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ProfPotts' Legacy of Fire PBP

Game Master Alexander Scott

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You guys don't like my plan?
If there are no objections Bahram will cast Invisibility on himself and head further into the cave with Zaina and start the hustling.
He'll start off by telling Sefu to tell Ashia he met the 'Knight Protectors of Kelerane who vanquished *insert devils name who's I've forgotten now here* and they were on the way to the House of the Beast' if that piques her interest Bahram will weave the tale of the genie war raged in these parts that Bahram spent the last year researching (i.i.r.c.), citing names, locations and ranks. Taking 10 on knowledge histry, arcana and plains for a 24 with the bonus to genie lore.
Any objections?

Stealth if I get the goa ahead: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (12) + 21 = 33

Male Dwarf Cleric 5

Ack! Sorry, for some reason, my dot for this thread disappeared, and I did not see that there were updates :-/

Rashid nods as Bahram outlines his plan.

"It is not without risk, but I acknowledge that it is probably our best option if we are to help Sefu. Good luck; may the Dawnflower's blessing be upon you."

I will give both Bahram and Sefu a Touch of Glory, for a +5 on any one charisma-based check within the next hour.

The Exchange

With the plan (more or less) agreed upon, Zaina flits over to lay a tiny hand upon first Yousef (who wanted to go along) and then Haleen (who will want to go with Yousef... who always seems to have fun ideas when they're invisible...), uttering a few words of the lyrical, airy, auran language as she does so; even as Bahram casts a similar spell of his own. Within moments all three have faded from sight. Zaina repeats the magic on herself as Sefu, taking a deep breath and straightening his shoulders, turns and pads up the sloping corridor at the rear of the entrance cave...

That leaves Rashid and Lavender still visible and in the entrance cave by my count.

The sloping corridor leads up and deeper into the mountainside, maybe a hundred feet or so, until it opens onto a second chamber. The room is much more precisely carved out of the rock than the entrance cave, and appears to be a little over twenty feet square, and maybe fifteen feet from floor to ceiling. The centre of the chamber is dominated by a round dais, also carved from the rock, a couple of feet high and bedecked with a multitude of intricately woven rugs and plush silken cushions. In the centre of each wall is an entrance-way: the one Sefu and his team of 'advisors' has just arrived at, and one in each of the three remaining walls - although each of those three is covered by an artistically patterned hanging woven with what appear to be semi-precious stones and beads. Either side of the dais is a tall bronze stand holding a censer bowl, although neither is currently lit.

Reclining atop the dais is a creature similar to Sefu, with the sleek body of a lioness, the wings of a falcon, and the head and torso of a beautiful Osirian woman - undoubtedly the object of Sefu's desires: the sphinx Ashia. Ashia wears a heavy gold and lapis lazuli pectoral in the ancient Osirian style (barely enough to protect the modesty of her otherwise bared breasts), a golden armlet fashioned in the likeness of a coiled serpent (on her left arm), and a fine golden diadem set with a small black stone upon her haughty brow. Her straight black hair falls to a little above her shoulders, and her eyelids are heavily painted with kohl, which trails off into graceful spiral designs across her temples and upper cheeks. An elaborate-looking hookah rests near her on the dais.

As Sefu pads into the room, Ashia opens one eye with studied lazy air, very deliberately yawns, stretches in a feline manner, blinks, then finally deigns to look in her fellow sphinx's direction. When she speaks, her purred words sound poetic... but somehow manage to carry a rather arrogant tone...

'I wondered just how easy I'd have to make the riddle on my door for the likes of you to finally stumble your way into a correct answer,' she addresses Sefu with a rather imperious sniff, 'apparently you've managed to comprehend one of the oldest and most well known of all riddles... I suppose that should impress me, coming from an animal like you...'

Sefu's ram-like features twitch into a snarl at Ashia's words, and a low growl rumbles at the back of his throat, but he otherwise manages to keep himself in check for the moment. A thin smile touches Ashia's lips (but fails to reach her eyes...). She briefly glances to Sefu's left and right...

Sense Motive DC 24:
She's trying to not make it too obvious, but you're pretty sure the lady sphinx can see you all...

... before looking at him once more, and continuing...

'But it wouldn't be wise for me to overestimate your intellect, now, would it? Such a noble tongue must be difficult for you; perhaps I should switch to something a little more...'

'...common?' she concludes in common Kelish.

Sefu seems to be gritting his teeth, but takes another deep breath before answering,

'I thought you may be interested to learn, my lady, that I recently met the Knight Protectors of Kelerane, who vanquished the foul daemon Xulthos, and are now on their way to the House of the Beast...'

Ashia's eyes narrow,

'I may be a lady, animal,' she retorts, 'but I am in no way "yours"...'

'I... ah... yes... I mean no... I...' Sefu stumbles over his own words as what little confidence he seemed to have built up quickly flees under the 'lady's' verbal assault. Ashia sighs and rolls her eyes,

'Well I suppose it would be too much to ask for you to actually have any inkling of what you mean, wouldn't it?' she shakes her head, as if her derision wasn't obvious enough, but then shrugs slightly as she continues, 'Although I do like to hear recent news of import. I suppose I could tolerate your brutish presence for a little while... or, at least, for as long as you manage to amuse me...'

