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Bastarache, Welcome to the Nightmare

Game Master Rysky

I. The Land the Gods Forgot

Map of Bastarache


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The Dwindling Light drifts hazily along the still waters...


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For Yelenn,

Teith. You've spent your whole life here in this town by the river, in the slumbering land of Loth, among the waters and the mists, forever placid against the ever-churning outside studied from within. Your venerable family in particular, stalwart in their duty of harboring those eldritch scripts and profane arts which must be studied but never used, never faltering or stirring in their path that ran calmly planned out from the cradle to the grave just like any river. But even then with generations of staunch vigilantism, things are misplaced. Things are lost. Things are forgotten. Things hide.

This has always been apparent to you with, in addition to your friends and classmates, another companion who has never left your side while also never being beside it. For as long as you could remember you, and you alone, were able to notice them, a small child whom you thought to be a new playmate when you were young like them but never stayed past a single breath, or hid in the corner of your eye as you walked, or watching through the gap in the open door as you drifted off into sleep.

A pale thing, frail thing, dressed in black and wearing a necklace with a heavy key they have always been a paradox to you, your one true constant companion, but never at your side. You talked about them as a child, but you and alone could ever glimpse them. Your elder peers simply played it up to an imaginary friend, and soon enough you realized it was pointless to talk about them, and after that how harmful it would be to continue to talk about them. So you stopped. But you still watched. And the child, never aging, still stayed, if only for a single breath.

And so the years passed, as they are oft to do, slipping past unnoticed along with your childhood as you went though Academy to Academy as you came into a women, at least the years left you with companions that would actually talk to you. The brother and sister, Bran, husky and tawny, and Guin, the red of her hair matching every freckle down to her toes, who you've known almost as long as the pale child.

One late night you noticed the child farther and farther than normal, around the corner at the end of the hall, down the stairs but never at the top. So one other late night you walked her trail, down into the many-roomed cellar where your family stored that which they had been charged with. You knew the rooms and their profane contents well, despite never stepping inside a single one, the locked doors made sure of that. All twelve of them.

Save now there was thirteen.

It looked just like the other doors, and was locked like all the others. With no other sightings of the child you retreated to your room and into your dreams, the child absent from both. When you awoke the next morning and went to check you found twelve doors, and only twelve.

The Tombly siblings had scant memories of the child they couldn't see that you spoke of less and less frequently over the years, but they had retained enough to keep their interest when you brought up the new door that you had been led to. So begin their urging and cajoling that would lead to wonder but most likely trouble as well, "C'mon, Yellow, I'll give you kiss!" said Bran before receiving a playful swat from his sister. "We both know she prefers my rewards, so how about it? she playfully joined in. "That's debatable." Bran quickly mumbled.

Running on curiosity and the prospects of varying rewards of preference you took the siblings down into the cellar at night, wanting to find a door, which you did, but also a very familiar key in the lock, which you did not. Moving over to remove it your touch shifted the key in it's lock, which it fit perfectly, setting the tumblers off to a crisp click.

The Siblings held their breath as you debated in your head turning the key back, or opening it. These doors were not meant to be unlocked, not meant to be opened, and yet here it was, unlocked, a gift from a friend that was never at your side but with you always. So with so many questions, you opened the door.


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Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

Dot.


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Same!


Was working on traits... but they catered food to us...


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For Yelenn,

There was weight to the door, evidenced by the agonized cries it made as it slowly opened from the frame, you doubt you could have pushed it back closed, if you had second thoughts about it opening after so long, maybe for the first time since this room was built.Did you?

Inside revealed nothing but darkness, but within that nothing you saw a beautiful woman, such as yourself, such as your mother, such as your mother's mother. Sadly she stared backed at you, unmoving, unliving, uncaring.A statue.

She didn't judge you for opening the door. The border of which still separated the darkness and light from the connected rooms the two of you occupied. Whereas you had the twins, who had gone deathly silent, or who were chattering about what they were seeing, you couldn't really tell, the lady of stone was all on her lonesome. Save for one.

In the nothing your eyes drifted from the statue's face down to the elegantly curved ebon talon piercing the poor woman's breast. No, wait, the end was wrapped and adorned, a handle and guard. A sword, not a talon. A statue, not a lady. It was at the perfect level for you to grip it too.

So you did. Why would you do that? Years and years of being taught to deny such things, to fight them, to not let your curiosity get the best of your humanity... all for naught? Or were your thoughts even your own?

As your fingers elegantly moved through the thickening darkness instead of meeting firmness and stability you were only met with wetness and pain. Though brave, the ancient cracked leather did not return your attempt at camaraderie as you felt your fingers and palm cut and bled in a rather cruel manner.

Little lines and drops fell upon the statue, masked by the old stains already running down her chest from the blade. Stains from the two different materials in contact for so long, or something else? You were looking at a statue, weren't you?

The question was the last thing going through your mind as the darkness flooded out from the room, finally free.


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For Yelenn,

You hear shouting. That's the first thing you became of aware of. It was hard to hear, muffled, coming from the other side of the water you were so familiar with, perhaps? Incoherent shouting. That turned into angry shouting. That soon turned into worried shouting. Then you became aware of your legs, and how sore they were, how sore all of you was, also wet, standing thigh deep in the marsh. Then you felt, or rather the lack thereof, your hands. Tired, sore, and numb, tightly gripping something each.

