"Ah don't rightly know," Calli pipes up, having been unusually quiet on their trip back through the manor. Perhaps it had been the sight of the mutilated birds that had done it, but she'd really not felt much like herself since they'd begun looking around. "Seems ol' Hunclay had a lot goin' on, even fer a wizard..."
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
Haruf takes Calli's comment as a confirmation of his suspicions of wizards. He looks confused at Kale's explanation of the permanent spell.
Wizards have to make money somehow, he says trying not to look at any source of light directly. Well...?, he looks at the newcome mages expecting some sort of magical solution to the trapped corridor.
"Well, sure, take it, the swords do have some minor magic in them. Might help with any whatever other demons your friend had summoned here. Just keep it hidden if you ever go to Oppara's court!" the elf says in a fake whisper. "And, of course, darling! Anastasia loves a strong woman in lead!" the reptile sneaks out its head from the midst of Vretiel's clothes, hiding again shortly after. Nodding in agreement with Haruf on wizards needing to make money, the elf quickly judges the equipment on display and gives his opinion on it.
Appraise: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Vretiel raises an eyebrow at the mention of the dark tapestry: "The dark tapestry…? That does ring a bell in this dashing elf's head. Let me think for a second, pumpkin."
Knowledge(planes): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20
"And, Haruf, not sure we can do much about this wall of light. It's some sort of evocation spell made permanent. As in, it will stay there, burning our eyes until it is dispelled." Vretiel dramatically puts the back of his hand on his temple as he continues speaking: "Alas, I do not believe lovely Iskra and I are powerful enough to dispel it. Perhaps we can find the means to do so on these walls…? Or on this table…?"
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10 walls
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23 table
Sorry for the long post, just wanted to move the investigation part a bit forward as you were waiting on arcane input!
The Dark Tapestry is the empty places between the stars wherein true madness lies. It is here that it is said that ancient gods dwell. Worshipers are simply known as Old Cults and there members are driven mad in search of forbidden knowledge.
There is nothing else of note with regards to the walls or the table.
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
Haruf looks blankly at Vretiel as he talks of the Dark Tapestry. How do you know this?, he asks suspicious.
If Hunclay was investigating this, there must have been some good intention to it. This Maffei is the last creature he summoned and he was keeping it until it told him about this mad place, so it must be the little escaped devil. Maybe we can draw it out by offering some obscure knowledge, he says trying to think of a use for the mages, also forgetting their intrinsic ability to make magic.
Remembering that Hunclay mentioned the summoning room to be his safe cave in his diary, Haruf wondered if the charm that the bird had wouldn't open the way through the corridor. Maybe that is what the Zebub was looking for when he attacked the birds.
"Well...Ah actually know a little bit 'bout usin' that smaller one there," Calli says, pointing at the short sword. "Ah could hold onta it fer now. An' if it's enchanted then mebbe it'll come in handy," she adds.
Core Monks are actually proficient with short swords so Calli can take that one if Kale wants to hold on to the scimitar.
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
"Oh, you'd be surprised on how much one can learn through gossiping! But what's this about a charm? Could I take a look?" the elf says, extending his hand. Once he has the charm with him he turns and twists it, closes one eye and puts it against the light. He discusses some properties with Iskra before giving his final opinion the group:
Spellcraft (identify magic item): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25 he also casts detect magic on the charm
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
Haruf wonders what lock they have encountered in the mansion so far if any would match the description "arcane". He is confused. Maybe somewhere else in the world, but the thought makes him feel small and insignificant. He shuffles over to give Kale a deep sniff hoping to remember he's alive through a likeable smell and asks So how do we beat the light?, tripping over his own words when trying to ask how to beat the light trap.
"Yes…that pest was probably looking for this. Which is so terribly annoying, it could have at least left a bloody trail or any sort of tasteless thing we could follow more easily." the elf gives the charm back to Alex.
"Now, about this light…", he says. Vretiel looks around the room for a small and heavy object. Finding an empty ink pot he claps to himself, approaches the light, closes his eyes, throws the pot towards the opening and jumps back, opening his eyes shortly after.
Where does the light come from exactly? From the wall itself?
Also, took the liberty of saying there's an ink pot in the room, but anything like that is fine. Worst case scenario he will ask someone to help him break one of the table's legs and throw that instead.
The hallway is 10' wide. The wall of light runs down the southern wall of the passage.
The ink pot clatters down the passage without event. After Vretiel opens his eyes, he has a few visual tracers but they clear up within moments.
