Petrova paces the rooftop of the Mistress Harlots harem and brothel, luxuriating in the soothing coolness of the night air and the deep shadows. He hood lies flat against her back and her yellow eyes catch the faint glimmers of lantern lit in the streets below. She chuckles as the wind carries a familiar smell to her nose.
"The rear wall is quite easy to climb, Arasmes, but for some reason you always insist on coming up here through the brothel itself. Why is that, I wonder?"
Arasmes laughs lightly, waving his hand in the air to waft away the aura of perfume surrounding him, as he walks over to stand beside her and he speaks in a tone of melodramatic hurt, gesturing grandly as he does so "Who am I to deny such lovely ladies the pleasure of my company, even for such a brief moment? Do you truly think me so cruel? No wonder you spurn and reject me at every turn." his tone then returns to normal and he turns to look Petrova directly in the eyes "On a more serious note, I assume that you wished to indicate a desire to join the group going off to Abbadon? If so, you would be more than welcome, and I, at the very least, would be most grateful for the help."
Petrova turns away from Arasmes, enough to make her point, but not enough to discourage him in the game. Still, when she speaks, the tone of her voice suggests that e playful game is more of a reflex than a conscious thought.
"He deserves help. I mean, Abbadon is a bit out of my usual jurisdiction, but dammit Arasmes - he helped people. Sure, there are plenty of priests of Saranrae who are good and godly people and sit in their temples till the gout sets in and never really lift a finger to make the world better. You know I don't hold with the church of Saranrae, but I support the good its clergy does, and he was one of the best."
Arasmes laughs again, a bit sadly this time and speaks in a slightly wistful tone "You are, quite literally, preaching to the choir, though my singing voice is abominable. I always liked the man, and rescuing him is a pure good deed in a world where there are all too few of those. So, you are in and your help is most appreciated. Let me see, what weren't you there for in regards to information..."
He pauses for a second, thinking and then snaps his fingers "Ah! Right. We have decided to go in undercover as mortal traders in damned souls. The church will be providing us with some low-level magical aid to disguise our essential goodness, and we will be...acquiring, some existing wares once we get to Abbadon. The souls involved will be freed when the mission is complete, of course. Oh, and I took up a colection to purchase us some healing wands, and your contribution would be appreciated, as would you carrying and using one as necessary."
Again, Arasmes pauses thoughtfully, and then chuckles "I suspect that's all that's truly important, but there is another bit of news, you see I explained to the group that I was going off to recruit a lady of my acquaintance, and they leapt to certain entirely understandable conclusions. I suspect no amount of protest on my, or your, part will make them believe otherwise. Though I will certainly make the attempt if you desire it. Alternately, we could avoid the stting of untrue scandal simply by making it true..." the last is said somewhat lasciviously, as he eyes her up and down in an exaggerated fashion.
Petrova nods along as Arasmes gives her the info, and is in the process of counting out some funds when he gets into the last part. She stops her counting and looks up, catching the way he's looking at her. Her yellow eyes flash in the gloom, and her tone is as frosty as the night desert air.
"I see! Here I thought you were old enough to be weaned from the tit, but if you have allowed the others to believe you still need a nursemaid, I suppose I shall have to oblige you."
"Avoid nightmares? Sounds like you're describing one to me!"
Petrova hands Arasmes a coin purse containing her share for the wands. "Here you go. Now you can say I put out for you. If we're meeting at this college first thing in the morning, I need some sleep. Alone!"
With a quick pat on his cheek as she passes by (and a slap for his wandering hand), Petrova slips off into the shadows which seem almost to reach out and enshroud her.
Stealth 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (8) + 13 = 21 to disappear into the night.
Arasmes laughs softly to himself, and watches idly as Petrova leaves, then wanders off to a wand seller he knows, as he walks he prays softly under his breath "Sarenrae please guide and protect us as we do your righteous work. Let us survive and succeed at what we set out to do, and let no one's soul be sullied by what must be done to make that happen. And if some sacrifice be required, let me be the one to make it. I'm the one whose duty this is, not any of them. Well, I suppose the Paladin, but he isn't yours...so make it me if it must be anyone, and try and avoid making it anyone, if it's not too much trouble."
