Nostrum saw the strength of that last bite and knows that if the croc's next attack connects ...he is certainly a goner. Still, faith had never failed him before.
At the top of his lungs, he yells "Unmaker guide me!" and brings the axe down.
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
damage: 1d12 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
confirm crit: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23 =39 damage in total!!!
I may have borrowed Akiki's dice...
|The Harrow GM|
Raising his huge axe high, Nostrum brings it down on the crocodile's head with excessive force, splitting its skin, crushing its skull, and leaving the top half of the crocodile just two flaps of crocodile, flapping in opposite directions. Its jaws articulate for a moment but then remain still.
Nostrum will kill it before it gets a chance to act regardless of what any of the rest of you do. Combat is now over.
Less pressured now that the crocodile has been...unmade, Fredo works the machine a little more carefully, lowering Semelle gently down to her sister. "Sorry about the jolt," he says, grimacing ruefully. That's all he says, though; the girl no doubt has someone she wants to talk to more than Fredo!
Instead, he crosses back over to Lamm and looks him over appraisingly. "We knew one another too briefly, old man. You could have told me much. Now," he sighs, "I must learn what you knew by other means." Fredo knows it's a longshot, but he begins rifling through Lamm's clothing for papers or trinkets that could shed some light on Aleko's death. "For those of you who did know him, I congratulate you on your success. But for me, this isn't over," he reminds the others. "We will search his chambers, his records and accounts, everything he had in this world til I learn what I want to know." After he's done with the corpse, Fredo will move on to the storage room.
Perception to search: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
Do I get any feeling from Cat through our link? Worry, fear, joy, tiredness, etc.?
|The Harrow GM|
Thanking his diety, Nostrum wipes a chunk of crocodile flesh from his face. The immediate threat vanquished, he turns to aid his companions against Gaedren only to find the heaped upon the floor.
"Such a waste. He never turned back, and now it's too late." Nostrum smiles in grim satisfaction. He knows that whilst justice can never be served in this world, Gaedren is most certainly receiving it in the life beyond.
Like Fredo, Nostrum takes to inspecting the room.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Thaven merely takes the time to walk over to the body and spit on it. Despite justice, he just feels numb. "I thought this moment would feel... more fulfilling. Now I just feel tired." He remarks to no one in particular. Shaking his head, he walks over to the elf woman. "How's your sister? Need anything?"
|The Harrow GM|
This room contains nothing of particular interest but Gaedren's body, the manacle-operating machine, and the pit. And perhaps the Jeopardy board. In the far northwest corner, however, is another room, although the door is closed due to Raijinn's spellcasting.
Semelle hangs weakly from the manacles, crying and looking for her sister, whom she just say a moment ago. "Akiki! Akiki? Where are you?"
As for getting out of the pit, it seems that there is no ladder, so swimming out or finding a way to rise ten feet to the walkway seem the only ways.
And Semelle? :P
Finding a ring of brass and pewter keys on Gaedren, Fredo moves to the closed door. He tries each key in turn until one works, then passes through. Again, he is interested mostly in papers, books, notes, and correspondence. Cat's anxiousness presses on him, reminding him to hurry.
Perception to search: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21
Goffred Giulianoff wrote:And Semelle? :PShe's not in the pit, you yanked her up to the rafters.
And then I lowered her back down again. Also, is anyone else bothered by the fact that vanilla OOC text and hyperlink text look almost exactly the same on these boards?
Definitely annoying. They should be neon colors!
Akiki goes quickly to scoop her sister into her arms as best she can with the manacles still on. She murmurs quietly to her in Elven, mostly reassuring nothings. Big sister is here! She fumbles at getting the manacles off with her tools.
PIcky picky: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
|The Harrow GM|
The locks on Semelle's wrists click open to the touch of 'Kiki's tools, and she looks her sister full in the face before she begins to sniffle and her chin begins to quaver. "Th-th-thank you..That man...How you did find us? H-he told me you never would."
Fumbling with keys for a minute, Goffred finds the right one and opens the door to the small corner room. Immediately, he is accosted by a ripe plethora of smells, and not the good kind. In one corner squats a lumpy, filthy bed heaped with sunken pillows and topped with a raggedy blanket. At the foot of the bed rests a metal strongbox, locked with a padlock.
