Revery whispers back at Sajeek, also in Iksar. "Your intentions are noble, but how could we know what that would do? Even if it worked, it would not be Av-- the daughter - it would be Rahn. The question itself is worthwhile, though. It may be that another could be the recipient. Perhaps somebody who actually deserves to die. Keep in mind, too, that Rahn might not be just an innocent little girl.
I was thinking.... This continent is huge, and sparsely populated. We could even settle near hear. Close to the river we crossed, for instance. It is near a trade route, near the shore and a large river. Lots of farmland. If people like this farmer are who live out here, I'd be glad to have them as neighbours."
"I can ask one question of the dagger's maker," Gwendalyn whispers back to Revery, about as fluent in Iksar as the others by now. So far from Kunark, it was the next best thing to a private language; but Cazic-Thule's name was basically the same, and not one that would be welcome under any good man's roof. "But I would have to phrase it carefully, since I doubt I'll get more -- and I'd rather commune with him as little as possible anyway, after what..." She snaps her mouth shut on the rest of the sentence, jaw muscles bulging with tension.
Nogglegrop opens an eye and sighs. The talk had roused him from a slumber dreaming of things best left out of mixed conversation.
Following their lead he props himself up, wrestling his explosion of eyebrow hair into submission, "Justis dies either way, unless the sacrifice can be made by another. That is no small distinction, for it frees us from having to darken the eyes of an innocent child."
None of the group looked comfortable with the proposition of murdering the elven girl.
The gnome starts to speak to the comment about Rahn's innocence, then leaves it be. It mattered not if Rahn was the purest, or most foul being, to walk the surface of Norrath. She was the key to averting a great disaster.
"Having a town a month's journey away from anything interesting sounds like it would be difficult to populate."
In Iksar " It would be wonderful if we could spare the slaying of Justis, sadly who can truly say that this will be an acceptable offering. Will it be what it wants, the terror, and fear and whatever else it wants deems as a 'suitable' vessel." The rogue whispers. Unhappy he unravels his bedroll in quiet anger, and sits cross legged on it.
"I think we might not have the luxury of time to get the answer. If his child is truly dying, we have a chance to do something good with an awful decision," The vah shir whispers in the iskar tongue. "Perhaps the spirits have guided us to this place," Sajeek looks thoughtful for a few seconds. "It doesn't seem that crazy of an idea, considering the mess we stepped into. Besides, we need Rahn's advice, or whatever knowledge she has about the Shissar. She seems to be the actual key. Perhaps without her aid, our inaction destroys the world instead of saving it.."
After a short period of lapsing into silence, the vah shir lefts his head once more. The red strips in his fur still seem wet, as if bloody. Every since he had been put back together by Cazic-Thule. That thought sends a shudder down his spine. 'I dread to think of what else changed,' he thinks, running a clawed finger over one of the "bloody" looking gashes. His fur was completely dry, even if the appearance of the strips says otherwise.
Thinking about placement of a possible city, Sajeek had thought about the plains as they were wandering their way back to a major city.
"As far as a city this close to Qeynos, I think that will not work out quite as well. The established city might try to tax us or rule us in some way we haven't considered," Sajeek says quietly in common. "Plus, if we are considering a place where all whom follow the guidelines or rules we establish, Qeynos might have objection, and use it as an excuse to wage war and try to take us over." The young Beastlord shrugs. "If we go to Feydwar, aside from the few cities that are there, we should be left to our own devices. Well, hopefully anyway."
" Perhaps close to farmland wouldn't be too bad, after all being able to have people harvest and bring fresh foods in where we wouldn't need hire caravans in for supplies only. " Kwen whispers back, then rubs his face, he felt tired but still wanted to talk more about the building of a town.
" Feydwar does sound like a better idea, still far too many variables at the moment to have something set in stone." The rogue smiles as he whispers " I think that Sajeek raises a good point at the very least some of the neighboring cities in Feydwar wouldn't mind having another neighbor. It would just be a matter of the wildlife to contend with... and other creatures that is."
The Beastlord sticks his tongue out at Kwen. Reaching back, he scratches the top of Bast's head. The tiger purr thuds against the vah shir's back.
