Korriban nods, a smile taking over in place of the scowl. "All right then. We're a team then. Just know that, my home will be open to you, should you need it."
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Korriban is oblivious to the hesitation. He grabs Adoros's hand and shakes it (pretty roughly, too) with a huge smile on his face. "Korriban Balros! A pleasure to meet ya! Sorry about early. I just have a natural joking demeanor. So, I like to crack jokes and engage in witty banter. Just so you know for the future!" He lets go of the Cheliaxian's hand.
Korriban chuckles. "I think I made it obvious that I want to kill the b*****d more than anyone of us." At the revelation that he took something of Adoros's, he shrugs. "Well, if we're revealing to each other about what he did, then I'm all for it." He then takes off his trench coat and folds it neatly, placing it on the table. He then proceeds to remove his armor. Then his shirt. All the while saying: "I was an orphan on the streets. Grew up from birth in an orphanage. Never knew who my parents were. I all had was my first name. Anyway, when I was three, the orphanage burned down, leaving me s**t out of luck. About two years later, I met Lamm. He offered me a safe haven. Like the naive kid I was, I accepted. The next four years, I was beaten. When I was 9, the a** decided that enough was enough and he nearly killed me and chucked me in the trash. That's when I met my not-at-the-time adopted mother, who is a prostitute and currently in charge of the family run Rosa in Fiore, the finest brothel in Bridgefront. I spent 10 years under her tutelage, training for this day." When his upper clothes are off, everyone can see the extent of the damage. His back is marred from scars from what appears to have been a whip. In between his shoulder blades, he has a particularly nasty scar from a stabbing weapon. His chest has a few slash scars running diagonally. Two scars run from his left cheek, down the left side of his neck, and ending at his left bicep. He then lifts up his right pants legging to reveal scars from what looks like a giant predator bit into it. His body shows that he's agile, but still strong.
As he puts his clothes back on, he says, "So I definitely want the killing blow on Lamm. It's not just for me. But my mother had a run-in with him too. A bad run-in. One that requires revenge to solve. I also want his gator to die. Hope everyone is good with that. So, busy schedule for me. Find out who called us here, ask about my card, kill Lamm, give his eyes to Abu, kill his gator, and, hopefully, find my parents. If anyone can help with that last item, it would be very appreciated." He ends his statement with a smile.
"I can certainly help with the first part of your list," a soft female voice says from the doorway.
You all turn. Unnoticed by the rest of you, a woman has entered the house, stepping in off the street. She wears a plain, homespun dress and has her hair bound in a colorful Varisian scarf. Her dark eyes are sharp and intelligent, and they take all of you in at a glance, seeming to measure and evaluate you. As she sees that everyone is here, she smiles.
"Thank you all for coming, my friends, and for putting up with my...unconventional method of contacting you. My name is Zellara, but I have reason to remain hidden--a terrible man would see great harm done to me if he knew I was reaching out for help. I'm sure by now you've guessed the identity of this man; it is, of course, Gaedren Lamm, whose cruelty and capacity to destroy the lives of those he touches are matched only by his gift for avoiding reprisal."
The woman crosses the room and sits at the head of the table, drawing a pack of cards identical to the ones you all received from her pocket and beginning to shuffle them. Her fingers seem to dance over the cards, and the gilded edges sparkle and wink in the light as the cards riffle between her hands. Looking at the shuffling deck, you see strange sights; flashes of bizarre pictures, like looking into a flame and trying to see an image, seem to pop out at you only to be replaced and fade almost immediately. Zellara continues.
"You see, a year ago, Lamm's thieves stole this, my Harrow deck, from me. It is important to me, an heirloom passed down through a dozen generations, and also my sole means of support. When pickpockets stole it, my son, Eran, tracked them down. The thieves were in the employ of Gaedren Lamm, and in reward for finding them, Gaedren murdered my son." Her voice has grown thick with emotion, but she seems to steel herself, and continues.
"I sought help from the Guard, but they turned me away. And so I asked around. I paid bribes. I consulted my Harrow deck for advice. And recently, I was rewarded--I found out where Gaedren dwells. He can be found in an old fishery north of here at Westpier 17, where he trains his abducted children to be pickpockets and counts his stolen treasures.
"And now, I need your help. I cannot hope to face this man on my own, and the Guard moves so slowly that if I were to go to them, Gaedren would certainly know of their coming well in advance. Even if they did arrest him--what guarantee would I have he would be punished? This criminal has evaded the law for decades." The cards flashing between her hands slow, then stop, and she looks up at the six of you. "But you know of these frustrations as well, for word on the street has it that Gaedren has wronged each of you, too. So there we are. It is time for him to pay."
|Gadriel the Lost|
Shyly, Gadriel will walk up to the strange woman and hand her the card back. Abu, darting from shoulder to shoulder on the small girl, appears agitated... or mearly anxious. "Abu says you can have this back. We will help. We do not like Lamm. Abu does not like Lamm. We do not know where Westpier 17 is though." Turning to the others in the room, she askes "Maybe the others know where Abu could fine the man's eyes?"