In a second corner stands an old dresser filled with out-of-style, moth-eaten clothing. Atop this dresser stands what appears to be a wooden hatbox and an ornate wooden cards case.
On the other side of the room is a large wooden desk and chair. The desk is coated in a mixture of dirty plates, bread crusts, stained goblets, fruit rinds, and piles upon piles of disorganized paperwork.
Akiki cuddles her sister close, "Everybody has their downfall" She's certainly not telling Semelle about creepy harrowing womens and her equally sketchy band of new friends.
"We've got to get back to the other kids." Akiki is so happy to have found her sister she's not even thinking about what she's going to DO with all those kids. "They'll be wondering what happened. Do you all have this?" Investigating Lamm's stuff, that is.
"Not quite," calls Fredo, shoving the ledger into his pack alongside his spellbook and a few other odds and ends. He'll examine it in more detail later. For now, he's left with a frustrating hint that could mean anything. What was supposed to be destroyed? Just Aleko? But why would they want him dead? And what was Aleko doing buying explosives from a seedy thug like Lamm anyway? He'll have to go back through the ledger and look for more unnamed clients, to see if there's a pattern to the services they required from Lamm. "There's a lot here."
Fredo is particularly drawn to the strongbox and the hatbox, the strongbox because it's locked and anything Lamm wanted secret Fredo wants exposed, and the hatbox because Zellara had mentioned that Lamm had stolen her Harrow deck. Maybe the card he'd found in his file that afternoon had lain in the very case that was sitting on top of the hatbox. Still, even with Lamm dead, he has no time to explore like he might want - the smell notwithstanding. "Something has Cat worried though," he says, poking his head out the door. "I think Akiki and Thaven should head back to check on the kids. Bring Semelle. I'm sure your friends will be glad to see you're alright," he says, with a questioning look at the young elf. They'd mentioned her, but it was a bit of a leap for Fredo to say they were her friends. He doesn't know...
"Raijin, Nostrum, come in here and help me with this stuff," he says, beckoning them into the room. "Mind the smell," he says, breathing audibly through his mouth. He crouches in front of the strongbox and tries the keys til he finds one that works.
|The Harrow GM|
Stuff in the strongbox!
Upon opening the strongbox, you find many packages, wrapped in cloth and closed with twine. Upon unwrapping each of the packages, you find: A narrow teak cigar case, its hinges and closing mechanism made of jade. A gold ingot, with the coat of arms of Cheliax inlaid into it. A miniature golden crown (in the classical style, with prongs going upward), a fist-sized carving of a kraken that has garnets for eyes, a silver ring with a tiny inscription reading "For Emmah, the light in my nights". A miniature sculpture of two succubi sensuously entwined, made of ivory. A finely crafted and weighted shuriken. An adamantine arrowhead. An abelone-shell holy symbol of Shelyn. A tiny glass tube containing an ounce of glimmering liquid. An obsidian wand. An ornately crafted crystalline flask containing a silvery liquid. A bejeweled gold brooch depicting a pseudodragon and imp chasing one another in circles, set with an amethyst and an emerald.
Even to the layman's eye, the brooch is easily the most valuable object here.
Raijinn admires the golden trinkets in the box for a second, not recognising them, but realising the inherent value. He thinks that there are many things in this place that he would not understand at first glance. He can't imagine how much information Gaedren's books could contain, how many secrets may be hidden in this place. Raijinn stands up, looking at Fredo and Nostrum, his eyes shining.
"The things we've seen tonight were only part of his crimes. Gaedren was a real pinnacle of crime in this city. We freed his slaves, we've taken some of his riches, but that's not all that's here. There are files we don't understand, maybe secret messages that others can decipher. He had an entire network. With him gone, there will be others who will step in and try to take over."
"If they do so, they'll do it without any help from us, or from him." Raijinn nods to the body of Lamm. "Gaedren will not leave behind a legacy. After tonight it will be as if he never existed."
