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The Further Adventures of Innes, Bhaalspawn

TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
edited September 2014 in Multiplayer
Hi folks! This thread is currently going to be used primarily for documenting our adventures, although if anyone drops out it will also be used for recruiting further players.

If you want to see what we got up to in BG1, the thread can be found here:
http://forum.baldursgate.com/discussion/28825/the-adventures-of-innes-part-one-finished-part-two-coming-soon

THE PARTY

@Stinky : Innes - Bhaalspawn - Elf - Neutral Good - Stalker
- Driven from his peaceful home in Candlekeep and hunted across the Sword Coast, Innes' introduction to adventuring was a rapid and violent one, yet the young elf has come out alive despite all attempts. With his previous journeys dictated almost entirely by the actions of his half-brother Sarevok, Innes has rarely had the chance to truly decide what he wishes from life, but perhaps now, with the Iron Throne in shambles, he will have an opportunity to find out.

@Tetraploid : Dyrellei - Elf - Chaotic Good - Swashbuckler
- A chance meeting in Candlekeep resulted in a surprisingly loyal ally. Though outwardly unfriendly and self-serving, the thief Dyrellei has supported Innes throughout his travels so far. Whether the large monetary gain involved has been her only motivation is still a matter of debate, but she claims to have no intention of betraying Innes and has kept her word so far.

@Muttley : Eric - Halfling - Chaotic Good - Fighter/Cleric
- Initially seeking advice from the sage Gorion, Eric instead ended up in the company of his ward. Though naive in many ways, he has always been willing to lend what assistance he can to the party. After the discovery of Innes' nature, Eric became the Bhaalspawns first cleric, believing himself to draw power from the not-quite-God, but it remains to be seen whether he actually does.

@Marik : Marik - Half-Elf - True Neutral - Mage/Cleric
- Marik has said little to the group so far of his background or his motivations for joining them. Officially, he and his companion Hark were hired by the group to help kill Sarevok. However, with the battle over, he still claims that his work is unfinished, and he continues to accompany the party for the time being.

@Harkonen : Hark - Human - Chaotic Neutral - Wild Mage
- Hark joined the party alongside Marik, and the two seem familiar with each other so it is assumed by the others they have travelled together for some time previously. Although initially hired for gold, Hark fell during the battle with Sarevok and was sufficiently touched by Innes' decision to have him resurrected that he chose to remain with the party.

@Vorsches : Lomin - Elf - Neutral Evil - Wizard Slayer
- Lomin Salix approached the group only recently, some days after their battle with Sarevok. By now, they were accustomed to people recognising and approaching them...but few wished to join them in their dangerous lives. Lomin was keen to join the party, but the group has had little time to get to know him or his motivations so far.

rufus_hobarttypo_tillyJuliusBorisovlolienCrevsDaak
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Comments

  • rufus_hobartrufus_hobart Member Posts: 489
    Excellent start to your storytelling, an intriguingway of setting up the action. Thanks for posting, I look forward to reading more!

    TetraploidVorschesJuliusBorisovlolien
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    @rufus_hobart Aw, thank you very much! I hope our adventures continue to entertain you!

    JuliusBorisovlolien
  • VorschesVorsches Member Posts: 23
    edited September 2014
    From the journals of Lomin Salix:
    (Entries are written in past and present tense depending on when Lomin had time to write of the event, whether it be on the spot, or later that day.)

    As if I haven't been harassed by enough mages in my life! I awoke today in a sickening dungeon, it's master a mage powerful enough to have overcome my own... enchantments, though just barely. Upon awakening I set to my purely magical bonds, but nearly lost both my focus and a good third of my soul to the magic bonds when Innes started screaming. I swear it sounded as though the halfwit wizard who captured us wasted Innes valuable heritage in yet another bout of twisted torture. When I finally broke free of my bonds I entered a room of cages to find that Innes had escaped somehow. In his condition it continues to surprise me, really. *Note: Ask Innes how he escaped.* I could not stop the thief Dyrellei from opening the cages of the mages however, and I'm not sure if I can stomach having them close. What's worse? Well, already one of them clipped me with a smite spell, and though it pains me to say it, they may prove to be useful as my enemies draw near. This is especially relevant considering the heinous nature of my quarry. I will have to learn to endure these antagonistic and nosy spell slingers if I am to succeed.

    ~

    One can comment once on the furnishings of a room, which, unbeknownst by me, HAPPENS to have dryad concubines in a room next to it, and suddenly it is implied that our captor and I could have a play date of murder together, and then have a "classy" evening banquet with skimpily clad dryad waitresses and whatnot... By this gods-forsaken dungeon I was close to sticking that accusatory, antagonistic mage where he stood. He might as well of suggested that I am worse than that cambion from the ticking room. The nerve!

    ~

    We are free, though the fresh air is tainted by the ozone stench of magics, and yet my enemies elude me. Dyrellei has disappeared to "scout"... but in the direction of the nearest bar... For her sake hopefully Marik won't find out, we have all been through quite a bit. At least with our de facto leader gone for a bit I can log some more of what has occurred while escaping. Fortunately, Innes lives yet, though barely... I will need an individual of his power and descent to assist me. It is relieving that Innes, I, and but one of his associates managed to escape the mages "courteous custody" and subsequently his stronghold/apparent laboratory(?), but it angers me to no end only to watch as our chance for revenge was cut short as some girl by the name Imon, or Imone, or some pronunciation of the sort, foolishly used magic (obviously without a proper license) RIGHT BESIDE a cowled wizard, and acted as the catalyst to the escape of my foes. Does Mystra herself work against me?! At the very least I have my enemies gathered together for the killing blow...

    *Note: Discover the current date, it will pay to know how long we have been in this wizard's clutches.*

    Post edited by Vorsches on
    rufus_hobartJuliusBorisovlolien
  • jlballard24jlballard24 Member Posts: 21
    are you still looking for players?

  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    @jlballard24 No, I'm afraid not, but as I said before I'll let you know if a spot opens up :)

    lolien
  • MuttleyMuttley Member Posts: 53
    Eric waits patiently in the corner of an Inn, in the city of Athkatla. He hopes Dy will understand his reasons for not being able to join his good friend Innes on his journey. His part in the travels is now over and he now has to spread the word to the common folk that the Gods now walk among us. Even moreso if his susicions of this 'mage' Dy's letter spoke of prove to be true.

    ----Letter to the Helmites----
    Bretheren, I urge you to heed my words. One of your priests 'politely' moved me on last week when I was stood in the courtyards preaching to the people about the current situation regarding the Gods. I have myself seen the recently created offspring of one of the Gods walking as a man among the people. He is a man of good character and has done many good deeds throught the Sword Coast. His actions are quite contrary to what your member would have me belive of someone from his origins. There could well be other Gods walking throught Faerun too and not neccecarily with good intent. Please don't be so hasty to brush off my warnings, and heed my advice and look into the matter yourselves.

    Your friend
    Eric - Cleric of Innes

    JuliusBorisovVorscheslolien
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    Chapter One: Of Allies and Anger

    ----------------------------

    The group had agreed to chase down the Cowled Wizards and their secret prison, but why? Was it a mission of rescue, for the Candlekeep girl, or one of revenge? Or was Innes considering taking Irenicus up on his offer of untapped power? All options had been mentioned, and the group was not necessarily of a single mind.

    They'd decided to seek out the Shadow Thieves as a source of information, but it seemed they'd been found first. Help was available, for a price, but while finding money should be a simple prospect in the city of coin, this had raised more problems than it solved. Dy's suggestion of acquiring it 'locally' had earned her the title of a 'vile criminal' from Marik, which did little to improve her opinion of the half-elf. Innes had made no effort to defend his companion, and had merely suggested he would prefer to find honest work...though it's unsure if that's truly what he expected to find in the Copper Coronet, their next destination.

    It was only a short walk to the inn, yet without the presence of Baldur's Gate's Flaming Fist, the streets were dangerous. A pair of thugs attacked them at the merest provocation, and elsewhere the group ran into a moment of obvious corruption, as a guard turned his back on a slaver and his prey for a pocket of gold. The party, appalled, wasted no time coming to the slave's aid, but in the battle Lomin was struck by one of Marik's spells. When he confronted the mage in anger, it was revealed that the spell in question had been designed to target only those of evil nature...which immediately raised the question of why Lomin has been affected.

    The arguments over Lomin's ideas of justice versus vengeance continued until the party's entrance to the Coronet was disrupted by a man with more ale than sense, who thought picking on the one-handed man would be easy game. Perhaps several months ago, a milder-mannered Innes would have backed down, but this time he met the man's insults with a challenge: a fight, which quickly turned lethal. Apparently this display of violent rage appealed to many of the Inn's potential employers, since they were quickly approached by a young noblewoman seeking protection for her family home...though she wouldn't say from what. The group agreed to meet her there, soon...but were quickly sidetracked by a far stranger figure. Hexxat, a blank-eyed woman who seemed more asleep than alive, lacked eloquence but was very clear on one thing: there was treasure in a nearby tomb.

    For the most part, the group accepted the suggestion of grave robbing far more happily than Dy's suggestion of taking gold from the living...with the exception of Lomin. Speaking out angrily against their decisions, and even threatening to desecrate the party's bodies should they fall, his lack of cooperation was the final straw for Dyrellei, already sore from Marik's insults and angry that the man who so thoroughly condoned the murder of mages seemed to think himself morally superior to everyone around. Making the situation very clear, she informed the Elf that he would assist the group in their chosen path, or he would leave. Despite stating he would take no pleasure in their actions, he insisted on remaining with the group, though it remains unclear why he is so keen to share the company of people he apparently despises.

    VorschesJuliusBorisovlolien
  • VorschesVorsches Member Posts: 23
    edited September 2014
    From the journals of Lomin Salix:

    We finally rest. Ever since the escape from the dungeon of that despicable mage, Innes, myself and Innes' company of travelers have been wishing some shuteye. It is fairly unfortunate then, that I cannot partake in it (much). If any take notice I shall only say that I am not tired, and wish to stay vigilant. In truth, sleep only brings back the nightmares that plagued me since before I began my journey to answer for the fallen.

    ~

    It seems our travels are leading us to the slums of Athkatla, though personally I would rather not venture through this cesspool, we may find clues and information in the public establishments here.

    ~

    So much for the "brilliant plan" (though to Dyrellei's credit, it was actually a good idea, but we were hardly subtle and thus, easily found, as I will explain). The thief thought our best course of action would be to seek out the shadow thieves on our own terms rather than theirs, and also to contact them because they know of the going-ons in "their" cities (or workplaces, depending on your point of view). Logically her reasons for finding them were exactly how they found us first. We were approached by a suspiciously cheerful man claiming to be named Gaelan Bayle, he incessantly made obnoxious bird noises as if he knew that nothing grates on the nerves more than that possibly could. But more importantly he made a proposition: bring 20, 000 gold pieces to him, and his employer would assist us in finding our former captor. Currently, Dyrellei is nearly finished ransacking his fairly luxurious accommodations, and I am keeping a close watch on this "Gaelan". Now, considering that we are mostly gathered we will probably head to a tavern to seek employme-

    Hold that thought! This will be entertaining. Marik seems to have hit a nerve in our resident thief (he has made a passing remark on her path in life: that as a thief she does wrong by stealing) and I have my pen and paper conveniently on hand to document their little feud. I'll just take a seat with a nice view first.

    Bah! Hells to it! I was so engaged and entertained in their bickering battle of wits and philosophy (the traditional "what is good or evil") that I forgot my notes completely. Oh well, at least I know one of the thief's sore spots to avoid or press when the occasion calls, and it warms the heart to know that I am not the only one who has little patience for the antics of Innes' "walking wands".