Hey guys. Sorry but I forgot this in my original post. But some quick details about Korriban's tattoos. His chest has a very complex tattoo covering his entire upper torso. Iconography includes images of daggers, wasps, and Calistria's holy symbol, each in various shades of yellows, golds, blacks, and oranges. Both of his forearms have tattoos of leaves and vines in various shades of greens. Scattered in the foiliage are bright vibrant red roses and birds that closely resemble Shelyn's holy symbol.
Korriban looks to the fortune teller. "Were you standing there the entire time that I had my shirt off?" He then walks up and hands her his card. "Smart of you to call us, Zellara. Guards probably wouldn't do anything anyways. Don't worry. We'll avenge your son and get your Harrow Deck back." He leans in, a smile on his face. "But there's a few questions I'd like to ask before we set out. First, how did you know where to find us? Second, in my case, how did you manage to break into my room, leave the card, and get out without leaving a trace? We have at least 4 guards on duty at all times. Plus, my room's on the second floor. Third, could you possibly use your cards to read my future and find my true parents? And finally..." He points to the image on his card. "Why did I get this particular card? The Rabbit Prince?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
Korriban looks to Gadriel with a smile. "I think I might know the place. If not, I could probably find Westpier 17. Should take some time and asking around. But I can get it done."
Knowledge (local) to see if Korriban knows of the place's exact location: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
"A harrowing game of cards? Signs and portents? Be still my beating heart ...for their is the matter of the bleating heart. We few to avenge and revenge ...also likely scavenge. It sounds a grand adventure! I can't wait to thank our friend most personally."
Prior to Zellara's entrance...
Korriban's constant use of 'Rai-Rai' seems to be getting on Raina's nerves, but she decides on a whim to let it lie... for now. There were more important things afoot to worry about. "Korriban. Right. Knew it was Cory-something-or-other. I'm not great with names... and faces tend to change after you've broken someone's nose." She vaguely grins at that, perhaps soothing her own nerves with imaginary violence.
Adoros' question simply receives a scoffing laughter in return. "There isn't a single person in Korvosa that wouldn't be happy to see that sick old bastard cark it, and the more painfully he goes the better." Raina's eyes seem to flash with intense anger as she speaks of Lamm... no doubt an expression very familiar to all those in the room. However, she turns particularly silent at Korriban's description of his experience with Lamm...
Raina had almost relaxed before Zellara decided to sneak up on them all. She almost jumps a half-foot in the air, instinctively assuming a defensive stance before the Varisian woman can explain her story. ... She's still not happy, though at least she's not two seconds away from breaking someone's nose.
"I think Korriban hits all the burning questions here and now," she says, carefully eyeing up this woman with a curious frown.
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
"I think I know where the place is. Worked down that way not too long back. Can't believe he was close by..." Raina shakes her head.
I'm sorry guys, I wanted to make a post yesterday but after working all day I was devastated! I'm going to split this post in two, the first part before Zellara shows up, the second after that. Sorry about the tardiness, laziness and anachronistic posting! ^_^
Imperia nods thoughtfully when the young man voices his concerns - "Well said, my friend. Similar thoughts crossed my mind as well. For what it's worth, I assure you I mean you no harm, as I was invited here just like you, and I suspect, the rest of us."
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
When Adoros says his name, the subtle hesitation in the young man's voice goes completely unnoticed by Imperia's ears. "Imperia Winthrune" - she offers in return with a slight curtsey - "It's a pleasure to meet you, Adoros Porthis."
Imperia looks upon the young child with a mix of astonishment and grief.
'So it's not only Celia... What manner of monster is this Lamm, to hurt children!?... When I find him, and I will, I'll see that justice is done!'
Patting the girl gently on the head, she tells her in a soft voice - "Don't worry little one, Lamm will be stopped, once and for all. I swear it."
Imperia is taken aback when the woman that just entered forcibly demands an explanation.
Before she can say something, Korriban engages her in conversation, and Imperia is more than happy to let them talk and wait it out.
When Raina shows the others her card, Imperia nods - "It seems so yes, we all received an invitation written on the back of an harrow card... Very peculiar wouldn't you agree?" - She responds, offering the woman a candid smile in the hope that'll help mitigate her apparent bad mood.
If she was puzzled by the others, Imperia is downright bewildered, and even a little scared, by the strange man's words and behavior.
After offering her name and a word of greeting, she tries to subtly take her distance from him, putting as many of the others as possible between the two of them.
Imperia's eyes widen in shock and she involuntary puts a hand over her mouth as she hears Korriban's tell the tale of his encounter with Lamm.
"That's terrible! You suffered so much... I'm so sorry... How it is possible for a monster such as Lamm to exist is beyond me..."
---After Zellara shows up---
Imperia listens attentively to the woman's words, eager to know who she is and in which way, in any, she could help them finding Lamm.
After she's done talking, Imperia has quite a few questions to ask Zellara, but the others beat her to it and she simply nods and waits for the fortune-teller to answer.
'Uhm... An old fishery north of here, at Westpier 17? I should be able to get there, I think...'
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
Before Korriban can put his shirt on, he looks to Imperia and shrugs. "Thanks for the condolences. I don't know how Lamm hasn't been killed yet. But it just happens. I did get something out it though: Never trust everyone who walks up to you and makes an offer. But enough about me. What I want to know, my lady, is what he did to an angelic being such as yourself."