'Oh... yes... of course...' Sefu blurts out, glancing around a little (as if looking for his invisible friends...). Ashia sighs once more and shifts her position on the dais a little,

'Already getting bored...' she coaxes...

... Sefu seems to have frozen...

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (12) + 0 = 12

Bahram looks on in fascination, admiring both the splendor of the room as well as the creature inhabiting it, a powerful creature, graceful and intelligent and obviously quite rich too.

Seeing the verbal exchange between the two makes Bahram wonder if they misunderstood the whole thing. Asha seemed to him to just want Sefu to grow a backbone. But then, he could be wrong, it wasn't like Bahram was the most experienced male member of his own species.

Pointing an invisible finger at Sefu Bahram whispers to the poor sphinx.

"Not so agitated my friend, be more relaxed and you'll go allot further. I actually think she likes you." he begins.

"Now, tell her of the janni Kardswaan and the Templars of the Five Winds..." Bahram tries to coax Sefu through the tale as much as he can.

Ok, details are slipping my mind here but Bahram will talk about the princess and her human lover, the war and their fall, try to get her interested in the tale and tie it in with the House of the Beast.

Sense Motive 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8

Yousef whispers to Haleen,
"The more this c$@$ talks, the more I want to go with your idea. I think our new friend here really is barking up the wrong tree.. He would also be visibly relieved, if he were visible, that he is not visible, and therefore can stare straight at Ashia's breasts with abandon.

1d20 ⇒ 19 I don't know if this is stealth or bluff. Stealth it is a 28, bluff a 29.

hp 35 | AC 12 | T 12 | FF 10 | CMD 12 | F +2 | R +3 | W +3 | Init +8 | Per +8 || LL 8 || Sp ~/8/2 ||| SpC 8min

Lavender turns to Rashid once the others are gone. "I don't know how different Bahram's spell is from mine, but my invisibility spell only lasts five minutes. I say we give them three or four minutes, then we go in while invisible too. That way if Bahram and the others are revealed we can be there if something bad happens. What do you think? "

The Exchange

'Have you heard the tale of the djinni princess Nefeshti, her human lover the reformed genie-binder Andrathi, and her five wishcrafted elite janni warriors, the Templars of the Five Winds?' Sefu begins, seemingly encouraged by Bahram's assessment of Ashia's feelings towards him, and doing his best to reiterate the information the scholarly elementalist is feeding him, 'It is said that they fought against the efreeti prince Jhavhul in these very mountains in ages past, and that...'

'Yes, yes,' Ashia interupts with a drawn-out yawn she gracefully covers with one leonine forepaw, 'the so-called House of the Beast was Jhavhul's temple to Rovagug... I hardly need a history lesson, animal... although it's certainly an "impressive" effort on your part to be able to offer one... or, at least, I suppose it speaks to some minimal capacity for intelligence that you can parrot back such stories as you've heard... But you seem to lack enough capacity for thought to actually comprehend what qualifies as recent events...'

'Ooh,' Haleen whispers softly, '"minimal intelligence"? Oh yes... I can tell he's really wearing her down...'

'I... um...' Sefu stumbles for a moment, but then manages to recover a little as he presses on, ... Kardswann! Yes! I... ah... I was just filling in the background to more recent news, but since you seem to know...'

'Just get on with it,' Ashia interupts again, with a sigh, 'I could just smoke pesh if I wanted my faculties dulled this much...'

Sefu snarls under his breath, but chokes it back as he continues,

'Right... Well, Kardswann... as I'm sure you know...' he adds through gritted teeth, '... was one of the aforementioned Templars, but more recently was ruling the nearby village of Kelmarane, ostensibly in the name of the Carrion King. A far cry, I hope you'd agree, from his duties of old opposing the minions of the Rough Beast...'

'It would seem a tad out of character,' Ashia agrees, raising one haughty eyebrow, 'although time has a way of changing one's views.'

'Yes, well, quite,' Sefu seems a little flustered by Ashia's less-insulting-than-usual tone, but continues to retell the tale as Bahram passes it to him, 'as it happens it was the daemon Xulthos who was controlling the once-noble Templar. The... ah... travellers I met were the ones who slaughtered the better part of the Kulldis tribe of gnolls - whom Kardswann, under Xulthos's domination, had taken command of - and slew the daemon itself, freeing the jann from its vile influence, and reclaiming the village of Kelmarane in the name of the PactMasters... as represented by one Lady Almah. Those heroes were named Knight Protectors of the village in recognition of their great deeds.'

Sefu pauses. Ashia fixes him with a narrowed gaze for a few moments... then shrugs,

'Your tale is of mild interest. I'd heard much the same from the merchants who have once more been travelling the old route to and from Osirian this past year, although I confess you seem to have learned more details than they were able to share. So where, pray tell, would these Knight Protectors be now, hmmm?'

'I... um... that is to say... ah...' Sefu seems a little tripped up by the direct question...

'Yousef: what say we go and see what sort of treasures this... "lady"... has collected over the years,' Haleen whispers, 'whilst good Bahram plays puppetmaster-of-love?'

"You're doing great. Now tell her that they are on their way to the House of the Beast to investigate the rumors of increased gnoll activity in that area as warned by *insert name here*, cleric of Sarenrae... Bahram continues to pour out information for Sefu to divulge.

