Late Night Game Night | Council of Thieves AP 6/6


6-29-14 Mub: You are all asking why I took this particular course of action. I will try to explain myself so that you understand. First know that this has been coming for a long time. Almost since the cook 'joined' our group.

Let's start with that. I don't recall him being asked to join our group. He just showed up with some story that the maggot witch told him to join us and he claimed that he would be of value.

The first opportunity he had to show worth was when we confronted the satyr barbarian. I remember him just looking at the combat with some sort of blank stare. Then, while the outcome was still very unclear, he ran into the chief's tent. At the time I thought it was just cowardice but since then I have decided that there are three possible reasons for his actions. 1. Simple cowardice. 2. To spy on things for the maggot witch. 3. To steal for personal gain.

That brings me to my first real conversation with the maggot. He was all upset and worried about not getting his fair share of any treasure found after hearing Nessa's greed. I assured him that I would personally see to it that he got an equal share while he was with us. He point blank told me at that time that he would trust me. He also asked about the "chain of command", so to speak, in our group. I told him to just do what I told him and things would be fine. He agreed to do that and said that we would work well together.

Next was the siege at the witch's tree. We formulate a plan and once again as soon as combat begins he disappears and hides until it was all over.

Time and again, when he could have shown some value, He noticed him just standing back and watching things rather than helping. Yet he was always there split up treasure or to investigate clues. At this point I thought of him as nothing more than a nuisance to be tolerated until Lord Kollarix grew tired of him.

Then he did what I could not believe. He wrongfully accused me of unprovoked murder and literally had me arrested. It was at this point that I really started to watch our little 'friend'.

He continued to be of no value to our missions but he always had this look of concentration that made me convinced he was really just here to spy on us for his witch boss. I also believe that he was stealing from us whenever he could. I never caught him in the act but I do know that the penniless cook that joined our group has since purchased the Three Goats.

But regardless of whether he is a coward, a spy, a thief, or all three. We do not need him in our company.

My only regret is that I did not kill him. And the only reason I didn't is because I could not keep the rest of you from stopping me.

I never told any of you about my suspicions of him or my plans to dispose of him because I did not want him to discover my plans.

I worry now that the maggot wont do the smart thing and run home to his witch and stay there. I tell you now that I do not, have not, nor ever will trust the filth that comes out of that man's mouth. If he remains in the city then this is not over.

++++

Caltra: "As Caltra departs the party he "salutes" a sign of friendship / camaraderie / support / thankfulness (pick your adjective) to Mike Dowd's and Jennaver's character and walks away.

However, as he departs he looks over his shoulder to look at Mub and says in a voice loud enough for the entire party to hear, "I do not leave of my own free will. I expect an equal share of the treasure."


6-22-14 The sulfurous haze that emanated from the alembic seems to throw a muting layer over the carnage that took place below. Rae of Sarenrae stared down from her perch on the rickety wooden staircase and watched the surreal scene from above.

Immediately below her, great clouds of wasps emitted a somnolent buzz, their murderous instincts gratified by the now venom-filled stirges that littered the floor, twitching and bleeding out. They flew in circles, seeking other recipients for their poisonous glee. They would not have to wait long – to her left ,Rae saw (or more, intuited) the sorcerer Vfogg who, invisible and flying, fought off another group of the enormous mosquito-like birds. His alien voice called sweetly to the wasps and bid them empty their venom bladders once more in his defense.

To her right, the quiet, lethal desert elf Caltra slowly and methodically chopped another stirge into its component parts. Nearby – and with one judicious eye watching the elf's progress – Mub swung his crystalline glaive in great looping arcs, slicing viciously at anything that got near him. Behind him, Samwell sought opportunities to kill. He radiated a sense of feral menace while in werewolf form, his agile paws holding dripping weapons at the ready. But behind him, it's cluster of eyes alight with desire even as it's smoking thorax dripped with scorched spiders the size of dinner trenchers, an immense spider closed on him.

Past them, Rae saw the archer Aerandir climbing slowly out of the fetid moat that surrounded the alembic. He was coughing and spitting, trying to expel the water that had gotten into his mouth and nose. Desperately awaiting him was Marius, whose streetfighting skills were being put to uses only days ago he would never have imagined. He fought desperately against an enormous troll ghoul, another beginning to twitch at his feet, swinging wildly about with his new spiked mace, its head dancing with flames...
 
6-15-14 "No!" shouted Mub as the inner walls began to slip noisily across each other, the stone grinding loudly as each room moved in opposing directions. "Rae!"

The Oracle of Sarenrae met Mub's eyes for a moment, still trying to get past the people between her and the now disappearing doorway. Determination, tinted with fear, sheened her irises. Mub's eyes bounced from hers to those Caltra, who stood in front of her and was blocking her path. Caltra's eyes, like always, were cold and appraising. He seemed devoid of all emotion. The elf had doll's eyes. Shark's eyes.

And then they were gone.