At seeing Raina's distant expression, Korriban adopts a serious look for once. "Raina? Is everything all right?" He gets closer to see if she's all right. Note: he's still shirtless at this point.
Zellara smiles at your questions. "All of you have reasons to hate Lamm...a missing sister, a brutal past, a stolen object of great value. I will let you share them--or not--yourselves. But your woes are not wholly unknown. I listen to the music of the city around me, and heard that you six had reason, and more, to take up arms against Lamm. And my Harrow deck tells me more than most."
She gently cuts and re-stacks the cards in front of her. "After my son's death, and many travails, I managed to get my hands back on the deck. I sent each of you a card, and relied on the power of the Harrow for the cards to work their way into your lives. It would appear that the deck was successful. As for the Rabbit Prince..." she smiles enigmatically at Korriban. "The Rabbit Prince is a fearsome fellow, more dangerous than he looks. In a Harrowing, he often represents a young man of vigor and passion, one used to the thrill and the risk of combat. Often, the young man is important in his household--sometimes a prince, or at least the heir of the house. But the card also carries a warning. See how the Prince's sword is broken? Any combatant can fall at the whim of chance. The blade that you wield can easily be turned against you. That is what the Harrow wished to communicate to you."
She sits back and purses her lips, taking in the group. "If you wish, I would be happy to perform a Harrowing for you--free of charge, of course. It might give you guidance in your hunt for Lamm, or for the more distant future to come. Given that I called you here, it seems the least I can do."
|Gadriel the Lost|
"We know of Harrowings. Abu thinks a card reading could be helpful. We are still unsure, but if Abu thinks it is a good idea than we will participate." Gadriel stays perched on her window sill, but seems to visibly be relaxing; the feeling of imminent flight seems to be waning from her.
Adoros moves on instinct back a half-step as their mysterious host slips into the house quiet as an assassin. The Chelish man relaxes slightly as the older, yet pretty, woman introduces herself and lays out why she contacted each member of this strange group. Westpier 17. That address shall be the grave site for our dear friend, Lamm. After the room fills with questions toward their host, Adoros steps forward and gives Zellara a deep bow before looking into the woman's eyes, "Madam Zellara, before you read your cards, let me be the first to offer you my condolences on the loss of your son. It would seem Lamm has claimed too many innocent souls and wronged a great many. Justice must be meted out to this vile rat by the edge of our blades. I swear to you, madam, I shall avenge all our good names on your child's murderer."
Korriban nods, accepting how Zellara gave them the cards. At her explaination of the Rabbit Prince, he gains a thoughtful look. He turns around. He mutters to himself, though everyone in the room can hear it. "Fearsome? Yeah, that does sound like me. Along with the vigor and passion part. But important in the household? I'm guessing it's referring to the Rosa. But could it be about my birth parents? Hmm... Then there's that victim of chance thing. What does that mean exactly?" He turns back to the table and asks in oddly quiet voice, "So, the broken sword means that if keep my attitude, it could wind up killing me?"
At the chance for a Harrowing, his formerly contemplative expression is quickly replaced with one of giddy. He raises his hand and bounces on his feet, like an excitable child. "ME! ME! I want a Harrowing! Could you tell me about my future? No, no, no, wait! I want to hear about my birth family! Goddesses, there's too many options to choose from!"
At Adoros's speech, Korriban turns to him with a smile. He wraps an arm around the armored man's shoulders and says, "Guess I was wrong about you... to an extent. You would make a good worshipper of the Savored Sting. After we kill the b*****d, we'll all have a celebratory party at my house!"
Korriban has a moment of reliazation. "Don't worry, kid. I know exactly where Westpier 17 is. And judging from the expressions on the faces of our other female companions, they know where it is, too."
"Such a charming girl and an intelligent monkey. Children know the darkness well, for they see it when we don't. Be careful that you not let Lamm define you, lest you walk around shirtless like our loquacious Korriban. Abu, I know we will get along well. Perhaps this monkey is a moon-key, praise be to Groetus who Ends All."
Neither does the cleric approach her. But if he catches her looking, he gives a wide smile with dead eyes.
"A true harrowing from a true harrower ...a glimpse at the future perhaps ...though in truth I know something of the future as well. My card was that of the Courtesan, as my golden tongue will no doubt trickle and tickle those in power. Or was it Sans Court? No justice in this world, no justice, just ice and cold hearts, until the Final Collector comes to Golarion."
At what the cleric says to Gadriel, he turns and says with a chuckle, "Yeah. You don't want Lamm to inhabit your mind or you could wind up like me. But then again... would it be so bad? And, hey, where I live, most people only have a single set of rags to wear. So, going without a shirt is a serious option. Besides, when you look as good as I do, then you have to show off." When Teodor reveals what Harrow card he got, Korriban freezes. He then turns to the cleric in a rapid fashion. "WHAT?! You got a Courtesan card?! Why didn't I get that card?! I think I should have gotten it based on my family!"
|Gadriel the Lost|
Gadriel nods at both Teodor and Korriban. "We know not to dwell upon past's dark. Abu helps, pulling when apathy reigns.
She then looks askew at Korriban, saying "Should we remove our shirt? We do not have many shirts, and we also have scars." You cannot tell if the child is serious, or attempting humor. The strange monkey on her shoulder doesn't help either way...