You knew one was the sword, you're not sure how you knew, but you knew, without looking, without being completely aware, you knew what you held. In your other hand though, your fingers were tightly interwoven between the black and grungy strands flowering over them while supporting mush that still clung to them. An uprooted plant or some other timelost oddity you had pulled from the bottom of the muck?

No.

Rather than the shouting, what you held is what your freshly woken mind decided to focus on, erred on by the hateful yet dull yellow orbs staring back at you. They weren't gems, this was not some other cursed antiquity you had found in your stupor, no, the green wasn't muck, despite being as pungent, but the unseemly flesh that was all that was left of an accursed crone. The hag's eyes and face were still locked in a look inbetween hate, and, the more you stared at it, fear.

And that's when the shouting stopped, and you heard the splashing.

Although you could keenly make out every part of the sword and could focus on the grizzly trophy you carried, everything else nearby seemed so far away, on the other veil of the water, or a dream for all it mattered. So that's why you barely felt them when the many hands took hold of you. No. Only two. A single pair. Your father's. He wasn't attacking. Why would you think that? You wanted to slice what came nearby. Whatever accosted you. Or had you? Your thoughts were muddled and you couldn't keep track of what he was saying to you, but you could see the relief on his face.

It was a nice thought to hold onto as more hands gripped your arms to pry the items from you. The hag's head was freed and tossed without a care. But the sword? You wouldn't give it up. Had you any strength left, you would have gleefully cut the unruly rabble down.

Wait, no you wouldn't, would you? The thought tinged at your mind as multiple hands gripping your arm and body worked together to steal the sword. Despite your father's pleading you fell back into the darkness shortly after.


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For Yelenn,

You tried to wake up, but you couldn't. Or wouldn't. Were you dreaming, or were you in fact awake? Both, it seemed. You could tell as you went back and forth between exhausted and sleepy, and were able to tell the difference between the two. For the time when you heard talking, and there was no weight in your hands, no life in your grip, you were exhausted, you wanted nothing more than to sleep.

But then like clockwork you felt that familiar, all too familiar, heaviness in your hand when the talking stopped, and you were no longer tired, merely sleepy, so you dreamed. And then you'd awake, your hands empty and cold, and it would repeat, and repeat, and repeat.

As you started to sift through the waking and dreaming lands you started to also sift through the voices doing the talking around you. It wasn't one incomprehensible mass, but multiple distinct voices known to you, although still incomprehensible in your state. You tried to join the conversation, to open your eyes fully. Your whole body felt numb, and sluggish, but perhaps there was some success, as the voices would change when you did so. The voices, the tone, the warmth, the lighting, everything.

Before talking you remember a certain cozy stuffiness, in your room or library, but the pleasant memory was permeated by a rather pungent of something burning and fuming, and glaring. Candles. And by the warmth and the fact that you couldn't make out the smell of moisture from the air or rain there was plenty of them. But after talking that was all left behind, the enclosed warmth and manufactures smells replaced by the warmth of the sun and refreshment of air, the dew and mist still strong, far more pleasing than whatever the candles were made out of.

And then you were awake.

Not enough to talk coherently, but you could listen to the voices clearly, separate and remember what they were saying.

"How many so far?" you heard your father ask, you could pinpoint his voice no matter how tired you were, or drunk, as one of twins birthday's celebrations and a challenge let you found out.

"Twenty. But that's just the ones we've found so far. We're still looking." a dour voice responded.

"Twenty?!" you heard your father let out through worry.

"Miss Merril. And her husband. They just got married, what was his name?" the dour voice added.

"Jakobs and his youngest... the kid wasn't even two..." another dour voice added.

"Old Kiero. She wasn't even near anything big enough to do something like that, she was doing her dishes! A sink!" a female frantically said.

"Marcus was just taking a bath in his tub, his mother said he hadn't even been in there but a few minutes. The water was still warm when we got there."

You heard your father make a sound, trying to interject, but he was cutoff.

"Janna said her sister took that Borris out on the boat for some fun. We've only found the boat."

"No one's seen any of the Kellens either."

"She had the Stumpwitch's head in her hands!"

Again you heard your father try to speak up, but it wasn't a voice that cut him off, but the footsteps preceding it. "We just found another one. It's one of the Tombly kids. They're pulling them out now."

There was silence. Until finally your father spoke.

"Okay." he responds. The word heavier than anything you had ever heard him utter.


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For Yelenn,

They brought you before the magistrates, you could at least make out that much. It was silent save for their voices. That and sniffles, and wailing. You turned and your saw her, mother of the twins, almost a mother to you yourself, but there was no mother there. Just grief. And hate.

Speaking over the audible misery the appointed men and women listed all those that had been found, last name, first name, rigid, unfeeling. Until they got to Tombly and your heard your second mother burst into screams and refusals, covering up the first name the magistrates uttered. Rather than repeat they simply moved on to the next name on the list. Then they brought up information brought to them by a witness, who had told them of the thirteenth room that wasn't there and what was inside.

There had been an investigation. They hadn't found anything. No room. No records, or tales or stories, from anyone in your family or in any old book.

And so, with families torn asunder and the very water of the land turning against them in outrage, they passed judgement on you, you, who opened the door. You, who took hold of the sword. You, who slew the Stumpwitch. You, who opened the door, and invited the calamity in.