He walked over towards the desk, picking up a particularly old piece of paper. "Take anything that may be of interest or value," he continued, and from his bag drew flint and steel that he used to set the paper on fire. The flames danced on his wicked smile. "We're going to burn the rest".
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
"Holy Vaults of Abadar! That's the Queen's brooch. I saw her wear it during an inspection once. I don't know how Lamm got it, but we have to return it." Hearing the suggestion to head upstairs he nods.
"Aye aye. C'mon elf. Let's get you and kid sister upstairs and corral the young ones. Hells know where we're going to take them, though. My place wouldn't hold two of them." Thaven slings his bow and heads back up top to check on the kids and the cat.
|The Harrow GM|
I'm assuming you're doing what Goffred tells you to do?
As Raijinn, Nostrum, and Goffred root through the new treasures they've found, Akiki, Thaven, and Semelle proceed to leave the fishery's underpier. They spend several minutes negotiating the complicated way that brought them there, taking extra care with Semelle there, but manage to make it back to the walkway.
While walking along the walkway, the presence of much increased noise becomes apparent to them. Voices yelling angrily, the *clank* of plated feet, the smashing of windows.
When they come around to the front of the fishery, they spot several things. One, a quadruplet of heavily armored and armed men, infernal motifs stamped into their armor, advancing down a cross-street. Two, a man throwing an end-table into a window the home across the street and jumping into it. At least one column of smoke rises from another district of the city. Formations of Sable Company Marines swoop by you, riding to some hotspot elsewhere in the city. From down the opposite cross-street comes the call "The king is dead! The king is dead! Long live the Queen!" when a herald takes up his post on his corner, but he is quickly booed and beaten by a small crowd shouting "Hang the Queen! Kill the usurper!"
Looking around in shock and fear, you quickly duck back into the fishery to check on the children. Where once there were dozens, now only eight remain. Mostly the younger members of the group, although Kester remains as well. Cat paces back and forth on the railing of the walkway above, taking quick little leaps to avoid the portion that its master's acid melted away.
|The Harrow GM|
Cat's a female.
Fredo has reason to doubt Raijin's assessment of Lamm's place in the criminal heirarchy of Korvosa. The guard six years ago had described him as a washed up has-been. His lifestyle and methods all spoke of his being small fry. And Raijin could hardly be objective, given how large Lamm's figure loomed in his past. The one countervailing piece of evidence is the mystery buyer of his "destructive services". None of this, however, is worth bringing up. If Raijin wants to torch the place, Fredo sees no reason not to let him, as long as everybody's outside first and as long as the fire won't spread.
"I've packed some of his files away already," says Fredo, plucking the wand out of the foot locker and adding it to the other. "and believe that, with further study, I can get a great deal of aid from them. As such, I will be taking all I can carry, and would appreciate if, after packing the treasures, and the Queen's brooch, you both do the same." Fredo starts shoving more papers into his pack, then when it's full to bursting, takes another look around the room, opening drawers, lifting the mattress, rattling the card case, and opening the hatbox to see if there are any more clues to be had.
|The Harrow GM|
The cards case is very ornately carved of wood. There is an image on each face of the case. On the front face is an image of a robed skeletal figure wielding a large scythe. On the opposite face is the image of a human woman holding her arms outward in a gesture of giving. On the sides and bottom of the case are each images of tiny, snarling planar beasts. The cards in the case are extremely well-made and maintained. Each image seems to move when you tilt the card, and the borders of every card are coated with gold leaf.
Quickly trying to pack away everything he can, Goffred is a bit distracted when he moves on to the hatbox. When he lifts it, it's quite a bit heavier than he expected. Opening it, a repulsive sight topples out onto the floor. A human head topples to the floor, long black hair whipping around as it spins. A sickening smell emerges from the box as well. The head rolls to face upward, and its face can be seen.
It's Zellara, the woman who hired you to come. Her features are sunken and her face is done up with incredibly unsightly make-up, apparently recently done to preserve the illusion of it being alive.
Akiki frowns a bit at the noises outside, but she's keen to get back to the kids. She frowns, "Where did they go?" But she already knows the answer to that. "He's dead." She's not eloquent, like Goff - she tilts her head. "We'll take care of you however we can, though. Its getting dangerous out there ... but if anyone has a home to go to, I'll help you get there."