"My sister... He kidnapped my little sister, Celia" - Imperia answers the young man, her voice filled with grief - "She's still a child, she's only ten! S-She's... She's been missing for over a month, everybody lost hope, they told me to give up... But I can't... I won't abandon my sister!... And after she's safe, I'll see that justice is done." - her voice is harsh and filled with anger, very different from the soft, pleasant tone she spoke in up until now. Taking a look at all the others gathered in the room, she adds - "Lamm will pay for his crimes. All of them."
When Adoros offers his condolences, Imperia nods slightly - "Please Milady, accept my condolences as well. What befell you was a terrible tragedy, but rest assured with the help you're giving us we'll see that justice is done, and your son will finally rest in peace."
Even without having ever seen one in person, thanks to her studies at the Acadamae Imperia is well aware a Harrowing performed by a skilled fortune-teller could provide useful, if cryptic, insight into the present, past and future, and when Zellara offers to perform one, she readily agrees, her curiosity getting the better of her caution.
At the girl's question, Korriban just looks at her with an incredulous look. He then places his hand on her non-monkey occupied shoulder. "I'm going to say 'no' on removing you shirt. Because A) it's socially unacceptable for women to expose themselves in public and B) you're just a child. Trust me. Okay?"
After Imperia explains her situation with her sister, he moves over to her. He gently places his hand on her shoulder. He smiles as he looks into her eyes. "Don't worry. We'll find her. Even if I need to beat the information out of Lamm with my bare hands, I will help you bring her home. It's the least I can do for a beautiful lady such as yourself."
Adoros gives Korriban a brief smile at his show of camaraderie and shakes his head at the assertion about his religion, "Normally, I would rather see justice be done by the court's will but alas someone in charge must be incompetent or Desna smiles upon Lamm. In such cases, trial and execution of sentence falls to those of us not mired in a bureaucratic torpor."
Adoros listens to Imperia's plight with her sister being kidnapped, "Truly, that worm, Lamm, knows no depths which he will not crawl to and wallow in his many sins. His reign of villainy must end today!" The young Chelish man bows his head in grave solidarity with Imperia before he raises his head and locks eyes with her, "Lady Winthrune, I swear by all that is right in this world that I shall see your sister returned to you from Lamm's greasy clutches."
"Do not remove your shirt, child," Zellara says to Gadriel, adding a baleful glance at Korriban for good measure. "Perhaps we could ensure that everyone remain clothed in my household? Thank you. Now, for the reading..."
She plucks the cards that delivered your messages back from you, and shuffles them into the deck. She then fans the deck out in front of you--you can see no trace of the messages on the backs of any cards, not even smudges of ink.
"I will conduct a Harrowing for the six of you--to reveal what the cards can to aid you in your pursuit of Lamm. That is the crucial issue of the moment. Once you have killed Lamm, there will be time to consult them for all other questions. Each of you must pick a card. This card will bear a message for you personally in regards to the hunt for Lamm, and it will represent you if it appears in the full Harrow spread. So, our question for you to bear in mind is: will we succeed in our quest for vengeance against Gaedren Lamm?" She pauses, and her eyes are dark and seem infinitely deep as she gazes into yours. "Choose."
Arbitrarily, I'm going backwards in the order of last posting.
Adoros draws a card that shows a dangerous-looking cloaked figure clutching a bunch of keys. "The Locksmith," Zellara says. "A signal that you have--or will soon have--what you need to obtain your destiny. He suggests that you will soon obtain something of great value, either to you personally or to the world. But be careful; whatever it is, the Locksmith gives you no guidance on how to use whatever you gain from this chase. He merely puts the object in your hands."
Korriban's card shows an exotic-looking woman twirling through the spheres. "The Dance," Zellara says with a smile. "A card of good omen among my people. It reminds you of your connections to those around you--to your companions, to your family, to the city of Korvosa itself. It suggests that you know yourself and know your place--mind that you contribute to the greater good. Those who step out of time can get left behind."
Imperia turns over her card to reveal a dark, swampy scene with three colored lights floating in the air. It's only after a moment that you see, with some revulsion, the clutching hand reaching out of the murk. Zellara's face darkens. "The Demon's Lantern. You, above all others, must proceed with caution. This card warns of an impossible situation, of tricks of the mind and traps. Do not underestimate your foes, for you may not know the extent of their craft."
Gadriel's card is revealed to be a giant striding across a plain, juggling a bizarre hodgepodge of things. "The Juggler," Zellara says. "A strange card for you to draw, child. The Juggler represents those grand beings who play with the lives of others--the gods, the fates, any who pull the strings by which the world moves. The card bears a warning: as long as the giant keeps his rhythm, the world continues well. But if he should falter..." she shakes her head, lips pursed. "I do not understand this well. It seems unlikely that you should have such sway in others' lives...but then, perhaps it does not refer to you, but to another being that has touched your life..."
Teodor's card is familiar: The Rabbit Prince, the card Korriban received his message on. No trace of the ink is left on the back. Zellara chuckles. "Well, it seems that you hold all the cards our friend is interested in. As I said before, the Rabbit Prince usually represents a young man, often royalty or the heir to a house. Perhaps this is a sign that one such man is about to have an important impact on your life. More abstractly, though, this card warns of overconfidence, particularly in the arena of battle. Any combatant may be overcome, and a killing blow is never far away when swords are drawn."