Banished, to the one place not even the witches of Hadal gazed upon, far away, from everyone you knew, everyone you loved, never to see them again.

To Bastarache.

Banished, you, and your accursed sword.

There was gasps, a few wails, you heard the tightening as someone gripped the back of the chair in front of them so hard you could heard the stained wood start to strain. And then you heard the scream. And then rage. Swanna, mother to Bran and Guin, and to you you thought, lunged forward with a a simple knife in her hand. There was no mother there, just rage and hate and sorrow.

Luckily, for your definition of lucky, the crowds around her seized her before she could get to you, but even then she managed to pull them a few feet closer to her target as she kept on before her legs gave out and she dropped the knife, breaking down into tears and wailing all the while.

With that the guards quickly harried you into a carriage before anything similar could play out. You could hear arguing, your mother and father with the others, demanding to get to say goodbye to their only child, soon the arguing gave way to grunts and curses and the telltale sounds of shoves and punches.

And then the carriage took off. Trailed by the anguished screams of your parents.


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For Yellen,

After a few days the pleasant scent of the rivers and lakes is replaced by the jarring smell of the sea as the salt and brine infused air and waves assault your nostrils. Coming into the port town of Krowen the carriage with you in it are left inside an otherwise empty storehouse on the docks as a ship is readied to send you on your way, far away from Loth.

Those days were enough, however, for as you were walking up the boarding plank a daring courier ran by and tossed a slightly large backpack up for you catch while deftly dodging the guards. Giving you a wink the short haired lass high tailed it out of there with port guards right behind, spurred on by reflex rather than any official wrongdoing. None of the remaining guards dared to try and take the package from you, for fear of the curse, and your sword.

With that distraction dying down you are hurried inside the ship, and soon you are setting sail for one last stop before your final destination.

For EVERYONE,

And just like that, weeks and months apart similar ships around the world are all sent towards the same destination, whether leaving the western kingdoms of Loth or Esca or coming all the way down from Ekidu, they are all sent to one last place, one last respite before the nightmare.


For atmosphere.


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Female Pitborn Fighter (Two-Handed Mutation Warrior) 2 | Perc +5 | Init +1 | AC 18 (+8 Armor) | HP 26/26 | Fort +5 | Ref +1 | Will +1 | large bastard sword +5 (2d8+6/19-20) | javelins 5/5 +6 (1d6+4) | Gluttony Points: 0

Dotting. Hello, all!


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Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

Hi, resident tortured soul here.


With each ship one by one you arrive at a nameless isle before the nightmare, and nameless it truly is, for you won't find any name or title penned on any map, and for most maps, you won't find the isle at all.

Not even much of an isle itself, but a collection of islands and reefs that have intercepted many unlucky (or very lucky, depending on how you view their purpose) ships that had tried to sail for Bastarache over the centuries, forming a rather dismal ship graveyard. From the corpses of the ships and the shallows and various new supplies brought in from representatives of both the Western Kingdoms and Hadal this unnamed fortress of a waystation was born in order to ensure that the wretched accursed made it to their final destination.

Making use of bridges both high and low connecting the many towers dotting the area rather than walls the isle consists mostly of lanes and docks for ships to drop off their unfortunate passengers, though their are multiple buildings to contain guards and the cursed while they await for one last voyage. While on three sides you have all manner of ships from different navies and nations arriving and departing there is only one ship, dark and ancient, moored on the side of the isle closest to Bastarache.

Coming in to port and being brought above decks you notice that all of the people upon the isle dress in drab robes of greys and whites and other dulled colors with overly long sleeves. As the ships approach they hurry about setting up, seemingly to transition the passengers to the single ship. All save for one, standing up upon a metal bridge overseeing everything is a humanoid shape dressed in pitch black robes with a blank silvery mask covering their face, it's arms hanging limply by it's sides rather than crossed in front or back. In addition to the apparent higher quality of the robes alone you see a crown of silver coral around their shoulders, and an amulet of black and red that glaringly stands out amongst the morose surroundings.

(Reference, just silver instead of gold)

Spoiler:
=Knowledge (Religion) DC 10 on the amulet]You recognize it as a very well made Sacred Symbol of Kelevra, God of Revenge and Protection. To a lesser extent The Lord of the Vengeful Dead is sometimes revered as a deity who oversees and watches over wayward souls even as they wander into their demise, both a wolf and a shepherd's god.

Perception DC 10:
You see that the overseer may not keep their arms idle simply by choice, as shackled to their wrists are metal chains that end in large, and no doubt very heavy, metal weights.

Perception DC 20:
You also see what seems to be lock around their neck.

With mournful looks the sailors on each of your ships soon avert their eyes as the robed workers come aboard to usher you all onto the isle. Aside from them you notice about twenty people altogether embarking from the various ships.

Twenty cursed souls, damned to Bastarache. For something that might not even be their fault.


Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16

“There has been an awful mistake. You don’t understand. This isn’t right. I’ve done nothing wrong.”

These words swelled in the throat of the charming woman in the long flowing dress. However, Seranna sealed her lips tight, trapping them within, until they inevitably suffocated and died. There was nothing she could say to these figures that she had not said before, and surely nothing they had not already heard from the countless souls that had preceded her. Each one thinking they could talk, fight, or bribe their way out of their fate. No, at this point in her venture it was quite clear that she was beyond the point of no return. With that, like any vessel at sea she could only venture bravely forward into the awaiting unknown.

