AGNES!!! Raging... I roar, baring not so vestigal tusks and slamming down with both fists on the table.
The table legs buckle under the immense force, stressing, splintering and breaking as the table top itself breaks in two, fragments flying outward.
Chest heaving, and staring into the captive sister's eyes, I reach for Phoebe's hand.
I will keep my promise, now. Come, Phoebe...
And Doctor, understand Sandru. You are ALREADY dead. I move to the door the Dwarf took, trusting Phoebe will follow.
Does Sandru need a roll to break/smash the table, or since we're not in combat... does it happen in narration? He is raging "reflexively", so Str 22.
|Earl J V Caromarc|
Agnes struggles in the hand's steely grip. "Wha?... An end. The cards provide help and light the path, but the future...your future...is always left to be written. It starts to tell the story, but you finish it."
The Mechanical Manservant has picked up The Midwife.
Then, in his mind's eye, it's as if Agnes has interpreted this card for him too. "This card is called 'The Midwife'. She is a conduit to creation, although she does not create on her own. This halfling is a key that lets new life or information into the world. Her heart can see the good in even the worst situation. She can see the import of any new arrival, even if the new arrival will likely not inspire much joy."
"Strange mechanical man, what this means for you is that because you don't sleep, you are the first to see a new day. You are here to help your friends birth that new day to our world. Like the midwife, you remain dispassionate and calm in the midst of the blood, the tears, the struggle. But even a servant, such as yourself, isn't a completely empty vessel. Even some..."one" like you faces choice. In a crucial moment, whose voice do you serve and what's the true source of your direction?"
And then, a bizarre thing happens.
Agnes wriggles and manages to free one of her arms out of the hand. She touches it and the hand, the time oracle...and Elspeth...are temporarily erased from time!
No magic or divinations can detect them during this time. They exist outside of time and space—in effect, they temporarily cease to exist.
Then, they reappear. Hareton growls in frustration. Agnes frees her other hand and pounds away at the mechanical fist. The octopus familiar is still wrapped around the arm. The hand squeezes Agnes tighter. This all appears for only a second, and then blinks away again, and they are gone.
They disappear and reappear like this several more times. It becomes clear that Agnes and Hareton are struggling in the timestream; he's trying to drag her to his time, and she's trying to displace the mechanical arm. Elspeth is caught in the middle. Sometimes they fast-forward and Elspeth has damaged the arm. Sometimes they jump to the past, and it is fully intact again. Sometimes the three of them are just gone completely.
With each disappearance and reappearance, the movements of the three combatants slows...slows down even more...until it appears like they're moving in extremely slow-motion. Before long, they are almost stopped, in fact, stuck in battle poses but no longer moving.
And yet to a barely perceptible degree they are.
Agnes communicates telepathically to everyone. "Dr. Grey is too powerful! I cannot defeat him. But I will wear him down through attrition in the timestream. Do not fear for me. I am removed from the time of your world. For right now, I'm immune to all its dangers. The only danger for me is this. But I will fight to the bitter end."
"The perils of our world are still dangers for you. Please, go now and take Phoebe with you. Flee to the Library of Anaphexia and find the Tower Out of Time. I believe in you, adventurers. You will save us all!"
There's a pause, then she adds. "I am sorry about Elspeth. I will try to let her jump out of the timestream, back into your time. I hope that it works..."
Elspeth make a Fortitude save.
Here's a diagram of the brownstone.
Phoebe's bedroom (2nd floor)
2nd floor landing
| | <- staircase
1st floor landing (where Sandru and Phoebe are) -> Opens onto room where everyone else is (not separated from 1st floor landing by a door)
| | <- hallway to the front door
Front door (closed)
Agnes and Hareton are rushing fast through the timestream. They look stationary, their struggles invisible to the naked eye. Agnes tries to slow down long enough to throw Elspeth clear. But the tiny creature is unable to resist the flux of the temporal displacement.
"That didn't work," you hear Agnes curse.
Maybe if someone was quick enough to save her. There is only a brief window of opportunity...
Elspeth can attempt another Fortitude save. Also, PCs can make a Reflex save to try to snatch her from the timestream.
The policeman dashes forward and clutches Caromarc's familiar in his arms. They tumble out of the shearing wind of the timestream. Elspeth gives it one last effort, and they both somersault into the far wall hitting it hard!
"Oh! That is good. I'm glad she made it. She bought me a little more time..."