Perception roll to watch where she goes for a bit, just because following sneaky people with his eyes is good practice
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22
So he follows her with his eyes until she's out of sight
|The Elusive Trout|
The College of Dimensional Studies, Inner City, Katapesh
Tikhade sat upon the steps of the northern entrance, holding a satchel in her left hand, and another bag in her right. Her eyes betrayed a lack of sleep the night before, but they still had most of their sharpness.
Talon arrives at the college alert, seemingly the first one there out of the group. He looks around for his comrades at first, but seeing none will greet the old woman. "Morning Tikhade."
Kanthuun strolls from the souk to the steps of the College, freshly scrubbed and all of his gear securely stowed, eyes rolled up to the sky, musing to himself.
"Everything packed...amulet...yes...everything but the garderobe sponge, soothly, and they probably don't use one of those where we're going...would explain what I have heard about the rivers...someone ought to figure out a way to send that from here to other Planes; it would improve the plumbing around here...probably enough to create an Elemental Plane of--oh, good morrow to you, Mistress Tikhade!" He bows low.
Arasmes wanders up, rubbing his eyes sleepily. He nods politely, first at talon and Kanthuun and Talon, and then at Tikhade "Gentlemen, Priestess. Good morning and may Sarenrae's light shine upon you all. How are you on this fine day? I had a bit of a late night, but still appear to have arrived in good time."
Petrova figures that's her cue, and the Shadow Dancer emerges into the morning sun. Her clothing is all tight leathers, her cloak flowing black and her mask covers all but her eyes.
Disguise check: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31
"Good morning, Arasmes. I am ready to go."
This place is a maze! Drovya growls, as he makes his way to the assembling company. Hardly anything to navigate by, and I swear to you, some of these local urchins purposefully led me astray, turning up their noses as though they were too good for a copper penny! Nonetheless, I am here, and glad to see you all. He straightens his rumpled Kaftan and diligently checks his pockets and pack to ensure that nothing has gone missing. Satisfied that this is the case, he turns his attention to all. So! Good morning to you all! Who are we waiting for?
Arasmes nods at Petrova and Drovya as they arrive, turns to gesture at the others each in turn, and then does so again back to her, introducing everyone "Milady. These are Talon, Kanthuun, and Drovya as well as our estemed benefactor Tikhade, who you may have met. Everyone else, this is the Shadow Dancer. We met at a mask store and have been fast friends ever since. Though I do have it on good authority she's a lot prettier under hers than I am under mine." the last is said in a somewhat lascivious fashion.
He turns and nods at Drovya "And we are waiting for Hanethes and Rogar, I believe. Though Hanethes has a knack for being various places unseen."
"Only you would would meet a woman at a mask store..." Talon says shaking his head."Well good to meet you in any case. If what he said was true, its a shame you feel the need to hide it under a mask. Though I do appreciate the skin tight leather." Talon says with a smile.
"Shadow, well met," says Kanthuun with a smile and an eye for curves of leather. "We'll have a song from the elf and a dance from Shadow to keep us entertained on our journey, then."
"Drovya, pyenetren', welcome to Katapesh, where the beggars are choosers, and in a guild besides,", he laughs. "We are a long way from Ustalav indeed."
I figure Varisian is close enough to Romany or Romanian, and that Drovya would know at least some words being a fellow Ustalavian.
Drovya makes a crisp, shallow bow towards the Shadow Dancer, keeping his blue eyes focused on her yellow ones. A pleasure to meet you, Mistress Shadow. You must be endowed with legendary patience to suffer the likes of these, Drovya smiles and takes in Arasmes, Talon and Kanthuun with a sweeping gesture, as such, you are a welcome addition. Still smiling, he turns to Kanthuun. I did not take you for a countryman of mine, but you surely sound like one. Tell me, where in the fogs do you hail from?[/b]
Google translate is not my friend today. What language are you using Kanthuun?
|The Elusive Trout|
"It's good to have you all here, and light shine upon you too, Arasmes."
Tikhade brought herself to her feet and delivered the satchel she'd been carrying to Arasmes.
"Here are the wands you requested. As soon as the last of your companions arrive, we can make our way inside."
Drovya, I modified the word 'pienetrenu', Romanian for 'friend (male)'. Just makin' stuff up.
