In the kingdom of Talingarde, many crimes may send you to Branderscar Prison, but the sentence has but one meaning. You are wicked and irredeemable. Each of you received the same greeting when you arrived. You were held down by rough hands and branded upon the arm with a runic F. The mark signifies ‘forsaken’ and the painful scar is indelible proof that each of you has betrayed the great and eternal love of Mitra and his chosen mortal vassals.
Condemned, you face at best a life of shackles and servitude in the nearby salt mines. Others might await the “gentle” ministrations of the inquisitors so that co-conspirators may be revealed and confessions extracted. Perhaps, some of you will be spared this ordeal. Perhaps instead you have come to Branderscar to face the final judgment. In three days, the executioner arrives and the axe falls or the pyre will be lit. Through fire or steel, your crimes will be answered.
You have all been chained together in the same communal cell dressed in nothing but filthy, tattered rags. Manhandled and mistreated, any finery you once possessed is either ruined or long lost. No special treatment has been given any prisoner – male or female, commoner or noble – all of the forsaken are bound and imprisoned together. Your feet are secured by iron cuffs tethered by one long chain. Your arms are secured to the wall above by manacles. A guard is posted right outside the cell day and night. Little thought is given to long term accommodations. At Branderscar, justice comes swift and sure.
Escape seems hopeless. You have all been well searched and every attempt to conceal anything on your person has failed. And if you could somehow slip your bonds and fly out of this prison, where would you go? Who from your former life would want anything to do with the forsaken? Despised, alone and shackled – all that you can do now is await your doom.
For each of you, your old life is over. For each of you, hope is a fading memory. For each of you, justice will be fairly meted. And who can blame fair Talingarde after what each of you has done?
I can't believe it has come to this. A crime was commited against myself, and my father, and not only will I die my name will be tarnished because of it. I can't believe Mitra allows such corruption to take place while taking in the people's praise. I have never seen such a display of dishonesty before. Maybe one of these men has connections.
After looking around:
"What brings the rest of you here?"
Filthy...filthy...! FILTHY! Aaaaugh! Look at me! No, don't look at me!
Targi's twitches of discomfort send nervous waves down the line of manacles. Grimacing slightly, she answers the half-elf, saying, "Nothing to have deserved this. Look at it. It's so...stark, austere...unforgiving."
Shalastar shakes his head back and forth to move the dyed tresses from his face, his blue-green eyes (pupil-less like all fetchling eyes) glowed softly in the darkness.
"I do not think there are any who deserve this treatment. Except those who beg for it. Chains provide... an interesting sensation."
His words are soft and silken, almost comfortable in the dark cell.
Jack listens to the other prisoners talking on the chain, shifting slightly to find a better postition he sniffs the air and sighs at the smell of himself. Alcohol, sweat, feces, piss and blood all mixed into one. His normaly lustous hair stands frizzy into the air in half a dozen directions and a growth of facial hair has started to show itself.
Sighing in resignation to his own fate he sighs and replies to the elfs question, his voice a hoarse wisper; "Public drunkeness. You know how it is in Talingarde, the land of the pure and good, fall in line or fall off the line."
"How 'bout yourself?"
As he asks the question of the elf he looks away, his eyes comming rest unblinking on the skinny human male on the line.
- Male Angelkin Antipaladin 3
Tragen sits in his chains, his emerald eyes focusing on the floor, his shining silver hair, dulled by dirt and grime, his face despondent.
"I only wanted to be with my wife," he says softly.
I'll be with you again soon, my love.
The dwarf flinches at the reminder that there are so many people about, but her heightened alertness fades as she hears others discuss their so-called "crimes."
It seems I did not get out and explore the city enough; apparently there are crimes for downright foolish things.