Raina draws last, and turns her card over to reveal a tiny creature sitting next to a peach, playing with a deck of cards. "The Cricket," Zellara says. "A suggestion that your quest will be shorter than you think, that you will dart with unimagined speed straight to your goal. A good omen. But also a reminder not to solve every problem with your fists--dexterity of mind is as important as that of your hands."
Zellara is silent for a moment, allowing you to digest these "messages," and then collects the cards you drew back to her. She begins to shuffle the deck, and you see strange shapes rippling in the play of the cards. "Now, for the reading proper..." she murmurs.
I as DM will let you guys react/reflect on these as well...I'll hopefully get the full reading up sometime after I get home from work tonight (I get off around 9 p.m.).
|Gadriel the Lost|
@ Korriban and Zellara
Wish a shy smile, Gadriel nods her head. "We didn't think we should, but Abu suggested we ask. We think Abu meant to be funny, but only Abu would know. We have never understood what makes Abu laugh." As if to prove her point, you could swear the creepy monkey is snickering softly into Gadriel's hair.
"We think you harrowed for Abu. This is good, for Abu is with us and we are always with Abu. We also know Abu will not falter, nor let us falter." With a firm nod of her head, Gadriel seems to completely accept the reading and her own interpretation, no lingering curiosity or doubt appears to show in her face.
@Gadriel & Zellara
Korriban looks at the fortune teller. "Hey! I'm not telling her to take her shirt off!" Turning to the young girl, he says with a smirk, "Well, then. Abu and I might have the same sense of humor then."
Korriban smiles at his armored frienemy. "But there's that idea that taking the law in your hands in your hands. We'll work on it."
Korriban smiles after hearing the description of his chosen card. "Fitting! Glad to have picked a good omen for future endeavors! Right, guys?"
@Teodor & Zellara
At the revelation of Teodor's card, Korriban looks at him. "Wow. First you get the Courtesan and now the Rabbit Prince. This is just way to weird."
Zellara smiles at your reactions, but says nothing. She continues to shuffle the cards as she speaks. "In any Harrow reading, there are three components. First, one reflects on the past..." Abruptly, she ceases shuffling, and pulls three cards, face down, from the deck, laying them out in a stack facing you. She turns them over one at a time, starting from the top.
1d6 + 1d9 ⇒ (5) + (3) = 8
1d6 + 1d9 ⇒ (5) + (1) = 6Seriously?
1d6 + 1d9 ⇒ (3) + (2) = 5
The first card she turns over depicts a serpent with rainbow-plumed wings; the second shows a cyclops with mugs of ale; and the last shows a wounded man on a throne, surrounded by shades. Zellara frowns as she reads the cards.
"The most obvious of these cards is the Survivor. In this evil position, the Survivor suggests profound loss in your pasts--surely the evil done to you by Lamm, the threat he represents against your welfare and your very selves. But the strongest card...is the Winged Serpent. This bodes well. This creature forms the bridge between knowledge and prudence, and suggests that the time to act has not been yet, but perhaps is now come--and if it is not, you will know when it is. It urges you to follow your wisdom to determine when to strike. The Publican is in a weak position, but perhaps still important--it is a card of camaraderie and fellowship, suggesting that alliances have been made and that your strength has been multiplied by acting as a group, rather than as individuals. It also suggests refuge, perhaps the refuge you found from Lamm. Good omens all, I must say, for your hunt for Lamm."
Zellara sits back and lays out another three cards, face-down. "The second phase sheds light on the present."
1d6 + 1d9 ⇒ (5) + (1) = 6 The Winged Serpent cannot be EVERY card...
1d6 + 1d9 ⇒ (5) + (5) = 10
1d6 + 1d9 ⇒ (1) + (2) = 3
As she flips over the cards, they reveal, in order: a mighty angel blowing a trumpet; an owl clutching a needle; and a strange, clockwork-looking fortress. Zellara's breath hisses as she pulls away from the cards. She looks up at you, concern clear on her face.
"After the promise held by our reading until now, I hate to see such a spread in the present. The Owl here is truly aligned, and it worries me. The Owl is the symbol of natural order, of the survival of what is needful and the culling of what is not. It is not a happy card or an evil one; it suggests the way the world works, like it or not. If you are strong, the thread he bears can bind you together. If you are weak, it can pick you apart." She looks at the six of you gravely. "The other cards, to me, suggest that while your past promises success, the present is not so clear. The Trumpet is a card that suggests aggressive action in the cause of righteousness, surely a reference to our assault on Lamm--but it is weakly positioned, and never guarantees success. But then, falling in a strong negative position, we find the Keep. The Keep undone is a card of disaster, of strength undone by temptation or by the weight of superior force." She frowns and sits back.
"I had such high hopes after the reading of your past...but now it seems all is turmoil. Well, let us see...the third reading is never certain, for it deals with the future. Remember as I lay these cards out: this phase deals with what may be, not what will be. So..." She lays out three final cards.