    ~

    We have arrived at the copper coronet, a house of drink and lust. One of the locals thought it wise to pick a fight with Innes, who (surprisingly) stood the man down, and promptly entered the arena. What this drunken idiot did not know, was that he was fighting a child of Bhaal, murder is his birthright. I do not know what happened in the arena, but I felt a powerful magical presence from its position in the room. Innes was the only one to emerge. I would have investigated, or watched... or participated... but the rest of Innes party and myself were set upon by some naive girl, and I had the personal pleasure of dismissing some pompous, honor-bound fool (by name of Anomen if I recall) in a vulgar fashion. This did make me feel a bit better after my alignment had cruelly been made known-

    *As much as it pains me to do so, I should document the events that transpired between our leave of Gaelan's company, and our arrival at the copper coronet, including the topic of my... alignment:

    After exiting Gaelan's abode we witnessed an escaped slave that was being chased down by his handlers. I joined the fray as Innes and his lackeys charged down the slavers. In knowing now how helpless it feels to be held against one's will I would not wish it upon another, and even though slavery would not have bothered me before my capture to a huge extent, I now certainly do feel pity for those who are not allowed their own path in life. What occurred next bothers me evn more, it is... I...

    *I needed a moment to gather myself, and I will feel prepared to continue documenting the events that transpired during and somewhat after our liberation of the slave, I... I just really need a drink first.

    During our fight to liberate the slave, Marik, damn him, cast a smite spell to strike down the slavers. For but a brief... no- I will start that sentence again: There was but a brief moment of confusion throughout the party, where I questioned Marik for using what I assumed was an unholy blight spell just as he asked why his holy smite injured me. I would have refuted his claim, but I saw the outcome... no one else but the slavers and I were affected. Now this "revelation" eats away at me! I AM NOT EVIL! I CANNOT BE! IS IT NOT RIGHTEOUS TO SEEK JUSTICE FOR THE FALLEN!? DOES GOOD NOT PREVAIL WHEN A MURDERER OF INNOCENTS FACES THE HEADSMAN'S BLADE!? OH UNFAIR FATE! EVEN ILLMATER HIMSELF COULD NOT KNOW OF MY SUFFERANCE!

    ~

    I have had ample time to recover mentally, and I will be covering up the previous pages of my journal as they cause me a great deal of emotional pain. I just had a heated discussion with the "good saints" whose company I tolerate, and before then they had dismissed the poor naive girl in an effort to help another who floundered about in the tavern. She is odd, and I can sense a sort of magic about her, but it feels... elongated, or streched. She was persistent and clear in her wishes: she seeks to be brought to a tomb. I DOUBT that she goes there as kin for a melancholy prayer, and so I protested the affair completely, which began the previously mentioned argument. So bitter am I, that I, "the evil one", would not disturb the bodies of the fallen at rest, even though those who are declared good would. Are they so shallow that they only do good if they can plainly see its effects? But yet dismiss their evils so long as no one catches or sees them? Even though it goes against my true feelings, I threatened to desecrate and destroy their bodies, to take their worldly possessions, heirlooms, and mementos should they fall, all in the hopes that they would see that they are about to do exactly that to another. But despite my efforts to impress upon them the feelings of guilt and remorse for the actions they are about to partake in, they stubbornly remain on this shameful course. I believe I had been almost ousted upon uttering my false threat, and my pride was all that stopped me from begging to stay in their company, even though I only do so because of my need for Innes' potential for destruction. I cannot afford to lose an asset as valuable to my cause as he is. So, I covered my verbal tracks and spats, and I argued that there are very few in this world who can raise a shield to protect against both magic and metal, but I opted not to remind them my blows are especially potent against magic users, they will come to appreciate this quality when it is displayed. At the moment I have no choice but to accompany them, but I made it clear that I would not dirty my hands or conscience in pillaging the deceased of others (which makes my false threat a rather hypocritical statement, but thankfully they did not notice, or at least did not acknowledge it). As I see it, I would not disturb the holy dead of another, as it pains me immensely to think of the sadness it would inflict were they my own losses... I see their faces in my sleep, for what little of it I can get, and I pray that they find peace.

    I. Will. Avenge. Them.

    JuliusBorisovlolien
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    Chapter Two: Tomb Raiders

    ------------------------

    As agreed, the group (and a reluctant Lomin) set off to the graveyard with the persistent Hexxat leading the way. There were no shortage of tombs to choose from, but it was obvious when they found the right one: aside from Hexxat recognising the place, the party was greeted by spectres and a powerful voice impelling them to enter. Not expecting such a direct invitation to plunder the grave, this was a surprise to the group, and not a pleasant one. They continued nonetheless, but the tomb's entrance met them with a similar welcome, and a similar voice spoke of waking 'The Sleeper'. Faced with a tomb that appeared remarkably barren of wealth, and all too keen for them to enter, many of the group had misgivings, although the presence of the living dead brightened Lomin's mood considerably, albeit in the sense that a dark grey is brighter than black. Apparently disturbing the undead was preferable to disturbing the dead, though he may have been alone in his view. Still, the group made their way through the dark chambers, without really knowing what they were looking for anymore.

    Of course, even a seemingly bare tomb had no shortage of traps for Marik to unwittingly spring, to Dyrellei's increasing frustration, and while the shadows of the deceased posed relatively little threat alone, Hark helpfully summoned a hostile fire elemental to challenge the group a little further. It seemed that both courage and competence were slipping by the minute.

    An empty grave, not noticeably distinct from any other, drew Hexxat's attention, and she insisted that someone must enter it. An argument quickly ensued, since most of the group were understandably hesitant to do so, but eventually Innes, exasperated, went himself. A tense few moments passed, before the rest of the group followed through to find him under assault by some kind of guard. Apparently, before attacking him, the ghost had told Innes of a way to open the rest of the tomb to find a creature called Dragomir. Innes was keen to continue, but the fight had left the group in a sorry state, and it was strongly suggested that they seek a temple before facing powerful undead of any kind. Reluctantly, Innes agreed, but he was adamant they return. By now, most thought of treasure had been abandoned: it was clear that Hexxat was acting under some kind of magical compulsion, and this was clearly more than a simple thievery. Instead, Innes claimed he wished to help the ensorcelled woman if he could, and for now that meant playing along with whatever her controller's game was.

    With the Priests of Oghma in the city's docks district providing better healing than Marik could manage, the group returned as promised, though only at Innes' insistence. Their reluctance to face unknown danger for doubtful profit seemed to anger him, and the mood of the group was dark as they stepped once more into the catacombs.

    JuliusBorisovVorsches
  • VorschesVorsches Member Posts: 23
    From the journals of Lomin Salix:

    We have arrived at what is unmistakably the tomb this Hexxat woman blunders on about. It is apparent that whatever lies here wants to be found...

    ~

    As we enter the tomb Marik, as deft at discovering traps in all the wrong ways, set off yet another ward or trap of the sort. Dyrellei is getting quite impatient with him it seems, and as for myself I am not content to be rousing those finally at rest. That said, it would only matter if those souls we encountered were not malevolent. We have encountered numerous shades and shadows, and if nothing else I can accept my place here in this tomb to aid them to a peaceful and final rest. Oh, and true to his nature as a wild mage, Hark summoned an elemental that became unbound, forcing us to put it down. I will be surprised if these mages don't get us all killed what with their expertise in setting off traps and volatile spellcasting...

    ~

    In a fight with a ghost some of the party was injured, and looked rather ill. This would not have happened if that shifty Hexxat girl didn't insist that we crawl into a tomb, and Marik has declared that he could not use restorative magic to heal our wounded, so we made headway to the dock district in search of a temple. On our way back to the tomb we were greeted by a member of the shadow thieves, who granted us permission to enter their compound whenever the whim struck us. No doubt Dyrellei is taking a keen interest in this. I suspect that she will insist we return here at a later date. In the meantime, I will assist Innes and keep a wary eye on Hexxat as we delve deeper into this tomb.

    JuliusBorisov
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    Chapter Three: Good Intentions

    ---------------------------

    The group approached Dragomir expecting a fight, and they would not be disappointed, but before steel clashed the creature had some interesting things to say, most notably to the tune that Hexxat would not be sacrificing anyone else to secure her escape. There wasn't time to question Hexxat about what he meant by that, unfortunately. Her rebuttal had seemed remarkably lucent for a change, but Dragomir wasn't about to stand and let the group converse at length. The ensuing battle proved challenging, and in the confusion it seemed for a moment that Hexxat was fighting against them, not alongside...but this was only a short lived problem, thanks to Marik's Holy Smite, which dealt with Dragomir and the thief both. Her death caused little distress to any but Innes, who insisted on having her resurrected as soon as possible. Dyrellei, however, insisted that they continue without her, at least for a time, to see what the rest of the tomb held without their helpful 'guide'. Scouting forward proved little use, unfortunately, as the group quickly encountered a barrier that couldn't be passed, at least not by them. It seemed they needed their guide after all if they truly wished to move forward.

    For once, however, they wouldn't be proceeding blind. A moment of insight from Marik led him to use the spell Farsight to glimpse what lay beyond the barrier. The answer was...not a great deal. A single tomb, and a woman stood by it. There wasn't much else to say, but at least there was nothing of great concern, though to see another living person there was a surprise. More questions to answer, but first, the group gathered Hexxat's body and headed back to daylight.

    As the group sought out a temple, they came across a group of armed strangers in an alley, who were quick to attack them without introduction. A well-placed fireball from Marik helped the group make short work of their opponents...but also left the party slightly worse for wear themselves. As if the party, now bleeding and burned, did not already have enough reason to find healing, a man from the street near their attackers begged for their aid, claiming he had been badly poisoned. Adding him to their burdens, the group made their way into the slums.

    The unassuming Temple of Ilmater above the Copper Coronet seemed a likely place to find aid, but even here the priests would not help them without the usual donation. Since Innes had rejected Dy's offer of a crime spree, the group face a situation that had never plagued them on the Sword Coast: they had no gold. A desperate trip to the inn ensued, and they parted with what little equipment they could afford to lose in order to afford Hexxat's revival. Among the items they had acquired Hark was able to identify two of note: an enchanted short sword and a staff of healing. Despite their financial difficulties, these weapons seemed to useful to simply sell.

    Hexxat was revived as planned, though none but Innes showed any relief in seeing her returned to life (including the woman herself, who had returned to her silent state). For the Bhaalspawn's companions, there was more than enough evidence by now that her intentions were not in their favour, especially now that Marik's divine magic had proved her evil, but Innes remained unconvinced, and claimed the cleric would probably have to stop using that particular spell, since to his mind the whole party were no morally better.

    Though Innes was keen to see their mission finished, arest was long overdue, both for Marik and Hark to replenish their spells and for everyone else to simply ease their aches and pains. While even the cheapest beds the Copper Coronet offered were a welcome luxury for most, a night's sleep did little to improve Inne's increasingly sour mood. If dreams had troubled him, he refused to speak of it, simply insisting the group move on. The temple had been unable to cure Renfeld's poisoning, so their first stop would have to be the docks, where he insisted he had friends who could help. Sure enough, a stranger by the waterfront took the ailing man gratefully, and the party headed back towards the graveyard. A mage Innes and Dyrellei had encountered once before petitioned the party for aid in some scheme against the people they had returned Renfeld to, but he was ignored: there had already been too many distractions.

    The tomb was silent now, its guardians dead and its traps either disarmed or tripped. All that remained was to let Hexxat pass the barrier and see what all this was really about. As the woman passed the magical wall, it gave way to the party too, and they followed. Eagerly, Hexxat approached the woman by the tomb...but whatever she had expected her reward to be, she was disappointed. The stranger - apparently 'Hexxat' herself, briefly referred to the woman they had travelled with as Clara, before abruptly draining her blood. Despite having casually murdered someone in front of them, the true Hexxat didn't seem hostile towards the party, but Innes had other ideas. Joined by his companions, he quickly cut the vampire down, distressed by what had just happened. Whereas the others in the group would have happily left the ensorcelled woman be rather than get tangled up as pawns in whatever scheme was taking place, Innes had consistently demanded that they try to help her...only to lead her to her death. The group's apathy only served to anger him more, but while he declared that he would mourn her fate, there was nothing else they could do here, and knowing that the vampire Hexxat would prey on no more innocent souls was only a small comfort.

