of hurried running serves to narrow the source of the continuing shouting to the area where the Karrnathi guardsmen are quartered. Rushing into the hallway which their rooms open onto, the Angels see all of the doors open, with the sounds of fighting coming from one of the rooms.

Six and Korm reach the doorway first, to find a chaotic melee in progress in the large bunkroom beyond. Half a dozen half-clad Karrnathi warriors are engaged with four shadowy figures that flit around among them. The roughly humanoid forms flow back and forth silently, their incorporeal nature making them immune to most of the blows leveled at them, while their shadowy claws reach easily into their targets. Most of the Karrnathis are pale and stagger more and more weakly with each hit, and two already lie dead.

Six and Korm focus on a single shadow, their magical weapons quickly ripping it to shreds, even though half their blows fail to connect. Some of the guards do have magical weapons, it seems, since another shadow falls apart. But even as the two undead are now truly slain, a third guard falls, drained and dead, to the floor. And more worryingly, the two corpses already on the ground fall in on themselves, transforming in instants from flesh to darkness, until two more shadows rise in their stead. The four shadows, with strange coordination, fly towards the walls or begin to sink into the floor.

“Stop them!” shouts Nameless from the doorway, as Luna squeezes her way through. “If they get away, they can go anywhere on the ship!”

“Done!” says Maddox, shouldering his way past the alienist. The bone knight’s gauntleted hand holds aloft the holy symbol of the Blood of Vol, and as he calls on his strange powers a flash of gray light envelops the room. Everyone around him feels a momentary chill, and the shadows halt instantly, half-buried in the wooden partitions of the ship. “You cannot escape!” says Maddox firmly, and then snaps to his allies, “All right. Destroy them!”

Korm, Six and Luna quickly comply, the helpless shadows falling apart in seconds, a couple of them actually being forced by Maddox to emerge from the woodwork and make themselves into easier targets.

“Good work, Maddox,” says Nameless. The bone knight simply nods and then says, “Watch him,” indicating the lone corpse. The Angels prepare themselves, and the emerging shadow has barely a second of unlife before it is destroyed.

Maddox immediately turns to the Karrnathi soldiers and begins to question them. They explain that they, being among the off-duty contingent, had been about to turn in or had already done so when five shadows emerged through the floor and began to attack. Some of them, from the room across the corridor, had heard the commotion and rushed in to try and help, and they had slain one before the Angels arrived. Maddox commands them to remain armed and armored for the time being and then heads outside with the Angels.

“These undead couldn’t have been the ones who used the elemental gems, right?” asks Korm, as they head back towards their rooms once more.

“No,” says Maddox. “They’re incorporeal.”

“And they weren’t summoned,” says Nameless. “No magical auras. Which means that they were already on this ship.”

“And we have someone else who brought the elementals. This gets better and better,” says Six. “I wonder what’s next.”

The answer comes quickly, as they reach the princess’ cabin, which now has some extra guards, all looking extremely tense, around it. The senior-most one turns and hurriedly salutes Maddox. “There’s been a murder, sir. Lord Gustavus Thul has been killed.”

* * *
“Two of the guards came to warn us that there was more fighting going on toward the front of the ship,” explains Gareth, in the now quite crowded area of the princess’ chambers, “And Haydith told them to ask both Theda and Gustavus, who had returned to their rooms, to join us. The guards found him dead.” Haydith, sitting beside Gareth and looking composed, if very pale, nods silently. So does Theda, sitting nearby and looking relatively calm.

“All right,” says Nameless. “Everyone stay here. We’ll check the scene.”

Leaving Gareth to keep an eye on Haydith, the others proceed into Gustavus’ room. It looks much as it did when they saw it last – except for the corpse. Lord Gustavus Thel looks shrunken and undignified in death, sprawled awkwardly on his side next to the tipped over chair from his desk, drying blood pooled around him from the ebony-handled dagger buried in the back of his neck.

“Looks like he was about to write something,” says Six, pointing at the fallen pen whose ink has smeared a sheet of paper on the table. “And he saw the murderer come in, if he came in the door, since the desk faces that way.”

“Unless he dimension doored in, came in invisibly or something else,” says Nameless. “Definitely not one of those shadows, however. If it was an undead, then it’s one who uses weapons.”

