Sorry guys, the wife had different plans for the weekend and another change of plan with work has me traveling. I'll try to get Ileosa's post in tonight.
[ooc]Base price to watch for one night at a set time and distract if needed, 150 gp. 50 gp per additional night. If you want full night watching it's going to be another 250 + 100 per additional night. If you want daytime coverage too the price goes up to 1000 + 200 per day. It will take a day to arrange it. If you want a boat prices double and there's no daytime option.
Em will also look up some supplies, thinking of potions of CLW and Bless weapon could be useful, but will wait to see Istas about those - she can probably arrange a discount ;)
Leaving Bower House and Ambassador Kalissreavil behind, Keliwyn heads for his apartment, all the while contemplating his lack of leads to pursue in finding the missing Seneschal, and by relation, the artist, Salvatore Scream. Disappointed in himself for not having more information to share with the Ambassador, Keliwyn ponders what he's been asked to do: wrangle in invitation to the party the Carowyn's are hosting for his friends, and enlisting those friends in helping him find the Seneschal. The former, he figures as he walks the quiet streets of Korvosa, should be easy. At the least, he could accompany Heather. The latter, however, could be more challenging, and would require returning to Old Korvosa. But where to pick up the search . . .
On his way through the city, Keliwyn will make routine stops to check on contacts for any information that may be useful, particularly among his more criminal contacts regarding the Red Mantis.
Diplomacy 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30
As always these days, he's also keeping a careful eye out for anyone following him.
Perception 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
Along the way, he decides to detour to Heather's place, to ask if her may escort her to the Carowyn's party.
Sorry about the delay. I was planning to do all this as one grand post, but Rl has been hectic. I will try to nibble away in small pieces. More to come.
The good work accomplished with Kenan and company during the day after your raid on the hospice,
reduces the problem to one of compounded and testing variations on the cure. Which is a good thing
for two reasons.
First, your reading of Davaulus', Ramoska's (less so) and Rolth's notes makes alarming reading.
Necromantically enhanced Bloodveil was the goal. Apparently the first batch ready for "public
distribution" was entrusted to J the day before your raid. A read through of some of the more
personal notes and letters reveals several from Jolistina to Rolth. Reading between the
lines, she's working for the Urgathoans because she's besotted with him.
Second, it leaves you free to attend a ceremony in the temple proper. At midnight d'Bears escorts you personally and leaves you sitting in the company of three white clad acolytes before the basalt altar under the bronze spiral. You are instructed to place your father's spear upon the altar and wait in meditation.
The day dawns through low clouds lying heavily on the eastern horizon, but by mid-morning a westerly
breeze has pushed the clouds beyond the mountains. That breeze is crisp; it's a chill promise of
Cressida Croft sends squads of four honor Guards to escort each of you individually to the ceremony.
Whether they accompany you is your choice. "The Marshal hopes you will allow us to escort you. She
feels it will be well for the city to see and remember their old servants and protectors from before
the Grey Maidens."
Just let me know what each of you chooses.
Well before you arrive at the Grand Mastaba you can see an unusual number of unusually long and
colorful pennants flying from Castle Korvosa's tower spires. The corwd thickens as you approach the
great square surrounding the castle, and you see long red and black tapestries emblazoned with the
coats of arms of Korvosa's leading families hanging from the battlements. The crowd is in a good
mood. Spontaneous cheers erupt as you arrive and pass by knots of revelers.
sceptically, or even with some hostility.
At the base of the pyramid a company of Grey Maidens, thirty strong, in gleaming platemail waits for
you. Even from down here you can see the canopied wooden platform that's been built on the plaza atop the Mastaba. It's been raised and sized so that it can be seen from all vantage points in the great square surrounding the pyramid. On top of that platform Queen Ileosa, Sabina Merrin at her back and a handful of functionaries wait.
Heather welcomes the guards.."Off course..welcome..your presence will be an honour"
As they approach the Mastaba she glances at Emerion and Kel.."Be ready for anything that might happen my dears" she comments softly then fixes a smile as she waves to the crowds.
After a long time d'Bears returns with a woman. Her hair is gold dimming to silver; her dress is long and rich and green as spring. D'Bears takes up the spear, holding it above her head with both hands palm upward. The bishop and woman chant in rhythmic counterpoint. The whole of the bishop's chant is unknown to you, but many of its phrases and turns are familiar prayers. The woman's chant is alien in its sibilant tongue, but circles round and round. Power unseen, but palpably real gathers, is focused, infuses into your father's spear.