You hear echoing from the hall, "Hello? Is somebody there? I tire of your tricks wizard."
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
Rubbing his eyes, Vretiel shrugs: "Oh, well, no movement-activated fireball of death at least. We could try that, dear. Or put something over it, in case…" he stops mid sentence "no, no, no, with the amount of outsider summoning your friend was doing, this wall of light could even be part of some contrived seal! Calistria knows enough summons were liberated in this house!"
perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Alex was trying to see what he could pitch in in trying to figure out thise puzzle, but found himself distracted with an unknown voice added to the mix. "wait, quiet please. I think we have others. I heard a voice from down the hall." he said to the rest before shouting down the hall back to the echo. "who's back there?"
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
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Vretiel fixes his hair for a second, pushes Alex aside in a grandiose gesture and puts himself in a line where he can see on the inside of the dark corridor, with his back turned to wall of light. He starts speaking, moving his hands and mouth in a frantic speed: "Well, hello there, talking being of undisclosed gender and race! We're terribly, terribly sorry to disturb you! I am Ithaicus Epaphraham and these are my associates! We work for the 'Outsider's Pepper', a gazette that runs only the juiciest pieces of gossip on outsiders, wizards, witches, etc and their most hidden, salacious acts! We also do not shy away from some good, old investigative journalism every now and then, but gods know that doesn't sell as much as it used to." The elf pauses for a fifth of a second before continuing: "Anywho, we were passing by the neighbourhood and got tipped off that a tremendous amount of magic was emanating from this manor and our chronicler's instincts just knew there was something juicy going on! And we weren't wrong!" – he starts looking around, gesturing with both his hands in a theatrical manner to random directions, as if presenting each example of things the group found – "Exquisite birds! Summoning rooms! Magical and unfashionable weapons! Imprisoned devils! And now you! So, would you be so inclined to answer a few questions? And perhaps come a bit closer to the light so we have a nice face-to-face chat? Of course, of course, any information you might gives us will not be for free, we would be happy to scratch your scales if you scratch ours! And it goes without saying we are happy to keep your identity undisclosed in the final version of our article, if you so wish."
Surprisingly not showing any signs of breathlessness, Vretiel tilts his head and puts his hands together near his heart; the sound of his blinking eyes the only noise after the avalanche of words.
Bluff: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28
I may or may not have gotten carried away.
"Er...yeah! What he said!" Calli responds after a moment's pause, her jaw slightly agape in awe of Vretiel's quick wits. "An' ya know it's a dangerous thing, writin' and investigatin' 'bout wizardly doins' so that's why there's a buncha us folks out here," she adds.
That was the best post I've read today!
Iskra places one slender arm around Calli's shoulders as she simply admires Vretiel's golden tongued loquacity. Her eyes sparkle with amusement, and she almost finds herself believing his spiel; had they come here to deal with a zebub, or to interview it?
Leaning over, she whispers in Calli's ear, "This new friend of ours is a positive menace. We'd best beware lest he convince us to start a fashion boutique or begin offering concierge duties to wandering monsters."
With a grin, she waits for the response, the words to a number of spells dancing on the tip of her tongue.
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
Haruf opens up a large smile as he learns of Vretiel's true motives. The fact that he writes for a journal gives a satisfactory explanation on why he knows so much and his real interest in Hunclay's home, writing about the death of a wizard. At the same time, the rogue is confused as to why the bard would include him as part of the writer group, as Haruf clearly doesn't work for any Outsider's pepper or any kind. Maybe Vretiel assumed he could recruit Haruf as a writer?
That line of thought, as Haruf completely falls for Vretiel's bluff, stops the rogue's ability to react the hidden entity's dangerous luring.
Love the read Vretiel!
Vretiel snaps his head back to upright position and says with a grave nod "Petty human, indeed! I can't wait to hear all about it! This will be such a nice exposé."
He's about to go towards the voice when he stops and touches his chin with his index finger: "Oh, I will be entering with my associates, which means I am legally required to ensure their safety to the best of my skills. This is just a formality, but: are you planning to eat, dismember, enslave, kidnap or bring any sort of direct or indirect physical, mental or emotional harm upon us?"
Once he has heard the reply and is sure that it is a positive one, he turns back, smiles at his companions and goes towards the illuminated room.
Sense motive: 1d20 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 2 + 1 = 23
I just remembered Vretiel has Guidance, which he casts on himself shortly before asking about the outsider's intentions.