The revolving walls ground to a halt, the air still filled with the echoes of the agony of stone against stone. "Torag's Balls!" yelled Mub at the impassive space where the doorway had been... only to see that another doorway, and a dark passage beyond, had taken it's place. Inky black, the passage emitted a sulphurous reek that reminded Mub of Zartellum's old rooms at the Three Goats, always stinking of some alchemical experiment.

Vermithrel's nose wrinkled in disgust. "This stench is new," he said quietly. "This entire place is redolent of decay and rot, but this is something else."

Vfogg cocked his head, mantis-like, and peered into the darkness. "Should we proceed?" he asked calmly.

"I mislike the idea of descending deeper into the Ghoulmaster's lair without aid of a healer," Mub said. "You saw what happened to Marius - that ethereal creature stole his lifeforce as if it was drinking ale from a mug. Vampires do that as well, and while that was no vampire, we've met them so often lately I am loathe to consider even the safest place entirely free of them."

"Agreed." Vfogg's hands seemed to meander in the sleeves of his robes. "So what do we do?"
 
6-8-14 The eerie silence.

The ghouls, slavering in the dark corners.

The dead-eyed children, flitting this way and that.

The smell of blood. Vast, horrifying amounts of blood.

The sound of massive blocks of stone, spinning on axes like the wrist bones of some immense skeleton, releasing the Ghoulmaster's creatures from the very walls.

Tonight you delve deeper into this pit. And what of the Ghoulmaster himself? Waiting below, with inhuman patience, to turn you into grist for his necomancer's mill?
 
5-11-14 "Ahhhhh my old, cowardly nemesis." The words crawled from the empty air like spiders from a hole. Vfogg hovered in midair, his eyes searching the darkened underground chamber for the voice that whispered those syllables, dripping with malice.

Vfogg looked down at the two dead Hellknights, their lusterless eyes turned to the ceiling like captured terror. The lack of blood gave mute testimony to the manner in which they died. Energy drain, surmised Vfogg. Ilnerik has fed and will be strong.

Vfogg remained silent, waiting for the Shadow Lord to reveal himself. He did not.

"GIVE ME THE MORROWFALL AND YOU LIVE!" It was a command, and carried the weight of the vampire's power along with it, like electricity down a sword. Vfogg began to fly forward, despite himself. He quickly reined backward, steeling his psyche against Ilnerik's strength of will.

Ilnerik spoke once more: "Else I make you my thrall and parade you in front of my slaves," he jibed. "You'll be an entertaining slave. Your tortures will be legion." A pause. "But only if you deny me the Morrowfall; give it to me, and all is forgiven. You and your friends will live. You have my word"

Lies, thought Vfogg. First the sting, then the honey. There's no way he can let us live now. And even as these thoughts passed through Vfogg's mind, he heard the sourceless, whispered sound of Ilnerik chanting. He was reestablishing his connections to the ley-lines, and preparing a spell...
 
4-29-14 "If you are alive, make it known!" Tabita la Tigra de la Diabla gained her feet, one twist of blonde hair detached from the tight wrap of hair at the back of her skull. She cast a repulsed look at Marius, and the half-orc grinned sheepishly. "Milady, my apologies, I'm but a simple extortionist and not used to heroics."

Her disgust turned to a frown. "Here, Lictor!" came a voice from the main floor. A Hellknight, levering himself up on his pike, signaled to Tabita. "Here," said another. "Here."

A door to the left of the now missing gate opened and an armored head emerged. "Lictor, are you all right? The explosion knocked us to the ground but we are uninjured - we can yet fight." Another head, this one bare and stern-faced, joined the first.

"Odisil, Tirped, Yargath," Tabita said, her air of command returning instantly. "Gather what Knights are elsewhere in the House." She hefted her halberd and gestured with it. "Hesdale, Banlum: quickly as you can, fetch the sorcerers and bring them into the House - we need to those anti-magic shells and we can't afford to lose them. Go!"

The two men nodded to her, drew their swords and ran out the smoldering portal. "Crislos, Fanare: we need to block that door. Find anything you can - tables, chests, whatever we can use to create a bulwark. I want a barrier outside the door, two inside, with as much room as we can spare for enfilade by crossbows. When Odisil returns, use some of the Knights he brings to assist you."

Men continued to enter the room through several doorways. Tabita snarled orders at them as they came in. "Larvan, Stalera, Kelmor: to the armory, now, and bring all the pikes, spears and crossbows as you can."

Hellknights bent to their tasks. Tabita's orders brooked no room for questions or interpretations; the men heard, nodded once, and then hurried away.

The one called Banlum scuttled in, a man in robes bearing the sigil of the Order of the Rack at his back. His sword was out and he looked frightened. "Lictor! The plaza is crawling with the behemoths of shadow! Hesdale fell to one."

Tabita's frown grew more pronounced. "Get more Knights; retrieve any of ours that are left on the plaza. Do not engage the creatures, the priority is to gather ours."