"Istas Wraithscar receive again your Father's spear as a holy token of Our Lady of Graves. Great Midwife and Reaper of the Dead, she teaches the joy of life and the inevitability of its end. As your father must have wielded it in his time, bringing death to feed, so must you wield it. Use it well in Pharasma's service."
Count that spear as +1, returning now.
At the Mastaba:
Four Grey Maidens take the lead and the others trail behind in double file as you begin the long ascent up the stairs. Upon reaching the top you are treated to the front view of Castle Korvosa. The top has been swept clear except for the wooden platform. The Maidens separate and move to take positions along the sides of the platform while you climb another set of stairs that leaves you on the platform with the Queen and her entourage.
The queen herself steps forward to greet you. Her arms and a wide swath of bosom are bare to the rather chill air. Her red dress is worked with gold thread and blue gemstones.
"Welcome, heroes of Korvosa. Today I, and our beloved city, honor you for your brave service..."
Her speech is long enough for you to catch your breaths. It includes a brief recap of how you thwarted the "perfidius Dr. Davaulus who played upon my childhood acquaintance to nearly bring our city to ruin at the behest of Urgathoa herself... "
"... and so on behalf of the city I present to you these chests of gold and these badges of honor so that all may see that Korvosa recognises and celebrates those worthies who remain brave and loyal."
There follows an invitation to dine at the richly set table behind her. Silver and white porcelain laid on a black cloth. Tall straight-backed darkwood chairs with red cushions. Fruit, bread, wine, and savory meats.
Heather drops a deep, graceful curtsey to the Queen then lets her gaze drift across the faces of those behind Ileosa as she speaks.
Off course she pays little attention to the Queens obfuscations and merely gives her a broad smile playing all the time the role of the effette noblewoman
Behind Ileosa and Sabina stand the queen's new chief Arbiter, Fordyce. He's a typically solid well-fed Cheliaxian noble with a bushy tuft of beard on his chin. He wears his robe and chain of office.
To Fordyce's left is a man whose roundly massive bulk dwarfs the Cheliaxian. He's dressed in a very heavy coat and is gesturing as you all approach.
To Fordyce's right stand a smattering of noble from the leading houses.
Emerion bows elaborately to the queen, acting his part of a Varisian fop and responding with all the appropriate courtesy. His slightly triumphant grin when he glances over the assembled nobility betrays that he is not entirely uncaring of the accolades that elevate him closer the Chelaxians' vaunted society.
He watches the assembled nobles carefully to see if he can discern what they might think of the queen, the speech, and the company.
Knowledge (nobility): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
...but can tell nothing. I ask you, what are the odds?
About 1 in 400?
The nobles' attitudes range from rapt adulation to polite attention.
For this event Ileosa seats the party immediately at her left and right. Despite the open walls of this very exposed venue, she talks in an open way with you, easily and smoothly creating an atmosphere of friendly intimacy. "I remember you Heather Whiteraven, Keliwyn of Mierani, and Istas Wraithscar. You did me a small service before and now a much greater service for my city. How is it we meet again? Are we bound in fate?"
Throughout the Queen seems very solicitous of your enjoyment. A stream of Cheliaxian delicacies and liquors flows down the table. She seems very interested in what you have done since recovering her jewelry, but also asks about other interests and your family's welfare.
Never plainly asking, she hints that service rendered will always reap rewards.
Could this be a job interview?
"Fate your Majesty? I am not sure it is fate..after all we each make our own destiny since the demise of Aroden"
Heather shoots a warning look at Istas behind the Queens back hoping she will take the nint.
"Even Aroden was bound to his fate," Istas replies as she ignores the wine and sips her cup of water. Otherwise, she doesn't rise to the queen's questions, offering little about herself or the life she left behind to join the church. In fact, the Shoanti priestess has remained silent and observant for most of their time with Ileosa. It's as if she's reading the flow of the situation to better determine her next course of action based on recent events and the public's reaction. Another moment of choice placed in her path by the Lady herself.
Meanwhile, the pomp and circumstance of Chelish customs inherited by Korvosa's gentry simply elude her. The meats are overspiced. The decadence unnecessary. And, based on prior events and her history of disdain for the young queen and her Gray Maidens, the company is questionable, as well. So, instead of playing the socialite, Istas can only draw on the solemnity of her time growing up among the Shoanti tribes during the haunting ceremonies of the Skoan-Quah and, of course, the ever-present wakes of Pharasma's clergy.