Agnes and the mechanical arm blink out of current time.
I kneel to look the girl in the eye. Cry now. But remember, "All good things... in Time."
Not knowing if I have her permission, I scoop Phoebe up, setting her on my hip. Looking to the others, I draw steel.
Cry for Agnes, but don't be afraid. Have Faith. Having encouraged Phoebe, I bound up the stairs, towards the dwarf and danger.
As Agnes struggles with the arm, Blackacre draws his sword crackling from its scabbard and stands there in shock and confusion. He took a step toward Elspeth, but could not match the monkms quickness.
Frustration begins to build on his face and he shouts, Grey! You will be judged for this!! before turning on his heel and storming upstairs behind Sandru.
|Earl J V Caromarc|
Bounding up the stairs, I have to give Phoebe something to take her mind off her sister. Phoebe, we need to learn to work together. Would you be able to add fire to my weapon? It might help me in a fight.
Raged for 1 round, broke table, stopped raging for a clear head. Speed is 40, I don't think Phoebe is heavy enough to slow Sandru down... or maybe she is, 30 then.
Phoebe whimpers. She gives a quick nod. Her pupils begin to smolder like embers. She reaches out...with a whiff of pitch and a rush of oxygen, a blossom of flame erupts from her palm! Orange light dancing in the dark of the staircase. She makes a sweeping motion, and Sandru's cutlass is bathed in fire.
Your party reaches the second-floor. The door to Phoebe's room is at the top of the stairs, right off the landing. It is dark, except the door to her room is open and the drapes to her window are flung aside, so that occasional strikes of lightning throw silver light into the room, providing a little illumination. The oil lamp at her bedside is out and toppled to the floor.
The room is in a state of disarray. The bed is a mess, the rocking chair splintered, the window to the room is shattered. Only large, jagged shards of glass jut out of the window frame. There is a large black smear on the wall; upon closer inspection, it looks like blood.
Rain comes through the window, and wind flaps the drapes into the room.
Curiously, there isn't much glass in the room. Most of the glass from the broken window fell out into the street below.
They got me! They got me! A bunch of werewolves!
How well do you know this dwarf?
|Earl J V Caromarc|
Check for traps! Carefully, I place Phoebe down... I keep holding her hand, but keep her safely behind me.
The flickering of the summoned flame of my blade makes shadows that mix with those from the lightning. Holding the sword out, I reach forward towards the blood and touch it with an extended finger. I bring that finger to my nose, sniffing it... then onto my tongue tasting it.
I am glad the girl is behind me, unable to see.
Perception, trap: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (7) + 18 = 25
Heal, untrained: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Perception, orc scavenger, blood: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (1) + 12 = 13 Can identify potions thru taste, not sure if it will help. But, seemed thematic. Maybe helps with Heal check. Hmm... tastes like chicken.
The stuff on the wall tastes smoky and dark. It looks like blood. It tastes like what? You search back in your mind over all the tastes and scents you've encountered. Still, you can't be sure.
"Good luck, Agnes."
La Siréene rises from the her chair,
"I'll be with you in a moment."
And walks over to the cabinet, very carefully inspecting it, wearing an expression of focused curiosity as she takes her paper with dream sketches out of her pouch and forms it into a delicate paper airplane, subsequently throwing it into the depths of the cabinet.
Perception check 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (2) + 19 = 21
Like Ianez, Blackacre steps toward the window and peers out into the night.
perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (19) + 12 = 31
He then looks carefully around the room for any clues as to what may have happened to the suspicious dwarf.
perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16
Volst twice, then Ludo, now this dwarf. Too many people disappearing without a trace.
You could have sworn your paper airplane sailed into the cabinet, hit the back of it, and fell to the bottom. Yet, upon second glance, it's nowhere to be found.
You examine the blood on the wall. This is not the blood of a dwarf! Maybe a rat. Rat blood as reagent in wizard spells...rat blood due to vermin problems...however you know, you just do. This is the blood of a rat. Therefore, logical conclusions to be reached. Piece together the events. What could have happened? What is unlikely? Dwarf says he needs to scout the means of access and egress. Dwarf goes up the stairs. Dwarf...