It is a long moment before she manages to answer the half-elf's question. "Everything I did, I did, and I probably 'deserve,' what is coming to me. That's according to, ah, their legal system." she confides, albeit somewhat awkwardly and with a shaky execution of the vocal variation that would suggest air quotes. "Of course, I deserve much more than that, but that would involve some gems in these arm bands and finery much finer that this and...I..." she trails off gradually before assuming that she's lost her audience. Anxiously, she begins picking at the edge of the manacles and trying to shift their position slightly so as not to cut off her circulation.
Oh, things always sound better in my head.
Shalastar's voice sours a little as he mentions the 'legal system', but it is still soft and promising.
"The 'legal system' leaves much to be desired. I find it oppressive. And the emperor at its center, the tyrant, will eventually get what's coming to him. That is why I am here, I think. The legal proceedings were fairly confusing."
Shalastar giggles a little, a sound that is eerily childlike and feminine at the same time.
"Oh yes, come and use your beauty and charm for a great cause, they said. Change the world for the better, they said. While these surroundings are interesting, I wouldn't call them better."
Since his trial, his fate condemned by the loathsome laws of Talingarde, Mordred had been filled with a strange sensation. The desire of revenge had drifted softly into his soul, and it rested snugly, as if it was always there, simply coloring everything he saw and felt in red.
As such, sitting in this cell, shackled to the wall and his fellow inmates, with a constant stinging in his arm where the branded "F" had been pressed down, the dank, musty air filled with all sorts of terrible smells, Mordred was actually calm. He wasn't content, but his impending doom no longer twisted his gut in fearful anticipation. It would be unpleasant, but it didn't matter. He would have his revenge.
The conversation in the room brought Mordred out of his thoughts. He appraised those around him, and finding himself in good company with their general dislike of Talingarde, he said, "I dug up a recently buried dead body and was attempting to raise it as an undead using necrotic powers granted to me from my worship of the Grim Harvestman, Zyphus."
Normally, he would keep such secrets more private, but in his current state of imprisonment, hunger, and knowing he was not long for this world anyway, he instead simply blinked a few times after he spoke, his face mostly of boredom.
@Shalastar; It will be fun, they said. ;)
Jack blinks his coal black eyes at the humans honest admitions. "And here's me thinking we were all inocent." he mocks. "At least that been the way of it in any other holding cell I've ever visited." he looks around, appraisingly at his surroundings before sighing yet again. "'Guess Branderscar's diferent."
Looking at the stone floor he makes his own admition. "Killed some nobles in a bar brawl over a game of cards, they sentanced me for dueling unto the death. Can't say I rightly remember it all to well, had a little buz going at the time, but I remember the corpses just fine."
Jack's eyes glaze over and he scowls as memories of that night flush over him. "Don't get me wrong. I did it." he says.
"F*%&." he hisses. "I remember it now. I'd skinned the lot of them for every copper in their purse, their leader, at least I guess it was their leader, called me a cheat and drew a blade, challenging me to a duel for his honor... I accepted gladly. I had a good buzz going and the thought of humiliating them further made me giddy. When I had him pinned his buddies jumped in. I buried my blade in his heart before I turned to them. Last one ran, got the cops and now I'm here."
Mordred twisted his head to better see the brand on his arm. The skin was red and blotchy, still scabbing over, but the burn was evenly applied forcefully; the "F" would be well defined once it healed.
I suppose if I'm going to be marked, it might as well be done right.
Though he would be most likely dead before it did heal fully.
"I wonder how long they'll keep us here. These chains are starting to get old."
Jack shudders before replying, the cold stone seeping through his tattered clothing. "I think one of 'em was someone important and by the time they dragged me in front of a judge I was two days into the jitters as the booze left my body, didn't have much energy to offer a defense."
Shifting the smell of himself reaches his nostril again and he gags, nearly retching. "Gods! I hope they at least have the decency of letting me take a bath before they chop my head off."