    JuliusBorisovVorsches
  • VorschesVorsches Member Posts: 23
    edited October 2014
    From the journals of Lomin Salix:

    We continued into deeper into the tomb and had a run in with a vampire, Dragomir was his name. As he was struck down Hexxat turned her blade to us. Most of us didn't hesitate to retaliate, but Innes... I have no idea what Innes sees in her that he should insist that we come to this temple. But we cannot move forwards, a magical barrier is in the way, and a woman is next to a tomb beyond it. Hexxat is now resurrected, and I am tasked with carrying a poisoned man from a fight with more slavers that seem to have overrun this city. In any case we are headed to the docks, we need money and this poisoned man had better have some rich friends.

    ~

    I no longer carry the burden of a dying man on my shoulders, and I can sense a mage, he is wild eyed and staring us down at a distance... I almost hope he attacks us, give me a better reason to end him than just for his foul practice.

    ~

    More vampires! We delivered Hexxat to the end of this tomb, and we learned that she was the victim of a charm spell. The real Hexxat was this vampire, she killed the girl (Clara, I think) who led us numbly through this tomb. Innes, overcome with rage immediately attacked, I joined him to destroy this creature of undeath. Marik has been pleading with Innes for some time now to buy a scroll case, and normally I would sympathize with this sentiment, but he has (yet again) struck me with a holy smite spell. This also killed the Hexxat girl, causing our search of thistomb to be prolonged.

    ~

    After pawning some goods we opted to explore the wilds around Athkatla. We were attacked by more slavers, and Marik has continued with his practice of not thinking his actions through. I am yet again the victim of a holy smite spell, and to recuperate and avoid more unnecessary dangers I suggested that we rest for the night. Thankfully Innes agreed. We sought out this inn near the gates and it has a strange feeling about it... but no matter, I must rest my wounds and prepare for our departure from this city.

    ~

    Being dead is... stunning, but for the sake of keeping my memories intact I will write what I can remember in chronological order as the priest who resurrected me suggested. Now, I vaguely remember that Dyrellei had found some passage hidden behind a painting in the wall of the inn, and quickly tucked into it. I did not follow, as my armor made fitting through this space a bit of a burden. But I heard... (think Lomin! What was it?!) -aha, yes- I heard the distinctive sounds of spellcasting from down the tunnel. I am fairly certain Dyrellei cannot cast magic, (but I can sense that she does have a very mild "buzz" about her as though perhaps she could have...) but I rushed in to inspect whoever or whatever was chanting magical keywords. I don't remember a profusley bleeding Dyrellei passing me by in the tight passage, but then again everything is a bit of a blur. I do remember vividly seeing what was definitely a lich. This lich was part of what I could sense upon entering the inn the night before, but something else with powerful magic was masking- no, "counteracting" is more accurate... counteracting... (dammit what was I trying to remember?)... yes, it's all coming back now! Something else with powerful magic was counteracting this lich's own magics. It came from the chest, a sturdy make (but I could plainly see one of Dyrellei's lockpicking tools beside it, she must have fled quickly to have forgotten it), but more importantly, was the magic that resonated from it. I opened the chest, and it was unlocked, a credit to Dyrellei's skills. Inside was a beautiful sword, but it felt like it fought against my grasp for only a moment before it -how can I explain the feeling?- "judged" me. I do not know why, but it became far easier to wield after this phenomenon. I believe it was an agreement based on mutual hate for undead. It seems unlikely, but it DOES feel like this is the connection that might have formed. In any case, this occurred in a moment, and I barely saw the lich use what I learned later to be a maze spell on it's summoned pit fiend, which was now fighting against the lich who attempted to control it. This bought me a moment's time to flank the lich. At this point I have never been so grateful the abilities I possess, and with each strike I landed, the lich struggled more and more to cast his vile magics as it struggled to avoid death, but I too was coming closer to death, as each strike brought me in range of his defensive wall of magical fire. As I struck the final blow a feeling of euphoria swept over me, I had killed a LICH! A rare, deadly, and feared opponent... and more plainly, it was an undead mage, combining two of my greatest hatreds into one! Legends are told of these unnatural creatures and the even more of the individuals who slay them! As I turned to leave I noticed Hark standing at one end of the room for the first time. He had summoned a giant spider to assist sometime during battle. I... I honestly did not expect him to have come to aid me, but (and I say this only because no one will know) I have a measure of respect for him for doing so. My memory is starting to fade here, the priest says that it is likely that this is when I... when I die. I can barely recall a magic induced fear, and a searing heat... I watched as Hark was burned to death by this, and... the sight brings back far older memories, the ones that keep me going in this world. However, in my frenzied state of mind I turned back and came face to face with the pit demon, that which channeled fear and fire onto us. If I dared swing my sword or not is beyond my memory, all I know for certain was a sharp pain, and I watched as horrible, flailing claws appeared to "morph" into clean, gesturing fingers as a priest ended his resurrection spell.

    ~

    We returned to the inn where Hark and I died. The priest we saw suggested as much, the fellow said that it is good for "first timers" to a resurrection spell to return to where they died to help cement memories. The pit fiend is gone, I assume only due to the limited time a spell can keep such a beast on the material plane, and later Hark wanted to observe the sword that was found here, I allowed him to see it for only as long as he needed before I took it back (nearly as quickly as I snatched it from my pile of belongings upon my resurrection, a reaction which I am somewhat hard pressed to explain to myself). He learned that some ridiculously syllable intensive word can activate further magic within the sword, but thankfully I hefted it for inspection and accidentally jostled the pommel, causing the magic to activate in a flash of light. As Dyrellei and Marik went upstairs to discuss something in private, I, curious of what death is like to others, asked what Hark felt when he died. He (likely unintentionally) dodged the question, stating instead that this was not his first death at the hands of a pit fiend which is... interesting. As we talked I thought I felt the tiniest fluctuation of magic, but I must dismiss this, especially with all the spells that had been cast in this area. We are about to set out to the wilds around Athkatla, I am not disappointed. A walk in the forest will be well received.

    Post edited by Vorsches on
    JuliusBorisov
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    Chapter Four: Lomin and the Lich

    ----------------------------

    After their rather unsatisfactory adventure in Athkatla's graveyard, the group was keen to seek a change of scenery - even Dy, to Innes' surprise, who usually favoured the city's population and their coin over the wilderness and its poverty. Better still, they had an excuse to do so: Nalia, a local noble, had requested that they visit her lands to help with an unspecified problem of some kind. First, however, they needed to replenish their supplies.

    The Adventurer's Mart was undoubtedly the best place in the city to purchase things they might need, but coaxing a fair price from the owner for the items they wanted rid of was a challenge. For the cloak of the mighty Dragomir, the only thing of potential value they'd acquired in his tomb, the party was offered no more than a paltry 7 gold pieces, to Dy's disgust. Still, they sold it rather than carry it needlessly - it carried a strange enchantment to it, and none were keen to wear the garment themselves. There was little the group could afford to purchase here, but Marik picked up a scroll case eagerly to store his delicate parchments, and seemed more than happy with his find. Dyrellei was less impressed with their achievements, and once again pointed out that the party could have funds aplenty if she was permitted to use her particular skills. Innes calimed that, while he might not approve, he certainly couldn't stop her stealing if she wished to, and Lomin even implied he was happy for her to do so, as long as it was out of his sight. This viewpoint may have seemed a little hypocritical to the rest of the group, but Dy seemed relatively content with what was probably the closest to permission she was going to get.

    It was not long before an opportunity presented itself, either. At an inn near the city gates, the group rested before heading out into the wilderness, although they were offered nothing better than a stable to sleep in. While Innes slipped into fretful dreams, a slight defect in a back wall drew the thief's attention, and a hidden doorway revealed itself as she investigated. Suspecting a cache of hidden savings, perhaps, she slipped into the passage without a word to her companions. In the dark, she could make out some kind of tomb, and a chest beyond it, but as her deft fingers coaxed the lock open, a voice made her stop, very literally. Though it felt like no time had passed, she found herself suddenly badly injured, and without stopping to wonder what had happened she ran back the way she had come, barely noticing as three bodies brushed past her in the corridor. Hark, Lomin and Marik had heard the commotion and rushed in to help, but as Dy burst out into the inn's main room she implored Innes not to follow, fearful of whatever creature had damaged her so easily. When the sounds of battle from the tomb below faded, and they tentatively re-entered, Hark and Lomin were found dead at the hands of what must have been some kind of powerful undead. Needless to say, the brave pair were promptly taken to a priest for revival.

    All members alive and healthy once more, they returned to the inn to help Lomin regain his memories of what had happened, since he seemed a little uncertain. As the events of the previous evening were recounted, Dyrellei insisted they should never have followed her, especially given how clear the others had made it that they wished no role in her illegal activities, but Innes pointed out she should be far more careful not to put herself in danger away from the group. Meanwhile, Hark investigated a sword Lomin had found in the chest that Dy had managed to open but not empty in her haste to leave. Finding that it possessed some kind of magical ability, he proudly proclaimed that he could determine the activation phrase to be "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"...but Lomin had no interest in using such a phrase, or any other. Fortunately, the wielder could apparently use the blade's hidden power by pressing part of the pommel.

    There were other things of interest too, it seemed. Persuading Dy to speak with him in private, Marik offered her a ring of invisibility to aid her in her criminal endeavours. Testing the item carefully and finding it worked as promised, Dy thanked the mage and they returned to the group, who were by then discussing their various past deaths. A grim topic, and yet as they shared their tales it seemed to take the edge of the recent horrors, and the mood gradually lightened once more as they readied themselves to set out once again.

    JuliusBorisovVorsches
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    Chapter Five: Taking on Trolls

    -------------------------

    As the group sought out the home of Nalia D'Arnise, the noblewoman who had asked for their assistance earlier, they delayed by a group of what seemed to be nothing more than common bandits. In the absence of any other obvious motive for their attack, it was assumed that the reason was probably nothing more than greed. The conclusion was, of course, not reached without at least a sideways glance at the party's resident thief, but Dyrellei was quick to insist that she hardly considered herself on a par with the kind of person who would kill someone for a few coins.

    Drawing close to what could only be the keep they'd been given directions to, Marik and Hark used their divination spells to reveal the area, since Nalia had told them little of what they might be facing. They quickly discovered that the main drawbridge was shut, but a small temporary palisade to the West seemed promising. Sure enough, they found their would-be employer there with a scant handful of remaining guards...and some bad news. The mysterious problem the woman wanted help with was an infestation of trolls, notoriously difficult to dispatch with even enchanted weaponry. Despite some misgivings, the party stayed true to their word, however, even agreeing to take Nalia with them into the keep to help find her father.

    A back-entrance proved a better option than trying to storm the front gates, and as luck would have it the route led them to Daleson, a servant with some useful information, if not exactly good news. He mentioned Yuan-Ti and digging monsters fed on stewed dog, alongside roughly thirty trolls, and told them the Lord of the keep was taken to the cellars, still alive when he last saw him. Nalia asked if he had his flail with him, but apparently Daleson hadn't seen it. On questioning, she told the group that her father possessed some sort of powerful weapon, but that she rarely saw it used. It sounded like something to keep an eye out for, in any case...and soon enough, a secret passage revealed a flail that matched the description, more or less, although it looked designed to hold more than just one head. A rudimentary armory provided the group with some magical arrows, which Nalia insisted she knew how to use, and so, with the young woman at the rear, the group pressed on into the main keep.

    Much as promised, they were met by trolls, seemingly in every room and round each corner. Lomin, Innes, Dyrellei and even Marik armed with his new flail did what they could to combat the thick-skinned beasts, while Nalia's arrows and Hark's magic provided the fire needed to stop their wounds regenerating. Fighting their way through the ground floor and upstairs, their target was Nalia's Aunt's room, through which she assured them there would be a secret passage to the dungeon below. Their route took them through a small library, in which they encountered what must be one of the 'yuan-ti' mentioned before. Clearly more intelligent than the trolls, the snake like creature had both speech and a grasp of magic, but little defence against Dyrellei and Lomin's blades. Pressing onwards, the group found the noblewoman they sought to rescue...but her gratitude was somewhat lacking. Despite her verbal assault, Innes remained a model of etiquette until she stormed away and left them be, to the annoyance of the rest of the group, some of whom were of the opinion that the son of a God should not let himself be spoken to so rudely.

