"How long has it been since you last slept? I have a few rooms, spare. Well, mine and my absent brothers and a couple of spares, we can always have a share." He winks mischeviously to the ladies. "Actually there is a couple of couches." he concedes jovially.
"And importantly a nice hot bath. Prestidigitation is all well & good, but a hot bath is better."
Not sure if anyone needs an extended rest, although James would like to at least pick up his equipment.
Religion for Pluton? I expected Arcana. If Religion is acceptable... 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (19) + 15 = 34woo hoo, we both smrt
if Arcana is needed...
"What can you tell us about Pluton, Thom? Just as important is our means to get there. I would not speak against a hot bath, but we have precious little time, and most of it will need to be spent searching for a way to our next destination."
Raya was fortunate enough to only get hit by rot slingers, as opposed to going hip deep in sewage, still...might as well take advantage of the first good bath since Freeport...
For Ruinblade's concordance, do I need to get the killing blow to get the +1, or does the fact I helped bring them down count? I can understand if Ruinblade is a bit...intolerable of assistance.
New computer teething troubles. We're building a relationship. I'm learning not to scream abuse at it, it is learning not to present me with unwanted blue screens.
Vocar snatches the sweets with his single hand and carefully places them in his protective circle. Squatting in his rags, he carefully selects one and holds it up before starting to speak in a sing-song voice.
"You think you're safe because you're in my circle but you're not. The Master can always find anything secret and you should remember it. You don't even have anything he wants, but that won't stop him. You have a secret and that means its his. The Master is very generous and he can share sometimes. We gave him things for secrets. Eyes and hands and things we want to forget. All I have are my pets and my sweeties and if you bring me more I will kill them and eat them and get stronger and sweeter."
Ruinblade's reaction to the human wreckage is open.
"You failed Vocar. You tried to oust your Master and he took all your treasures." The tone is utterly disdainful.
A talking sword does not seem to disturb Vocar in the least. He looks up blearily and then ducks down into his rags.
Just as his head drops out of sight, you see a glint of ferocious intelligence in Vocar's one good eye.
You don't think Vocar is lying. This is probably as close to good faith as he'll get.
Smart though they undoubtedly are, neither Raya nor Thom can recall much about Pluton. Thom is fairly sure there is a deliberate veil pulled over the place, as though it was meant to be kept out of sight and mind.
As they walk down the street, James looks for his contacts.
Streetwise:1d20 + 19 ⇒ (7) + 19 = 26
Trying to find one, to arrange that they deliver an assortment of sweets to be delivered daily to the culvert.
"I'd suggest we hire a couple of goblins, but I don't know where to find any locally. And I'm also fairly sure that these clothes are only just dirty enough, and I really don't want to see a goblin walking around in my discards." She pauses, and smirks slightly. "They don't have the figure to carry it off."
'What a day....sewers and...angels.' Raya quietly ponders both of the events so far, the mementos from the underground barely affect her. Arishat's tone brings her out of her ponderings, "Hmm? Oh. Hester." She gestures to the party, "Mementos from our meeting with Vocar. I daresay we've explored enough of your fine city for now. Strange places ahead await us."
A bright smile crosses his face; the Tieflings warm humour was a welcome relief from the madness below. And he subtly checks out the validity of her claims. "If I give you a stipend, could you purchase a bag of sweet and leave it near the grate at the market square? On a daily basis?" he asks whilst counting out gold into his palm.
"An assortment, boiled sweets and the copper chews." James says warmly knowing that Hester was a good kid, that given the chance to fulfil her potential she could become astounding. "I'll pay you double the cost of the sweets. I'll have to give you some money now because...I might be going on a trip." his eyes behind his dark glasses look haunted.
Not really sure what the cost will be, but James has plenty of money left.
Barel perks up at the pet name of Sir James. "Jammy...Jammy...I like that. I think I will use that now, but perhaps only when you are least expecting it," he says mischievously. "So, a bath and on to Pluton. i could certainly use a bath. Not much for sweets though. Perhaps a celebretory round of drinks...after the baths."
Thom looks down at his own robes. "Maybe Ari has the right idea here. A complete change of clothes would not be a bad idea. I suspect Pluton will not be very hospitable so stocking up on winter clothes would be wise."