"You act like the wildlife is a big deal," he says quietly with a grin on his dark grey furred face. Turning his head, the pair of big cats star into the coals of the fire.
Sajeek has a slow look of horror crawl across his muzzled face. The vah shir had fallen silent, deep in thought, some time ago.
"I remembered something, I think is important to share. Rahn's soul is still in the grip of the dread Faceless," the young Beastlord doesn't name the god for fear of drawing his attention. "And we all know all to well what kind of a host he is."
"We haven't yet seen Av, for all we know see just might need some divine aid from Noggy," the vah shir looks over at Rev, his expression sad. "I know that if we do this, the daughter herself dies. From what Jakab say's is correct, that sounds like it is going to happen anyway. If this works, he gets his daughters body hopefully alive and well. Just with a different person driving the caravan." The vah shir looks at the floor. "Believe me, I feel sick just discussing it, but we can't run from something like this. This problem we can't escape no matter how fleet of foot we may be.
It was a horrible thing for them to have to consider. The matter of dealing in souls so being might find empowering. It just made Sajeek sick to his stomach. He takes a slow pull from his near empty cup.
Revery asks in Iksar, "And what happens to the soul of the recipient of this 'cure'? Shjt, I'm almost of a mind to ask, no, tell CT that if he wants to exist, he should just release Rahn, period. Why all this other crap? Just tell him we're not doing it, and what is he going to do now?"
Revery imagines horrors; for them, for Avvie, for Justis, for Rahn. He winces as he remembers what he had been trying to forget, but which his dreams had reminded him of again and again and again.
Kwen responds in Iksar " Sure and next time you can work on punching out a god, the moment you manage that let me know. Look, I think we are in a rock and a hard place at the moment, if we are to ask the question after Nogglegrop is able to look at the girl hopefully we get an answer that we are looking for." his whisper holds no anger " Sadly we have no true idea of its plan at the moment and to be truthful; I have no desire to go back and ask about a gods plan. "
"Perhaps we could ask if there is a way to save Rahn without having to stab an innocent? Like just after the soul leaves or something, would that work?" Sajeek wonders quietly, still staring into the fire. He really, really didn't want to be responsible for killing anybodies offspring.
The choice that had been left with was near unthinkable. Of course, having the knowledge to free a child's soul from the grasp of the 4 armed God of Fear and not doing anything, was almost as unthinkable. Sajeek didn't think that Cazic-Thule would just get Av's soul either. The vah shir had a nasty guess that this was the god's sense of humor. To make them suffer over having to kill an innocent.
Gwendalyn continues to agonize over the question in silence, since they hadn't quite come to a decision. Something about how much discretion they had in choosing the vessel. Whether it had to be Justis, and whether they could wait until just after a soul had fled -- but that was two questions. Help me to choose wisely, Tribunal.
"If there is any possibility that this child is going through even a fraction of what we just experienced, then we need to resolve this as quickly as possible."
The gnome looks at Gwendalyn, imploring her to ask the question so they could move forward with this horrific task.
Gwendalyn nods reluctantly and pulls out the strange green dagger before settling cross-legged on the floor. She rests her hands palm-up in her lap, the dagger lying on top of them, and closes her eyes. She settles her thoughts and clears her mind; with a little push, she sends her awareness down into her palms, and thence up into the dagger.
In her studies to become a shaman, they had covered the problem of asking good questions of spirits. There are pitfalls on both sides -- whether too broad or too narrow -- so she aims for something in-between, open-ended yet well-defined. "What are the limits on our choice of vessel for Rahn?"
Sajeek finds himself holding his breath as Gwen pulls out the Greenmist dagger. His heart beats in his chest, fear mixed with a strange sense of excitement. Forcing himself to breathe calmly, the vah shir, stares at the shaman. The waiting part was almost a slow torture in itself.
Needing to focus on something else, Sajeek half turns and begins to scratch Bast's ears and bridge of the tiger's nose. He is rewarded by more "friendly growling". The purring tiger yawns contently.