    The passage they sought was there as promised, but the path of dead trolls behind them had taken its toll, and before continuing the group took a moment to rest in the relative luxury of the bedroom. They had fought trolls in small groups only, up until now, but facing a larger gathering in the cellar might be a very different situation, and it was critical that the party was in good shape and the mages well prepared.

    (To be continued...)

    VorschesJuliusBorisov
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    edited November 2014
    Chapter Five: Taking on Trolls Part Two

    ---------------------------------

    Once again, sleep brought little rest to the Bhaalspawn despite the relative comfort of their surroundings. Though reluctant to call his dreams anything more than merely that, Innes admitted to Irenicus occupying his unconscious mind as well as his conscious one. Mention of the mage sparked inevitable discussion about the eventual course of their journey, and Innes sounded far less than keen to face the man who had previously imprisoned him. Not the first time, Dyrellei pointed out that he didn't necessarily have to: It was always an option to simply leave, to run and not look back. Unusually, the Bhaalspawn seemed almost tempted by the proposal, and for a moment conversation turned to Dyrellei's home, Evereska, home to a people Innes belonged to yet knew next to nothing about. Such daydreams could hardly last, however, no more than those that faded at daybreak, and reality loomed too close for the elves to dwell on far-off places.

    Returning to the task at hand, in particular the secret passage nearby, the party came across a room that seemed to warrant closer inspection: six golems of various materials, motionless at present, and three alcoves of magical weaponry. Nalia claimed to know nothing of the room, but the party's mages were able to detect some kind of enchantment present. Dyrellei could detect no obvious mechanical traps, but lightness of hand was not sufficient to take the items without consequence: as the first weapon was taken, a pair of golems sprang to life and attacked the party. These smaller golems could be dealt with safely enough, but the larger one posed a threat they couldn't afford to challenge. Fortunately for the party's armoury, the golem was too large to follow them through the keep's narrow corridors...and Dyrellei had a potion of speed handy to aid a hasty removal of the items and a hurried retreat. Among the pieces they had gathered was a second head for the flail, and given how useful the item could be the group detoured to have it fixed. By now, the occasional troll along their way proved only a minor delay, the group having had fair practice the previous day at dispatching the creatures. However, they still required a small dose of magic to finish them off...and relying on Hark's incantations came with its own dangers. Fortunately, this time, the crackle of wild magic brought the group to relatively little harm, doing no more than leaving Hark with mildly embarrassing hiccups for the next few hours.

    Returning upstairs, having attached the second flail head, the group stumbled across a secret passage they had missed on their earlier wanderings. Exploring the route in case it led to anywhere of importance, they stumbled across a man Nalia recognised as her father's guard, Glaicus. Upon seeing the party he raised his weapon to attack, but before blows were exchanged he seemed to come to his senses, realising he had been under some kind of enchantment. Ashamed of having lost his mind to such magics, he refused to accompany the group, but gave them the third flail head so that they would be well equipped to face the trolls below. The finished weapon was undoubtedly exactly what they needed to finish off the beasts...but none of the group were particularly well versed in wielding such an object. Marik had some experience in such things, it seemed, but lacked the physical strength required to heft the three-headed flail. Fortunately, a simple magical spell could solve that deficiency. Along with a well enchanted dagger that Dyrellei picked up for Innes from somewhere in Nalia's poorly guarded keep, the group were almost ready to face whatever led these creatures, but there was one more advantage left to secure: numbers. By lowering the drawbridge, they enabled what remained of Nalia's guard to secure the ground floor while they continued on.

    Having secured the area, one of the nearby guards noticed Lomin's wounds and healed him, much to the injured fighter's annoyance. His relentless suspicion of magic users, which apparently extended even to those using beneficial clerical magic, was starting to seem a hindrance. After all, magic had aided the group many times before, both in and out of combat. As they entered the cellars, for example, use of farsight seemed a perfect way to investigate what dangers lay ahead...unfortunately, it had already been cast that day and neither mage still had it memorised, so the group had to resort to alternative methods. Doing her best to remain unseen, Dyrellei scouted ahead, and shortly returned in a state of dazed confusion. As the effects wore off, she described having encountered a number of large, shelled creatures in a room ahead. Some kind of burrowing monster had been previously mentioned by Nalia's servants, and the group recalled that they were easily distracted by a dog meat stew...but no one was really in favour of slaughtering the hounds they'd seen in the courtyard earlier. Instead, the party prepared themselves with a collection of protective magics...then stood well back while Hark cast a Cloudkill into the room and Dy quickly closed the door before the creatures rushed through. Not perhaps the proudest of strategies, but a successful one.

    With spells running low, the group had little choice but to risk a short rest in the dungeon's grim rooms, but once their minds and bodies were refreshed they moved on promptly. One more room remained, a huge underground chamber, and at the end of it the largest troll they had yet to encounter stood over a human body. Calling himself TorGal as he spoke to the group, demonstrating a surprising degree of intelligence, his ability to speak was all but irrelevant: there was to be no reasoning or bargaining here. Striking the chief troll and his guards down, the group finally cleared the last of the keep's unwanted residents...but it was clear they had arrived too late to save Nalia's father, and so Innes felt he couldn't consider the mission any kind of success.


    (To be continued...)

    Post edited by Tetraploid on
    VorschesJuliusBorisov
  • VorschesVorsches Member Posts: 23
    edited November 2014
    From the journals of Lord Lomin Salix:

    It has been a long time since I had the chance to sit and reflect on what has happened since we left Athkatla. We have traveled here, to the de'Arnise Hold, and we were ambushed on the way here by slavers. They were no match for us though, and they fell quickly. Barely even a challenge. Barely even worth the time it took to end them. I was not wanting for a real challenge very long though. A little bit ahead over the crest of a hill the de'Arnise Hold came into view. The drawbridge was up and we couldn't enter. As per the instructions of Nalia, we found our way to her at a small area surrounded by a palisade and she led us to a side entrance of her Hold, but not after explaining that we were to clear out almost thirty trolls! Trolls are notoriously hard to kill, though Marik and Hark made quick work of their regenerating bodies after they were put down in the first place. I was surprised that Nalia was helping as well, though her marksmanship skills were just decent when compared to most skilled archers' shots, she was able to slay some of the brutes with arrows enchanted with acid and fire magics. We cleared the first floor of the keep easily enough, and Marik found an enchanted flail, it used to belong to Nalia's father and we later learned that it had more heads that could be attached, it was clearly magical, it was and will be an effective tool when fighting trolls or other enemies in the future. Now if only Marik could lift it, he has had some training in similar weapons and I have no doubt that it will make him very useful.

    When we fought our way to the second floor we encountered more trolls and I could feel a familiar "tingle", there was a magic presence, but I had to assume that it was just Marik and Hark. I later learned that it was a yuan-ti mage... some creature like a snake and man hybrid. It was easy to cull, it continually failed to cast it's spells as it fell to my strikes. In a room in the next hallway we met Nalia's aunt, a noblewoman with very bad judgement... especially considering her first action was to critique her saviors on our tardiness, calling us common riff-raff and peasantry. More interestingly, a panel of the wall in that room could be removed, and beyond it was a chamber of full golems guarding over magical weapons placed on statues. We pushed the bed up against it, and rested in the bedroom (well, most of us as elves do not require sleep, but setting aside time to put our tired bodies at ease is appreciable). Innes however was extremely restless, he was having another powerful vision or dream, and I made the mistake of laying at the foot of his bedroll... he got in a few good kicks, which is not a nice way to end resting the eyes. Nevertheless, when questioned, he refused to speak of what happened in his increasingly strange dreams, and we set to the task of exploring and "deactivating" the golems in the golem room. Some of the golems were only able to be subdued by magical blunt weapons, and all were resistant to magic. Marik showed some fiery spirit as he fought here with his staves (of course he later found some fire that was not entirely under his control later), and he dispatched a golem that was rather impervious to my weapon's blows. I was badly wounded in the fight and we left the room leaving an iron golem deactivated, and a statue unplundered. Dyrellei would have none of this however, and spurred on by the the rest of us, a potion of speed, and what could only be at least ten tonnes of animated iron, she made it back to us with some impressive weaponry. That last golem was too big to chase us, but it had a long reach, I was blasted back against the opposite wall from a glancing blow as it reached through the door in an attempt to stop us. Funny to think it's in the next room now, I don't know if it will register me or Nalia as it's new masters though, I haven't tested my luck and I don't intend to. After a sweep of the second floor and the ramparts we got a good vantage point of the courtyard, we opted to go there next.

    We descended the stairs and entered the courtyard, and while Dyrellei and Marik fought to lower the drawbridge, Innes and I held off an ambush of trolls while backup from the small encampment rushed into the courtyard, Hark took position to support both of our teams with magic. We entered the castle to clear the basement next, and to search for Nalia's father. A cleric had unexpectedly cast a healing spell on me, and she was lucky that I saw the cuts and bruises disappear for myself! Though I am coming to be more comfortable with magic like I was before, I am not comfortable with strangers casting spells that could potentially be curses in my direction. I am coming to accept those that I travel amongst though. Hark in particular is exceedingly careful despite (or perhaps due to) being a wild mage, while Marik, though he showed that he can be exceptionally skilled in a time of need (I remember vividly that he was a boon when he instilled magical defenses on us before we fought umber hulks), but still cannot understand that holy blight injures me. Worse yet it now causes me to become momentarily blind if it breaks through my defenses. But... ever since those wizards came, -that horrible incident!- I... I just can't bring myself to trust it fully, especially not from strangers like that cleric guard, a disguise is a perfect method for instilling false trust if you wish to defeat your enemies... and I have enough enemies. But enough of that... I will have to write of what happened in the basement of the Hold.

    When we were finished fighting our way through more trolls in the basement, we heard strange noises from the next room. Dyrellei went to scout ahead, but one of the beasts (turned out they were umber hulks) had sent her stumbling back to us in a confused daze. We prepared ourselves with a moment's rest, and Marik called upon divine and arcane energies to aid us in battle. After that things continued according to plan, I blocked the door and Hark used a cloudkill spell to wipe out most of the umber hulks, but their innate ability to cause confusion sent me stumbling about the room, suffering from vertigo and with my head spinning. When everything settled, the beasts had been slain. We entered the next room and found a troll capable of speech, behind it... was Nalia's father, dead. In his rage, Innes led the attack, and the rest of us followed him in to the fight. By the time it was over, Nalia was hysteric with anger. I was surprised that she transitioned so quickly from a naive girl to having this killer instinct bleed through her usual cheerful personality... but soon after it was clear that she couldn't had spent her hatred, and she weeped for her father. It must have struck a Innes in a way that no one dared mention, he clearly showed compassion to this girl. I wonder if he lost someone too. The look on his face shows that he, like me, knows how it feels to have lost loved ones, and I will avenge them... in time. We left the basement, with Innes stamping out any suggestion of asking for compensation. I was aware that we couldn't leave this hold without coin, and I was one of those that protested Innes' insistence that we receive no payment for this. Dyrellei caught eye at the time and patted her coin purse, I'm not sure where she found "compensation" but I got the message. She seems to think that I don't approve of her actions, but really she should continue so long as she does not get caught by the authorities, I am just not willing to risk being done away or killed if she happens to get caught (she assures me that she won't, which is as reassuring an answer as I can expect). After Innes comforted Nalia we set back to the courtyard of the Hold and prepared to bid her farewell, but we made it a few precious steps away before she called out to us again, asking another favor. This time, it was not to help her reclaim her land, but keep it. She explained that she is unwillingly betrothed to a tyrant, and that her father was the only thing that stopped her from being immediately married away to him. With her father, the Lord de'Arnise dead, she is now the heir. She explained to us that it was in her power to bestow this land land on another... or take it back. She begged Innes who refused, saying that he cannot take responsibility for these state affairs, Nalia countered saying that it is not uncommon for a "fighting man" to supplant a Lord should he die. Just seconds after she said this...
    all eyes fell on me.