You hear heavy steps, gruff shouts and rude laughter in the corridor. The noise draws near the cell door and then stops, replaced by dinging of the keys on the keyring and muffled curses. Finally, the door is unlocked and six guards, heavily armed and ready for trouble, stomp into the room. They are led by a fat, well-dressed sergeant of the watch. All of you immediately recognize Sergeant Thomas Blackerly. This was the man who held the brand as it marked each of you. He was laughing as your skin burned, and a greasy smile doesn't leave his face as he glosses over your scars, evidently very proud of a job well done.
He points at Mordred, and says gruffly:
“You there! That’s the scum! Get ‘im unshackled. If any of you makes trouble, they’ll earn a thrashing!"
The six burly men rush toward the skinny cleric and begin working on the chains. Within mere moments, they grapple him tight and half-carry him in front of the Sergeant.
Today’s your lucky day, scum. You’ve got a visitor. How you ever warranted such a fine lady is beyond me. Seems she wants to say good-bye. Now step lively. We wouldn’t want to keep her waiting.”
We get visitors? We could get visitors? I suppose I don't get visitors...
Targi scowls at the rags she's wearing and grunts her displeasure.
Certainly not like this!
"I gather Zyphus is a god of beautiful people and love, then?" she wonders aloud after Mordred is led away.
Apologies for taking so long to post here. I'd every intention of posting yesterday, but then a party at my department turned into a night of waaaaay too much drinking. Suffice it to say, when I next got access to a computer, well...my post would have been incomprehensible gibberish.
Treize remained where he was a simply hung there with his eyes closed listening to the conversation around him. Nothing they were saying was of particular interest to him, and they were all so...beneath him. And to add insult to injury, it was someone else who was having visitors.
Unacceptable. If any of us ought be entitled to visitors it is I, Treize thought, the rest of them aren't worth the air they breath.
However, the guards coming to pick up Mordred did reveal at least one thing of interest: they are drunk. Which, in and of itself, is hardly surprising. It is, however, a weakness that Treize may yet be able to exploit before the day is done.
Treize was confident he could slip the manacles. The problem, however, was going to be that guard outside the door. "They'll rue the day they ever heard my name," Treize hissed quietly to himself. This whole affair was just...too inconvenient.
Jerked awake by the sound of the guards turning the key, Shalastar is too surprised to act before they enter and leave quickly.
"Warn me the next time that happens. I can perhaps do something to get out of this mess before this beautiful body is deliciously delimbed."
As the guards escort you through the hall, the sergeant walks in front. He walks in a fast and determined gait, and the guards struggle to keep up. The Sergeant does not look back.
You can do a Sense Motive check
You notice that the other cells are all empty. Clearly there must be few criminals in Talingarde worthy of being incarcerated here.
The guards unlock a door and usher you in. You pass through what must be a guardroom. There are stairs leading down, a table with two chairs, and a fireplace. The room is lit by a sconce holding a torch.
The sergeant orders the guards to stop and unlocks another door, which leads to the interrogation room. This room is currently plain and featureless save for a single stout wooden table and four chairs. You are roughly shoved into one of them by the sergeant.
You can make a Perception check
Opposite you sits a hauntingly beautiful woman in an elegant black dress and soft silken veil. She looks as if she is headed to a funeral. Her hair is so platinum as to almost be white and her eyes are a vibrant almost unearthly green. She clearly has been weeping.
“Oh, dearest,” proclaims the unfamiliar woman. “I’m so relieved you’re alive!” She quickly turns to Tomas. “Could we please have a moment alone, good sir? For pity’s sake?”
Tomas goes blank for a bit and then quickly agrees. “Of course, my lady. For you,’ tis no problem.”
You can do another Sense Motive check.
As soon as the guards leave, the mysterious woman's demeanor immediately changes. She drops all pretense of grief or concern. She is immediately all business.
“Have you forgotten me, dearest?” the unexpected visitor says with a smirk, dropping her pretense of grief. “Call me Tiadora. We possess a mutual friend who would like to meet you and your fellow cell-mates. Unfortunately, our friend is unwilling to visit you in your present rather shabby accommodations so it seems you must escape. Don’t be so dour. Just because it’s never been done before is no reason you can’t be the first.