Haleen wrote:
'Yousef: what say we go and see what sort of treasures this... "lady"... has collected over the years,' Haleen whispers, 'whilst good Bahram plays puppetmaster-of-love?'

"This is just getting good. Lets watch this sphinx humiliate goat-boy here. Later, I bet she leaves at some point to hunt or poop or whatever, we come back and look around. She might not be able to see us, but I bet she could see a floating bit o gold..."

Wis check 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (3) - 1 = 2

...what would it hurt to just look.. Yousef feels around for Haleen's hand and edges away from the group.

The Exchange

'They're on their way to the House of the Beast,' Sefu repeats the words as Bahram gives them to him, 'to investigate the rumours of increased gnoll activity in that area as warned by Zayifid, cleric of Sarenrae...'

'Did you say "Zayifid", my Master?' Zaina's tiny voice pipes up close to Bahram, 'That's an unusual coincidence... Zayifid was the name of one of the Templars...'

Meanwhile, Yousef (after a little fumbling around) manages to locate Haleen's hand, and the two begin to edge away from the group, up into Ashia's 'audience chamber' to circle round her dais...

For a few moments Ashia remains quite, eyes fixed upon Sefu... but then she pounces from the dais, to land off to one side (unbeknown to the others, right in front of Yousef and Haleen, blocking their path) claws out and scratching the rock floor as she growls, feline muscles tensing as if ready to leap again,

'Enough!' she declares, 'This charade was an amusement, a chance to laugh at the animal as he was prompted by one with a little more intellect (although that in itself is hardly a challenge)... but I'll not allow petty thieves the run of my home just to maintain the pretense that I can't see them...'

The female sphinx's voice is loud enough to carry to Lavender and Rashid where they wait in the entrance cave...

Next to him, Yousef hears the distinctive sound of Haleen's sword being unsheathed...

'What?' Sefu appears at once startled and guilty, 'You... ah... you can... um... see something, you say?'

Male Dwarf Cleric 5

Rashid groans, and curses under his breath.

"Yousef, what have you done?"

He then turns to Lavender.

"We should probably hurry. It sounds as if things are about to become... unpleasant... in there..."

"Hmm..? Yes dear, Zayfid, dear." Bahram replies to Zaina distractedly, intent on the conversation of the sphinxes.

Thinking that this is going swell Bahram is as startled as Sefu at Asha's outburst, taken aback he prepares to defend himself but then stops as her words register in his mind.

"Yousef!" he says loud and clear, "What are you doing!? Get back here! NOW!"

hp 35 | AC 12 | T 12 | FF 10 | CMD 12 | F +2 | R +3 | W +3 | Init +8 | Per +8 || LL 8 || Sp ~/8/2 ||| SpC 8min

"I bet Haleen isn't innocent either. Lets go try to straighten this out. Hopefully peacefully..." Lavender says to Rashid as they run into the room.

When she gets into the room, she turns to Sefu The only once she can see beside's Ashia, "What. Happened?!" Seriously, it hasn't even been half a minute and everything has gone haywire!

"Uu..I..I..uh. Uhm." Yousef assumes a shrug and feels around his body with his hands, patting and digging in pockets. "Ah, there it is." He removes a potion and swigs it back. "Ahem, for the nerves. I have this condition that makes me stutter when I am nervous. It is very common amongst us well endowed boys like Sefu and myself. I just wanted to get a closer look at this pillar of beauty that Sefu keeps going on about. And boy is he right, you sure are a looker!"

He drank a Potion of Innocence

Bluff 1d20 + 10 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 + 10 = 22

The Exchange

"What. Happened?!"

'I honestly don't have a clue...' replies Sefu to the arriving Lavender and Rashid. The ram-headed sphinx is looking more than a little flustered as he clutches the ziz egg protectively to his chest with one forepaw and edges back against the wall...

"Yousef!" he says loud and clear, "What are you doing!? Get back here! NOW!"
"Uu..I..I..uh. Uhm... Ah, there it is... Ahem, for the nerves. I have this condition that makes me stutter when I am nervous. It is very common amongst us well endowed boys like Sefu and myself. I just wanted to get a closer look at this pillar of beauty that Sefu keeps going on about. And boy is he right, you sure are a looker!"

Sefu nervously glances this way and that as the seemingly disembodied voices fly across the room, but Ashia seems to be focused on something... or rather, someone... directly in front of her...

'It's true about the stuttering...' Haleen's voice pipes up in support of Yousef, '...and the other thing... but it's not like you have to let them talk to get what you want out of them, right?'

Ashia seems coiled, ready to pounce...

... then the GM rolls a '4' for her Sense Motive check... ho hum...

... but then relaxes, sitting back on her haunches, a half smile playing on her lips,

'Well,' she purrs, 'I suppose I can't really punish you for falling for my charms...' she glances over to where Sefu's looking worried by the wall, rolls her eyes, sighs, and pads her way back to her cusion-bedecked dais, '... and one can't imagine the animal being able to wax poetic enough to capture my true beauty... so I can see how meeting me in the flesh may have been a little... overwhelming...'

'Quick!' Sefu whispers to Bahram via the wizard's cantrip, 'Do you know any poetry?'