"What if they attack us,Lictor?"

"Then you run, Knight," Tabita said simply. "Defense of the House is more important - and contributory to - your personal honor."

"Understood, Lictor," the knight agreed. "You, come with me!" He grabbed the spaulder of a fellow knight's mail and physically dragged him toward the door, which was now filling with detritus. Piles of wood, furniture, statuary, were being thrown into makeshift barricades. They looked, very small compared to the gaping maw of the blown out doors, and the mordant whispers of the shademassifs converging on Tanarik House.

Her men now instructed, Tabita turned her attention to Vfogg. "So," she began, throwing the haft of her halberd onto her shoulder with practiced ease. "It seems that at least some of what you say is the truth, albeit it is difficult to believe. Had not my own men..."

Tabita broke off, looking at the blasted corpses of the three suicides. Her eyes, upon reaching them, narrowed with surprise. "What is going on?"

All heads turned to the out-of-the-way corner where the traitorous Hellknights had been stacked. Slowly, their bodies became increasingly insubstantial, as if they were dissolving into the evening air. Their scorched and smoking flesh seemed to sublimate, silently evaporating into nothingness. A few seconds passed, and all three were gone.

Samwell stepped over to where the bodies had lain. Nearby was a longsword, the steel warped by the heat of the fireballs and rendered useless. But where the three Council knights had been moved, nothing remained but some stains on the floor, smelling of hot copper, and three small lozenges of grey-green stone, each bearing a single rune, and nestled into a thin leather strap. One of these was still warm to the touch, either from the lingering effects of the fireballs, or from the blackened, smoldering skin on which is had been recently tied.

Sam flung one of the stones to Mub, who caught it deftly in one mailed hand. He examined it, shook his head, and passed it to Vermithrel. "What do you make of it?"

The elven mage squinted down at the stone, turning it over in his long, thin fingers. He mumbled a few short words, closed his eyes briefly, then opened them once more. "I don't know this rune," he said at last. "But this stone nearly sings with spent conjurative magic. Unless I miss my guess, this stone could serve as a single-instance teleport hook, whereby someone remotely could call the bearer to some other place." Vermithrel turned the stone over in his hand. "There would probably need to be a second stone, of similar type and ensorcellment, at the other location, that could serve as a return-node." He noticed Tabita staring at him intently. "I'm speculating, obviously," he continued. "But it does seem likely."

"We can speculate later - right now, we have more pressing problems," Tabita said grimly. "Khollarix: assuming for now that all of what you have told me is true, we find ourselves to be sudden, unlikely allies. So what is it, exactly, that we are facing?" She raised one eyebrow. "And I do mean exactly. What is coming for us, and how can we fight it?"
 
4-3-14 This woman is Tabita la Tigre de la Diabla:

She is a High Paralictor of the Order of the Rack, a Hellknight of prodigious reputation. She has seen war, blood, flame, entrails in the maws of creatures so horrifying that tested soldiers ran screaming from the sight, demons and devils in mass combat, the Nine Hells spilling out of cracks in the Planes, and black lightning from the earth stealing up to leach the souls of men from their bodies. They fell like marionettes with their strings cut.

She has killed dozens - hundreds - of swordsmen who thought her shining hair and lean, spare stature meant she was weak, or slow, or fragile. She has overseen the extraction of a thousand confessions; she has clambered up the ladder of power and authority of the Order with strength, intelligence and political savvy. She has been tempered by battle, duty and shed blood.

"la Tigre" means "the Tigress" in Chelaxian. She was given this nickname by Queen Abrogail herself, hence the linked sobriquet, "de la Diabla" or "of the She Devil." Or to put it more succinctly, Queen Abrogail, the great Asmodean Ruler of all Cheliax, the Devil Queen of the Inland Seas, dubbed Tabita "My Tigress."

This is the woman you face tomorrow night. She is in a fortress surrounded by Hellknights. She knows that you are coming. She knows what you have done, both this afternoon and for the last two years. She knows you.

And she believes that you are coming to murder her.

++++

"On Serenrae's good graces!!!, Rae says upon gazing at the picture of Tabita "It is my eldest sister, lost to me sooo long ago!" With a wink and a nod she tells her party "I got this."


   
3-18-14 There is trouble… and snipers… and something, perhaps, even more frightening. Perhaps something wrapped pretty and nice… but vicious and ugly underneath...

And then there are the Hellknights. Who are (ahem) aware of your having murdered a few of them over the last year and a half or so. Who have tortured and murdered at least one of you (anyone remember Bruton the Half-Orc? Paralictor Chard did). Who have been compromised from within. Who are being hunted by City Watch, ostensibly at the Lord Mayor's behest. You know who else works at the Lord Mayor's behest? *Spock-like eyebrow raise* Your faces and names are well known to the Hellknights. And the person you have to convince: Paralictor Tabita, who's nickname is "the Queen's Tigress."
   

 


built by unclefester | sternzwischen | updated 14-07-04 08:27:09