    At this moment, most of the party is preparing for our journey back to Athkatla tomorrow. I however, am writing this journal to document this latest part of my path to attaining justice for my fallen. I am also doing lots of paperwork... parchment in my hands is not an unfamiliar feeling, but it is one that will never feel quite right again. I am thankful that my life before I made my promise to seek those who wronged me has prepared me for the coming state and political affairs that I am to endure. Fortunately I can recall my previous teachings in etiquette, and I will certainly be able to outwit those I cannot sway in my future dealings with others of my newly acquired station as a Lord. It is also fortunate that though I am now the proprietor of this Hold and it's lands, Nalia has agreed to take charge in my coming absences. This will be a nice arrangement, one of mutual benefit I think. Not only have I procured Innes' favor and eased his guilt for failing Nalia by helping her, but I will now carry some political clout and have monetary gains with this agreement. Nalia too will benefit, and may keep her hold (in a way) and it's respectable name while by avoiding her marriage with Isea Roenall. If he were as persistent as Nalia makes him out to be I will have to watch my back in case he tries to do something crazy... like swoon me as a plot for the land or send his sister to court me or some other plan.

    I suppose since I am finishing this with a joke I may as well include that Marik has undergone a... big change (how in the hells am I supposed to explain this!? Bah, here goes nothing). While Marik slept, (The half-elf was tired enough to have forgone the usual meditation that elves often practice instead of sleeping. I guess this would be Marik embracing his elven heritage.) Hark cast a spell that (unbelievably, or maybe it was just a wild surge...) changed his gender. It seems for the most part that it was intentional, and that the wild mage wants to teach our chauvinistic companion a lesson in respect. He also reversed the effects of the cursed staff the unfortunate half-elf was using, erasing the blemishes and scars that were appearing whenever Marik struck one of the trolls that were around the Hold. Though I'm not sure if this fix in features was done as a kindness (a sort of reconciliation for this lesson perhaps?) or to bring "attention" to Marik to enforce Hark's point. It seems a bit harsh, but it does reinforce my point of being wary of unknown magics being cast in one's direction. In any case, I will get the feeling we won't be staying in any of the rowdier bars and inns around Athkatla when we return there. I am now a bit more wary of the wild mage, but I have grown somewhat fond of him. I know that he will not try anything suspicious... to understate this: it would be bad for his health.

    Post edited by Vorsches on
    JuliusBorisov
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    Chapter Six: Keeping the Keep

    -------------------------

    The failure to save Lord D'Arnise was a bitter one to Innes, and in his disappointment he blamed the rest of his party for having been too slow, accusing them of dawdling and cowardice. This prompted some degree of backlash, especially since Innes had chosen to let Nalia await the group here while they dealt with Hexxat, which had proven to be a waste of time. Despite insistence from the group that only a fool would believe they could save everyone, Innes remained determined to try, darkly promising that next time he would be faster, stronger...and deadlier.

    In the meantime, the group would have to conclude their business here. With what some might consider a lack of tact, Lomin was keen to know whether the Lord's death would impact the group's payment, but after having scoured the keep thoroughly (for trolls, of course), Dyrellei assured him their pockets would not run dry. As it happened, the fighter would receive far more than simply payment for the day's battles. Left with the prospect of marrying a man she disagreed with, or simply running away, Nalia offered Innes a position as her guardian...but it was Lomin who accepted when the Bhaalspawn rejected the suggestion. 'Lord Salix' as he was now styling himself seemed to think there was significant benefit to be had by allying themselves with an influential noble house...even if that house was currently covered in dead trolls. If the group had not made enough mess disembowelling the creatures the first time around, Hark was adding to the servants' nightmares by using the trolls' blood for regenerative potions. No one really looked forward to drinking such concoctions, but having seen first hand how wounds seemed to close and mend before their eyes, it was unlikely anyone would refuse.

    Finally settling down for a well earned rest, dawn saw the party healed and comfortable and ready for the road ahead...except for Marik, whose armour wasn't fitting quite so well as it had done before. Whether as a joke or a punishment, it seemed Hark had found a way to transform the unfortunate half-elf into a woman during the night...and if he was able to reverse the enchantment, he wasn't showing any inclination to do so. Needless to say, Marik did not take his new condition very well, but otherwise Hark's prank did wonders to distract and amuse the rest of the party. Even Innes was too smitten with the newest female member of the group to really be angry. With some borrowed armour from Dyrellei (who refused to help Marik into it, despite Innes' offer of coin), the group made their way back to Athkatla amidst Marik's high-pitched complaints.

    Athkatla was waiting for them. The group had barely reached the Promenade when they were ambushed first by a mysterious woman and secondly by Brus, the urchin associated with their shady contact in the slums. The former offered a meeting to discuss an alternative method of reaching Irenicus, while the latter said the previous deal had been sweetened. Neither would give details, and it seemed only by following would they find out what exactly they were being asked to choose between...but the woman's mistress waited for them in the graveyard, which seemed an ominous place for a simple discussion. Either way, the party was still laden with the spoils of Nalia's keep, and a visit to the ever-popular Adventurer's Mart was a priority.

    With finally some coin to spare, the party decided to pick up a few essential items before continuing onwards...but there was disagreement on what was considered 'essential', and as always Dyrellei was keeping a sharp eye on finances. Among Marik's purchases were the Cloak of Dragomir, which Hark had wanted to study further despite it lacking apparent use, and over five thousand gold worth of scrolls. This prompted some degree of criticism from Dyrellei, causing Marik to claim they had spent their own gold, not that belonging to the party. The thief quickly called the mage's bluff, claiming she knew Marik had never carried that much gold to begin with, and the argument quickly escalated, fuelled perhaps by Dy's long-standing frustration at the half-elf's lack of trap awareness and Marik's frustration at being the unwilling subject of a prank.

    As Innes tried to encourage the pair of irate women to settle down, Lomin unhelpfully suggested that they settle their disagreements 'like warriors'. Dyrellei scoffed the notion of Marik being any kind of warrior, but her mockery was quickly matched. When Marik claimed a thief like her could never hope to best a powerful sorcerer, they pushed the short-tempered elf a step too far, and in a flash of steel she set out to prove the mage wrong. Although virtually defenceless against magic, Dy had speed on her side and in the confined quarters of the shop there was almost no chance of Marik finding the space and time to safely cast a spell. Beaten to the point of inevitable yield, Marik still refused to salvage the situation with anything resembling an apology...but as the pair were thoroughly chastised by Innes for their feud, they reluctantly agreed to behave themselves in future, although only time would tell if they truly managed to reconcile their differences. It was essential that the group was able to work together if they were avoid death at the hands of their enemies...especially since their competing offers looked set to make them some new ones, whichever way they chose.

    JuliusBorisovVorsches
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    Chapter Seven: Choices

    --------------------

    Before heading to the more suspicious of their two offers, the party decided to pay a visit to Gaelan. He was quick to urge the party to commit to their proposed deal, now that they had enough gold to do so, even lowering the price to 15000. Such a generous offer came across as borderline desperate, in fact. For now, the group declined to give him a firm answer, wanting to keep their options open until they'd paid a visit to the graveyard. Whether Gaelan could be fully trusted was still uncertain, but some of the group seemed willing to believe in 'honour among thieves', and working with the Shadow Thieves was an opportunity Dyrellei was in favour of, regardless of what else might be available.

    There had been little word of exactly where in the graveyard they were to meet the mysterious contact, and initially the group meandered through the silent tombs in hope of spotting a likely candidate. A sound drew their attention, from a nearby grave, and to the party's horror they discovered a buried man, still thankfully alive. Though grateful to the group for his timely rescue, he was unable to tell them much of who had put him there and why...his only clue was a scrap of red fabric (remarkably similar to Hark's robe) torn from his assailants. Not satisfied with letting such a crime go unsolved, the party decided to do a little further detective work, but there was little else to go on. An aggressive conversation between Dyrellei and a frightened gravekeeper gave them only one scrap of information: that the men involved might be found in the Bridge District. Perhaps, if they went there, they could uncover more, but for now their business in the graveyard was unfinished.

    A second time, an unexpected sound caught their ear...this time from within a small tomb. It seemed unlikely that they were expected to meet anyone there, but it seemed worth investigating while they waited. Their efforts found an undead creature, capable of magical casting but thankfully not another lich, and an enchanted sword. It was as they left this tomb to resume their search that they were greeted by the woman they'd been sent to find. Bodhi, as she introduced herself, painted the group a picture that none found appealing: a war against the Thieve's Guild, and their assistance in slaughtering, in exchange for the means to find Irenicus. Even had her offer been more to their tastes, Innes was not listening. Fixed first by a sudden fear and then a strange trance, the elf seemed under some kind of spell as he began to agree to the woman's dark terms, apparently unable to resist or to control his own words. A sharp slap around the face from Dyrellei brought him to his senses, as the rest of the group lunged forwards to attack, but Bodhi was gone before a single blade or spell could reach her, melted away into shadow and mist. Innes was still gripped by panic at the encounter, and could not be soothed by words alone. With the aid of a Remove Fear spell from Marik, the group was able to finally talk to him and try to piece together what had just happened.

    Innes revealed to his companions that he recognised Bodhi from Irenicus' dungeon; that she had tormented him there, took over his mind and made him do things he refuse to talk about in further detail. He warned the group of her power, which they'd seen a taste of for themselves. Hark didn't seem to think Bodhi's hold over him had been magical, and the nature of her control was both a mystery and a cause for concern, since it seemed they'd inevitable made an enemy of her and her guild. In light of this, it seemed wise to hurry back to Gaelan and cement their alliance with the Shadow Thieves: an enemy of an enemy may as well be a friend, after all.

    The party paid Gaelan's price and agreed to meet with the Shadowmaster to discuss the next steps, but it seemed news travelled fast. As they left his small abode they were set upon by charmed thieves, no doubt sent by Bodhi's rival guild. The fight was a brief one, but there was no telling whether the next threat would be dealt with so easily. In view of the many, many people seeking Innes out, or perhaps just to lighten the mood, Hark (despite previous warnings from the Cowled Wizards to stop casting in the city without a license) decided now would be an excellent time to practice his latest party trick, and turned Innes into a beautiful elven woman.

    To say Innes reacted badly to the sudden change would be an understatement. There was a moment of confusion while he processed what had just happened, but once the penny dropped he charged at Hark in a blind fury, pressing his dagger against the mage's throat as he demanded to be changed back. The uncharacteristic anger startled the group at first, but it soon became apparent that his reaction was linked to previous experiences, as he vehemently insisted he would be Hark's 'experiment'. Somewhat flustered, the mage had to tell Innes that he would be unable to cast the spell again today. While Dy attempted to calm Innes down, Marik seemed remarkably eager to see Innes dish out justice for both their genders. Eventually, however, Innes relented, and the group promptly made their way to an inn so that Hark could replenish his spells and undo Innes' condition.

    As they walked, Marik, apparently now curious following Innes' outburst, cast a spell of Know Alignment on the young elf...and seemed satisfied with the results. No one else had seen reason to suspect otherwise. Although misguided at times, and increasing prone to temper, Innes had always seemed to want to do the 'right thing', even if it wasn't always clear what that was. As the group rested at the inn, a suspicious offer from a Lord Jierdan Firkraag promised them 10000 gold for some simple monster hunting. It seemed too good to be true, but the group would consider such things in the morning.

    Dawn brought back Hark's spells, and he hastily returned Innes to his previous form. With all (except Marik) restored and content, the group prepared to entrench themselves in the inevitable Guild war.

    JuliusBorisovVorsches
  • StinkyStinky Member Posts: 39
    edited November 2014
    Another short story. Sorry in advance for the length!

    After the D'Arnise stronghold events, Innes vanishes whilst the group are working out what to do regarding Nalia and the Keep.

    ---

    Innes was hot with frustration. He had no intention of lingering in the place of another deadly failure. All he wanted was to help people – to save people that needed it – but this time, yet again, he had failed and someone innocent had died. Someone that was not just important to their family and loved ones as the lost girl Clara probably was, but to the continued prosperity of the entire region. There were no apologies sufficient and no making amends. Not this time. Not any time.