When the robed figures approached her she appeared more concerned with a hole in her dress than with their presence. She let her slim digit slide through the hole, wiggling back and forth as she examined it. The fabric was expensive yet sadly delicate and a loose nail upon the vessel must have snagged it when she was unaware. It was depressing, she was improperly dressed for the fate that awaited her, and while that was by no means a priority, it was just one more thing that weighed heavily upon her soul. When these figures ushered her to move she raised a gloved palm to halt them. She needed no encouragement, she would willingly follow, it was more dignified than being dragged kicking and screaming. With that she joined the group on shore, the best dressed of the forsaken, not that it mattered now. It was when her eyes cut to the figure in the dark robes that she finally spoke, though lowly in a comment meant only for herself, "I suppose we are all prisoners of one design or another."


I f@$!ed up the formatting, the first spoiler is a DC 10 Knowledge Religion check on the Overseer's amulet >_<

The robed guards silently usher you out among the others, it becomes painfully obvious that while they walk aside you they go out of their way to not actaully come into any sort of contact with you, though they do their best to steer you a certain way.


Female Pitborn Fighter (Two-Handed Mutation Warrior) 2 | Perc +5 | Init +1 | AC 18 (+8 Armor) | HP 26/26 | Fort +5 | Ref +1 | Will +1 | large bastard sword +5 (2d8+6/19-20) | javelins 5/5 +6 (1d6+4) | Gluttony Points: 0

She holds the amulet in her hands. It is a simple, wooden thing, scratched and crudely carved. But the simple word imprinted upon the wood is what keeps her going. Remember. "I will," she whispers, as the hold is opened and the guards roughly toss her abovedecks. She doesn't resist.

Her armor, once gleaming, is dull in the sun that she hasn't seen in months. Battered, but not broken. Just like her. Flaming crimson hair, uncut for years, spills from underneath her full helm as she lumbers alongside the overseers, towering above most of them. A simple leather satchel sways at her hip in the sea wind, and the massive bar of iron, sharpened to a cruel edge, upon her back occasionally clangs against her plate.

She does not resist. She knows that this is her fate.


At first giving her a wider berth due to actually being armed the robed guards soon take up aside the warrior woman, the shock of seeing someone with a weapon quickly wearing off. Though Tonya' appearance does draw attention that while the guards below seemingly go unarmed the ones above on the ramparts are armed with bows, arrows knocked.

Aside from the large lady there does not appear to be anymore armed among the cursed presented thus far, not the muscular male only wearing pants, not the woman wearing a robe or dress made of many silken layers, nor the child wearing the heavy coat...


Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
Tall and somewhat imposing, possessed of a dark beauty that is at once enticing and intimidating, the somber woman in dark leathers walks numbly along with the robed workers that board the ship, leading her to the dark ship and her fate. Her dark clothing offset her pale skin, at the same time complementing long raven-black hair that hung loose and disheveled around her shoulders. Eyes downcast she continues forward.

Though silent, the notes it all, the way the robed figures avoid contact, the shackles on the overseer’s hands. Unconscious;y, her left hand twitches slightly, itching for the comforting feel of her tight grip on the archaic black sword at her hip, the source of her torment and yet the only thing she had left.


Looking at the figures who joined her among the crowd some stood out above the others. In particular, the leather clad women nearby. Both standing head and shoulders over her it would have been quite difficult to miss them. Not only were they both armored, but they were both armed as well. She felt more inadequately dressed for the occasion with every passing second. They were ready for battle, while a loose nail had already breeched her defenses. They wielded blades of might and intensity, whilst somewhere within the frills and folds of her dress hid a small folding knife that was her last and only line of defense if she had to provide such a defense herself.

“I don’t suppose either of you have a spare set of armor one could spare for a lady could you?” She said in jest. She knew that was an impossibility, and she doubted they would see the humor in her words, but in these dark times, one must fight the oppression of spirit else it might attempt to dam the waters of will. Her thoughts turned to her significant other as she toyed with the ring on her left hand, hoping that by spurring conversation she might feel somewhat less alone in this mass excommunication.


Just a reminder that anyone can attempt Knowledge checks untrained if they're DC or lower :3

"You'll have supplies on The Dwindling Light waiting for you." a husky yet muffled voice, male, calls down from above to answer Vaelong's question. Multiple robed heads whip around to the source, the Overseer, with one standing near him actually slapping at his back with one of their sleeves. The loud clang that results revealing that there is more than just cloth in the robes.

The Overseer for his part doesn't even look at his attacker, instead he turns and starts to head towards a set of stairs leading down onto the boardwalk, twin loud straining noises cry out behind, trailing him as he does so.

After silence returns the guards resume their talks of herding the cursed towards the ship.


Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

Looking up for the first time at the fiery haired woman's question,, Yelenn's stark, almost crystalline grey eyes study both the speaker and the other, much larger woman she addresses. One definitely nobility. She'd known many like her, barely avoided being one but for a quirky of her character. The other clearly a, warrior. Whatever they'd done to bring them here, their past lives were over. Like hers....no not like hers. They didn't look the kind to leave waves of death in their wake.

"You're better off without armor. You'd only drown faster." she says quietly to the pretty noble.