For the ceremony, Istas has chosen to dress in a simple smock the color of midnight. Stylized renderings of Shoanti symbols are painted on its surface with white pigments. They include an open hand, an ever watchful eye, wavy lines to denote a river, and the jagged fire representing the Cinderlands. Other symbols denote the totems of every Shoanti tribe living along the Storval Plateau...a clear homage to her origins and her people.
Istas' hair is also pulled back in a severe bun, pinned in place with decorative bone fragments...a tradition among the Skoan-Quah to indicate the triumph over death. It seemed appropriate given their success in exposing and putting down Dr. Davaulus and the cult of Urgathoa. Meanwhile, a pair of loose sandals shod her feet, tied in place with black leather laces which criss-cross to a point halfway up her calves. And lastly, the ever-present holy symbol of Pharasma--a spiralling comet on a silver disc--hangs like a heavy pendant from her neck, sparkling in the sun.
Her outfit no doubt surprised the guardsmen sent to escort her to the Grand Mastaba, and perhaps the people of Korvosa and Ileosa herself. She no longer looks like a routine, conforming priestess of the Lady of Graves. That's because Istas feels changed by the events of the past few days. Her opposition to Urgathoa struck a chord with her faith in Pharasma and her upbringing with the Skoan-Quah. And if a ceremony honoring her is to be held at the Grand Mastaba--an edifice which long predates Castle Korvosa and holds far more meaningful significance to the Shoanti--she feels it's only right that she honor her heritage in addition to her goddess.
After an hour or so, Ileosa rises. Her entourage swiftly follows.
The queen personally hangs the medallions around your necks. A porter bearing your brass bound cedar chest of gold is ready to follow each of you home. The medallions are red gold with an argent profile of Ileosa on one side and the silhouette of Castle Korvosa atop the Grand Mastaba on the reverse.
Your honor guard forms up to escort you from the platform back to ground level. Four Maidens will accompany each of you to protect your person and goods (or just keep the crowd off) until you dismiss them or arrive home.
The crowd cheers your walk down to the plaza. There's some pushing and shoving. Everyone would like to say something, or touch you, or ....
Thank the stars that autographs as a collectible haven't been invented.
2000 gp each. Each chest is worth another 50 gp. The medallions are 150 gp each.
Heather takes the crowds attentions good naturedly..accepting the ocassional flower, laughing off the propositions of some rather tipsy young..and not-so-young men, kissing babies..the stuff that celebrity brings with it seems to come easily to the show-woman in her.
Once she gets home she removes the medallion wraps it in a heavy cloth and stows it at the back of her jewellry drawer.
"and there it can stay" she mutters
Emerion really laps up the adulation - or appears to. Once home he stashes some gold where it won't be found in a hurry, but keeps the rest on his person. He also places the medallion in a separate 'safe' place. He doesn't trust any gift from the Queen much. Then he makes ready for their foray into Old Korvosa, digging out old clothing that will blend into the local populace without too much difficulty.
Istas moves impassively through the crowd, her expression a mask all its own. The adulation of Korvosa's citizens means little to her in the grand scheme of things. Instead, her eyes are already focused beyond the present and on what the future may hold for her, her friends, and the city. The queen's gifts hold little value, as well. Indeed, the priestess views them as emanating from Pharasma moreso than Ileosa.
'The Lady of Graves provides,' she reminds herself, 'All resources which fall to us, become available at their appointed time. She knows our need and prepares us for the trials ahead.'
Upon returning to the Gray District, Istas has the chest and medallion delivered into the hands of her fellow priests for safekeeping. Otherwise, she moves among the clergy, feeling very much an outsider for the first time in several years. It's as if her visions have clarified. Pharasma has obviously called her to a higher purpose. And, of course, she would answer the call as ably as her goddess would allow.
Istas plans on practicing with her new spear and checking in on Kenan for any progress towards establishing a cure for bloodveil. She'll also check on the recovering victims from the hospice, particularly the young girl she rescued and brought into the church. That one reminds her of herself when she had her own brush with death.
It's her dear old dad's spear. Renewed! and Improved!
The young girl has taken a sudden turn for the better.
I need to revise a passage from my last post .
(The old couple you saved at the quack's shop.)
(The fabulously wealthy and well-connected old couple you saved at the quack's shop.)
The Carowyn's address on Shoreline Way in the Heights, promises an opulent setting for the party and an impressive view over Conqueror's Bay. The house itself is a stately, gabled manor surrounded by a meticulously manicured garden—complete with gazebo and pond full of Ember Lake charigs (tiny salamanders that glow in the dark). The limestone facade of Carowyn Manor is festooned with cinderberry garlands and bright red drapes flank its sturdy-looking doors of Bloodsworn mahogany.