"Ardagh, up on the border, although my parents were likely Kellids from broken Sarkoris--hence my handsome countenance from that hardy barbarian stock. From thence, the best alleys and dungheaps of many a fine Ustalavian city, and Caliphas, and then nowhere at all." Kanthuun smiles and shakes his head, thinking of the past. "And you, Drovya? Whence in our illustrious homeland do you hail?"
Kanthuun bows to Tikhade. "Many thanks to you, Tikhade. These will aid greatly in shielding us. I regret I am clumsier in using them compared to Arasmes and Rogar...?" He inclines an eyebrow in query at the Shadow Dancer.
Hanethes is waiting inside, leaning against the column (or wall) just inside the doors, his arms crossed his chest and a perpetual smile on his lips.
"Forgive me. Were we supposed to meet outside?"
|The Elusive Trout|
Rogar marches down the square towards the college, his plate obviously well maintained, his holy symbol hung around his neck and a rucksack flug over his shoulder (The past couple of days have been super busy, sorry for my laxness in posting, I'll have my full inventory up this afternoon).
'Morning lads, sorry I'm late, had a bit o' an emergency at tha temple, how're we all traveling today.
"I am a man of many talents." Hanethes says with a little bow, his smile perhaps a little too secretive.
I just wanted to roleplay somehow missing the conversation, but at the same time, as a talented rogue. If you want me to roll anything, let me know.
Arasmes chuckles lightly as well "I did warn you that Hanethes had a knack for not being noticed. he turns to Hanethes then and claps him on the shoulder "It's good to see you, my friend." he seems to brighten even more seeing the Dwarf's arrival "And our new comrade in arms has arrived as well! Excellent. I believe that means we can begin?"
|The Elusive Trout|
To both of you, it's all good.
"I understand, Rogar. And as for you, Hanethes, that talent should serve you well.
Now, if you'll all come this way," Tikhade made her way up the steps and past the recently-appeared rogue to open a gilded door made of foreign wood.
The smell of the academy assaulted everyone's nostrils almost immediately-it resembled both burning soap and old books.
The reception room was tellingly bare; there were dust outlines from previous furniture stored there that had been completely removed. Two doors graced the left wall.
The Gregorovitches were smiths in Ardis for as long ad anyone cares to remember, with many marriages of Ulfen and Varisian stock, although my mother's people are of the forests of Kyonin, not that I would know any on them. Noticing the arrival of the final two members of the party, Drovya greets them with smiles and follows the others once they make their way into the College.
"Wanderers who want not for wands, we are," nods Kanthuun, "and if those should fail us, we'll mop our wounds with paladin beard--it's full of potent magic, I hear." He laughs good-naturedly.
"Indeed, let us get ourselves moving; no doubt the hourglass is slipping away. We shouldn't want to tarry and have it be too hot when we get there! Why, it might get infernally warm--almost as bad as Katapesh on a windless day!"
Arasmes looks at Kanthuun and tilts his head, speaking wryly "I believe that's parts of Hell, not Abbadon. Abbadon is a wasteland of choking mists, so I suspect you Ustalavs should be right at home, while we Keleshites freeze in the bitter cold."
Knowledge (Planes) to see what he knows about Abbadon 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
And apparently Arasmes has made as extensive a study of their home plane as the Daemons themselves. I'm gonna go pull out my book on the Great Beyond, now...
|The Elusive Trout|
"Oh, so you're finally here."
A pleasing tenor voice chimed out these words as a gnome in Sargavan finery materialized, a monocle dangling forgotten off of his bleached shirt.
The man's bright blue hair was tamed by a jeweled pin of the same red hue as his rather large and sunburnt nose.
"We have everything ready for you now, so just grab onto me and I'll take you to the portal," The gnome said a quick incantation and caused the room to blur.
In a flash of light, the party emerged into a large, musty underground ampitheatre, lit only by a few torches and an eerie freestanding archway that emitted a dim red color.
With this light, however, it would be easy to make out the massive magic circle and the five people kneeling at five stations in concentration.
"Pardon me for the rough ride, but we don't have many doors that actually work here."
Tikhade brushed some displaced dust off of her robes.
"Allow me to introduce Headmaster Tiyan Brindle, albeit a bit late."
The gnome tsk'd, his unworn monocle still swinging.
"Now, now, Tika, you know I don't like all these formalities! Or your wasting time! This is a valuable opportunity and I can't have it bungled by some damned cacodaemon looking at the pretty portal while we suffer from excessive word vomit!"