1d6 + 1d9 ⇒ (5) + (6) = 11
1d6 + 1d9 ⇒ (5) + (9) = 14
The top card shows a man being assaulted by hundreds of arms that writhe up from the ground; in the middle is a dark-shaded card showing some grotesque carnival that seems to move even as you study the card; and the final card shows a gaunt, staring madman about to slay himself with his own sword. Zellara sits back, her lips pursed. There is a long silence.
"I wish, devoutly--both for you and for myself--that these cards promised success. They do not. In fact, they do not promise anything. They...they..." Her open palm suddenly slams into the table as she loses her poise. "These cards tell me nothing of Lamm! If anything, they tell me that there is something more, something greater, something we do not now. The Carnival, the card of illusions and lies, of false dreams and wrong paths, is in its strong position, warning us that there is something coming that we dream not of. And the Lost, the madman, tells us something of its shape." She looks up from the cards, and her eyes are like sloe-black pits. "Whatever is coming--some machination of Lamm's or something else entirely--will shatter what we hold dear, what makes us ourselves. It is the card of emptiness and loss. It is the card of total chaos, a card of madness and suffering, a card that suggests not knowing our way. It is...not...a happy card to see."
There is a pause. Then Zellara sighs.
"The scant good news is...the Beating." She snorts mirthlessly. "It is an evil card, but in a good position--which makes it good, but weak. The Beating here suggests that under duress, under the strain of assault from all sides, under the threat of dissolution itself...hidden strength may be found. I say, may. Perhaps none of what I see here shall come to pass; perhaps all. But there is strong evil in this spread." Her voice drops to a whisper, and she murmurs again, almost to herself, "There is strong evil in this spread."
Another moment of silence passes before Zellara sits back. "I wish I could bring you better tidings."
There are no cards from the suit of keys in the spread, which means that everyone currently has 1 Harrow Point. See the discussion thread for the way this works.
EDIT: I was dumb and broke all the links. They should work again now.
"Some say that no news is good news, but I know you know otherwise. There are many possibilities in this world, but all one day end in the End. You tell-tale us much in the telling. Are there worse things out there, oh, aye, for sure. But Groetus will end them all. I'm giddy!"
Korriban frowns as the reading goes on. "But this isn't for certain, is it? If it isn't, then we're going to work as hard as we can to prevent this! I turn disasters into my own benefits! I refuse to die! Not until I say so!" He finishes this with a smile on his face.
|Gadriel the Lost|
"The future is scant but the past's path. We heard this from... another. Abu liked it, but we do not understand it completely. We do think the telling is grim, but we also doubt that what is now and ahead can be worse that what was. We know that Lamm's touching has corrupted us, yet we are stronger because." Abu stands up on Gadriel's shoulder, almost as if trying to protect the people around the small room. "We see a path, we take the steps. Abu thinks we should worry less about the future and instead take care of what is in front of us. One step at a time, and the future will be soon be the past."
@Korriban & Adoros
A timid smile appears on Imperia's lips when the two young men pledge their help to her cause. Observing them for a long moment, she can't help but compare the two.
Both are young, and confident, and look more than capable, and yet where the first is slightly on the short side, with olive-colored skin and flesh marked by many scars, the other is tall and a little pale, with fine, strong features and unmarred skin. Where Korriban seems cocky and bold, with a propensity for shameless flattery, Adoros appears calm and composed, polite and chivalrous...
Eventually snapping out of her inappropriate train of thoughts, Imperia offers them her sincerest thanks. "I must confess, when I came here today, I didn't really expect to find anything more than a shred of information, possibly a new lead in my search... Words can't express how much this means to me. Thank you, truly."
Imperia listens with increasing concern as Zellara explains the meaning of her card. 'Tricks of the mind, traps... And an impossible situation? What could... The only... My life? Does this mean I'll be forced to choose between my life and my sister's? I-I, I... If this is what it'll take to save Celia, if this is the only way... So be it...'
When the fortune-teller finishes the harrowing proper, Imperia's concern becomes even more severe. "Thank you for your art, madame Zellara, even if it turned out quite differently than we all hoped, I'm afraid."
Turning toward the others, she adds - "Nonetheless, in my years of studies I've seen enough divinations go wrong to know that fate is still in our hands... We need to be on our guard, but we shouldn't lose hope!" - Imperia tries to put on a reassuring smile, but concern is still quite evident on her face.
Adoros gazes at the Locksmith card for a moment before sliding it back to Zellara. As she reads the Harrow spread, the Chelish man pays little attention. He doesn't have much use for fortuneteller tricks and mumbo-jumbo. Zellara is a resourceful woman with obvious skills or connections, especially to find him and leave the card unseen at his place, but the ability to peer into the future was probably just good deductive reasoning not mysticism.
When the reading is over, Adoros paces the room in thought, "Thank you for the 'fortune', Madam Zellara, but the best tidings you have brought us is the location of Lamm. Now that we know where he runs his operation, we can hunt him down like the dog he is. We should probably do a reconnaissance of Westpier 17 before we make any further plans. I'd like to see what in the way of defenses, guards, or other nasty surprises the worm has before we set them off. Minimize the danger and maximize the destruction we shall bring raining down upon his head."
Korriban gives a gentle, reassuring smile. "It's no problem. I'm just happy to help."
Korriban thinks for a moment. "I could possibly do some recon. With my stealth and sight, I could get some information. If any of you can do anything to help, then please do. Like providing protection, enhancing some of my abilities, summon additional eyes, or possibly send your animal partners to help."