Heal: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
The hatbox collapses into damp cardboard sheets in Fredo's hands as the head bursts through the moisture-weakened bottom. Fredo clenches his jaw shut, but cannot entirely keep the shock he feels from showing on his face. His brow furrows, the corners of his mouth tighten, and his eyes pop open. With his mouth closed, he has to breathe through his nose, which wrinkles at the even more rancid smell in the room. It's a dangerous look. "Raijin, Nostrum," he says, his words clipped short, "please come here and tell me that I'm not imagining Zellara's weeks-dead head lying on the floor."
As he steps aside to let the others confirm his finding, Fredo takes another look at the card case. The carvings seem to match the tapestries Zellara had hung up in her house. The cards themselves are familiar, with their metal-lined edges and their perfectly unmarred surfaces. Fredo flips through the deck until he finds the Inquisitor card; it looks exactly as it had this afternoon. When the others have been given enough time to process this latest find, Fredo gives voice to his thoughts. His words are still clinical, precise, and very deliberate.
"There are a number of possible explanations for what we have found here," he says. "The woman who sent us here might be Zellara's twin, or a magical duplicate, but I am convinced that these Harrow cards are the ones by which we were summoned. I did not imagine this eventuality this morning, and am thus singularly unprepared to divine even a small portion of truth now. Thus, before we go anyplace else, I think we should make for Lancet Street to discover what we can. Whoever we met there did offer us a place to sleep, and we can extend that offer to the kids as well."
Fredo turns to leave, his pack as full of papers as it can be, but pauses in the doorframe. "When you light your pyre, Raijin," he says, quietly, "keep in mind that it is not just for Lamm."
The head startled Raijinn, as one would expect from finding a severed head. "I don't understand." he mutters, wondering what else could possibly happen this evening. "Even if it was her twin, why would the same deck of cards be here?"
Raijinn shook his head. "We have had too many mysteries for one day. Let's take the cards and see if we can learn anything more from them. I agree that we should head for Lancet Street. It might not be the safest place, but I don't think we have anywhere else that would be better."
At the mention of the pyre, Raijinn nods to Fredo, his plan for burning the place down taking on an entirely different feeling than it originally had. While it was still a matter of burying the past, it was no longer about revenge or justice. It was now entirely about laying it all to rest.
Raijinn cast a long look at the rotting head. "What happened to you Zellara?" his eyes asked. Neither expecting nor receiving a response, he turned back to the task at hand.
|The Harrow GM|
The other children seem to have grown used to Kester speaking for them as he steps up to Akiki. He says in a shushed tone, "What's goin' on out there? A lotta the other kids booked it as soon as you were out of sight. They didn't wanna stick around.."
The kids huddle together in the center of the room. Hookshanks and Bloo's corpses are both missing, but lines of blood to the chum hole suggest that they were dumped into the water.
"Where r' we 'posed to go?", asks one of the littler kids.
Puppy dog eyes are used liberally.
"We have a place we can put you for now, and set up something specific for later." Akiki nods a bit, "Don't worry. We had our reasons for going after Gaeden ... and part of it was to rescue Semelle and you all from what he did to us." Akiki pauses a moment and then gets down onto her knees to look closely at the one asking her where they're going to go.
"I'll take care of you. I don't know about the others, but I'll do what I need to." She's not sure where this comes from, but the words sound right coming out of her mouth. She smiles slightly, trying to look reassuring.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Despite being sincere, Akiki is unsure still. She's not sure what she was going to do with one sister - she has no idea what she'll do with ten. But she's hoping the intensity of her devotion to preventing anything like what happened to her sister happen again shows anyway.
Hearing Fredo's words, Nostrum turns from his searching. As his eyes fall on the head, his breathe catches in his throat. Unlike his companions he doesn't seem confused by her death: "She was an angel after all...". Still, the sight of Zarella painted up like a doll nearly overwhelms Nostrum. He moves forward to wrap the head in some clothes and places it with some reverence onto a nearby tabletop.