Female Pitborn Fighter (Two-Handed Mutation Warrior) 2 | Perc +5 | Init +1 | AC 18 (+8 Armor) | HP 26/26 | Fort +5 | Ref +1 | Will +1 | large bastard sword +5 (2d8+6/19-20) | javelins 5/5 +6 (1d6+4) | Gluttony Points: 0

The warrior woman remains stonily silent, looking outward to the sea.


As Yelenn nonchalantly mention drowning a few of the other cursed turn to her, some have horrified faces, others hopeful.


Knowledge: Religion: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17

"You must be great at parties." Seranna muttered softly. The answer she got was a bit too morbid for her liking, however she had a point. At the very least she gave her an answer. The other woman chose for whatever reason to ignore her entirely. The former noble did not take offense however, these were dark times and she was sure the woman had her reasons.

A man from above answered her question though, and at the very least he seemed to find humor in her words. Or at least she imagined that was what inspired the slap on the back to the other robed figure. The customs of this place were strange and new. She nodded politely to make him aware she heard his response and decided that there would be no further questions. Instead she followed in the direction indicated toward what she could only assume would be the Dwindling Light, all the while listening to the hushed whispers of those around her.


Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

Looking up at the golden masked man as he makes his statement, Yelenn's eyebrow arches slightly at the odd reactions of the other robed figures bot at his words, and her own.

"Sorry." she mutters to the redhead.

Little did she know how true those words were. It wasn't safe to be near her and water, and they were damned well surrounded by it.


As the guards usher those below onward the Overseer makes it to their level and begins walking towards the same final dock, multiple guards taking up a flank around him as well as he does so.

While his words earned a rebuke the robed ushers don't admonish or even acknowledge any of the cursed speaking to them or each other, only that they don't dawdle.

Finally getting to the end with an awaiting gangway being moved into place the Overseer keeps walking past the group and the gangway to the end of the pier, to the immediately apparent nervousness and frustration of the guards present.

"Once, you reach the tops of these steps you will be swiftly on your way to Bastarache, the trip should only take a few days, a week at most depending on the weather. I know nothing but sorrow and pity and rage for your doom, a cruel and unnasked for lot in this miserable world. This is beyond cruel, and I am sorry, but there is notthing I can do for any of you. Save for one thing." The man said, the lock around his neck contrasting his amulet now readily apparent to everyone.

All of the guards at once shifted, their focus now solely on the Overseer, the air thick with agitation.

"Any of you who do not wish to go to your doom on that wretched land may step to me, and I will spare you your misery, taking your curses unto myself." he solemnly offered.

The closest guard burst forth, already having poised to do so and lashes out with a sleeve at the Overseer, the tip of the cloth shattering some of the coral ornament and sending a crack through the otherwise perfectly mirrored mask. The Overseer for his part doesn't even recoil, instead he wraps a hand around one of the chains dangling against it and whips it up with a flick of his wrist, one fluid motion and the ball comes up lead along by the chain. Before the guard can react another tug of the Overseer's wrist curves the chain around and slams the ball into his attacker's knee.

Crumpling to the ground the robed man lets out a muffed scream. "My robes hit harder," he says to the downed man before another robed guard quickly moves up to drag his compatriot away, wary of both the Overseer's chains. None of the other guards move to act, their dedication to their duty stifled by the promise of brutality from the man in black robes.

Looking back up to the cursed souls assembled before him he adds "I won't use the chains or the weights, I'll try to make it as quick and as painless as I possibly can. I promise."


"Think nothing of it." Seranna muttered back to Yelenn. She knew her own comment was somewhat in appropriate and as dark as it was Yelenn's was more on point. Had the situation been different she might have been encouraged to say more about the matter, but as it was, she felt it was in their best interest to not draw attention to themselves.

The man's offer seemed well intended, however she balked at the very idea of such a thing. To welcome death and surrender to oblivion? It was an admittance of defeat, not a physical defeat, but a spiritual one, a mental one. Those who were ready to give up their life to make it all end had been bested, the curse, the world, the frightened masses had gotten the better of them. They had done something far worse than kill such a person, but instead, broken their will. Nothing was sadder to Seranna. Hope shined for her and those around her still.

She looked at the ground when the man waited for someone to take his offer, she shook her head solomnly and looked to the women around her, hoping they would reaffirm her decision, that these ladies of the blade would be as stalwart in her choice that attempting to carve out a life for themselves in whatever strange world awaited them was a better alternative than surrendering to despair entirely.


Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

Yelenn studies the masked man in utter silence, a moment that seemed to her, suspended outside time. Death...that was what her was offering them.

A chance to pay for all the suffering she'd caused, perhaps even a chance to see Guin again.

The thought stabbed like a blade. In her preriphery, she could see her fellow prisoner turning to look at her.

Red hair, like Guin's

She took a step forward.

A pulse of...something...a feeling..almost a word.....no! Almost a voice in her head, the hand gripping the hilt of her sword with almost white knuckled intensity.

Her crystalline grey eyes settle on the cracked golden mask. "Thank you for your offer, but no."


The man tensed, ready to deliver some mercy as the dark warrior stepped forward, but all that faded when she verbally turned down his offer. His shoulders eased and he let out a dejected sigh but quickly began to speaking to cover it up. "Very well then, I admire your conviction and will, and I truly hope it serves you well upon that island."