    He was vaguely aware of the day's ending and the changing textures beneath his boots as he stomped away lost in his thoughts. First there was the cobblestone of the courtyard, then the solid earth and gravel of the roads, then grass, lots of grass, then something softer which prompted him to finally stop and take stock of where he'd found himself.

    He was by a stream underneath a dense canopy of trees. Spongy moss covered the ground and as his eyes struggled in the dimming light to follow it's climb up a nearby tree trunk, the squirrel that had been cautiously watching him darted for hidden shelter from the gaze of this unexpected interloper. The place was pristine – untouched and untraveled - the way it should be, Innes thought. The stream had little water in it but the banks were steep and the protruding roots would make for a dangerous descent in the dark. Innes turned to find his way back to the group when suddenly a low throaty growl and the rustling of bushes spun him again to face the opposite bank of the stream. The panther sank back on it's haunches and bared it's teeth, preparing to leap and strike, rip and tear. A beautiful beast, the perfect predator, looking hungry and longing for something more. Innes ran, screaming incoherently, straight at the beast, skidding to a stop perilously close to the edge. The serenity was smashed then as the birds took wing screeching away into the skies, shaking brown leaves loose from the trees that fell slowly through this stand off between monsters. A few moments of quivering muscles, of back and forth posturing and feints, and then the panther broke off at a sprint alongside the opposite bank. Innes, on his side of the bank, followed at an equal speed tearing up chunks of moss with each step and leaving mud and ruin in his wake. He lost sight of the panther as it darted inland ahead of him. He skipped up on to the trunk of a thick fallen tree and finally crossed to the other side, losing no speed as he burst through the course undergrowth, ignoring the snagging thorns on his clothes and cutting his skin, stinging. He had a moment then to register the glow of the campfire illuminating the clearing ahead, illuminating his foolishness and returning to him his senses, just in time for the deafening thud of wood striking his skull.

    ---

    Innes woke, head throbbing, on a large fur blanket inside a small tent. He groaned as he sat up and his hand instinctively went to his belt in search of one of his daggers. No daggers. No belt. His armor was gone too and his trousers did nothing to change how naked he felt without it. With his head still buzzing from the blow and with nothing else to do, he stepped out through the tent flap back into the chilly night and the light of the fire.

    A woman sat on a log next to the fire tending a small kettle. Innes approached cautiously and sat on the floor on the opposite side. He noticed his gear stashed against a tree stump between them, seemingly untampered with.
    "You came around pretty fast" she said. "I hit you pretty hard, figured you'd be out for a while yet."
    Innes sat in uneasy silence, watching his assailant carefully measuring tea leaves and lowering them gently into the near-boiling water of the kettle as she took it off the heat.
    "Give me just a minute here and I'll pour you a cup."
    She was human, looked to be in her mid thirties. She was slim but strong looking and obviously comfortable in the wilderness. There were seven long feathers tucked into her long dark hair and held in place with a leather headband. Innes thought she had a kind face. And a good swing. She thrust a full cup at him.
    "Here. Your head'll feel better with some tea in it."
    "Thank you... Aren't you going to drink too?" asked Innes as innocently as he could.
    "That's my only cup." She said, smiling dismissively.
    Innes politely took a sip. "Mm, this is good. Thank you."
    "You're very welcome. Now then... Would you care to explain why such a nice looking young man is running screaming through the forest? I thought I was in real trouble!"
    Innes spent a good while looking at his feet and finishing his tea before beginning to explain about the beast and the chase. It didn't take him long, but he found himself talking on about the events at the keep and then Clara and his failure and frustration, then quite unexpectedly Baldur's Gate, Candlekeep, Sarevok and Gorion, his friends and his enemies. It all poured out of him in a flood of broken sentences and misplaced words describing abstract feelings. The only things he'd withheld was his heritage and the details of his recent capture. When he'd finished and his gaze finally rose to meet hers again he saw that she was staring into his eyes and listening intently. She must have realised she was staring and relaxed back into her seat.

    Several more moments of silence passed and Innes was beginning to feel awkward.
    "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have-"
    "Someone once told me that everyone has their own mountain to climb." the Lady said matter-of-factually.
    "Wha-?"
    "I think you've got the makings of a good climber."
    She took her cup back from Innes and poured herself a cup of tea.
    "There's a secret power in you. In all of us – every living thing. We can do anything we want to. The secret is you just have to keep taking each step on your journey up focusing on each, one at a time." She paused for a sip and gave a comforting motherly smile. "Keep turning up. Keep working hard. Never stop trying. You might fall down along the way, but if you pick yourself up and carry on you'll be at the top before you know it."
    "They're dead because of me." Innes said.
    "And how many are still alive because of you? Pick yourself up, kid. And keep climbing."

    They sat and talked for a couple of hours - about everything and about nothing - and when the fire finally began to die and the darkness and cold felt closer, the Lady excused herself to her tent for some sleep. Innes sat a while in the gloom, poking the embers with the stick he'd been hit with, then gathered his things and began to head back to the keep.

    The panther followed. Watching.

    JuliusBorisovVorschesTetraploid
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    Chapter Eight: The Coronet and its Crimes

    ------------------------------------

    As the group relaxed in the Copper Coronet, making use of one of the rare moments when no one was trying to kill anyone else, Lomin decided to investigate what lay in the rooms beyond the main drinking hall. Heading into the hidden back chambers, along with Marik and Hark, they stumbled across what was apparently a little side business the innkeeper had neglected to advertise: Pitfighting, between salves and wild beasts, for the entertainment of those who could afford to gamble and gawk at untrained men being ripped apart by savage predators. As Dyrellei and Innes caught the party up, it was promptly agreed that they would put an end to such things. Entry into the furthest rooms where slaves were penned was, of course, forbidden...but it would take more than a handful of guards to deter the group, and they cut their way through to find the beastmaster and his pets. Compared to the monsters they had fought and killed before, simple bears and panthers were no threat to them, and their keeper was granted no mercy for his role in the tavern's sinister shenanigans.

    As they freed the slaves, allowing them their well deserved vengeance, a gladiator named Hendak asked that they go one step further, hunting down the slavers responsible. Apparently, they could be found within the slums, perhaps through a passage leading from this very inn. Of course, the party agreed, and located a likely looking corridor soon enough...although it seemed their route would lead them through the sewers. Venturing into the bowels of the slum district, the group continued onwards, hoping they would be assaulted by nothing worse than the pervasive stench.

    JuliusBorisovVorsches
  • HarkonenHarkonen Member Posts: 7
    edited November 2014
    Well well well! It has been quite some time since I've been able to safely catalogue my thoughts hasn't it? Hm, where to begin...Well, to start,the experiment was a success. Using the scroll of Nahal's reckless dweomer, I was able to trigger a surge within my magic, and permanently change it. It feels...alive. The words of spells are constantly shifting in my mind, and when I begin to cast, it almost feels as if I am fighting the spell for dominance! Truly an invigorating experience. Unfortunately, this has restricted me from some of the more complicated and powerful spells for the moment, but I am slowly learning, or rather, relearning, how to make the magic flow as it should. There seems to be no discernable pattern yet as to when a spell will surge, I shall just have to be vigilant and prepare to fight for every spell cast.

    In other news, I have managed to be recruited into a small company of adventurers, lead by a rather...well, naive elf. He is a child of Bhaal, a letter from his foster father claiming as such, and the rather...unusual events around him proving it. Death seems to follow him wherever he goes, despite his efforts to do good. Oh yes, he does try so hard to fight his nature, warms the heart really...But I digress. I have been taking the time to examine his soul when I have a spare moment- discretely, of course, people tend to overreact over such things. Really, as if I'd risk tampering with the results of my observations by changing anything in there, the nerve...But anyway, yes. His soul.

    I don't know how he walks around without simply killing anyone who annoys him, the bloodlust from his divine essence is overwhelming. And it is slowly getting stronger. I wonder, is it because he's being exposed to more bloodshed, or because he recently killed his Brother Sarevok? I was not there to witness the actual killing-well...I was there...and over there...and some over there too. Shortly into the fight, one of my spells surged rather dramatically, and the pit fiend that appeared ripped me apart. I am told that it was moderately useful in the ensuing brawl, but the rest of the party seems...unwilling, to provide details. Must have been a rough fight. Despite our brief acquaintance, Innes insisted on having me raised, quite considerate of him really.

    Not much longer afterwards we were captured by this Irenicus fellow, and showed quite an unhealthy interest in Innes' abilities. Most of what observed, and what Innes has shared with us, seems little more than simple torture...Bah, innefficient methods like that always annoy me. From what I can see, he has managed to severely damage the balance in Innes' soul, whether this was his purpose, I can't say. After our escape, we've done a few odd jobs, we've picked up a few odd jobs, typical adventuring fare: Get tricked into unsealing an ancient evil? Check. Kill ancient evil? Check. Break the siege on a castle? Check. Fail to do so quickly enough to save the lord? Check. Innes blames both us and himself for these failures, really, the kid acts like he can save the world, and that its his responsibility to do so. More noble aspirations from the child of Murder. But I don't hold it against him, he's had a rough time.

    But on to more lighthearted news...My spell of gender-reversal does indeed work on both elves and half-elves, I am happy to report. I always find it funny when they don't immediately recognize they have a new form. Personally I'd like to take it as a compliment of my skills, so elegantly do I reshape their bodies, they don't even notice... But no, its just a quirk of the spell. When I cast it on Innes in full view of him, he was still confused until Dy started laughing. And then of course he assaulted me...foolish of me, to try to lighten the mood when my target is still trying to find a little balance in his mind. Marik actually tested to see whether Innes was still of good alignment. Feh! Its all about intent, and Innes has shown his intentions time and time again. Though...our meeting with this...Bodhi, disturbs me. She clearly has some power over Innes' mind, and I do not dare meddle with it, lest I damage him or myself in the process.

    Hm, a rather eventful little update isn't it? And yet, somehow I feel as though we've only just begun...Hm, this feels a bit like a bad end to these notes. Perhaps I should summarize my thoughts on the party, see what changes I can observe.

    Innes: Bhaalspawn, rather strong-willed, noble, recently broken in mind and body. Scared. Unsure. Wary of both new and old allies. Has frequent nightmares, of what, I do not pry. Does not trust me (my fault).

    Dyrellei: Party wealth collector. Quite a firm, practical leader. Tries to be no-nonsense, but I've seen her smile at some of my antics. Hates Marik. Generally distrustful, though really, it would be foolish not to be, in her situation. Very loyal to Innes. Wary of me, but respectful of my skill. Mostly.

    Lomin: Combat specialist, favored enemy mages. Seemingly fearless, and very skilled. Has gone toe to toe with a lich and come out victorious. Filled with anger. Of evil alignment. Does not take kindly to people questioning his morals, even if the question is relatively non-threatening. Stubborn. Bloodthirsty. Driven by revenge, reasons and target unknown, but suspected mages. I've taken to calling him "Lord Salix" after the party managed to convince him to help out that noble lass. He still seems wary of me, but is slightly more...relaxed, after our shared brush with death.

    Marik: Party doctor and arcane dilletante. Seems confused and tired most of the time. Suspect lingering magical side-effects, cause unknown. Frequently trips traps. Reckless with harmful spells. Inneffectual. Arrogant. Puts up a front of false bravado. Constantly at odds with Dy. Seems to consider me his rival, a sentiment I don't share. Has potential, has been showing himself to be more useful lately. Slowly. Whether he manages to put himself together before one of the party gets fed up and takes him apart is uncertain.

    StinkyVorschesTetraploidJuliusBorisov
  • HarkonenHarkonen Member Posts: 7
    edited November 2014
    Hark! The herald angels sing! (Written on a lark, by this Hark. May or may not be canon.)

    What, you want to go bringing up ancient history? Sure sure...I'll tell you all about it. Bit of a long story though...It all started when I was hm...30 maybe 40 years old? I'd been studying magic for quite a while, built up quite a reputation, and had been getting offers from various clients to research this or that...One offer in particular caught my eye though. It was from a high ranking priest of Lathander located in one of the larger nearby cities. The job was research into the creation of a new spell, and the initial payment was staggering. However, I was required to meet him in person to discuss the details. I was skeptical of course, but he was a well-known and respected figure there, had been a member of the church longer than I had been alive. I agreed to meet him.