Also, glad you enjoyed it! Sorry if it was a bit too long!
Alex was down right floored by the sudden performance from Vretiel, if not floored already by being caught off guard with the sudden shoving aside by said elf, to the extent that had it not been for already knowing the previous presented nature of the elf, he would have fallen quite strongly at such flowing words. As it stood now, however, he knew not whether he should applaud the man for such a descriptive and unscripted bluff or strike him for leaving the rest of the group unprepared of his intentions.
"Did we get a witch, or a bard?" he said to the rest teasingly as he dusted himself off and made sure any other of his opinions were quickly snuffed out before they could leave his lips or appear on his face or in his actions.
The ease in which the conversation guides them towards the next room, however, leaves Alex to save such quandaries for a later time as a more worrisome one jumped to the forefront.
"I doubt I would trust another imprisoned being in this place after the issue with the zebub." he said with a less than enthusiastic tone, aiming to keep his words with only the group. he then turned his focus to the response of the imprisoned voice to see if caution should be taken.
sense motive: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
"Yeah, Ah'm startin' ta think he could say he's Aroden reborn or some such an' have everyone believin' it in no time," Calli whispers to Iskra in reply. "So let's not be givin' him any idears!"
"Alex here's got a point," she continues, raising her voice so that they can all hear. "We've already been hoodwinked twice 'bout lettin' critters go free in here. Ya know th' old sayin' - fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. An' fool me three times...well, that's just bein' a damn idjit right there!"
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
With such a simple word, the voice sounds honest enough.
The light is blinding. After a slow walk, it takes few minutes for your vision to return after passing the last of the illuminated wall. You find yourself before a single small cell enclosed by a gate of bright metal etched with strange sigils.
Within the cell is an amorphous cloud of shadow, a shape that's difficult to fix one's eyes on. The cloud shifts back and forth for a moment, like a lion transfixed on its prey.
Then from the shadows step a shadowy woman's body. The white porcelain mask and elegant white clothing provide form and contrast to the shades surrounding her.
"Well Met. Thy name is Maff and thy tale is thus. I was summoned by the red wizard to aid in his research. Fool believed the Realm of Shadows and the Dark Tapestry were connected. I laughed at his folly. Raged, he set me to this gaol. Cycles since our last correspondence.
"I beseech you. Release me from thy prison. Alas, the locks alone do not bar the way. Tortured through experimentation, the wall of light has brought me to death's door. One more passing and I shall surely cross over its threshold.
"The red wizard would taunt me of a dust that would vanquish the light. Alas, it resides in a cave outside of this hamlet. I plead with thee, grant me escape and I shall reward thee through blade or aid."
"Blind the eyes..." Kale muttered, she looked to Calli giving her a nod, before she closed her eyes and walked into the light.
No Kale! Don't go into the light!! XD
"I am Kale Amora." The warrior said as she offered a nod. "If I may ask, what are you? The studies of the planes where never something I took to." Kale told her as she looked the shadow woman over. "My group and I have been used by a creature trapped here already, I am sure you can understand my hesitation. It almost cost my friend's their lives." She explained. "Would you truly leave if we freed you?" She asked.
Iskra marvels at the shadowy figure, at her strange medley of menace and seductive power. From her archaic form of speaking to her her assertiveness even while held prisoner, Maff seems an entity to be wary of at the very least.
Standing to one side, arms crossed, Iskra searches her memories for ought that could be of use here: some hint as to Maff's true nature, perhaps, or to piece together something of Hunclay's interests from her revelations.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Knowledge Planes on Maff: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Knowledge Planes on Dark Tappy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
Vretiel joins shortly after Kale goes into the light. Contrasting her sober speech, he squeals once the shadows coalesce into Maff "Well, aren't you absolutely gorgeous! This is all working out really well for you, it's so alluring!" the elf gestures at the dark cloud.
"I would ditch the cage, though. So tasteless of that wizard. But, as my associate here says: we need to be sure that by releasing you will be going straight to your plane, rules are rules! I'm sure you can understand this!", he says, in an uncannily warm voice.
Knowledge(Planes): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10 identify Maff
Sense motive: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Using charm on the shadow woman. DC 15 (or 16, not sure if half of 3 witch levels should be rounded up or down), if she fails the Will save her attitude towards us goes up one notch for 4 rounds. after which Vretiel will start giggling/cackling like a madman.
