Straehan plays with the dit of hair below his lips and watches Bebhinn with a small smile. "One way or another, Naladoria wants us dead. And we've got to either dismantle the 'cult of personality' she has built around us OR usurp it to our own purposes. Either way - if we want to hedge our bets - we could use a few allies. Divine allies could be nice-to-haves."
He considers the situation for a moment longer, "I'm in. I haven't sat out a dance yet, and I'm just too old to start. Besides, I'm pretty sure, Mistress Bebhinn put a little more into that kiss she gave me than the ones she gave the rest of you. There are some potential bed-mates, you just don't say 'no' to." Straehan tries to cultivate a look of lascivious innocence.
Ushari tries to surpress a giggle at Straehan's innuendo. What worries me is the Songstress will persuade me to stand in for her in her place! I don't really want to be wooed by Strae in this case!
She nods soberly at the gnome. "I agree, we will need to take steps to counteract Nala's influence." She runs her hand through her hair. "Don't forget Shaggar, that gnoll we befriended back in Bartleby's Cross."
Jofram nods agreement with his friends' sentiment. In the ranger's mind, there was never a doubt as to which side each of the heroes would support.
"So, it's a propaganda battle? Convince the Islanders that an unseen celestial war has broken out? We'll need to stop Debtkeeper's minions, where we can find them, but how do we get the support of the people?"
Punctuating his words, Vaelos lets out a visceral cry - though most likely in protest of his soaked feathers, than any words the groundlings mutter.
The Goddess scoffs good naturedly at the gnome "Scamp." before turning to Jofram, completely serious. "You won't need to convince the Isle folk of the threat after the first raids. The Aboleth and Sahuagin are coming... with Merrows and Margoyles most likely. And other deep dwellers besides. They will send their forces to pillage and occupy the coastal towns. They won't be raiding parties. It will be an army led, no doubt, by the best they have... Aboleth Illrigger/Evokers or worse."
Straehan shares his thoughts with Jofram, "Naladoria was going to use our reputation and 'legends' to sway people to her side. I think we capitalize on their work to our own purposes... getting people ready for the war, getting the word out, organizing, command and control... all the infrastructure needed to fight a war. It seems our reputation is strongest in Amador so maybe we should start there - in every town we've ever visited, tapping everyone we know and everyone they know." He glances at the Witch. "Seems to me organizing an army is right in your bailiwick, Orin. You know tactics, training, and logistics I believe."
Ushari grits her teeth and spares a glare at the Shaudran ruin where they had freed the formerly exiled Goddess. "Songstress...Bebhinn, we do still need to rally the coastal towns and cities to our cause...which will take precious time, I fear." She glances at Straehan and nods in agreement with his assessment before facing her Goddess. "Would the mainland consider sending military aid to the Isles?"
To Jofram, she says, "We will be able to help you, prepare the faithful to heed you, and locate the islands and towns where the attacks will come..."
Bebhinn considers Ushari's questions, "It will take time but, yes, we will get help from the Continent. My brethren touch the minds of their priests and champions already. You must organize and protect the people until they arrive."
She looks to Jayse, the only one who hasn't committed to the cause, "Will you help us? And if not us... then maybe help your friends or the people of these islands?"
Jayse is quiet as the divine converses with his friends, struggling to come to grips with the surrealness of the moment. Despite one of the most physically challenging days in his now-restored memories, Jayse feels a tightness go out of his shoulders. A tightness he's glad to see go as much as he's glad to know the fuller story of Naladoria's plans and manipulations… that thought brings him back into the conversation.
Finally, he speaks up ."I meant what I told Naladoria. Outside of this bunch, there's only a few who have my loyalty. But I won't see their freedom taken away from them. So if your aim is to protect that freedom as well, then you can rely on my skills… for whatever that's worth."
As the conversation shifts to upcoming plans and preparations, Jayse considers the next few days, weeks, and months -- his finger absently drawing a line where the dragon had opened up his side. "These are all good ideas. Using Naladoria's efforts -- our fame -- against her is a good angle. And getting the word out is necessary." He sighs, looking at the ground as much as the group and the beautiful deity. "But we can't hope to win this thing defensively. That's fighting on her terms as often as not. My skills might be best used if we can single out some priority targets to remove." He shrugs, "Not being who I was doesn't mean I have to let the training go to waste, right?" Despite his best efforts to make a joke of it, there is an element of resignation in his smile. "I'm in."
This is the final post, guys. After this - I'll see you in the OOC for questions, loot distribution, etc.
Clearly relieved that all of the heroes have enlisted in the cause, Bebhinn smiles. "As I learn of the names and locations of their mortal leaders, I will pass them along. I leave it to you to determine how best to finish them. Now to arm you... it seems a waste to not repay Naladoria in her own coin and turn her 'weapons' back upon her. And champions should have the power of champions, no?"
The goddess waves a hand in a small circle, speaking a few soft words of power. Our heroes feel power return to them.
Jayse, Jofram, Ushari, and Straehan are gestalt again.
"I cannot offer you Godhood or any evil path as Naldoria did, but I can open your potential..." Another gesture accompanies her statement.
Booyah! Jayse, Jofram, Orin, Ushari, and Straehan can either take a non-evil second Archetype for one of their classes (sorry no 'Hungry Ghost' Jayse. Reasonable exceptions will be waived on Archetypes.) OR a non-evil third gestalt class that will stay at 1/2 their other class levels. This is pretty much the same deal Naladoria offered.
Bebhinn slides up to the cleric, wraps an arm around her and whispers, "If you still wish it, when the war ends, we will find a way for you to recover your father." Without waiting for an answer, she speaks to them all. "Go with the good will of the Gods of Miir and the good wishes of all her people. I'll be in touch but, for the moment, I've got to run. Good luck and thank you." With a wink, the Goddess vanishes.
You stand for a moment contemplating all that has happened. The world suddenly seems slightly brighter and, conversely, a great deal more dangerous.
~ END of Book I: The Great Southern Isles ~