"We don't know where her body is, so there is no point in a funeral. We should be getting back to the children and to Lancet street... but I'd like to pay my respects to her before we leave."
Nostrum starts singing a slow, mournful tune in a foreign language. Although the words are foreign to the listeners, the music echoes with days lost too early, with seasons and sights that never came to pass.
Perform(Sing in Abyssal): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Thaven stares out at the kids as the elf tries to reassure them. He's never been one for talking and the elf seems to have the kid situation well in hand. He moves to the door, and watches out for trouble, while listening to the mob and the shouts of anarchy.
|The Harrow GM|
Nostrum's mournful tune echoes throughout the fishery. All who hear it and take a moment to listen are drawn in. Just for a moment, it drowns out the unhappy sounds of looting, combat, and destruction from outside.
In the room above, the eight kids huddle around Akiki, with Thaven looking on, while they wait for their new compatriots.
That moment is quickly over, and the sounds return with a particularly loud scream as the Hellknights descent on the crowd of anarchists.
|The Harrow GM|
Goffred, Raijinn, and Nostrum pack up what things they can from Gaedren's bedroom, before moving to leave. Raijinn piles up some dry papers from Gaedren's desk on the floor before setting them ablaze, following his compatriots back the way they came. It takes them a moment to negotiate the way from the ship back to the walkway, and by the time they make it back to the side of the house, the underpier is burning quite fiercely, and the floor of the fishery proper has begun to catch.
Coming around the front of the fishery, hearing the alarming sounds of anarchy and strife, the trio find Thaven and Akiki, along with a gaggle of children, standing in front of the fishery in the street, huddled together for safety. They'd quickly had to evacuate when they felt the flames, and were clearly very close to not waiting for you. The group reconvenes and begins to discuss about where to put all of the children they've got with them.
Raijinn looks in horror at the scene outside. "What happened?" he asks Akiki and Nostrum, without taking his eyes off the spectacle.
After a few seconds he shook his head. "We've got to find somewhere safe to lay low for the night. Fredo mentioned going back to Lancet Street, which I think is a good idea." He made special note not to mention the severed head in front of the children, but hoped the look in his eyes told his friends that something was very wrong indeed.
"Sure, we can report to Zellara that her ordeal is over. Apparently the King is dead and the Queen has assumed the Throne. It sounds like there's rioting and I'm pretty sure I saw a Hellknight stalk by. We should keep a low profile and get there fast. The less time we spend on the streets, the better."
Carefully escorting the children through the streets in the early morning light, the quintet carefully avoids the large mobs that tramp through the streets and the squads of Hellknights, Korvosan Guards, and Sable Knights that inevitably arrive to suppress them. When crossing a main street, a flight of Sable Marines swoops overhead, while the hippogriff mounts of one of them trails blood and slowly dips in the sky, eventually crashing into a nearby building. The Marine atop his mount crumples into the building wall and the pair fall with a thump to the ground. The flight continues on without checking on their comrade.
After about an hour of stressful street-negotiating, the group makes it back to 3 Lancet street. Opening the door, where there once were lavish decorations and a homely, dreamy aura, there now are cobwebs and silence. The home is empty, cold, and dark. It looks as though nobody has lived here in weeks, and the wall decorations have been removed.
As you enter, the Harrow deck you took from Gaedren's bedroom begins to thrum softly.
Outside the Fishery
Fredo stands quiet, his arms folded in front of him, as the others discuss where to go and how to get there. He hears nothing to object to, and is indeed pleased to hear that his plan is the one they will follow. Cat pads up to him, an almost apologetic look on her face. Fredo can tell she regrets not being able to keep more of the children from fleeing, and he can't really blame her. The streets of Korvosa are no place to grow up at the best of times, and unless the children are very lucky or very savvy, and unless the stick together, will be even more inhospitable now. Still, he gives Cat an absolving nod, and lets her leap onto his shoulder. There was nothing she could have done.
"Zellara, who lives on Lancet Street, was a friend of ours," he explains to the kids so they will understand what Raijin and Thaven are talking about. Hopefully Akiki and Thaven will pick up on his use of the past tense to describe Zellara, while the kids will not. "She told us where to find you. We'll stay with her for the night."