"If we need to act, and indeed we do, we better do it fast." - Imperia nods severely - "I have with me all I need, and I know how to reach Westpier. I'm ready to go."
When Korriban suggests scouting the place, Imperia promptly agrees - "Yes of course, it'd be foolish to barge in without the slightest idea about the place, and I may be able to offer some assistance in that matter... But all in due time. First, we need to be on our way."
Turning toward her newly acquired companions, Imperia gives them a little smirk and raises an eyebrow - "So, my friends... Shall we?"
Zellara quietly re-stacks her cards as you all make your preparations, and rises to see you all out. "Thank you, once again, for accepting this task," she says as she sees you out the door. "I know that it is no light burden, and I would not have reached out to you were it not for my great need." Her eyes flash with fire again. "But we all owe Gaedren Lamm a debt, and soon, perhaps, we shall see it paid."
Westpier is not far to the north of Zellara's home, but lies in a slightly seedier section of the Midlands. Where you exit her house, the streets are still populated by busy people, both local and festival-goers, who are running late errands or heading to taverns or inns for the evening. As you proceed north, though, the crowds thin, and soon you see only the occasional cloaked figure hurrying down the street, or slovenly guards-for-hire leaning in the entrance of warehouses. A few of the less well-off-looking guards whistle at the female members of your group, particularly Imperia, but they don't stir from their doorways or make any trouble.
It's not too long before you find Westpier 17. Halting at a safe distance, about 60' away in the shadow of a warehouse, you peer through the moonlight at your target. The fishery lies on the east side of the road, and it looks like it juts out over the river. You can see a rickety-looking walkway running along the building's southern side (closest to you), and a set of double doors in the side that faces the road. At the far end of the building, you can see a figure leaning against the wall, in the shadows. You can faintly hear the sound of a muffled conversation...
The other man's reply is mumbled, but still audible. "Shouldn't joke about things like that." There's a thumping sound--perhaps someone idly tapping a wall with a foot. "He's a nasty old coot. Shame he pays so good."
Korriban nods at Imperia, his unremovable grin still on his face.
Korriban walks with the group, keeping an eye out for any threats. At the whistles of the lesser guards towards the female members (especially Imperia), Korriban glares at them, growling in warning, as if saying, "Back off!"
Take 10 on Intimidate: 10 + 2 = 12.
At the pier, Korriban stays as low as possible, keeping to the shadows and applying all of his training.
Take 10 on Stealth: 10 + 7 = 17.
Seeing the figure and hearing the muffled sounds, Korriban simply closes his eyes, straining his ears to pick up the most minute sounds to gain the advantage over his enemies.
Take 20 on Perception: 20 + 5 = 25.
As Korriban strains his ears, the guards' conversation lulls. One of them--the first to speak--taps out a pipe, fills it, and lights it. The other sounds like he's pacing on some kind of wooden decking on the far side of the building. You can also (faintly) hear some sort of sloshing, churning sound coming from inside the building...
Korriban turns to his allies. "There's two guys. I can tell that one of them is pacing on the wooden decking on the far side of the building. The other's taking a smoke.There's also something sloshing and churning inside the building. What do you guys want to do? Should we try to take out the guards? Maybe lure them away and get rid of them before they set off the alarm?"
I'm assuming that I don't hear the entire conversation. Right?
EDIT: Korriban adds: "Neither of them sound familiar to me. Must be a couple of low life goons."
Taking 20 on Perception (20) to check out the other side of the building from a distance.
Adoros keeps his distance from the building as he isn't one made for slipping through the shadows like Korriban. He makes a round about circuit toward the north side of Westpier 17 as to check out that approach before making his way back to the others as Korriban is reporting back from his closer examination.
Adoros nods in agreement with the suggested plan of attack, "Yes, best if we can lure the outer guards away and take them down quietly. That leaves the inner guards, and you can be sure there are at least as many inside as out, unaware so we can time our assault perfectly. I suppose if one or two of us stage a little sickness act near the perimeter of the building, a bit of excess from a early night of revelry, it might draw them over to shoo us away from the area. Any volunteers to play a drunk?"
As you're talking, a man and a woman stumble up to the building from the west, both clearly a bit drunk. "Evening boys," the man says. He's dressed in once-fine but ratty clothing, several years out of date. The woman is wearing an extraordinarily low-cut red dress, crudely altered to make a makeshift halter top and skirt.
"Evening, Balkro," the smoking guard says with a snicker. He crosses towards you and, as the drunk man fumbles with his keys, takes them from him and unlocks the door. He pushes it open and steps out of the way. "And how's yer evening?"
"Exquisite, my friend, exquisite. My *hic* female companion and I are off to sample the joys of the flesh. All kinds of them, right girly?" he laughs and pulls the woman roughly to him, kissing her. She laughs, but it sounds tinny, a bit forced. The two disappear into the building, and the door shuts behind them.
"Leave some for us, Yargin!" the smoker calls, laughing coarsely. He returns to his post. "Between the shiver and that acid s&*$ of his, they ain't always so pretty at the end of the night," he comments to the other guard.
I'm on a long bus ride back to my family's today, so I will only be able to update sporadically until this evening. I'll put a map up as soon as I can.