I suggest we all get an extra set of winter clothes and any other items we need now and then return to Lu to get the location of the portal to Pluton. We can then relax at James pad and head off in the morning.
"None of this answers HOW we are getting there. No thoughts on the matter, Thom? I suppose it will be time to check our sources again, surely there's a temple of Ioun here in the City of Doors, or perhaps even one for Sune..."
"True and in the City of Doors, anything is possible. There are many Portals; shining upon numerous strange vista's so alien to our imagination. Fortunately Hester here, I hope, knows where to find Lu - a guide to the various doors of this place." James waxes lyrical hoping to impress the rest with the prose.
"Tell you what, Jammy, pay me a bit more and I'll make sure you have a pad to come home to. If you're leaving town, well - I can't make too many guarantees - not since you said it in the open street."
She high-fives Barel at his comment and then turns to Thom and Raya.
"Listen you two. You're new here and you don't know squat about Sigil. Lu will have a key to wherever you need to go. She's a twisted mother and I like that in a tiefling, so you need to ask very exactly for what you want. I've heard bad stories. She'll keep a bargain. Exactly."
You know where Lu hangs out. She was in the tobacconist's shop you visited when you first got here. See here for details.
Raya considers Hester's words, "I didn't recall any tricky words when we last visited her....Reminds me." She digs into her pack, then pauses. "Ahh, that should wait until we clean up." Abashed slightly, for some unknown reason, she rucks up, "Something tells me she'd rather not have us in her shop as in, may I suggest you lead on James as you talk. I'm sure you've escorted more than a few ladies to your home while adequately distracted." The comment seems neither disapproving nor humorous, perhaps thats just her humor.
"None as beautious as yourself or Lady Kutrigur." he says before blushing furiously at his miscue.
James is lying slightly, not revealing the whole truth.
James leads the group through the wide busy streets and down the narrow backstreet's and snickelways until they get to a tall terraced Town-house. Externally the white-washed walls are framed by dark wooden columns in a Gerorgian style, each of the storeys overhangs the lower by more than the last.
James leads then to the top floor of the attic space, the lounge and kitchen are open plan. To one side are three doors leading to bedrooms, though they are mostly beds. Whilst to the other side is a large bathroom; with many a shelf full of oils, soaps and herbal extracts. James lab is hidden behind a final door.
He throws his jacket into the laboratory and removes all his regalia (bracers, etc...) "This is my place, feel free to take a bath. Eat, read or whatever. I have a beef stew, that should be ready in half an hour. I had prepared lots, just in case my brother came home. But it'll feed at least half a dozen. Drinks anyone?" James says whilst opening a bottle of red wine.
"Well it's through there, sir. Use any of the oils or ungents if you wish. There should be fresh linen and if you require something just shout." His tone light and slightly pleased that the halfling seems to have warmed to him... marginally.
James finishes scrubbing his hands (and arms) in the sink and pours out a glass of wine.
Thom nods at Lanthair even after he helps himself to some of the red wine. Sniffing the glass expertly, he sighs in pleasure. "This is an excellent vintage Sir James." Taking a sip of the fine beverage, he smacks his lips in appreciation. "Yes an excellent vintage indeed!"
He sets the glass down and looks at the accommodations. "Nice place you have here James. Being a wizard who is always on the move, I never had the chance to settle down and purchase a place of my own."[/b] He sniffs at his robes. "Yeahh I think it's time for a complete wardrobe change. Do you have any spare clothing? I think we are close to the same size, give or take a few inches..."
"Certainly, you seem like a well-built man Thom. I am sure we have something to suit. Although my tastes run to suits with britches and less robes with mantles." James jokes with a wink. "Although it seems you are a man of impeccable taste, as we can see from your companions."
"Unfortunately, this place is only a rental. After Valentino, my brother, and I got out of the service we set up shop here." He sips at the wine lightly.
While the others start to converse and the like, Raya excuses herself for a while. First order of business was swapping out her clothes with her spare set. While she intended on a full bath as well, it wouldn't do to repose in James' home in filth.