Settling herself back in her place commanding the chamber, Ashia speaks a word of Ancient Osirian, and the two censer bowls on the bronze stands either side of the dais flare to life, filling the room with both flickering light and sweet smelling incense.

'Perhaps...' Ashia begins, '...assuming you're quite finished with your little mummer's farce... we could all stop hiding and make an attempt at more civilised introductions?'

hp 35 | AC 12 | T 12 | FF 10 | CMD 12 | F +2 | R +3 | W +3 | Init +8 | Per +8 || LL 8 || Sp ~/8/2 ||| SpC 8min

Lavender shakes her head over the whole debacle. "Sorry Ms. Ashia, I wish we would have met in a less... Weird way, but Mr. Sefu really wanted to impress you and we wished to help him. We were foolish to not realize that a great sphinx such as yourself would see through our little ruse. I hope it was at least amusing."

"My name is Lavender Leaf, and it is a pleasure to meet you."

Once introductions are are over, Lavender asks, "So Ms. Aisha, how long have you and Mr. Sefu known each other? You seem to knew each other quite well, you even gave him a cute nickname!" Lavender says, trying to spin Aisha's insult.

Dismissing the invisibility reveals a blushing and embarrassed Bahram, clearing his throat he bows deeply to Ashia.

"I am Bahram Zarishu, a friend, I hope, and regretfully the orchestrator of this 'mummers' farce', as you so aptly named it. Please do not be offended by this debacle, it is a poor way for first introductions I know but, rather you should be flattered by the lengths Sefu is willing to go to gain your favors m'lady."

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 8 + 5 = 23

The Exchange

"So Ms. Aisha, how long have you and Mr. Sefu known each other? You seem to knew each other quite well, you even gave him a cute nickname!"

'The animal has been pestering me for some time,' Ashia replies with a haughty sniff, 'it seemed to think it could buy breeding rights with me by offering me trinkets like that egg it's always carrying around...'

'Honest tokens of my affection!' Sefu pipes up quickly (the clarification directed at least as much to his new friends as to Ashia), 'I meant no... um... "implications" by my gifts!'

'And trying to disguise yourself as a higher and more noble form of sphinx? What was the "implication" there?' Ashia retorts venomously to Sefu's comments, 'that I lack the intellect to see through such pitiful chicanery?'

'No!' Sefu recoils slightly at the acid in Ashia's tone, 'I... I just thought you'd like me better looking like that...'

Ashia sighs...

'What I'd like is a real male... not a barely cognizant savage like you, but a man of intellect...'

"I am Bahram Zarishu, a friend, I hope, and regretfully the orchestrator of this 'mummers' farce', as you so aptly named it. Please do not be offended by this debacle, it is a poor way for first introductions I know but, rather you should be flattered by the lengths Sefu is willing to go to gain your favors m'lady."

'... why hello Bahram Zarishu,' Ashia purrs, a smile playing at the corners of her mouth as she turns towards the elementalist - an expression in rather sharp contrast to the ones she's been offering poor Sefu... Reaching forth one forepaw the female sphinx gently beckons to Bahram, 'step forwards, so I may better assess the conductor of this orchestra of deception...' for some reason the gesture puts one in mind of a cat playing with a trapped mouse...

Bahram nearly squeaks at the gesture, when he said 'friend' he didn't mean he wanted to get 'friendly' with her. Blushing slightly he gives another bow and mutters 'Of course' and steps closer, though not close enough for her to touch him.

"Sefu managed to impress us you see, mastering the Ziz's Egg is no small feat after all, and hearing his worry over your great beauty gave us pause and we only wished to aid him in his endeavors in garnering your affections." Bahram tries, hoping to turn Ashia's attention back to Sefu.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26

hp 35 | AC 12 | T 12 | FF 10 | CMD 12 | F +2 | R +3 | W +3 | Init +8 | Per +8 || LL 8 || Sp ~/8/2 ||| SpC 8min

...What the heck is wrong with this lady? She has some nerve... Lavender thinks through gritted teeth.

When she beckons Bahram, she facepalms. Great, It's the Harpy all over again...

"You know, it is common knowledge that people pick on persons that they like. Does the same hold true for sphinxes?" Lavender asks to Ashia.

Male Dwarf Cleric 5

[ooc]Sorry, the website upgrade had my campaign page go haywire :-/ Hopefully, there will be no further interruptions :-)

Rashid groans, internally.

Why does Bahram keep attracting the attention of all sorts of ladies, in such wildly inconvenient settings? Some might consider the boy blessed by the Gods, but it can be darn inconvenient.

Given that formal introductions are being made, he bows.

"I am Father Rashid al-Gahiji, sometime companion of, and spiritual adviser to, this band of explorers. We were traveling through the region, on a quest to deal with some of the pesky Gnolls in the area, when we encountered Sefu.

Being quite moved by his tale of unrequited love, and how he was at his wit's end when it came to trying to impress you, we resolved to see what we could do to aid his suit, hoping to spin a story or two to impress you, or at the very least, to provide a pleasant temporary distraction."

The Exchange

"Sefu managed to impress us you see, mastering the Ziz's Egg is no small feat after all, and hearing his worry over your great beauty gave us pause and we only wished to aid him in his endeavors in garnering your affections."