At the mention of Hellknights Fredo looks grim and troubled. "'Order prevails in Egorian,'" he quotes solemnly. "'Order prevails in Almas. Order prevails in Isarn.' It's been half a century since those words were written," Fredo explains, "in sarcastic response to the Hellknights' brutality in subduing the capitals of the outlying Chelaxian provinces at the end of the Civil War. The order maintained there through bloody slaughter led to its own demise." He scowls. "Ileosa doesn't know what she's doing. Even Queen Domina know better than to use the Order of the Nail for police work in the city. Tomorrow, the call will be 'Order prevails in Korvosa', hundreds will be dead, and thousands will hate the Queen. And no one will be able to rightly blame them." Fredo briefly wonders if there is some leadership behind these riots he can contact, but he has more than enough obligations already.
"We should go. Once we've found somewhere the kids can stay long-term, we can look for the others."
Inside 3 Lancet Street
"I don't know, Thaven," says Fredo quietly. "It didn't look like this when we were here before," he says to the kids. "Fortunately, not all answers have to come from our own heads." Fredo rummages in his pack until he finds the wooden case with Zellara's Harrow deck inside, and pulls it out. When he touches it, he can feel it glowing with a warm, calming energy and humming so soft and deep that he almost can't hear it. He takes the deck out of the case and lays it on the table.
"I don't know how to use this," he says, "but isn't it meant to tell the future? Maybe if, tomorrow, we take it to someone who can read the Harrow, we'll get some answers."
On The Way To Lancet Street
As the small household of the Brethren lay on the path to Lancet street, Nostrum briefly left the group to drop in there. He informed Jael of what had happened, collected extra blankets in case Zarella did not have enough and rushed back to meet the others. Just before walking out the door way, he turned back to ask Jael if he knew anything of the rioting.
knowledge(local): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
Turning up only slighty after the others, Nostrum is as surprised as Akiki at the state of the house. He sees that Goffred has the Harrow out, and moves forward to watch what happens next.
"I've heard mention that the Harrow gains it's power from the most evil of Hell's forces... Be careful Fredo, lest you accidentally wind-up enthralled to a diety of destruction." In matters of the world beyond, Nostrum cannot resist commenting piously.
Raijinn nods to Akiki as she's settling in the children, and whispers. "I know that need to tend to your sister, but afterwards there are things that we must discuss."
He finds a place separated from the rest and sits down to meditate and consider the days events, and what they are going to do next.
|The Harrow GM|
Brother Jael sighs at your question. "Honestly I've tried not to leave the temple since the rioting started..however, I can tell you that people are rioting because they feel Ileosa shouldn't be on the throne. She's so young, and she's been here such a short amount of time...I wouldn't be surprised if people try to force her off of the throne. Most Korvosans are going to view Ileosa as a petulant gold-digger at best, and a usurper at worst."
After some prodding, and more than a little bit of crowding, the thirteen of you manage to cram into the small home comfortably. The extra blankets from the Brethren are a welcome sight, as most personal effects that once were in the home seem to be missing.
After the children are snoring, the quintet stays up into the afternoon to speak about what happened.
After a few minutes of discussion, a hand is laid on Akiki's shoulder. Snapping around to see who it is, she's met with an unexpected sight.
It's Zellara, looking just the same as when you first met her. "Hello again." She smiles.
"Zellara! Where have you been? And what's happened to your house? It was so... homey before and now it's trashed." Thaven is clearly tired, with dark circles under his eyes. He speaks a great deal more than he did before and his voice has a hollow ring to it.
Raijinn has his sword in hand before he has even stood all the way up. He narrows his eyes at the sorceress, unsure of where to begin. Rather than her smile calming him, it leaves him feeling very unsettled. "Stay away from her" Raijinn orders.
He doesn't take his eyes of Zellara, explaining to the others what happened. "When you went to check on the children, we found her severed head in Gaedren's storage room. That's why Fredo has her deck."
"We laid her to rest." He finishes with a glare, hoping that his anger will cover his fear and worry.