Thankful for Sandru's help, she does not resist, but wraps her arms around his shoulders as he carries her, and takes his hand in hers and squeezes it once he has deposited her in the couch. Then, covering herself in Sandru's cloak, she once more wraps her arms around her form, as if unable to accept that it really is her body, as if afraid it might vanish at any moment.
Ianez hefts the pouch with the orb. "I hope this is what we came for, because I don't think we should stay here any longer. I suggest we take Dex's and Melanie's bodies with us for now, so Paige's surrender won't be too obvious to Ludo."
"You want my clothes!" Paige gasps. "You already have my gold and jewels. Haven't you people taken enough of my things?" She gives a petulant harumph and turns away from you. "I did have quarters," she says quietly, still looking away. "But they're behind Ludo's barrier. None of us are getting in there now."
There. That better presents an appropriate order of events, as far as La Siréene is concerned.
After she has calmed down somewhat, she carefully inspects her current state, checking to see if her possessions are with her, especially Olivia's Heart, and then focuses on the metal plate covering the left half of her face. With a warm, if shaken, smile and a giggle, she shakes her head and lets her long hair cover the left half of her face, hiding a large portion of the plate but unfortunately leaving her new eye quite visible.
"I was right. It was the kind of flesh tearing, gut ripping, eye-gouging incident one survives. Well, mostly. I expected worse "improvements", to be honest."
Then she looks at Caromarc, and sees the macabre quilt his skin has become.
"Are you alright, Caromarc? Ability for independent reasoning in the same state as previously?"
A growl escapes my throat as I put on the new found boots, it is low and primitive... as it ends, I huff like a tiger. I bring myself into check.
I keep what could be useful on the... journey. I am no thief, Paige. Here... your pretty things, they mean so much to you. I give her back her jewelry.
I need one outfit for my friend, something she can pick out. That's all. I would think you have more than you can use. Besides, when you go back to kissing Ludo's feet... He will buy your soul with more material things. House Carlisle will be proud. Yes?
Will they survive the night? Do you care, Paige? Are you able to? Or does Ludo truly own you?
Diplomacy, untrained: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (18) - 2 = 16
I walk over to Ianez. Please, give that thing to me. I indicate the sphere.
How long have we been in the mansion? 10 min?
Paige accepts back her jewelry with sullen pride. She juts her chin to the other lounge across the hall. "There's a wardrobe in there filled with robes and traveling-wear. Nothing too fancy, but it will do for your friend."
She looks into the distance and tilts her head, imagining. "Mmm...it is nice when Ludo buys me things." She looks to Sandru again. "I can't worry about all that, and neither should you. If you're asking my loyalties, when he's not being a jerk Ludo's okay."
10 minutes sounds about right.
Thank you, Paige. I turn to La Siréene. It is a start.
I turn back to Paige and take a chance. You should come with us. Ludo will use you and abandon you when it is useful. Look what he did to... them. I indicated the beheaded sorcerers.
I do not know about Ludo, except that if he is against us, he will die. Come. A new start. Be your own woman. Try to save your family. I am certain we can buy you things if that is what moves you, or you can buy them yourself.
I shrug. Stay here, as you wish. I have wasted too much time.
I look over at La Siréene and at Caromarc. This is better? A night for sacrifices. Ianez, please. I think it should be checked for traps and opened here. Before we leave. Maybe the girl can do it. If she won't, then we know it's trapped.
I look at the eye-wear found on Melanie. Goggles of some sort. I place them over my head and fix them onto my eyes. I blink quickly, adjusting my vision.
I take the sphere into my hands, I see the two halves. It could twist the thing open, or at least try. But, I promised. Instead I turn it over and examine all sides.
Perception, trap: 1d20 + 18 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 18 + 5 = 27
|Earl J V Caromarc|
La Siréene, while shaken at the Earls current apparence, still clutching her own shape and holding Olive's Pendant tightly, turns to Sandru and Ianez's conversation.
She speaks. "The O-orb, I took from Reeva. In a place you die to go to. Seemed important. It is what we came for. Reeva annihilated herself upon its retrieval. Orb, not yet identified. Caromarc took it here? W-what killed him?"
She attempts to rise, trips at the hem of Sandru's cloak, hits the floor face first, rises again, this time managing to reach her mutilated body. Abandoning the clothing items, she takes on the headband and picks up her spell component pouch, shield, scroll case, belt, belt pouch and backpack.