After that he remains silent as no others step forward, emboldened by Yelenn's blatant refusal. Save for one. A young man, seemingly only just reached adulthood, steps forward. He had short brown hair and wore nice clothes, not a noble but definitely from a city. Otherwise unremarkable save for two key features, his hands were too large, swollen, black and blue and the fingers bent at every joint in ways that they were never supposed to bend.

"I was studying to be a wizard." he murmurs as he passes the others. "Everyone in my family was so proud, so happy, I was studying real hard. But then walls... the walls... ate them. The walls were eating them, the professors, the other students, there was nothing left. But their faces started to appear on the walls in my room. That's how I knew, something in the walls was eating them, but no one believed me, they thought I did it. So they broke my hands, and cut into my arms," as he speaks he trembles, a mad fear in his eyes and you see him try to exert some sort of effort in his shoulders but sadly his arms hang lifelessly by his sides.

"Even after everything they did to me the walls were still hungry, so they sent me here." turning to the others he offers them a broken smile. "I'd just be a burden on the rest of you and I... Um, I guess I'm..." though his mouth keeps moving no words come out, unable to find any he just gives a hollow chuckle before turning and approaching the Overseer.

"I'm ready," he says before closing his eyes, his whole body tensing. After a moment the Overseer seamlessly plucks something off his wrist and brings it up to the man's neck, eliciting a surprised yelp. "It's not enough to kill you, but it will make sure you don't feel what happens next, a gift from the local fish. You don't have to worry about nightmares anymore, just dream." The Overseer says to the man in front of him who has started to sway on his feet. Astute observers will notice what looks like a needle of some sort sticking out of the man's neck.

Bracing his elbows on the young man's shoulders and covering his face and and the back of his head with his hands he lets out a breath. "I'm sorry."

A second later a loud and nauseating snap rings out, painful to all that hear, followed swiftly by the young man's body falling lifelessly to the dock.


Before the body even drops the fear holding the guards is broken and they furiously begin herding and shoving the cursed up the stairs, tossing aside their propriety and actually using their hands they make sure the still living passengers make it onto the boat, those already on board working like mad to get the boat out into the sea once the last of the poor souls have been boarded.

Though after that display it was questionable whether anyone else would would have taken him up on the offer.

Within minutes the ship is off, floating ever onwards towards Bastarache, as you are all taken to the lower decks. Within you are each shown into small rooms by yourself.


Seranna was beginning to realize that the people around her found death to be much more common place than her. She was relieved that the woman beside her had rejected the offer of a swift death, but not everyone had such a strong will. A man stepped forward, he told a story that tore at her heart. She extended a hand slowly, as if she could reach out to him, stop him, maybe comfort him, but he was too far and his decision had been made. In an instant his neck was snapped and he fell limp to the ground. She gasped in horror at the sight. It took her back to that unfortunate night when the ship went down, so many bodies dashed upon jagged rocks or sucked down into the abyss.

There was no time to dwell on the matter however, and the group was swiftly shoved up the gangplank, onto the boat and divided up into separate rooms. Seranna objected loudly to being touched by the robed figures. There was no need for such a heavy handed approach! She was being far more compliant and personable than she had any right to be, yet still they broke the silent agreement made previously. She gave them an embittered look when she was brought to her own private room, seeing little more than jack-booted thugs under those robes now.

She was stunned to discover she would not be sharing her room with anyone. Surely that had to be a mistake of some sort. These vessels were often so cramped, she thought for sure it would have been standing room only. The noble within her was glad to avoid such a fate, but part of her would have preferred the company of another. Loneliness set in quickly after the door was shut. She waited, she made sure she was alone, and the shaking of her hands stopped. She smiled to herself as she slowly dropped to her knees. Seranna hummed a tune from a better time as she pulled out her spring blade, and began to scratch nefarious looking symbols into the wooden floor. She didn’t have to be alone…


Female Pitborn Fighter (Two-Handed Mutation Warrior) 2 | Perc +5 | Init +1 | AC 18 (+8 Armor) | HP 26/26 | Fort +5 | Ref +1 | Will +1 | large bastard sword +5 (2d8+6/19-20) | javelins 5/5 +6 (1d6+4) | Gluttony Points: 0

The woman looked at the display solemnly, and briefly considered taking up the man's offer. She had nothing to live for, after all. Jorah, dead. Tivara, a traitor. Her family dishonored. She almost stepped forward, but the weight in her satchel stopped her. The amulet. Of course. That's why she had to survive. So that someone would remember. As the poor boy's neck is brutally snapped, she mutters a brief prayer to Lunavi, before moving on with the guard's jostling.

As she's shoved into her cell, she relaxes slightly. After so much time as a prisoner, the darkness felt more comforting than the light. That's at least what she chose to believe. Slowly, laboriously, she begins to doff her heavy armor, revealing a simple linen wrap around her torso and chest, and cloth trousers around her legs. Her catlike eyes pierced through the darkness as she examines herself, poking and prodding at places where her curse had progressed the most. Scowling, she leans against a wooden wall. Jorah had warned her of this. Without the protections of the mage's tower, the curse was progressing. Changing her body. Truly, it was more embarrassing than anything else. She still retained her strength and her hardiness, and she hadn't been the most graceful to begin with, yet it was still somewhat disconcerting to see her ash-grey skin warp and bulge outwards like that. At least the effects weren't terribly noticeable, at least not yet. And she could adjust her armor once it was necessary.

She slowly fell asleep, focusing on happier times.


Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

Her eyes narrowing as the boy is coldly dispatched, Yelenn notes the taller woman's whispering what she assumed was a prayer under her breath. Watching silently, she glares at the robed figures as they shove her and the others aboard, resisting the urge to draw her accursed blade.

As she was ushered to a room of her own, she was somewhat surprised, though she knew she wasn't really alone.....she never was really. Her eyes flicker to the edges of her periphery, expecting to find her constant companion.

Setting down her gear and sitting on the edge of the bed, she takes a deep breath as she hesitantly reaches into her pack, opening it and drawing out a sealed letter within.


Okay now that the site isn't acting up...

For the briefest moment after she's led into her room Yelenn spots a familiar face standing just behind the guard, but as they move the child is gone, like always as if she was never there to begin with.

The robed guards also all make their way back to the upper deck once everyone is within their designated room, meaning that aside from a nosy neighbor listening in Seranna's humming and carving go uninterrupted.

Inside the gifted pack Yelenn not only finds an empty scabbard, but her university notebook (I'm assuming this would be the closest thing to a spellbook for you?) along with a letter bearing her family's seal.

1d2 ⇒ 2

The Letter:
You notice two pieces of parchment with two distinct sets of handwriting in the envelope which you recognize as your father's and your mother's. Your father's reads My Dearest Yelenn, I can not imagine what you are going through right now, but I hope wherever you are, whatever it turns out to be, you stay strong. Neither I nor your mother hold you accountable for what happened, curiosity or fell enchantments be damned. Neither goes Guin, before and after the trial I've been in touch with her to try and figure out what happened, and although she is holding up about as well as you'd expect, it still seems like something is missing from what she tells me. Not that I suspect she would hide or lie about anything, but when you investigate things for so long... it just feels like something is being overlooked or left out. Your mother is looking over what I write and is now pointedly jabbing me in the shoulder as I appear to be rambling, my apologies. I love you Yelenn, never think otherwise, and I will find out what happened, even if I have to tear every brick out of the cellar with my bare hands.

P.S. hopefully the scabbard fits, can't have you wandering around with a bare blade all the time.

Your mother's reads I about had to pull the letter out of his hands, otherwise he would have sent you a whole damned report most likely. He's adamant about it, but I only hope that it doesn't consume him. Wherever you find yourself, please, don't give up. We're not giving up on you, we never will. We love you, Yellen. Stay safe, and stay strong.

There is abnormal spacing throughout your mother's words, signs of hesitation, and on both letters there are sporadic little circles that are off color or that have bled the words, former signs of dampness.

For those who check you will find that the doors are not locked.


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Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

The tears falling from Yelen's eyes leave new dots of discoloration in the letter, joining her parents'. The fact that they still believed in her still loved her, that Guin didn't blame her.....it made her glad she'd chosen to live.

Taking the scabbard, she sheathes the blade, feeling it's pull soften slightly. Removing her boots and armor, she dabs the note dry, and curls up in bed clutching the note to herself as she quietly cries herself to sleep.


The blade slides in fine, if a little loose, and with its presence dampened you are left to return to your own dreams finally.

And with that you all fall asleep, lulled into dreams or nightmares by the waves carrying you.

Hours later before the sun starts to rise the sound of something heavy is heard coming from outside the doors as two larger robed figures go to each of the rooms. They knock once and wait. With no answer they knock again before opening the door themselves. Lacking the extended sleeves as the others these guards instead hold a lidded pot. Bowing as the door is opened they approach and set the pot onto the bedside table or directly to the passagner is they're awake. Bowing again they leave and move onto the next room, one pulling a trolley with more pots on it.

Yelenn:
When you awaken you notice the sheathed sword is up on the bed, just barely nestled up to your arms. The scabbard, plain looking when you held it, now has a much more refined look and extravagant filigree running up its case. You're also sure, without even drawing the sword that it probably fits better too.


Seranna was quickly to awaken at the sound of the knocking. She used what little bedding was available to cover herself when the figures entered without waiting for elicitation. It was not the scene the guards might have expected to walk in on. The prisoner’s garb sat on the bedside table whilst she clutched the bedsheets close to her chest. Something had been carved into the floor of the room but whatever had once been there was now gone, intentionally scratched out to hide its intent, though the circular formation of what had been was obvious.

The room smelled of sea salt, of the breath of the ocean, while the floor was inexplicably damp. The noblewoman eyed the guards and the tray they presented and reached out with one hand to pull her dress onto the bed with her to free up the table, indicating with her eyes for them to set it on the table and take their leave.

“Forgive me, I am improperly dressed for visitors. I wasn’t expecting such a courtesy, at least not so early.” She said, deciding she would ignore the condition of the room.


The guard paused upon entering, obviously not expecting to see someone in this state. Waiting as she readied herself and motioned to the table they went and set the pot down as directed before bowing Vaelong again. Turning to move out of the room they stop and look down at the floor. Carefully they very obviously begin to push and prod the boards with the tip of their foot.

Seeing that they were still in good condition and were in fact not leaking they slump in relief before leaving the room, making sure to close the door behind them.

Once they have delivered all the pleasant smelling pots the two robed visitors head back up. A few minutes later you hear one of the doors open and soft footfalls of someone else following them.


Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

Awakening to knock on the door, Yelenn reacts as the door swings open, instinct guiding her to reach for her sword. Yet even as she thinks of where she left it propped up against the wall, her hand reaches beside her on the bed, grasping the hilt of the weapon laying at her side. Frozen in her surprise, she looks at the weapon, noting the beautiful golden filigree and the increased detail on the scabbard.

As the robed figures leave, she lips out from under the covers, reaching out to open one of the pot as she rests her sword across her lap.


Tentative the guard still passes Yelenn once they see she isn't drawign the sword to place the pot on the table before bowing to her and leaving.

Removing the lid Yelenn's sees that it is filled with a milky broth in which chunks of potato and kale soak.


Female Pitborn Fighter (Two-Handed Mutation Warrior) 2 | Perc +5 | Init +1 | AC 18 (+8 Armor) | HP 26/26 | Fort +5 | Ref +1 | Will +1 | large bastard sword +5 (2d8+6/19-20) | javelins 5/5 +6 (1d6+4) | Gluttony Points: 0

To all appearances, when the guards enter, the warrior woman appears to be either meditating or dead. However, as soon as they leave, her eyes snap open. She breathes, in, out, three times, before slowly sidling towards the pot, as if it were some dangerous beast. She starts on her meal sedately, savoring each sip. Her eye twitches slightly, and all of a sudden, she's frantically devouring the pot, inhaling its contents in two minutes. She lays back, savoring the feeling of fullness, before wincing and getting up, leaning back against the wall once again to meditate.


Once she finished eating, Seranna considered repeating the ritual of the evening prior, as she once again found herself terribly alone in this strange and frightful place. However, given the inability to keep strangers out and no way to predict when a guard or other individual might step through the portal ahead she decided against it. This loneliness and boredom spurred forth her explorative nature. She eventually walked up to the door and pressed her ear to it, listening as hard as she could for any sound of the guard. Once it sounded like they were gone, she creaked the door open, ever so slowly.

Looking around she wasn’t quite sure where to go from here. To be frank, she hadn’t thought that far ahead. But for whatever reason she took a few steps down the hall until she came to a door. She rapped lightly on the door and gave a long pause, making sure whoever was inside knew she was there, before knocking one last time and opening the door. Seranna was surprised when she looked within, as she certainly didn’t expect to recognize the person she visited on this little expedition but it did make her feel at least a little better when she saw Yelenn.

“Oh, hello again…I am sorry for disturbing you. I just thought that perhaps the vouyge might be easier with someone to talk. Help pass the time,” And think less about their ultimate fate, “But if you prefer, I will leave you be.”


Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

Eating the contents of the pot, and subsequently being a bit surprised at the quality of the food, Yelenn ran through her head, what she could possibly expect when they reached their destination. Her thoughts were interrupted just as she finished, by the little red haired woman opening her door.

"I suppose it would be better than just sitting here waiting to see what comes next." Yelenn says looking up from where she sits on the bed, the elaborately scabbarded sword in her lap.


"So glad you agree!" Seranna said in a chipper tone. She gave a formal curtsy before walking into the room, shutting the door behind her, "I didn't get a chance to properly introduce myself earlier. I am Lady Seranna Vaelong of..."

Her voice trailed off as she thought for a moment, deciding not to inform her where she hailed from, or her old family ties. That didn't matter anymore. She used to be nobility, and the key part of the phrase was 'used to be.' It hardly mattered anymore.

"Well, I was Lady Seranna Vaelong. You may just call me Seranna now. Such titles hold no weight here, hm?"


Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

Yelenn raises an eyebrow at the title. She supposed it was unlikely that she was the only child of nobility that had ended up taking this wrong a turn in life, not that any of it mattered now. "No I suppose they don't Seranna. Well met. I'm Yelenn. I think I've cursed my family name enough that it's be best I no longer use it." she says standing and giving the other woman a nod of welcome. "Come in."


Seranna had not excepted to be quite so well received. However she would certainly not complain about the reception. Once welcomed, she entered the room proper, moving closer to Yelenn as she spoke. She frowned when the woman inferred that her curse had done a great deal of damage to her family name. She could empathize.

"I know the sentiment all too well." She sighed, but rather than dwell on the thought she decided it best to change the subject, "It is rather strange don't you think? That they wouldn't lock our cells? Why would they allow us to wander freely if they think we are so dangerous?"


Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

"Well it's a ship, I doub't they're all that worried about anyone trying to escape in the middle of the ocean." Yelenn, says with a shrug. "If we're here, we probably submitted to it and turned down a chance at a clean death before getting on board. Not much of a flight risk." The dark haired warrior reasons.


Escape was not a great risk, Yelenn was right about that. However given that both she and the woman from earlier were armored and visibly armed, Seranna had to wonder as to why the guard wouldn't fear something more along the lines of a mutiny. The prisoners could at least attempt to overpower the crew, take the ship and steer for a harbor slightly less damning then their current destination. She supposed that was a bit far fetched though, maybe those in charge of the vessel knew something she didn't.

Speaking of the unknown, she couldn't help but ask, "I don't suppose you know anything about our destination do you? I've heard stories...none of them good."


Human Magus (Witchblade: Bladebound/Hex Crafter) 2

Knowledge History (Bastarache): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10

"Not really. It's one of those things that whenever mentions was always greeted with a somber hush and a change of subject....Bastarache, destination of the damned." Yelenn says with a shrug. "Ominous isn't it?"

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