A small servant's residence is screened from the main house by a stand of wisteria and lilac.
A wrought iron fence surrounds the grounds.
From inside the house come strains of remarkably discordant music driven by an inhumanly regular bass drum beat.
I will assume somebody reminded Emerion.
Dressed once again as the dandy - but still wearing his sword and with his armour underneath his shirt and coat - Emerion looks up at Carowyn Manor with a sardonic expression.
"Father would lynch me if I didn't attend," he mutters sourly, then offers Heather his arm.
"What on Golarian is that horrible din? It sounds like the violinist forgot to take the cat off the gut before tightening it on his fiddle."
Heather is wearing a dress of midnight blue and gold the hem of her full skirt is decorated with the symbols of the Harrow. She is, for once, showing substancial amounts of delecottage
"Noblesse oblige my dear..noblesse oblige" she murmurs to her friend as they move up the driveway
From behind you a familiar voice calls, "Hey, wait for an honest doctor, will you?" Kenan O' Flarna, dressed somberly in new looking black clothes with a blazing white shirt trots up. "Better if we all make an appearance together, eh?"
He stops a few feet short of you. "What is that cacophony?"
**** When he gets a moment aside with Istas, "Things are going well at the temple. The fourth formula seems to be working well. The test patients have been put to bed for the night."
Unfortunately FW is not rejoining us, but since Kenan helped at the perfume shop, he's entitled to some of the reward. I'll be DMNPCing him.
Istas, clearly out of her element, silently tags along behind her friends, moving through the dark in the same dress she wore to the queen's ceremony. Her peacebringer dagger is sheathed and strapped to her thigh, just above the slit in her skirt.
'Fate favors the prepared,' she reminds herself. Yet, for some reason, she feels especially uneasy in attending this party. She's faced the living dead, virulent disease, insane cultists, and even a vampire...but the nobles of Korvosa still put her off balance. Hopefully, no one would actually seek her out for conversation.
"This...does not feel aright," Emerion murmurs, listening to the awful sounds. "I know some very odd styles come out of Cheliax, but Strangled Cat isn't one I know."
He approaches the heavy doors and knocks.
"Oh Desna...why is it always us?" Emerion mutters, as his blade springs into his hand, and he moves to the point position.
"You!" he shouts to the dancers, "what happened here?"
Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (7) + 10 = 17
"Curious..." Istas states, clinically taking in the sight of so many bodies and the dancing couples among them. "These people are clearly not themselves. And I don't mean the dead. Someone must be playing with their minds. And their lives. Pharasma is displeased. So she brought us here to deal with yet another disruption."
She hikes up her skirt far enough to retrieve her peacebringer dagger, holding it close along her forearm to keep it hidden. "We're not exactly at our best," she notes, "This dress isn't going to turn a blade like my armor or shield. But I'll trust my Lady to provide what's needed."
While Emerion attempts to question the dancers, Istas offers a quick, simple prayer to lend her greater insight.
Casting deathwatch. Should last for an hour and give her the ability to tell the living from the dead...or the dying. If any of the victims are still alive or close to death's door, she'll see what she can do to stabilize them.
No reply to Emerion's shouted query.
A closer look, and Istas' spell, reveal that the couples are dead. Their faces are heavily blotched with the red marks of Bloodveil. Their motions are unnaturally clumsy and jerky. The score of bodies on the floor are likewise dead of Bloodveil.
Heather mutters a few words and reaches out to touch Istas lightly."That should help" she says "Welcome to the unarmoured club"
Cast Mage armour on Istas AC+4 for the next 7 hours.The armour counts against incorporeal attacks.
Heather mutters a few words and reaches out to touch Istas lightly. "That should help," she says, "Welcome to the unarmoured club."
"Thanks," the priestess replies, staring about the room with a measured focus that stretches beyond the physical realm. Once satisfied, she shares what she's learned.
"It appears these victims died of violence and bloodveil. Most of them anyway." She ignores the dancers and strides across the room towards one of the bodies. "This one's still alive. And those two over there. Barely. They bear wounds, as well as signs of bloodveil." She hovers over the dying man. "It seems there's still an active cultist in the city," she announces, "Or, perhaps the nosferatu sought one last spiteful act?"
She reaches down and touches the victim with a brief prayer of intercession, asking Pharasma to let his soul linger for just a little more.
Casting stabilize for now.