    White hair, tired smile, wrinkles, laugh lines, slightly hunched back. He looked like the very picture of the kind grandfatherly type. He also had a very strong aura, but I just put it down to him being a powerful cleric. And he was. He was also a dragon. A red, to be specific. Man, it never gets old to see the look on people's face when I say that! Yes, a red dragon working for the church of Lathander. Originally, he had killed the priest and taken his place as a test of his ability. He would over the years corrupt the order, and sell off the poor souls he could get his claws on into slavery. That was the plan anyway. But it backfired. He developed compassion. He started believing what he preached everyday, seeing the light he could bring into the world. Of course, unlike you or I, alignment is not a choice when it comes to beings like dragons. They are set in stone from the moment they are born, till the day they die. This dragon didn't accept that, and fought his nature. And he wanted my help.

    He had a fascination with a helm of reverse alignment that he found one day. Such items don't work on dragons but...other magic does, other mental magic even. So perhaps it was as simple as nobody bothering to craft such an item for a dragon, or never researching the changes needed to the spell to achieve such a task? He agreed to supply me with materials, gold as well as related magical items, and the only time limit he gave me was my death. That...line worried me at the time. I realized that he could, and would, kill me if I refused. Probably before I even left the room. So...that made my decision pretty easy, all things considered. I began research into a spell to fundamentally alter any being's alignment that very day.

    Months passed, then years, research progressed slowly, but surely. The dragon provided test subjects, criminals, captured monsters, even a couple yuan-ti that, officially, I would be 'reforming.' Or kill trying. At first I thought he was simply grabbing anyone he could, but no. I remember noting that I seemed to be missing a few of them one day, and upped security, thinking that they must have escaped. The next day, one of the guards witnessed a group of them cannibalize another one. After that day, I stopped having pity for any of them. I poured myself into my research.

    At the decade mark, the dragon arranged a meeting with me, sending a single, rune-etched cube as my means of transport. I had a minor panic attack at that. But I reined in my fear, telling myself that if he wanted to kill me, I'd probably already be dead. The cube transported me to a cave, where I finally saw his true form. He was...young. Maybe 150 years old, at max. I was...surprised at first, but...it made sense. Of course it would only be an impressionable young dragon who would have come up with such a plan of action. He wasn't the only one there either. A dozen other dragons, of varying size, also chromatic in nature, filled the cave. They each had their own story of redemption, and of constant struggle with their nature. It was rather...astounding really. Inspiring even. At the time anyway. In any case, I gave them my report of my progress, I had managed to reverse-engineer a spell that would temporarily change the alignment of most species. Most of the time. There were...mixed reactions to this. Enough were positive, however, and I was allowed to leave alive and continue my research.

    It occured to me later that perhaps not all of the dragons I met in that cave were as...sincere, in their efforts to reform. Perhaps it was the death threats from the green one, 'urging' me to hurry up. Or the blue one who kept trying to leak spies into my tower. Or the red one, the original one, who recently had an incident concerning an altar boy covered up. But at the time I didn't think there was anything I could do. So I kept working. Foolishly. In the wrong direction!

    Yes, I say in the wrong direction. Compared to my knowledge of spellcrafting now, the me then was a complete and utter fool. Yes, reverse engineer the spell from the helm, fantastic idea! Just keep experimenting, you'll eventually blindly walk into what you're doing wrong, no matter how many test subjects you have to go through! In the end, it was a simple argument with one of my assistants that triggered it. No, I can't tell you what was said, because that would give you a clue on how to create it...What? No, let me finish the story, the why will make sense later.

    Not a day later, I tested the completed spell on myself. Made a vow to return myself to normal by the end of the next day, and made myself lawful neutral. It was...an odd experience, in that it felt completely natural to act this way. I spent half the day reorganizing my research, the now useless research. The other half I spent reading up on laws and customs of a foreign culture. I almost didn't turn myself back the next day. But I made a vow, and my nature, my new nature, insisted that I do so. While at the same time it insisted that I don't make myself chaotic again. There was a bit of a pause as my mind seemed to digest that complication, and then I was able to cast the spell.

    I felt more than a little paranoid during that month. They had to know I had succedded, right? I pretended to continue my research, but I started to formulate a plan. I didn't know whether they did know or not, but they would figure out eventually, and either force me to show them, or steal the spell. And then probably kill me, and do whatever they wished with the spell after. So I took the initiative. I set up a meeting with them, to demonstrate a very important breakthrough, as I told them.

    Once I had them all in the same room...I didn't try to enchant them, I didn't try to trap them or kill them. I didn't try to negotiate. I didn't try to stall for time or ask them any questions. I simply silently casted the spell...and watched the effects. Honestly at the time I was very worried for the first couple minutes. It didn't seem to have done anything. Except then one of them broke down and started crying about how he bribed some adventurers to loot the lair of another while the meeting was taking place. And then the victim APOLOGIZED for having driven the first one to such drastic measures. And none of them pretended that this was out of the ordinary! They didn't even seem to realize the change! None of them had even resisted it, which was a problem I had considered when I came up with this skeleton of a plan. I would later learn that this was because the spell can't be resisted in any way, because its not technically even-Erm...Right, can't tell you that either.

    (Lets just remove that ending...that one was kind of silly. Continued in the next post instead!)

    Post edited by Harkonen on
    VorschesStinkyJuliusBorisov
  • HarkonenHarkonen Member Posts: 7
    edited November 2014
    (More wall of text!)

    Once I had made sure that the change had indeed taken hold of all of them, I attracted the attention of the red one to get a private conversation. He seemed shocked once I told him that the completed spell was a success. After a bit of a debate, we agreed that we shouldn't tell the others, and just observe how stable this transformation was. I left the cave greatly relieved, and pondered what I would do next. There was so much potential with this spell...

    After a month, with no sign that any of the dragons were returning to their previous vices, the red one wanted another meeting with me. It stated that because of the incredible effectiveness of the spell, he was willing to part with a very sacred draconic ritual as payment. I was intrigued, and agreed to meet him again. When I arrived, along with the young red I was expecting, was an ancient gold. I was...stunned. They explained that Bahamut himself was pleased at my progress in shifting the balance of power in his favor, and was offering what no man had ever been offered before. This ritual, if I agreed to it, would forever change me, body and soul, into something approaching a true dragon. Enhanced senses, improved control over magic... and the longevity of a dragon. It was tempting. I was old. My body was starting to rebel against me. Even with the longer lifespan granted those who study magic, I'd be lucky if I lasted a single century. To be able to live several? It was too good to be true. I accepted.

    I don't remember much of the ritual, as I was sedated for most of it, to prevent my magic from causing complications during the process, but I do remember that it included blood from both the red and the gold. When it was finished...I felt better than I had in my entire existence, though I didn't look much different. There are really no words to describe the...awareness I had, of my entire being. My flesh was strong, magic hummed in my veins, I felt...unstoppable. That is, of course, when the gold swallowed me whole. Yep. I struggled for a few seconds, until I felt rather than heard a crack, and that was the end for me. When I finally became aware of my surroundings again I found myself in front of Bahamut and Tiamat both. Artists' depictions of them really do no justice, mesmerizing really, as beautiful as they are powerful. But I digress.

    They weren't too happy about what had happened, oh no...not at all. When Tiamat found out, she was furious, and assumed Bahamut was behind such a ploy. She didn't confront him directly however, instead scrambling to find out how such a thing was possible. Bahamut didn't realize what had happened at first, and once he did he was...puzzled. Was this some sort of ploy by Tiamat? ...To what possible end? Once Tiamat started trying to eliminate the alignment 'traitors' however, it forced a confrontation between the two. Not on the physical plane of course! Hell no...no, they both spoke through their respective avatars, and after the initial accusations were thrown out, they agreed to a temporary truce while this issue was resolved. Bahamut questioned his new...children? Look, I'm not really familiar with what he refers to them as. But, well, they found out about me, and the spell.

    At first they were just going to destroy my lab, and everyone involved, no survivors, no problem right? But after some though they decided it was too risky to allow any knowledge of the spell to escape their reach into the afterlife. If they just killed us, we'd be able to tell anyone. Well, anyone who could talk to the dead...or travel the planes...or even the god of whatever afterlife we ended up in could get the information out of us. If knowledge like that got into the wrong hands...or any hands, really...the possibilities terrified the two. They knew they had to act quickly, however, the longer it took to cover this up, the more people might be exposed to this. There were...complications, as both sides took steps to make sure the other one didn't get it. During this time they learned that apparently I was the only one to know the specifics of the spell. That simplified it quite a bit for them...they could kill the rest, so long as the one who had all the peices was well and truly silenced. For that...they needed dominion over my soul.

    I used to be a worshipper of Pelor, you know? Not all that devout really, it was just what my parents had been, and their parents before them...I just felt obligated to be the same really. Not that I didn't have any faith, I'd just...never really think about it. Normally, where I went when would be pretty standard for a human. The ritual, however, changed that. Body and SOUL, remember? The soul was what was important for them, the body, merely a side-effect. Now, I've learned since then, and this ritual, while rare, has a couple precedents. Normally its just done with either the blood of a chromatic or metallic dragon. This attunes the recipient to one side or the other. Those two couldn't let that happen though. If one side or the other had total control over me, they could order me to give them the spell. So they agreed to share ownership of my soul. Did I mention one of the stipulations of the ritual was selling my soul? No? Well that was in fact part of it.

    In any case, once they explained how much shit I was in, they left me in purgatory to rot. No judging of my soul needed, just set me there and there's nothing I can do to escape or affect the world around me. I'm not entirely sure how long I just...floated there. In that endless void.I think I may have went mad for a bit. But even that takes effort, so I eventually just stopped...doing anything at all. Even thinking was too much. I just...existed. It came as quite a shock, being reborn. From nothing, to pain, bright lights and this...horrible smell. I was in shock for a while, just...living as a baby. As a toddler I remember a priest stating I was touched in the head from something or other. Just as I was starting to get the hang of...being, again...well, I died. The house started burning down while I was sleeping, by the time I woke up it was too late to get out...I suffocated. Back to the void I went. But I wasn't alone anymore. Bahamut and Tiamat were back.

    I got the feeling that they were behind my recent death, though I was never able to confirm that. They didn't give me any details then, but they tried to get me to agree to a deal. I refused before they even finished explaining it. Something about wiping my memory. No chance. I knew that was the only advantage I had. So they left me again. More time passed in that void. It wasn't so bad though, I had seen sunlight again...and now I knew there was a chance I would do so again. My next rebirth came faster, though its hard to judge time in that place. Unsure of how much time I would have, I tried to pay attention to everything I could, and communicate as soon as possible, to try and get more information. I felt this burning need to know how much time had passed. I didn't last a month. This time, as I watched the dragon's fire consume my home, I knew they were to blame. They offered again, and I refused, again. More time, more void, more rebirths. More deaths. More offers. More refusals. It continued.

    The time spent in the void became less and less, till it felt like I'd barely entered it before I'd be jerked back into the world of the living again. I could see them getting more worried as their offers continued. Maybe they were always that worried, and it just took me that long to realize. Dragons have the best poker faces. Eventually, they broke down, and actually negotiated with me. Their primary concern was the spell, of course, but there were other...stipulations, that I wouldn't understand the meaning of until much, much later. Parts of the deal restrict me from speaking about certain aspects of it, my guess is they wanted to reduce the chances of my bending the rules using a third party. I can't teach anyone the spell, or even give hints that might lead to someone figuring it out themselves... and I can never cast it again. I can also never allow myself to be involved in any research concerning alignment, or cast any spells from that area of magic. I am never allowed to practice divine (though with what happened later, that really wasn't much of a concern anyway) or druidic magic.