Handing the Orb back to Ianez, I assist La Siréene as much as she will accept.
One of the sorcerers threw a ball of fire. It exploded. Caromarc wasn't... prepared. I can help with these things, you don't need to do this. It is not you any more, only the past.
Come, I will go with you to pick some better... body covering.
Legs still shaking, she accepts Sandru's help gratefully. She watches as he retrieves the gear from her previous shape, happy not to have to touch it, considering what has existed in that shape.
Then, she wraps her arm around his shoulders, careful to stand on his left, still holding her pendant in her left hand, and limps beside him towards the wardrobe.
"Some... body covering would be good. And you are r-right. That is not my body anymore. Just a broken s-shell.
She rests her head fondly on his shoulder. "Once more, you support my shaking shape. I must seem so helpless to you, dear Sandru."
I scoop her diminutive form up, easily carrying her to the door of this, the current salon. No. If you were helpless you would not be... back.
Placing her down, Wait here, please... allow me to secure the area. And, I do not pretend to understand the world. But, you were chosen for your strength and that you might survive. You did survive, proving you were stronger. This condition is temporary.
It is Sandru who is helpless or I could have stopped this.
I move to open the door, seeing the mess Quinn and the Manservant made... I look each way before moving to the other salon door.
Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23
Stealth: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (20) + 15 = 35
I open the door. The jack rabbit doctor should be in there.
As Sandru carries her, La Siréene does not speak, simply accepting his help with gratitude.
As he deposits her once more, she simply observes him fondly as he stalks to the door. He's so much gentler, less boisterous, when it is just him and me interacting. It is an interesting contrast.
|Dr. Hareton Grey|
As Sandru pads across the hall, he picks his way carefully around all the broken glass on the floor from the fallen chandeliers. The hallway is empty for now; there are no immediate threats. When he turns the knob on the door to the lounge, at first it won't budge, but with a little effort it opens.
Inside the room, there is a large, oak wardrobe against the wall to his left. At the far end of the room, there is a victrola playing a tune (song on the victrola). There's a large, comfortable-looking chair next to the victrola, with a side-table next to it. On the table is an ice bucket filled with lukewarm water...all the ice has melted...and a glass filled with the remnants of a little remaining scotch.
On the cushion of the chair lays a hastily-written letter, folded in thirds. It reads -
I assume if any of you read this, you are still alive. If so, that is good news, but do not follow or try to find me. I tried to open the doors of this room and return to you. When that didn't work, I sat here waiting. I started to think about Olivia and how much I miss her. Your bravery is an example to me, and I'm glad to have accompanied you on this journey. But I cannot any longer. I have to find a way to come to terms with my grief, which is a path I must walk alone.
I would give anything to see Olivia again. To bask in one more glorious moment in her presence. Best of luck to you, heroes. I am glad to have called you friends. Thank you again for your kindnesses.
Next to the wardrobe, there's a small, open door leading outside. You feel a chill coming in from it and hear the sound of the rain. It looks like while the fight with the sorcerers was raging outside this room, Hareton found a secret panel in the wall, and fled into the night.
In the wardrobe are the replacement clothes for La Siréene.
I go back for the girl and her newest form, ferrying her across the devastation to her pick of clothing. And of course I tell the others about Dr Grey.
I mention the arcane trap to Ianez as an afterthought, as I leave the room with the girl. Pointing to the orb in his hand. Hot potato, the children called it.
Hm. Hareton's self-destructive tendencies got the better of him. Too bad.
As La Siréene and Sandru reach the wardrobe, she get a focused look in her eye. Not shifting her gaze, she absentmindedly hands Sandru's cloak back to him, then starts to dig through the warddrobe, taking out of it a black suit with matching pants, a red shirt and red undervest, with a green tie, to match her eyes. She located a matching cloak to replace her old one. She also looks around for a comfortable pair of shoes.
Clothes thus aquired, she takes her belongings back from Sandru.
"Sufficient. Thank you, dear Sandru."
Blackacre twitches his mustache and rakes the stubble on his chin. He addresses Ianez, Quinn and Caromarc. "If it's all the same to the rest of you, I should stay behind right now and guard this blackguard," he says, indicating Paige. "Now that we've gone through all this trouble to get..." he nods to the orb. "You be on your way. I'll do some clean-up, dispose of the bodies, and make sure you get away from here without any deceitful witches trailing you or causing any more trouble."