“Not undead,” says Luna in a tinny voice due to her tongue, as she looks up from carefully sniffing the area. “Theda’s scent is all over the dagger.”

“You sure?” asks Korm. “We did see her come out of the room with him earlier, and I thought they might have been getting a little frisky. Sure looked all excited.”

“I’m damn sure. Her scent’s in the room too, but it’s definitely on the dagger. Only hers.”

“Okay, we’ll go talk to her. But first let’s finish checking this room and then hers.” The Angels do so, searching both thoroughly. They find nothing that is really incriminating, but do collect all the documents, diplomatic and otherwise, before returning to the princess. There, they ask Gareth to accompany them outside for a moment, where they quickly explain what they found.

Returning to the chamber, Nameless says, “We have a few things to say, but first – remove that ring and give it to me.” He indicates the one on Theda’s finger, which he knows is one of mind shielding. I’m beginning to think every politician – and gnome – on this continent has one of these damn rings!

“What? I don’t understand! Are you accus…,” Theda begins indignantly, when cut off by Gareth. “Please, princess, would you command her to do so?”

Haydith looks quizzically at Gareth, but then nods her head. “Theda. Please comply with what Gar… they say.” The diplomat takes a deep breath and mutters, “As your Highness commands,” and does so.

“Thank you,” says Nameless, taking the ring. He nods slightly at Gareth, who has wandered over to a position behind Theda, and the paladin’s eyes begin to gleam with silver light as he attempts to detect thoughts on her. “Let’s start with a simple question,” says the alienist. “Why did you kill Gustavus?”

Gareth’s ability, now heightened by Mordain’s modifications, easily finds its way through Theda’s not inconsiderable mental defenses, and he finds himself faced with the roiling mass of confusion that are her surface thoughts. Emotions of fear and anger overlay all the others, and for a moment Gareth expects that he will be able to work out very quickly what she is thinking. Then, to his surprise, he finds that she is holding her thoughts under iron control, almost as if she were afraid to verbalize to even herself what she is currently thinking. Even the most rigid of self-control, however, cannot prevent her from thinking of an answer to a question, and the words, “They know!” leap to the surface of her mind. Followed instantly by, “Because he was a fool and a traitor!”

Aloud, Theda says, “What? Are you insane?” before whirling to face Haydith. “Princess! You cannot believe them!” From behind her, Gareth nods at Nameless and then says to the princess, “She is lying.” Haydith looks curiously at his gleaming eyes, and he explains, “I can see her thoughts right now. She did it.” Luna growls from her position nearby, “And her scent is all over the weapon.”

Theda pales but continues to protest. Haydith looks uncertain for a few seconds, looking almost helplessly back and forth between her and Gareth, but then her expression firms. “I am sorry, Theda. You have been a loyal and valued servant to Karrnath, but I believe them. Gareth and the others have no reason to lie.” She pauses, and then adds, with a touch of steel in her voice, “Tell the truth and it will be the better for you.”

“Listen to your princess,” says Gareth, as persuasively as he can. “Tell us why you killed Gustavus. And who you are working for, how you brought the undead on board, and who your allies on board are.”

“The undead?” Theda stares at her interrogator’s glowing eyes and then back to Haydith. “I had nothing to do with that. I promise you, princess, I would never do anything to harm you or the royal family. I … I … did kill Gustavus, under cover of the commotion outside, but it was with no intention to harm you. It was for the sake of Karrnath. You must believe me!”

“”She’s telling the truth,” adds Gareth. “Or at least, believes she is, for what it’s worth.”

Maddox, who has been studying Theda silently with a forbidding expression since the Angels revealed her guilt, says, “Many people think they are acting for the good of Karrnath. Not all are correct.”

Nameless says, “Perhaps you are telling the truth about not being in cahoots with our attackers. But that still leaves the question of why you killed Gustavus. Why did you?” Gareth, continuing to read Theda’s mind, picks up the thought, “Because he would have revealed …no, I must not even think it!” The diplomat clamps down on her own thoughts with a terrific mental effort, which only Gareth is in a position to appreciate, and turns to Haydith with sweat beading her brow. She bites her lip for a moment and then falls at the princess’s feet, clasping her around the knee.