Her armor was removed as well, so she was left in her civilian clothes, tight fitting breeches, a longcoat with a flare at the hips, a looser blouse and vest, though still snug at the bust, all tailored well-enough, if not finely wrought. The paladin is a hair heavier than necessary, though she wears it well. Whether one would call her chunky or voluptuous would all depend on who fell under her charms by now.
She produces her maintenance gear, the oily sheen rags used to clean Ruinblade, then her gear. Currently she sits on the floor, on a rug, or uncarpeted area, her legs crossed as she cleans the greatsword. "You were in the service? Here in Sigil? What an interesting detail that must be..."
As Raya re-enters the larger living space, James looks to her appreciatively with a slight blush to his cheeks. "Milady, you looks as beauteous out of your armour as you be competent in it."
Her question slowly fixes the smile to his face; "Unfortunately, it was not for the City. We ...fled here when our company was ambushed....the remnants that survived." his tone soft, but slightly forced. He draws a quick shallow draft of the burgundy wine, as if to take the taste out of his memories. "However, at least I survived and get the company of a elegant lady. How did you come by that shocking blade?"
Raya gives him a sly look. She knows enough about him to furrow truth from his words. "Honeyed words from one who dabbles in such dark magic..." She continues on before any accusations or justification is expected, "Ruinblade..." Raya gestures to the great onyx blade, runes etched down its length, "was the property of a great wraith in the tomb myself and the party had investigated concurrently. Was good fortune I had come across them in it. Its sole purpose is to destroy Acererak. It has a will of its own, and can hear you, so you know. Since we are on this subject, Ruinblade has quested me to deliver the killing blow to what undead we come across, when possible."
She finishes her maintenance and cleaning shortly thereafter, then promptly absconds with the tub after Lanthair gets out. Yes, she takes her time.
I picture Lanthair walking on the water in the tub for some reason, heh.
In his typically distracted manner and addressed to no one in particular, Lanthair chimes in, "The greatest power comes from within. Those who tap that power answer to no force beyond their own discipline."
Thom tears his gaze away from watching Raya's form as she disappears into the bath when he hears James question. He sips his wine in thought and nods slowly in response to Lanthair's declaration.
"Yeah, I think our friend Lanthair is more right than even he knows." He chuckles. "Actually, James I came to be on my current path due to heading down the road to corruption and despair. I had learned the arts of summoning various demons and other fiendish creatures when I was apprenticed to my master, a demonologist of some note. He actually introduced me to Lureene...and I....ahhh..." his face breaks out in a flush, "had a relationship with her. Needless to say, my soul was already damned at that point."
He takes a long drink and continues. "If it had not been for the interference of the Arcane Sentinel...whose name I cannot reveal... then I would not be here now. He slew my ex-master and then took me under his wing. One thing he showed me is how to control Lureene and the other demons I summoned. In exchange for this, I swore an oath to guard such secrets...with my life, if need be."
He sets down the glass. "I suppose the moral of my story is it is not what the power is, but what YOU are, and what you wish to be, Sir James." He glances to the bath where Raya disappeared. "Maybe you can find redemption if you dare to open your heart for such."
"You are a good man, Thom Verikal." he says resolutely.
"I was in a dark place, alone when she came to me..." obviously not speaking about his location.
"It's not Evil! My pact is not..." he says quietly but with a strong conviction. "The Goddess, she allows me to join my spirit. Some call it a curse, I see it as insight. If only I was stronger I could give of my spirit, my soul, to heal those I have 'cursed'. Alas I can only damage them."
"It's a two-edged sword, I use my powers to stay in the shadows. To kill and take the souls to be cleansed. Then I release them..." James is serious and his tone low.
"My Mistress, the Lady of Shadows and Secrets, she gave me this ability. I suppose that's why I am drawn to her light." Sir James concludes quietly not really meaning to speak.
"Anyway, enough of the dreariness. We should celebrate, good people and good friends." He raises a glass in a toast.
The blush on his face is quite noticeable. "Ahhh...well I guess you have not been introduced to her yet. Actually I have not summoned her ever since..." His voice trails of and his gaze lingers where Raya is dressing now.
"I was concerned how Raya would react to me if she knew I...ahhh consorted with a succubus."