'Really?' Ashia asks, her brows raised with an expression of incredulity, 'the animal managed to impress one of your obvious intellect?' for a brief moment the lady sphinx's eyes seem to flicker over to Sefu without, perhaps, the usual haughty contempt she seems to hold for her male counterpart...

"You know, it is common knowledge that people pick on persons that they like. Does the same hold true for sphinxes?"

The lady sphinx sniffs dismissively, tossing Lavender one of her patented disdainful glances,

'A true sphinx doesn't trifle with common knowledge, but rather quite the opposite... although "common" seems the level of knowledge most suited to one such as yourself, so I suppose we should bow to your apparent expertise in such matters...'

"... Being quite moved by his tale of unrequited love, and how he was at his wit's end when it came to trying to impress you, we resolved to see what we could do to aid his suit, hoping to spin a story or two to impress you, or at the very least, to provide a pleasant temporary distraction."

Ashia sighs,

'I suppose it's a better approach than the animal has attempted before. However, since we're arrived at the crux of the matter,' she assumes a rather regal posture, sitting back with her head held high, 'I propose the following: if you are all determined to be the animal's advocates, then we should proceed in that vein. You will each be permitted to step forward and make your case in support of Sefu's suit. After you have all spoken on his behalf, I shall hear Sefu speak. I will ponder what you all say, and render an honest and fair judgement. Will you all agree to uphold my judgement, whatever it may be?'

Yousef steps forward and those who have gotten to know him can just tell he is about to say something untoward...

hp 35 | AC 12 | T 12 | FF 10 | CMD 12 | F +2 | R +3 | W +3 | Init +8 | Per +8 || LL 8 || Sp ~/8/2 ||| SpC 8min


Lavender doesn't respond to anything the sphinx says, although it isn't too hard to tell she's pissed.


Lavender places a firm hand on Yousef's shoulder, hopefully holding him back. still, she doesn't say anything.


Male Dwarf Cleric 5

Rashid takes a moment to collect his thoughts, but sensing that Yousef and Lavender have more... argumentative... intentions, he clears his throat, and interjects:

"I will agree to abide by your ruling, specifically regarding Sefu, since we have your word that it will be an honest and fair judgement."

He then gestures towards Sefu.

"Sefu here is very much smitten with you. He knows that he is not what you consider to be your ideal form of partner, but he does his best to overcome that, and prove his worthiness for your attention."

Rashid nods to the Zizz egg.

"He attempted to woo you with gifts, procuring that egg for you."

He then gestures to the magical hat.

"Knowing that his form was not your preferred option, he tried to change himself, in whatever small way he could, assuming another guise; this was not a trick - merely an earnest desire to present you with what you would prefer."

Rashid gestures with both arms, taking in all of the others in the room with a sweep.

"He even sought the aid of others, hoping that we would be able to provide him with some insight or amazing story which would pique your interest."

He then smiles, and gestures to Sefu once again.

"Would not one so motivated to please you make a good match? His only desire is to earn your respect and companionship, a powerful motivator that will see him (metaphorically) move the heavens themselves if it should be your desire. One such as that would also be a far more attentive mate than another who felt more... entitled... to his position."

He then bows to Ashia.

"In terms of a story, perhaps this one will be worthy of being classed as a distraction: Near here, is the human village of Kelmarane. Twenty years ago, a great evil came to the region; a camel-sized insectile fiend with huge claws, multiple eyes, slavering mandibles, and a long serpentine tail tipped with chitinous blades, named Xulthos. He corrupted the town, and despite the best efforts of the Pactmasters of Katapesh, he was not destroyed - he was simply sealed away in a crypt beneath the Temple of Sarenrae. There he languished, whilst above him, the town was claimed by a Gnoll tribe, until a Genie named Kardswann came to the region; passing into the crypt, he was dominated by the fiend, who used him to set about turning the region into a more well-run Hell. Those you see here before you were amongst his victims - we were all enslaved by the tribe, but managed to escape, and took the fight back to the tribe, eventually slaying all of them. When the time came, we went below the church, broke the seal, and destroyed the beast..." A look of anguish crosses Rashid's face... "Although we experienced a tragic loss - a companion by the name of Felliped was decapitated by the fiend; we buried him with full honors in the graveyard above, amongst the other Heroes of Kelmarane."

hp 35 | AC 12 | T 12 | FF 10 | CMD 12 | F +2 | R +3 | W +3 | Init +8 | Per +8 || LL 8 || Sp ~/8/2 ||| SpC 8min

Lavender calms down a bit listening to Rashid. "Sefu loves you Ms. Aisha. As Rashid said, he is willing to go to great lengths to win your affections. I know that he isn't one of these so called Higher Sphinxes, but I don't see any around for you to covet either. Sefu has a noble spirit, nobler daresay than any other sphinx I have ever met. You two would make a great couple."

Bahram blinks a few times before responding. It was all so... formal all of a sudden. Glancing at Zaina he mutters "Well, it's not like we can realy force her into anything..." and shrugs.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18

Bowing to Ashia he gathers his thoughts and concents to her terms.

"Of course lady, we will bow to the wisdom of your judgment."

"Sefu, as you know, bears great emotions for you. And as you know first hand, emotions can make people do the stupidest things. Believing that you would be impressed with power, thinking that you would not see past glammers, challanging your obviously superior intellect." Bahram counts off his fingers the things he knows Sefu has tried with Ashia with a shake of his head.