If you manage that, cross the moors on the outskirts of town. On the old Moor Road you’ll see a manor house with a single lantern burning in the second story. There our mutual friend waits. That is all I know. He did want me to give you this.”
She takes off her silken veil and wipes away a few fake tears with it.
“Something to remember me by, dearest.”
Jack goes quiet when the guards barge in and looks them over appraisingly. His eyes come to rest on the fat Sergeant, the fresh burn on his shoulder itching furiously at the memory of the fat bastard laughing as Jack jerked awake under the brand.
'Thomas, Thomas Blackerly.' he'd suffer. If it was the last thing Jack would do, he'd make him suffer.
"By the way. I'm Jack, Jack Cross." Jack mutters in the dark as the cell door closes. "Anybody feel like slipping their chains and letting me out?"
Shifting some more Jack tests his manacles, trying to slip them.
Escape Artist: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
It wasn't the worst idea that Treize had ever heard, and since the guards had every intention of killing him shortly anyways, why not spend these last few hours in a slightly more comfortable position?
And so, Treize made the attempt to slip the manacles restraining him.
Escape Artist: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
His eyebrows raised up, Mordred took the veil from her, stunned. His mind worked slowly, but he assumed Zyphus was protecting one of his followers. There might be a few who might help him in a tight spot that resided within the city, but none after light of his attempted necromancy. None that he knew, anyway.
Then he stopped thinking about why. The thought of avoiding his execution and taking down Talingarde as a breathing creature appealed to him much more than the alternative. The "why" didn't matter, not even the "how." Just the results.
"I don't know who you are, but you've got a deal. But.. how is this supposed to help me?" he asked, holding up the veil, a small cocky grin growing on his face as he said a silent appreciation prayer to Zyphus.
The checks reveal no new information
The woman smiles a charming and genuine smile, which makes something stir deep inside Mordred. She looks satisfied with you, and that look sends shivers of unpromised pleasure down your spine. You think you begin to understand why the Sergeant seems so complacent with the severe breaches of security she organized. She must have seduced him, and the fool is now neck-deep in love with her.
"Oh, dearest. If you find it useless, you can always tear it apart. Now please, tuck it somewhere safe. I must go now."
Her message delivered, she rises and the guards return. Immediately, her demeanor once more changes and she is again a perfect picture of grief. “No, I can’t bear to leave you!” She gives you a kiss on the cheek. The kiss is ice-cold and feels somehow alien and inhuman.
Tomas shakes his head. “I’m afraid it’s time, miss.” She looks deep in Tomas’ eyes and says, “Thank you for letting me say good-bye. There’s no need to search my dearest. You are such a good friend for letting me see my dearest one more time.”
“Such a good friend,” Tomas repeats his voice almost mechanical. Then the watch sergeant seems to snap out of it and bows politely. “A pleasure, madam,” She leaves unveiled.
Her eyes meet Mordred's one last time and she briefly gives you a wicked smile.
“Three days,” telepathically echoes in your mind. “Don’t disappoint me, dearest”.
Just several minutes later, the cell door is again unlocked and Mordred is ushered in by a cadre of guards, then shackled once more. His feet, just like everyone else's, are secured in tightly locked bands around his ankles and his hands are shackled above his head.
Lights are dimmed and the door to your block is locked once more. The guards leave though clearly two of them are stationed at the door.
"I am getting a little desperate myself, here. These chains are no longer novel."
Shalastar waits until the guards are not looking into the cell, before he turns to Jack and Targi, and the others, whispering in the hopes that the guards do not hear. "I suggest we make a pact. At least for now, until we can get out of here. If one of us gets free that one will work to help free the others. And swear it by all the powers of Heaven and Hell, including Asmodeus the contract-binder."
Jack snorts a laugh at Treize's quip. "Sure, get me out'a these chains and I'll get you across the mote pretty boy."