After thanking Zellara one last time, Imperia follows the others out of the house and into the streets.
Although feeling slightly out of place in such a part of town, and a little offended by the crude whistling occasionally coming her way, she tries to maintain her dignity and walks with her head held high and a sure step. Korriban's small act of gallantry doesn't go unnoticed, and when the group finally reaches its destination, Imperia rewards him with a little nod and a candid smile.
When she notices the figure standing in the shadow of the building and speaking with someone, Imperia strives to listen to the conversation. Even if the sounds are quite muffled, she manages to eavesdrop on most of it.
Take 20 on Perception: 20 + 2 = 22
When Adoros advances his suggestion, Imperia puts a hand under her chin with a thoughtful expression - "Uhmm... Indeed a little diversion would serve us well in this circumstance. I think I might be able to offer my talents to help in this endeavor, without the need to split our group... Instead of sending a few of us to stage a drunken act, I could conjure an illusionary noise, mimicking such a deed. And when the guards will go and check what all the ruckus was about, we'll be able to sneak in unimpeded!"
|Gadriel the Lost|
Gadriel has paled slightly as the group has approached the building, her inner resolve seems to be fighting overwhelming fear. She seems to take comfort in the small monkey who almost looks to be whispering in her ear.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Gadriel doesn't seem to notice anything unusual, but as the talk of distracting the guards arises she speaks up.
"If we wish to draw them to us, we could go over and try to lure them to here. We are still young, and we may still be wanted captured. Abu says that magic may be limited and should be conservered." With a brave smile, she adds "We are likely faster than them, they seem to be addled."
Imperia smiles tenderly at the little girl, and crouches next to her to be eye to eye - "You don't have to worry little one" - she says reassuringly - "This is not the kind of magic that can be easily depleted, it'll be fine. Besides it'd be too risky to let you try and lure those men on your own, it's best if we work together."
If it's obvious the girl is unsettled, Imperia tries to hug her and give her a little comfort. If it's not obvious, she tries to hug her anyway because she is maternal like that! ^_^
|Gadriel the Lost|
Gadriel stiffens at the physical contact, her flight response almost overwhelming. She doesn't embrace back, she likely doesn't know it would be expected. As soon as the embrace is over though, she takes a step back incase she needs to flee from the grapple attempt again. Abu pulls at her hair, which seems to refocus her on the task at hand. "Then if we can get closer, Abu can help. Abu can fog their mind, making the illusion seem more real to them."
Mechanically, she can attempt to Evil Eye their will saves.
At the Cheliaxian beauty's nod, Korriban gives a grin and a nod back. "No problem, my lady." His face reddens at the sight of her enchanting smile.
Seeing the child become nervous at the sight of Westpier, Korriban kneels down to her and gently places his hand on her shoulder. "It's alright, Gadriel. I promise, I won't let Gaedren hurt you. If it makes you feel better... I'm a little scared, too."
Seeing the newcomer enter the building, Korriban growls out, "Yargin." Turning to the others, he says, "That's Yargin. He's Lamm's smartest and oldest goon. He keeps Lamm's books. But he has some sick fascination with alchemy. He especially loves acid. He tends to use it for punishments. We may need to get moving soon. We need to save that woman before something bad happens." He then says under his breath, "I swear, if he has continued to use acid on those children, then he will know their pain." But you can hear what he says.
Turning to Imperia and Gadriel, he says, "If you two can lure them away, I can probably have the time to sneak to the door and pick the lock. But if it's not enough, then we may need to resort to more... drastic measures." He then slightly pulls out his knife.
As the six of you are debating, you hear a door open and a muffled conversation from the other side of the building. Then the guard from the loading dock pokes his head over the wall.
"The half-orc just stuck his head out...told me there's gonna be a feeding in a few minutes. So not too worry if we hear...anything." He sounds slightly distressed.
The older guard just laughs. "Old Gobbleguts got hungry, huh? Or one o' the kids got uppity. Don't worry, bucko, it just lasts a few minutes. Think I got some earplugs here somewhere if you want 'em...sometimes they get loud..." And he starts to dig around in his belt pouch.
I've added a map up at the top of the page (which I think everyone should be able to move their tokens around on). Once the time for moving in initiative comes, each square is 5', and you guys start one square off the right-hand side of the map (so start counting distance from the first square on that side).
|Gadriel the Lost|
"The nasty laugher. We know what is to come. We need to hurry, or another one will be like us. Or worse." Abu, sitting quietly on her shoulder for several minutes previously is now bouncing around, obviously agitated. The monkey suddenly stops and stands, his eyes glowing yellow as a shimmering forcefield flickers into existance around Gadriel before fading from sight.
Gadriel is casting Mage Armor.
Hearing the mention of feeding, Korriban's eyes widen. "I agree with Gadriel. We need to get moving." Korriban crouches, ready to sneak forward and keeping his hand close to his dagger. "Imperia, Gadriel. Cast your spells whenever your ready."
Adoros nods as he slides his greatsword free from its sheath, "Let's make this quick and silent as possible. It would seem we'll have Lamm's help with the distraction. Remember, no matter how he begs, bargains, or threatens, Lamm does not walk forth from his lair tonight nor any night hence. Let the Lady of Graves claim his rotten soul."