"But I ask you Ashia, in your great wisdom, to please, please look beyond the deeds to their intent." Bahram continues, pouring emotion he didn't know he had for this matter into his voice. "Please see them for what they are. Expressions of love Ashia. Precious, precious love." Bahram finds himself looking at Zaina when he continues. "And no matter how stupid his actions may seem, hurtfull even at times, please know he bears you only that one emotion above all; Love. He strives only to impress you. He yearns only for your acceptance, he seeks only your comfort and warmth. His heart goes out to you."

Looking back at Ashia he bows again. "Do not let his love go unrequited, thank you." he says in finsh.

The Exchange

When it comes round to her turn to 'testify', Haleen simply shrugs,

'You keep refering to Sefu as an "animal"... but sometimes a touch of the animal can be a very good thing...' she smiles at Yousef (and squeezes his bottom for good measure), adding, '... trust me on that...'

Ashia's brow furrows a little as she listens to the various defences offered of Sefu's suit, but appears to be reserving her judgement for the moment. Her gaze seeks out Yousef,

'And you?' she asks, 'Do you offer any words in favour of,' she glances towards Haleen for a moment, a slight smile twitching at the corner of her mouth as she finishes, 'your fellow animal?'

"Welllll" Yousef draws out the word. "I frankly don't see what Sefu sees in you. All I see is a mean spirited narcissistic b&~$# who wouldn't know a good thing if it bit her in the ass. If you really want my honest opinion, I think he should go off and find another sphinxette that'll be more appreciative of his affections."

Yousef pauses, as if he isn't sure if he should say the next thing on his mind. Then he opens his mouth.

"Oh and by the way, you look like just as much as an animal as he; so I don't see what your big problem is."

hp 35 | AC 12 | T 12 | FF 10 | CMD 12 | F +2 | R +3 | W +3 | Init +8 | Per +8 || LL 8 || Sp ~/8/2 ||| SpC 8min

Well, It's what we all have been thinking... hopefully we get points for honesty...

Male Dwarf Cleric 5

Rashid groans inwardly when Yousef presents the Sphinx with his version of *incredibly* blunt honesty.

I sincerely hope that she does not decide to eat him... I dare say that it would earn Sefu brownie points if he aided her...

The Exchange

Ashia growls, claws sliding smoothly from her forepaws and slicing into soft silk cusions as she tenses, fixing Yousef with a narrow eyed stare, and moves a half pace towards him...

... then smiles,

'Your animal is, at least, forthright with his opinion,' the female sphinx observes, to Haleen (and the group in general), 'there is some merit in that... if little tact...' she arches her back as she stretches, then lazily glances across the rest of the group, adding, '... although I suppose you have others to handle the tact side of things, yes?' she raises an eyebrow to Rashid, and gifts Bahram with a winning smile. Sheathing her claws and settling herself back into a more regal position, she appears deep in thought for a few moments, before once more casting her imperious gaze across the assembled group,

'So, you say Sefu is smitten and eager to please,' she begins as she glances towards Rashid, 'a noble spirit in love,' her glances briefly flickers across Lavender, 'a fool with the best of intentions,' she once more smiles at Bahram (the more observant may notice the gritting of tiny teeth from Zaina's direction...), 'a lover of animal passion,' she rolls her eyes at Haleen, 'and a better male than I deserve,' her smile towards Yousef is accompanied by her claws silently unsheathing and sheathing again... Finally she turns towards Sefu himself, 'And you... noble animal... what have you to say for yourself?'

Stepping (a little cautiously) into the centre of the room, Sefu looks up at Ashia, glances towards the travellers who have spoken so well on his behalf, then takes a deep breath. As he turns towards his lady love once more the male sphinx seems to almost grow in stature, the light and shadows cast across him adding a certain dignity to his appearance. The nerves he's obviously been wracked with appear to fade away, and it's with a clear, calm, impressive voice that he speaks,

'I am humbled that these good folk, these heroes of Kelmarane, would speak thus on my behalf,' he begins, and for once Ashia fails to interupt him, instead appearing to grant Sefu her full attention, 'and they speak the truth. For all your faults, Ashia, I do love you - fool that I am. All I ask of you is that, despite my own shortcomings, you give me a chance. We both know I'll never be your intellectual equal, but I possess knowledge of my own, of animals and nature, if not of the complex riddles and high philosophies you profess to prefer. It seems to me, in my simple way of seeing things, that exploring new forms of knowledge and learning would be more of a challenge to you than constantly proving your academic superiority over those you meet. Despite your put-downs, I can be a worthwhile companion to you, Ashia... if you're prepared to accept the challenge. You know the things I've tried in my attempts to win your acceptance, the lengths I've gone to. If there's a chance such actions will eventually lead you to me then I'm willing to continue until the end of time... but if not, then tell me now, and you have my word I'll never bother you again.'

Having said his piece, Sefu waits in silence for Ashia's judgement, a resolute expression on his ram-like face...

Quiet falls across the chamber for several long moments, Ashia seeming to contemplate Sefu and all that has been said, and Sefu steadily meeting her gaze...