He pointed a gloved finder at Kanthuun.
"You! I like your hair!"
Tikhade did her very best not to grimace and put a hand over her face.
"Now who is wasting time, I wonder...?"
They have one of those other than the Book of The Damned? I need it, methinks. Anyway, you would know about the general climate, which does tend to be on the chilly side, though it has many variances throughout the plane.
|The Elusive Trout|
"Ach! I heard that!"
The headmaster loomed close to Talon and crossed his arms.
"I should hope that none of you are so loose-lipped in Abaddon, as the plane will be just as keen as any daemon in knowing what you're up to! That's right, all of you had better keep your traps shut about the mission! If you don't, all this magical protection is for nothing! Figured I should tell you that now and get it out of the way."
"Hmmm." Hanethes grunts with a smile.... laughing a little to himself at the absurdity of conversation.
"Greetings, headmaster. It is you, I hear, we have to thank for our translation and at least part of our abjuration during our travels."
Hanethes bows again, though not in a mock fashion this time, his hand across his chest.
"Headmaster, just what will the...plane...hear?" Kanthuun imagines ears sprouting from the blasted earth. "I suppose what we need are disguises, and to speak the way soul traders speak, whatever that may be like. Probably like Venya in the souk; oh, does she strike a hard deal on her spices." He runs a hand through his hair, normally-hued, at the moment, selfconsciously; it piles into absurdly charming tangles.
Arasmes nods calmly at the headmaster's words "Noted, and thank you for the warning. As for what we should look like...I would think a well armed group of mortals, bearing no obvious symbols of any of the more pleasant Gods." his own Holy Symbol is indeed notably absent.
Arasmes continues quite seriously as the group walks "We should also probably have at least a few of us who can speak Abyssal or Infernal, to negotiate and speak with those who despise the Common tongue. Luckily, I actually speak both, and am a tolerably good liar. I know that Kanthuun, the Shadow Dancer and Hanethes can all lie well, that Talon only lies well when seducing women, and that our noble Paladin probably cannot lie well at all. So, Drovya, how good a liar are you, and how many people here speak Infernal or Abyssal?"
"Oh, and remember everyone, we'll want to use the Wands procured by Tikhade before actually steping through the gate. Hate to look like a beacon as we step through."
"I speak the common tongue and Elven, no other languages, I'm afraid," Petrova says in a breathy, disguised voice, "I can lie quite well, however, though not as well as Arasmes when he compliments a woman's figure, or describes his own...robustness of size."
Arasmes tilts his head to the side at Petrova's words, but responds blandly "Indeed. The tragic necessity of understating my...accomplishments has rendered me quite skilled in the art of deception. Though I must steadfastly deny having ever exaggerated a woman's charms. I may have been drunk and overly generous at times, but I have never lied."
Talon can barely keep himself from laughing at the exchange. "I like her already. Are you sure you haven't been together. It sure sounds like it." Is all he mutters.
|The Elusive Trout|
"Whether or not his reproductive organs are sizable or not is of no consequence! This is SERIOUS BUSINESS!"
"The plane can understand every word spoken on it no matter what language you use; much like the abyss or hell, it has a mind of its own, and can make life very difficult if it finds out you are working against its masters, though a few of you look the part of soul-traders, and that should be enough, if, as this covered man mentioned, you aren't blatantly stupid."
Tiyan Brindle reached in his pockets to draw out a rusted, blood-covered wayfinder with a runed marking on top.
"Ah, yes... you'll be needing this, too. Let me just wipe the blood off...
Don't worry, it's mine. I had to mask its presence as a regular scrying spell... can't do that without a scent the plane is apt to like. Much easier to bleed than find the flowers necessary to do the same thing to Nirvana, let me tell you."
Tikhade looked alarmed.
"You didn't tell me you were going to bleed yourself for this."
The headmaster's hair bristled.
"Surely, my dear woman, you didn't think that this little plan could be pulled off without sacrifices? Pfft. I think your goddess's sunlight has gotten to your brain, sometimes...,"
Petrova lowers her head. "Please forgive us, head-master. We do not take this affair lightly. Our humor may be crude and childish at times, but it is a comradarie that keeps us sharp and gives us courage. No offense is intended."
|The Elusive Trout|