"I left my curing wand back at the temple," she says, "With the death of Andaisin and Davaulus, I thought there'd be less need for it. Yet, I wish I had it now so I could save one of these people and learn more from them about their attackers. Perhaps, we can ask a few questions while they yet draw breath. Or, failing that, I still retain the means to speak with those who have passed on. The ritual would take some time to complete, however. And that time might be better spent searching the home instead..."
She finally nods towards the dancing couples. "Heather? Can you do anything for them? I assume some kind of compulsion forces them to ignore their surroundings..."
Emerion is scanning the room for any sign of anyone alive or failing that, moving. He doesn't trust the corpses not to attack, especially the dancers. He'll advance far enough to see for himself if they are dead or alive - he suspects dead.
Ah...retconning Istas' post. I misread something.
"The dancers are dead. They cannot answer, because they're only animate zombies." She raises the peacebringer blade, which glows with a soft blue light. "Pharasma's gift always knows when the dead are dishonored with such blasphemy. And she lends such sight to those who follow her, as well."
She fingers the ever-present medallion of her goddess where it hangs about her neck. "I'll end this mockery."
Channel positive energy 3d6 ⇒ (4, 2, 1) = 7 (DC 16 Will save for half damage)
Been having trouble getting the map together.. I'll try again, but will make this post just to keep things rolling.
1d20 ⇒ 2..1d20 ⇒ 3
1d20 ⇒ 8..1d20 ⇒ 2
1d20 ⇒ 4..1d20 ⇒ 4 all save at plus 3
The six zombies shake and falter with Istas' channel, but continue their dance. Heather's energy ball shakes one, but she keeps going too.
Emerion, I'll give you a surprise round strike, too. And Kel if Bill chimes in.
"Killing my lovely courtiers, are we? Just like you killed the most fascinating man in Korvosa? Well try this!"
Voice 1d20 ⇒ 18 plus 2 .. zombies 1d20 ⇒ 20
Emerion's attack on the nearest Zombie: Combat Expertise, -2 to hit +2 AC (to 24), +1d6 damage.
Attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30 Damage: 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (1, 3) + 4 = 8 + 1d6 ⇒ 6 Sneak Attack.
Threat Confirm: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22 Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Initiative: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23 Where is the speaker?
"Interesting? The man's conversation was positively banal!"
Emerion puts down one zombie. It's partner continues to drag the now limp corpse around.
"It wasn't his conversation that I was interested in! Ahh hahahahaha! Ohh but you'll pay for insulting his memory! Kill them! Kill them all! AHH hahahahaha! "
Nearly the entire ceiling of the parlor (E1A) is open to the second floor. The stairs along the south side of the room have a white pillared bannister which merges seamlessly with the railing around the opening. The railed area on the second floor appears to be quite open.
Round 1: Initiaitive Order
The Voice, 18 And where is that speaker, indeed?
Keliwyn, 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17 delaying until Bill shows up or we reach the bottom
Kenan, 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
The zombies shuffle forward to obey. The one holding Emerion's victim drops it a swings a heavy roundhouse at the Varisian's head.
Slam 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8 ... damage 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
There's a familiar click and metallic twang, then a loud shrill scream fills the room for a heartbeat,
Crossbow 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (9) + 14 = 23.... damage 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 103d6 ⇒ (3, 2, 1) = 6
screaming bolt. DC 14 will save all around or be shaken
until a quarrel furrows Emerion's shoulder.
Leaning over the balcony behind him is a wild-eyed red-haired young woman in crimson and white motley. "Never speak ill of my beloved! Or better still, never speak again!"
Puts her upstairs in about C5.
Will Save1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Heathers face takes on a look of grim determination.
"Right then whoever you are..you just managed to make me angry" she states then steps up and casts a shower of sparks over the Zombies being careful to keep Emerion out of the area of effect
Sparking hands5d4 ⇒ (1, 1, 3, 4, 4) = 13 DC 16 reflex for half damage
Will save... 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Istas flinches at the sound of the screaming bolt and the heretofore unseen speaker. 'What are we dealing with...who are we dealing with...' she wonders as doubt creeps into her mind.
Even so, the sight of the approaching zombies summons back her ingrained hatred for the undead.
"I've got these," Istas tells Heather, "Take the fight to the crazy woman." She raises the symbol of Pharasma once more. "End this mockery of both life and death, my Lady!"
Channel positive energy...3d6 ⇒ (3, 4, 2) = 9 (DC 16 Will save for half damage)
Blah. The dice have abandoned me. They must be rusty, since they haven't seen use in awhile.