"Once the orb is opened, let me know where the key is located and I'll catch up with you."
Nah, he's not trained anyway. He's just asking/teasing... taunting? As far as he's concerned, it's a question. Yes or no is fine, he's not terrorizing her... just getting a read. Sense Motive!
Sense Motive, Paige's reaction: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
No, Paige. I will untie you after...
I walk over to the new "better" Caromarc. Caromarc, you will survive. You must, if the world is to survive. These stitches. It is nothing... Remember you are not the monster. The real monster is the one who did this to you and the girl.
I clap him on the shoulder, then bring my thumb to his face... hoping he does not flinch, but knowing he could. I trace a stitch. Even more... distinguished, Master Caromarc.
I offer Ianez an open hand, wanting and waiting for the orb.
|Earl J V Caromarc|
Caromarc draws himself up, trembling.
"Yes, yes. Survive. Of course."
He breathes deeply, obviously trying to concentrate on the immediate situation.
"Right. Orb is trapped, you say? Alright. What do we know about it? Wait..." he pauses and looks at Paige "Perhaps we should discuss any particulars at another venue?"
The Mechanical Manservant turns to Paige
"Ms Carlisle. It occurs to me that a salon such as yours may have a nearby cache of useful restoratives and emergency equipment. Perhaps you could tell Mr Sandru and Mr Blackacre if so."
He next turns to Blackacre
"Sir, I wish you the very best of luck in your mission, and hope you will not consider me to be overstepping my station in saying I hope to see you again."
Finally he turns to Caromarc
"Come sir, this way" says the Mechanical manservant gently
Not sure where we all are. Elspeth, MM and Caromarc are going to the Wardrobe room. I believe there they will discover LS, who has just gooten changed. Blackacre is with Paige in the fireballed room. Sandru is talking with Ianez there. Am I right?
|Earl J V Caromarc|
Quinn begins to walk to Paige and says, "Looks like you have been cooperating with us and I'm not willing to let you be defenseless against Ludo. Do you promise to behave if I setyou free? Regardless of how nice the half-orc is....he still...on rare occasions....like to eat people." The monk turns his head, away from Paige, and winks his right eye at Sandru.
Quinn faces Paige again and says, "You have 2 choices here. You can stay here and face Ludo if he returns or you can come with us. Aiding us in defeating Ludo is the only way to get rid of him. Your choice."
Perception to confirm trap on orb: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (6) + 16 = 22
Ianez returns the orb to Sandru, then steps back to the Earl. "Caromarc, this paper that Sandru took from Melanie's body has two of her personal spells on it; I believe that you would be able to learn one of them before the paper was consumed in the reading."
Caromarc, take a look at the spoiler for Ianez, above.
I stare at Paige Carlisle. Do I sit her in front of me as I open the orb? If I would fail, another gift from Ludo. No... I am not one of them.
Everyone out. Take the girl, it's my turn to take the heat. I will join you soon.
I watch as they all leave, then bring my eyes to the orb.
Assuming there's really no reason for anyone to argue: Ianez went to discuss with Caromarc, Quinn and Blackacre take Paige.
Attempt 1 Disable Device: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (3) + 13 = 16
Only triggers is failing by 10 or more. 2nd attempt if not more than DC25.
Attempt 2 Disable Device: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (19) + 13 = 32
...a few more...
Careful Disarm (Ex)
At 4th level, whenever a trapsmith attempts to disarm a trap using Disable Device, she does not spring the trap unless she fails by 10 or more. If she does set off a trap she was attempting to disarm, she adds double her trap sense bonus to avoid the trap.
This ability replaces uncanny dodge.
Paige licks her teeth and flares her nostrils in frustration. "I stood down so you wouldn't kill me, Muscles, but I know Ludo better than you. He'll be mad, but as you see, I have tricks up my sleeve. I'll be okay. Thanks for the invite. We could've maybe had a good time together, but the moment has passed. Let's chalk this up to harsh life experience and go our separate ways."
Quinn removes the rope that binds Paige and escorts her outside the lounge. He takes her to the other lounge so Sandru can be alone with the orb.
The monk takes her hand into his and looks into her eyes. He says to her, "I'm willing to let you go and you have been honest with us.....I hope. Now, is there anything else you can tell us where Ludo can be hiding? Another location?"