"Oh wow..." Call blinks, once her eyes adjust to their new surroundings. "Good grief Hunclay, mebbe ya'd have been better off ta have called up a nice angel or somethin' an' asked yer questions politely," she sighs as Maff shares her tale with them. "An' there's that 'Dark Tapestry' nonsense again, too. Ah think Ah'd probably shake him 'till his teeth rattled iffin' he was here!"
Still, she's not about to let her guard down just yet and she tries to remember if she's ready anything about creatures like Maff in her short stints at the local library and temples...
Kn. Planes (What's a Maff?): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Will Save: 1d20 ⇒ 8
"I am one of the Unbound. We hail from the Realm of Shadows.
"Tis thine wish for departure, it shall be done."
Maff is an outsider known as the Shae. They are natives of the Shadow Plane. In general, they are Neutral society. However, their overwhelming racial pride often leads them to see all other humanoids—especially humans—as lesser beings. Ironically, this casual disdain sometimes leads individual shaes to gather harems of worshipful human consorts, and it is from these unions that fetchlings often issue.
The shadows Maff originates from provides constant blur affect.
When Alex joined the rest across the light threshold, he found it odd that he was not surprised about finding a creature that was of a less than enjoyable plane, though he was still surprised that the one before them was from the plane of shadow instead of a being from a "darker" plane. as he stood and listened to all that was spoken, he wondered if such an ally could be possible.
"hunclay seemed to play a roll of the dice as to what planar creatures would know of this dark tapestry with the selection of called and imprisoned creatures he had. I wish that book would have told us more about what he sought when it came to the dark tapestry before it was torn asunder." Alex said more with disdain than anything
"Help would be a welcome sight from those imprisoned by the red wizard in comparison to what we've encountered," he spoke in a tone that only a fool would mistaken for something other than curiosity, "but if we chose to take your offer of help over the idea of requesting your return to your home plane, how would we know such trust could be reliable? especially since the last prisoner would prefer our heads on a plate over a return to the chaotic hellspawn of its own home."
sense motive to Maff's response: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
"Ah think she's bein' fairly truthful with us," Calli whispers to the others. "I read about them folk like her, call themselves the 'Shae'. They come from th' Shadow Plane but they're largely th' sort ta mind their own business - they ain't pure nasty or nothin' like those demons an' devils but they ain't angels or saints either."
"Oh, I see! And what about that dreadful wizard? Did he mention why he was so curious about the dark tapestry? This sounds like amazing material for the gazette!" Vretiel laughs to himself, giggling not completely unlike a madman.
When the attention is not on him, he cynically replies to Calli's whisper: "Well, not much different from humans or elves, then, is she? Or the rest of Golarion, for that matter. Also, I think these dreadful blue inscribed blades you carry are hers."
Cackling to maintain charm
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
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Vretiel is about to say that he didn't mean it as a "give her weapons back", but stops midway and shrugs.
When Maff replies, he nods: "Ah, yes, I see…you think he's insane and that he has been randomly summoning everything that is summonable (as my dearest associate has just noted), but do not know what made him insane. Headline ideas: Insane wizard summons thousands of outsiders! The dice made him do it!", he continues his giggling after the second one.
Iskra glances at her new friends.
"It would seem that this Hunclay was indeed up to no good; perhaps we should be thanking the kobolds for stopping his secret research before he got much farther. Anybody who was willing to go to these lengths to learn about the Dark Tapestry could not have been in their right mind. Zebub's, imprisoning entities such as Maff... I fear there is yet much more to learn about Hunclay."
Iskra turns to Maff. "I know my words cannot mean much, but I apologize for your treatment, imprisonment, and torture. If we can find this dust that will dispel the wall of light and allow your freedom, we shall be sure to return and ensure that your captivity comes to an end."
That said she hesitates, realizing that she's deviating from Vretiel's script. "Did, ah, the wizard mention any other associates or parties with whom he was collaborating on this research? People that we could, ah, interview, to learn more about what was going on here?"
|Haruf "Eight-arms" Sefka|
Haruf shivers at Iskra's mention of Zebub. He waits impatiently for Maff to answer her questions and finally adds did the Zebub pass through here?, a little unsure as to why it would do such a thing, but the last encounter left him a little worried.
He also feels very uncomfortable with the talk that Hunclay being crazy. As one of the few people who were nice to him, the wizard stood as a pillar of sanity for the rogue in this age. Taking his time, Haruf studies the shadow creature's cell looking for something out of place.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9