Or, more precisely, attempts to. A couple of blades flash out to block her path and Korm’s huge fist meets her chin even as a spiked chain flashes around her ankle and deposits her on the ground, a second before a huge paw lands on her shoulders. As Theda screams, Luna asks conversationally, “Should I rip her head off?” For a moment, the near certainty of death flares in Theda’s mind, and Gareth notes that the emotion of great fear that accompanies it is strangely laced with a slight sense of relief.

“Princess!” babbles the woman on the floor, her face already purpling, “I simply meant to fall at your feet! Please – do not let them question me further. I beg you – leave it to your brother. What I have done I have done for Karrnath! Let the king judge me. You know he is not kind or gentle to those he thinks have transgressed, but he should be the one to condemn me, if any. These strangers must not know or ask why I killed Gustavus. Please! As you said, I have given my life to Karrnath! Believe me, I would n….” The speech breaks off into a pained gasp as Luna applies a little pressure. “Bored now!” says the druid. “So – can I?”

Haydith remains silent for a few seconds, and then rises to her feet. “Let her rise.”

“Oh, come on! Sh…,” begins Luna, before the princess says, this time in a tone of command belying her years, “Do it! She is still a servant of the Crown.” Luna wrinkles her snout in irritation and removes her paw. Theda only rises to her knees and then carefully extends a trembling hand to touch Haydith’s leg. “Thank you, princess! This is more important than you know.”

“I hope so, for your sake,” says Haydith evenly, before addressing the others. “I shall let my brother judge her, as she asks. Keep her bound and under strict watch.”

“Are you sure, princess?” asks Gareth. “There are many ways to hide the truth, and she can be a danger to you. After all, we’re fairly sure that there is still someone on board who summoned the elementals and somehow got the shadows aboard. This is one more complication for our aim of protecting you.”

“Yes, I am sure. I will not execute her out of hand without knowing further why Gustavus was killed, and that is better done before the King.”

With the decision made, the Angels and Maddox quickly follow Haydith’s commands. Theda, actually weeping with relief, is taken to a nearby cabin and left, tied and under guard. As they leave her, Six comments, “I think that counts for one of the many daggers, not all wielded by the same hand, that we were told we shall encounter. I wonder what it is she is hiding.”

“Whatever it is,” says Gareth, “It’s something that has her really scared.” He shrugs. “I’m curious, but right now I’m much more concerned about Haydith’s security.”

With that in mind, he returns again to the princess’ chamber, while the others – beginning to tire with the lack of sleep and constant exertions – retire to their rooms. Six, unaffected by such matters, returns to the main deck, while Korm moves to Nameless’ room. With Luna’s snoring no longer a factor, both he and the alienist quickly fall asleep.

* * *
Some time later, Nameless comes awake to the painful feeling of something hard bumping his forehead. In the near gloom of the chamber, lit only by an everburning torch with a nightshade, his bleary eyes note that it is Edgar. The strange familiar, who usually naps beside Nameless’ pillow, is leaping forward on his spidery legs to butt the alienist in the skull. “Wake up, you idiot!” comes the mental command.

Nameless’ eyes snap wide and he begins to sit up, before he notices the source of Edgar’s alarm. A dark figure leans over the side of the bed, a hand shooting out towards the alienist with lightning speed. Nameless only has a second to note the feral, glowing red eyes, set deep in a bone-white face above the hooked nose and the grinning mouth full of gleaming fangs.

And then the vampire’s claws rip his throat open from ear to ear.


First Post
And then the vampire’s claws rip his throat open from ear to ear

...well... that ain't good for Khorvaire...

So can Luna speak in Wildshape now?

And not a beguiler, the party already had one :(
I'm playing a bard of sorts... only one without any perform based abilities.


Vorput said:
...well... that ain't good for Khorvaire...

We shall see, we shall see... :]

So can Luna speak in Wildshape now?

Only through that magical tongue of hers (which is the tongue symbiont 'embedded' in her by Mordain so it only activates in wild shape form), which makes her sound like one of the Chipmunks.

And not a beguiler, the party already had one :(
I'm playing a bard of sorts... only one without any perform based abilities.

Aw, that's a pity. But bards can be fun too. Even if you don't have perform based abilities, you should pick up ranks in Perform (mime). Nothing could be scarier than a gnome mime member of the Trust.

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