"What are you in here for elf? I didn't catch your name.." he says to Treize.
"Actually, I didn't catch any of your names." he says, leaning forward and looking down the line. "What? You think I'm gona run an' tell someone? We're all dead in three day anyway. Might as well make some conversation."
After a smile directed at Treize, Mordred opened his mouth, revealing a white veil folded within. He tiled his head back and lifted himself up, passing it from his teeth to his hand.
"I think he's got the right idea," Mordred said with a nod towards Shalastar, "And apparently, someone out there does, too."
Though he was already talking quietly, his voice dropped even lower, barely a whisper.
"My visitor gave me something to help. I'm not exactly sure how to use it," he said, as he inspect the veil in his hand, trying his best to spread it open with one hand.
At the Human's remark, Treize cocked an eyebrow before he burst out laughing. This is what happens when you leave the escape to lesser men. Clearly this person 'out there' is a fool if they thought anyone other than I could be trusted with such a task.Nevertheless...a diversion does seem to be called for, thought the Elf.
"I am here," Treize began, opting to continue the earlier conversation as the diversion, "because, as it turns out, the self-interested criminals in my employ could not be trusted." With that, went back to snickering at his little joke. "I am Treize Seischiro, and I am charged with high treason," Treize said with a good deal of pride in his voice as if his name and crime ought carry some weight. Indeed, in his mind they did -- for Treize was master of all, and high treason was, arguably, the greatest offense. If he was to be brought down, at least it was for something noteworthy.
"I am Shalaster Lerin, apparently a seditious bastard." Shalastar smiles suggestively. "And I think I can tell you, that it does indeed taste good."
"Hand me the veil, perhaps I can find a way to use it. Or did your accomplice already show you that?"
Treize snorted again. "If anyone is going to kill that tyrant, it is I. But unlike Mr. Kyrul, I want him dead purely because I am the only one worthy of such a title." Here, Treize paused for a moment with a distasteful sneer on his face.
"Interests of the government and the people...what rubbish," he continued, musing quietly to himself,"Governments and their people exist only to be ruled by their betters; their interests are whatever their master declares to be in their interest. Anyone who sees it differently is either delusional, or a fool."
I'm inspecting the veil. I have detect magic prepared, but it requires somatic components. If my shackles are too restricting to cast it, I will simply look it over the best I can.
If it works: Spellcraft: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24 to identify
If this doesn't reveal anything to me, then I will pass it to Shalastar.
"I am Targi," the dwarven woman responds shyly before withdrawing from the barrage of banter. After Mordred returns and shares his news, she gazes at the gauzy garment and coos, "That's a very pretty veil."
I want it!
She watches hungrily as the human struggle to examine the veil more closely.
Jack barks a laugh at Treize's rant but falters when he sees the elf isn't sharing his mirth. "Oh, you're serious." he realizes.
"High Treason, huh?" Jack gives a shrug, a gesture of deference if he's ever given one. "Talingrade could do worse, I'm sure."
"Targi, Kyrul, Shalaster. Nice ta meet'ya. He says looking down the line. "Hey! You!." he says to the human with the veil. "Who the hell was your visitor? That was a pretty short visit for a quicky, you get interrupted before you got to finish? What did she say?"
Targi - the veil would definitely trigger your Greed penalty if you had it ;)
reposting the Veil picture:Veil
The shackles prevent you from doing complex gestures required to cast spells with somatic components
The item Mordred produced from his mouth appears to be a fine silk veil of gossamer cloth.
Only as he closely inspects it, he can see small cloth patches of various shapes embroidered on it.
There are two patches depicting daggers;
One patch depicts a lantern;
A patch depicting a coil of rope;
A patch depicting a sack;
A patch with the image of lockpicks;
A patch depicting a window;
A patch depicting a vial;
A patch depicting a purse;
Finally, a patch in the shape of an inverted pentagram - the symbol of Asmodeus.