You examine the blood on the wall. Normally, this would require someone trained in healing. Yet, because your suspicions are so keyed up and heightened against the dwarf, you're able to see something in your mind's eye...make the detective's connection... You see how it must have happened now. The dwarf is ascending the stairs. He looks around furtively, making sure no one follows. You're all otherwise absorbed with what's happening to Agnes. The dwarf kicks over the lamp, throws the bedsheets around, and rips them. He picks up the rocking chair, smashes it against the wall, bashes it with his foot, and whacks it a couple times with his axe. He yells, They got me! They got me! A bunch of werewolves! He smashes the window, breaking it. The shards rain down into the street.
One last detail. He takes a dead rat out of his pocket, slits its neck with his dagger, and smears a bloody streak on the wall. Now, he listens again. Sounds of your party coming up the stairs. Hergelund jumps out the broken window and runs away into the night.
Just one last question remains unanswered. Why?
La Siréene takes note of the broom, but does not reach in to take it, merely casting Detect Magic to identify the Broom Of Flying and the command word needed to summon it.
Spellcraft Check: Broom of Flying 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (17) + 12 = 29
Then, La Siréene ascends the staircase into the bed room, taking note of her companions and surroundings. ”The cupboard is still affected strangely. Agnes stored a Broom of Flying within it: It seemed undamaged.” This said, she moves over the blood and attempts to analyze it.
Heal Check 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26
The command word is Tempusvolaré.
You examine the blood on the wall. Definitely not the blood of a dwarf. It is rat blood. If you analyze the angle of the streak, it looks like a bleeding rat was pressed to the wall and smeared in an arc. The blood is old and coagulated. It was not a fresh kill. The dwarf...or whoever attacked him...was carrying around dead rats? Well, he was in the sewers.
Blackacre's face wrinkles up as he examines the party's surroundings.
I do not think Hergelund was dragged away, friends. Look at how the sheets are torn - as though someone pulled them apart, not cut with claws. I see no wolf fur, no other signs that there were werewolves here, no sign that this was a struggle rather than a mad dwarf kicking over furniture...
He looks around for a rat or other source of the blood. perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25
Quinn stares into the distances and is unfocused and what has transpired in the last couple of minutes. He reacts to the possibility of Hergelund traitorous decption.
"Short Stack??? I pray that our friendship was not a deception. If I find out that you have deceived me then you better hope I will not find you." The monk says not to anyone in particular but more of a vow.
You see, there's some rat fur here in the blood. Now why would that be?
And better yet, why would Hergelund seek to cover his departure this way?
La Siréene stands up, having finished examining the blood. "This is indeed rat blood. You may be right, dear Gaston."
"As important as knowledge of the amount of trust we can put in Hergelund is, I wish to point us to the choices at hand. The ones I can think of are A, Track Hergelund down; to save him or make sure he is not a threat. Monsters in the way, but the tracking itself I might be capable of. B, to go as Agnes directed, to the Library of Anaphexia."
Nurse says lab was different... maybe we return to the hospital sooner, or later...
Maybe the dwarf was wrong, they were werebats, big ones. Bat fur looks like rat... One waiting here.
Grabbed him and jumped out window, crazy dwarf got a good hit. I hate to think he betrayed Agnes and Phoebe.
Sandru holds the flame oracle to his side protectively.
"Mr Quinn. I suspect that Mr Hergelund was mutated against his will. While we must now assume him an enemy, we need not believe he was a traitor. "
"Further, miss Agnes attempted to give us information in a way that would not be easily understood by those observing her. Given Miss Agnes' coded answer to the question I asked, I believe that if we are fast enough to follow her instructions we may yet be able to rescue her. Therefore I would like to advise that we go, now."
Ianez nods at the mechanical manservant's words. "The Library would seem to be our immediate goal. Perhaps our dressmaker would know of it? I have heard of it, myself, but know little more than the name, and that it's supposedly held by cultists sworn to the Reaper of Reputation."
Gaston glares out the window.
I agree - the Library seems our next logical choice. We will have to track Hergelund down later. He is bound to cross our paths again, if my instincts are correct.
and then we will see your true colors, "short stack."
Quinn approaches Gaston and stands beside him staring out the window.
"Hate to think that Hergelund is a traitor. He has help me in many investigations and situations."
The monk lowers his head and closes his eyes. "The world is upside down. The undead rising, the sorcerers palace, the taking of Agent S, Dr. Grey being a traitor, Agnes' abduction, and now this with Hergelund. All this is too great for one man's shoulders. I am grateful that fate has brought us together. Enough shoulders here to carry the problems of the world."
Quinn places a hand on Gaston shoulder. "If 'Short Stack' indeed has turned....I will need your strength in doing what must be done."