Finally, Ashia nods, apparantly to herself more than to anyone else, closes her eyes for a moment, then opens them again and adresses the room,

'My judgement is this...' she glances across the group, but her gaze drifts back to Sefu, '... I shall consent to talk with Sefu, to spend some time together as...' she pauses, then sighs a little and smiles, '... as equals. We shall see where things go from there. Agreed?'

Sefu smiles back and nods,

'Agreed, Ashia,' he replies, 'that's all I ever wanted.'

'All?' Ashia raises an imperious brow; Sefu's smile widens,

'Well - that... and the possibility of more...'

Ashia rolls her eyes,

'Yes, well,' she retorts, her regal tone a little more playful than before, 'one thing at a time, my noble animal, one thing at a time...' Her gaze lingering on Sefu for just a moment longer, Ashia then turns to adress the rest of the group, 'If you'd be so kind as to leave Sefu and I alone now... we have much to discuss, it seems...'

"Oh gods I can't see this!" Yousef gasps, putting a palm across his eyes. "Oh gods my hand is invisible!" before he hastily makes an exit from the chamber and outside to deeplly breathe in the fresh air.

Bahram just smiles and bows at the sphinxes and turns to leave with a "..By your leave.." as a reply to Ashia's 'request'.

Walking away with Zaina fluttering around him, absentmindedly playing with her, reaching out a hand to touch her and her ducking out of the way giggling, he can be heard muttering "And love triumphed in the end..." as he walk away.

Male Dwarf Cleric 5

Rashid groans inwardly when Yousef makes his exit, but covers his momentary disquiet with a bow.

"Of course we will leave the two of you alone..."

He then beats a hasty retreat, ushering the others back out of the cave complex.

The Exchange

Assuming Lavender leaves as well...

A minute or two after the group has made their way from the Ashia's caves and onto the plateau of rock outside the entrance, Sefu hurries out after them. Beaming a wide smile, the ram-faced sphinx keeps glancing back the way he came,

'My friends!' he declares with obvious joy, 'I cannot thank you all enough for what you've done today. I know there's still a way to go with persuading Ashia to return my love, but now I have a chance where before I had none. Here, take this...' he holds forth the Osirian-style headress he was wearing earlier, '... I won't be needing it any more, but perhaps you will find a use for its magic? It disguises you - and itself - when you wear it. Just put it on an utter the Osirian word for "appearance", followed by whichever disguise you wish to assume... in Osirian, of course. I know it's not much, but it's all I have to offer, I'm afraid...'

That be one of them there Hat of Disguise thingies he be holding...

Haleen nudges Yousef,

'How do you think I'd look as a redhead?' she glances towards Lavender, then grins and adds, 'Or perhaps you'd like me with some elfish features thrown in, eh?'

Zaina tries to be reticent at Bahram's playfulness (still pouting as she is at the manner in which Ashia seemed to be favouring her... Master...) but it's not long before she fails to suppress a giggle of her own beneath her gossamer veil and her long-lashed eyes offer the elementalist a glance full of passion and promise...

Sefu quickly offers his farewells as he rushes back inside to continue his... conversation... with Ashia. A few moments later a familiar looking eagle circles the plateau once, before landing and transforming back into Keldar. Shaking himself a little, as if shaking out feathers which he no longer possesses, the dwarven druid points up the mountain and off to one side,

'I've scouted a path to the The Mountain's Maw,' he announces, 'it's located in a deep, wind-swept, fissure on an otherwise bare slope in that direction. There's seems to be a constant stream of ashen smoke issuing from the entrance, so I'm pretty sure it's the right caven. It's a bit of a climb, but we should be able to make it by nightfall.'

Bahram bows and accepts the offered headdress with a wish good luck. Giving it to Yousef he mutters some encouragements to Zaina about where his heart lies before turning to look where to go next.

Meeting Keldar with a smile he listenes to his report. "Well. Sounds like we have our destination picked out for us. Are we ready to go?" he asks the group.

hp 35 | AC 12 | T 12 | FF 10 | CMD 12 | F +2 | R +3 | W +3 | Init +8 | Per +8 || LL 8 || Sp ~/8/2 ||| SpC 8min

Lavender pretends to not hear Haleen, as she tries to listen in on Yousef's answer.

When Keldar reappears, Lavender gets excited. "Alright, where there's smoke there's fire! Maybe I can get this stick working soon!" She says as she pulls out the wand that Almah had given her. "I'm ready to continue, lead the way Keldar!"

Male Dwarf Cleric 5

Rashid nods.

"Very well. Let's be on our way. The sooner we deal with what is within the mountain, the sooner this region will become a safer place."

Despite his apparent steadfastness, however, Rashid nonetheless mutters a brief prayer to the Dawnflower under his breath as the party gets closer to their goal.

My Lady, watch over us, as we undertake this great task...

Haleen nudges Yousef wrote:

'How do you think I'd look as a redhead?' she glances towards Lavender, then grins and adds, 'Or perhaps you'd like me with some elfish features thrown in, eh?'

"I think I'd like that. Like it a lot." he grins, then dons the headdress as he follows Keldar. "Appearance." He then frowns when nothing happens. "What's appearance in Osirion.?