    What I got in exchange, first and foremost, was knowledge. Why was I being reborn? Purgatory has a fail-safe for when souls aren't judged. If it takes too long, it simply declares the person 'undecided' and reincarnates them. The next time they die, the time limit is shorter...and so on, and so forth. They hadn't realized what was happening at first, so they just kept killing me whenever I popped up. They owned my soul so they'd know right away once I'd left the void, and it was easy for them to make a way to track me. They thought they could just keep doing that forever, really, they only had to kill me every hundred or so years. And then they had a rather nasty shock when I arrived 50 years early. And then there was only a single year between my death and my reincarnation after that. They started trying to figure out why at that point. And then it was down to a week. Apparently weekly child murder was a bit much for them, so they began negotiations. I'm not even sure they can judge my soul at this point. I've spent far too much time in that place, much, much longer than I've ever been alive.

    How old am I? That's tricky. I know I've lived maybe...oh, 200 years? Maybe a bit more. Pretty short huh, I wouldn't even qualify as old for an elf. But how long have I existed? Thousands of years. I really wouldn't call that living. Oh, don't worry about me. I mean, I have all the time in the world ahead of me, right? ...Is Hark my original name? Yup! That's actually part of the deal, I can only refer to myself as Hark...er, pretty sure its so the other gods can keep track of me easier...They actually made a chant about that at some point after I pissed them off one time...How did that go...

    "Hark, the herald angels sing! Beware the one who has earned the ire of the gods, for he shall bring suffering to all! No temple grounds can he enter, and no light of ours shall mend him!" Something like that...I do remember having to go without clerical healing for years on end...that was such a pain. Literally! I had this one rash on my...er...oh look! My cup is empty, I should go fix that!

    (Now that's more like it.)

    Post edited by Harkonen on
    VorschesTetraploidJuliusBorisovplesples4cql
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    Chapter Nine: Sewers, Slavers and Spells

    ----------------------------------

    While the Coronet had its fair share of moral filth, the tunnels beneath it were dirtier still, in a more literal sense. Faced with twisting passages and no kind of map, some kind of scouting was required...but fortunately for Dy, Marik had a cleaner alternative to letting her creep through sewage for the good of the party. A Wizard's Eye spell gave the party fair warning of the (numerous and various) monsters around them, and, with prior knowledge of what they faced, the party set about ridding the tunnels of some of its inhabitants...even those they could have otherwise avoided, and those who seemed to have no quarrel with them, such as the small troop of kobolds down a side passage. Facing hobgoblins, slimes, and even a room of spore-splurting mushrooms, the group pressed on into the ever deepening darkness and worsening stench.

    Although no one expected the sewers to be fragrant, there was a distracting quality to the reek around them, that repeatedly drew Innes' attention despite Dyrellei's fervent insistence that they keep moving. It seemed to the Bhaalspawn that there was a morbid, deathly quality to the smell, but while Dy could detect it too, she saw nothing unusual about the smell of death beneath an arena using for pit fighting. Bodies were probably a regular occurrence here, after all...and there were living people to rescue.

    A flight of steps looked promising - if only for a breath of fresh air - and sure enough the party found themselves surrounded by a group of men who made no attempt to hide their identity or their business. With no need for uncertainty, the group let loose with sword and spell...but perhaps too enthusiastically. Hark's Cloudkill dealt admirably with a cluster of slavers, but his lack of regard for companions who resorted to close combat meant that Lomin and Dyrellei were simultaneously slain. Likely fearing retribution from either the wizard-hating fighter or the hot-tempered thief, the mage was quick to attempt a resurrection in the only way available to an arcane caster: through the summoning of a djinni to carry out his wishes. Djinni being tricky with their words and their meanings, however, he was unable to convince the summoned being to help his in the desired way...until a wild surge dragged the laughing creature straight back to the material plane only seconds after it left. This time, the disgruntled djinni raised the two fallen members of the group, much to Innes' admiration.

    Alive but somewhat battered, the group's trials were not yet over: the kidnapped children were being guarded by trolls as well as more guards. If there was one thing the party could do by now, though, it was deal with trolls. Dispatching the guards, both human and bestial, they freed the children and, despite Marik's objections, gave them a sum of money to help them find their feet in their new lives.

    Back in the Copper Coronet, Hendak was pleased to learn of their success, and for the first time in a while the group finally managed to relax a short while. As apology for his earlier errors, Hark bought Dyrellei a drink, while Innes, even in the lack of his normal drinking partner, had his standard warm milk. With conversation for once not centred around death, the party's discussions turned instead to life, to their pasts and their futures, their guards momentarily lowered in the company of those that, for the most part, they perhaps now thought of as friends.

    StinkyJuliusBorisovVorsches
  • HarkonenHarkonen Member Posts: 7
    edited December 2014
    From the man who brought you such films as "What does this button do?" and "That bear needs a hug" comes the documentary of a certain Bhaalspawn. Join Marik, on his quest for glory, power, and not-death. Watch in awe, as he skillfully disables every trap (with his face), and earns the trust of his teammates (they trust him to cause friendly fire). Cry tears of loss, as Inne's main love interest is taken away before his eyes. Laugh, as Marik displays his knowledge and power. Action! Drama! Comedy! Several critics have already hailed it as "Alright" and "Meh, poor definition". Such praise!
    Don't be the last person on your block to see "Marik: A comic relief's trials!"


    For clarification, Marik recorded this but was too lazy to post it, so I have done so in his stead. Enjoy.
    Highlights!
    5:50 get on with it already!
    25:38 Innes' confession. Also sneaky magic
    50:15 Chat with Aran
    1:07:10 Dy makes a friend
    1:07:50 Marik regains his manhood!
    1:10:26 Marik makes a tactical error
    1:10:50 Marik loses everything
    1:11:20-end Mourning, and Hark breaks reality

    Post edited by Harkonen on
    TetraploidVorschesJuliusBorisovlolien
  • TetraploidTetraploid Member Posts: 252
    Chapter Ten: Tracking Down Thieves

    -------------------------------

    After resting in the Copper Coronet - in separate rooms, despite Innes' suggestions that he share a room with the lovely Marik - the party was once more faced with a decision over where to head next. Lord Jierdan's offer was a tempting one, but having bought their new allies at such high price, Dyrellei was keen to meet the Shadow Thieves. It was agreed that they would do so, however, once again Marik insisted on a shopping spree with their remaining gold, having apparently misplaced the beloved scroll case purchased during their last visit. As the party walked through the slums, Dyrellei, no doubt conscious as always of the party's current state of wealth, made the remark that the fabled 'City of Coin' had, so far, failed to live up to her expectations. This prompted a discussion in which Innes remarked on 'spiritual wealth'...but the thief was unimpressed by such notions, especially coming from someone who had such a dubious spiritual background. Their debate was cut short, however, when Dyrellei was distracted by a matter of far more urgency: Hark had managed to spend every coin the party possessed on a single robe. A remarkably powerful robe, he insisted, belonging to the ancient lich Vecna, but that was hardly enough to placate the party's treasurer. Returning to the store, he emerged moments later with the majority of the gold he had spent...and yet still wearing the robe. Hark refused to reveal how he had managed to restore their funds so quickly, and no one truly believed his claim that he'd simply stolen the gold from a Cowled Wizard, but the gesture was enough to prevent a violent confrontation similar to the last time they'd visited the Adventurer's Mart.

    With the two mages adequately equipped, the party finally made their way to the headquarters of the Shadow Thieves, to meet with the Shadowmaster. The Guild's base was far more impressive than that of the group in Baldur's Gate Dy had been briefly associated with, and far better hidden. Numerous secret doors and winding passages separated them from their contract. Eventually, however, they met the man they sought: Aran Linvail. Again, however, the promise of the help they sought was out of reach, close but dependent on their service in a few 'minor' tasks. With little choice, the group agreed.

    Taking the time to wander the Guild, watching the Thieves at their training and investigating the many corridors, it was noticed that Innes was becoming...overly affectionate towards Marik. Still smitten by the unfortunate cleric's female form, his distraction finally reached a point where Hark reluctantly decided it was for the good of the group to restore his companion's gender to its natural state. To Innes dismay and Marik's delight, he restored the half-elf to his masculine self. Feeling himself once more, Marik wasted no time in enacting his revenge for the lengthy prank...but Hark was the quicker caster, and soon Marik had no form at all, the victim of a hasty Disintegrate. The party agreed they would try to restore him on this occasion...but if he couldn't let his feud rest after being killed once, they would probably leave him be next time.

    VorschesJuliusBorisov
  • MuttleyMuttley Member Posts: 53
    *The Barkeep in the Copper Coronet hands Dy a crumpled letter...*

    Apologies for the lack of correspondence of late. I have been busy throughout the Sword Coast spreading the word to anyone who is sensible enough to listen. I am currently in Neverwinter in the docks district there. There are a small few who are willing to listen thankfully(which is better than the reception I got in Baldur's Gate) I am still unsure if our paths will cross again but who can tell what the Gods have planned...

    Yours faithfully
    Eric

    JuliusBorisovVorsches
  • HarkonenHarkonen Member Posts: 7
    edited January 2015
    "Alas, poor Marika, the world shall never live to see such beauty aga-"
    Dyrellei claps a hand over Innes' mouth, "Innes, please, you're disturbing Lomin."
    "I actually think its kind of amusing-"

    "Shh!" Glare. Lomin just hums to himself and wanders off, while Innes continues to bemoan the loss of his love. Dy pinches her nose and starts muttering to herself. She turns her head and glares at the 2nd most annoying mage in the party, well, the only annoying mage in the party, if this situation continued. Hark was in the midst of negotiating Marik's return from the dead, though from the frequent frowns on his face he wasn't having much luck. Her eye twitched. She could understand his quick response to a threat, but did he really have to reduce Marik to dust? Speaking of which...

    She turns to stare at the pile of dust. 'Dammit Marik' doesn't quite cover it for this level of mistake. She idly wonders what they would have done had Marik successfully murdered Hark. Probably-
    Suddenly there was a bout of maniacal laughter from the djinni, before the flash that signaled its return to its home plane. Dy frowned at the pile of dust still on the floor.

    -----------------------------------------------
    "So you're saying you can't bring him back?" -Dy
    "The djinni refused to have anything to do with it, so I guess we'll just have to find someone else to-"
    "Hark."
    "-I mean its a terrible shame to lose such a talented spellcaster, but I'm we can-"
    "Hark!" Glare.
    Huffs and crosses his arms, "You know I thought you hated him anyway, I don't see why you'd even want him back."
    Blink. "You said you'd try to bring him back, so far, you don't seem to be trying that hard. Besides, I thought you liked having a fellow caster around to torment?"
    "Its a bit less fun when someone tries to murder you for a simple prank..."
    Stare. "You turned him into a woman and made him attractive so that Innes would hit on him."
    "...That was more of an unfortunate side effect," He mumbles. He straightens, "But I've already tried and failed to bring him back, so my part is done!" Crosses his arms again.
    Sigh, turning to walk away, "Well fine then, I suppose if its beyond your abilities we'll just have to accept it..."
    "..."
    "..."
    "...Are you...are you seriously trying to appeal to my pride? You know that's not going to work, right?"
    "..."
    "..."

    ---------------------------------------------------
    "Just so you know, I'm only doing this so Lomin can focus his hatred of mages on someone other than me."
    "I'm sure."
    "Er, why am I here? I thought you just needed a bit of my blood-" -Innes
    "Shut up and stand in the circle," Hark grumbles to himself.
    Innes blinks, and glances at Dy, who just shrugs at him. Innes sighs and walks over to the designated circle, "How long is this going to take?"
    "An hour, if we're lucky."
    "...And if we're unlucky?"
    "Then Lomin gets to practice his favorite hobby on whatever Cowled Wizard comes knocking on our door, now shh! If I mess this part up we'll end up with Marik soup for our efforts."
    Dy and Innes share another pair of glances.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    "Its alive!" -Hark
    "Its not Marika..." Sadly Innes
    "Its naked." Deadpan Dy
    "WHY AM I ON FIRE!?" That would be Marik

    (And that is the story of how Marik came to live once again...Or as much as I feel like writing)

    Ps. Marik is now a fire elemental. NOW THAT I HAVE WRITTEN IT, IT MUST BE CANON.




    Post edited by Harkonen on
    JuliusBorisov
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