Bahram steps up at Yousefs question, instructing him on the word 'appearance' in osirion and various other words Yousef can use with the headdress, some of which cause the elementalist some distress but he nevertheless does his best to be helpful.

hp 35 | AC 12 | T 12 | FF 10 | CMD 12 | F +2 | R +3 | W +3 | Init +8 | Per +8 || LL 8 || Sp ~/8/2 ||| SpC 8min

W-why would Yousef want Haleen to look like me? Lavender thinks to herself as she tries to suppress a blush.

The Exchange

The path Keldar has scouted is narrow and pretty tough going, but managable enough. As the group make their (careful) way across the steep mountainside towards the so-called Mountain's Maw, Haleen manages to move close to Lavender...

'So...' Haleen whispers, '... are you sure there's nothing going on between you and my Yousef?' the swordswoman seems to be attempting to keep her tone light... although perhaps it's a little forced... 'I understand he has seen you naked before, right?'

The group's maybe a couple of hours out from Ashia's cave (with perhaps an hour or so left, by Keldar's estimate, before they reach the smoking cavern) when the narrow path passes under an overhang of rock sixty or so feet above. The overhang casts deep shadows across a loose jumble of boulders and rocks which are scattered on and around the path, and the odd pebble or small rain of dirt falls down from above. Lying amongst the boulders is the battered and freshly bloody body of a gnoll, with a crudely fashioned arrow still sticking out of his left thigh... as the group edge closer a pained moan escapes the gnoll's gritted teeth, indicating that he is, in fact, still alive... for the moment, at least...

Perception DC 18:
A fresh shower of dirt from above draws your attention and for a fleeting moment you catch a glance of two more gnolls perched on the overhang above, with bows in hand... they pull back out of sight almost at once as you glance up...

Perception 1d20 ⇒ 16
+7 = 23
+12 = 28

Yousef begins to bark and growl at the gnoll.

"Heh. Heh. Heh, would you look at that. I wonder. What would you do if you were in my situation right. About. Now."

Male Dwarf Cleric 5

Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25.

"Be careful; I do not like the look of that overhang - it might collapse at any moment..."

Rashid then moves closer to Lavender.

"Two more Gnolls, armed with bows, are up on top of the overhang; they just ducked out of sight."

He then continues on, watching with apparent interest whilst Yousef 'interrogates' the bleeding Gnoll.

*whistles innocently*

hp 35 | AC 12 | T 12 | FF 10 | CMD 12 | F +2 | R +3 | W +3 | Init +8 | Per +8 || LL 8 || Sp ~/8/2 ||| SpC 8min

"Haleen, there is nothing going on between me and Yousef. At least not that I am aware of. Don't worry, I'm not the type of girl that steals men away from her friends. You'd have a better chance of getting me to kiss a gnoll." She says trying to reassure her.
Goddess, these men and their 'girlfriends' are going to be the end of me... -_-'

Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20

Lavender whispers back to Rashid. "I saw them... Can I kill them?"

Male Dwarf Cleric 5

"I certainly have no objection to you doing so; by all means, go ahead... The fewer scouts there are to report our progress, the better."

Perception: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (13) + 0 = 13

Bahram eyes the wounded gnoll with mixed emotions. First off; There was a sentient creature in pain and Bahram, beeing kind hearted by nature, felt a need to sooth it's pain. Second; There was a wounded gnoll lying at their feet and Bahram, having experienced their cruelty first hand, wanted to but a dagger through it's eye and then toss the body over a cliff, proppelling it with a lightningbolt.

Standing back Bahram steps in front of Zaina protectively and eyes the gnoll suspiciously, barely sparing the overhang a glance.

"Will it live?" Bahram asks Rashid, the healer.

Male Dwarf Cleric 5

Rashid nods.

"Well, I suppose we could interrogate it..."

He then begins to work his way forward, intent on seeing whether the Gnoll requires medical attention (i.e. whether it needs to be stabilised)...

Heal: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (14) + 9 = 23.

The Exchange

Haleen shrugs and smiles at your reply,

'What makes you think you could steal him away, even if you wanted to?' she asks in a pleasant whisper, then laughs and adds, 'although if you do I may have to make that thing between you and a gnoll happen...' she grins again, before returning to Yousef's side...

The gnoll's eyes widen a little as Yousef addresses him and Rashid moves closer, but the wounded hyena-man seems too far gone for true shock or panic...

The gnoll's bleeding quite badly from where the arrow is stuck in his leg - it looks to you like he tried to pull it out, making the injury worse, before either giving up or losing the strength to continue. It would take some skill to remove the arrow correctly at this point. The rest of his injuries look to be comparatively minor, although they appear to have occured over the course of a day or so, not all at once - scrapes, bruises and small cuts for the most part. These injuries seem more likely to have occured whilst traveling the region, rather than being deliberately inflicted (as the arrow in his leg obviously is).

Shifting his position as best he can (which is a pitifully small amount) the fallen gnoll looks towards Yousef and, in a thin and ragged voice, does his best to reply...

In the gnoll tongue...:
'Please... whoever you are... help me... she... she's mad, you know? She set the rest of the tribe after me... just because I refused to... to... What sort of human woman wants to lie with a gnoll anyway? Damnable Witch...'

Perception DC 16:
As the gnoll shifts position you notice him stuffing something wrapped in an old, bloodstained, rag out of sight inside the tattered shirt he's wearing...

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