The answer comes as soon as Gwendalyn starts to form the words of her question, screaming in her head so loud that there is nothing else anywhere. Blood erupts from her noses, flows freely from cracked capillaries in her eyes, and from her mouth as if she had been gargling shards of glass. She is thrown to her back and remains there, clutching the jagged dagger so tightly that it pierces her flesh, and wafts of green miasma lazily rises up from many points along her body (50 damage, exhausted condition).
Being the conduit for darkness was a traumatizing experience.
Answer: There was no limit on the choice of the vessel - male, female, creature, living, or dead. It was only Swenj that was insisting on Justis, for the elven girl reminded him of his lost Rahn.
Nogglegrop, staring intently at the shaman, explodes into motion throwing healing magic at Gwendalyn, but his spells are as nothing until the last of the smoke drifts free. Afterward he seals all of her wounds (full health for Gwendalyn). The fatigue remains, but will pass in a full night's sleep.
Revery worries for Gwendalyn. At first it looks as if she's going to die of blood loss and green smoke. After a short time she seems to recover, and seem only badly injured.
"Are you okay? Did you get an answer?"
He is tired, but so are the rest. He'll wait until this is figured out. He truly hopes there is a reasonable solution, though he doesn't expect that to be the case, given that they are dealing with Cazic-Thule.
As with all things connected with this task and this dagger, you each share the information, for you are attuned to it very essence.
The memory is there, in your mind, though you do not remember learning it.
You all understand that there is no limit on the vessel.
Nogglegrop stands and looks upstairs, then back at the group, waiting for a decision to be made. Should the little girl upstairs be their choice, then will ascend the staircase and rouse Jarak for a very awkward conversation.
They could only imagine would years of Cazic-Thule's abuse would do to a mind, especially an innocent child's mind.
Sajeek had flinched when the word of the God of Fear slams into Gwen. The vah shir realizes that what the Faceless had told the shaman, had bled over to the rest of them.
"Well, I think makes our decision a lot easier," Sajeek says quietly to the others. "I think we should wait until the farmers daughter passes and then do the deed." Sajeek whispers in iskar, still feeling a bit sick. However, now they knew that they didn't have to slay Justis. Or Av for that matter.
"Now it's just a matter of talking to our new friend. I say we tell him the truth about Rahn. Maybe not every single detail, but enough to be awfully convincing." Sajeek says quietly. "Because I really don't know what else we could tell him."
Sajeek falls into silent thought, his brow crinkled as he thinks. Several questions had just popped into his mind.
"So, I just thought of several small problems. Okay, so assuming Jakab let's us.., place Rahn in his daughters..., vacant body, what then? Should we ask if he will raise Rahn? Or should we put her someplace safer?" Sajeek scratches his chin, moving on to the next hurdle of their problem. "If he says no, which is possible, this is a very weird request after all. Who? Maybe your wife? She is a doctor after all, and I am sure you could sweet talk her into it Rev," the young Beastlord looks over at the enchanter and grins slightly. While his manner was a bit on the joking side, Sajeek's question was serious. He was trying to not be overly serious, what they were discussing was really rather life changing for several different people.
Rubbing his face with both hands, Sajeek sighs, feeling absolutely worn out from the whole conversation. He would have rather been fleeing from the giants again. But they had to deal with the problem know, especially since it didn't have to be Justis. Plopping his hands on his lap, the vah shir opens his emerald eyes and looks at his friends.
"I feel like our feet were guided here. Perhaps, the spirits, perhaps the gods, I don't know. I do think that we are making the right decision," Sajeek says, hugging his arms to his chest. "Besides, who else would be lucky enough to step right into the Shissar's plans," the vah shir almost chuckles. Looking down into his cup, he finishes the corn whiskey. Winching at the burn as it works the whiskey works it's way to his stomach.
Seeing Noggy standing near the stair, Sajeek nods to his friend.
Nogglegrop moves up the stairs with a purpose.
You hear muted voices and then the gnome returns with a bedraggled Jakab wearing a confused expression. He had been asked to rouse for a conversation, but your cleric had not provided him with any details of what it might be about.
This is a man that trusts implicitly and sees the best in all people, if such people still exist in the world. Jakab starts to play host again, asking if there was something he could do to make the group more comfortable.
Wearing a solemn expression, the gnome waits for the man's permission before he will examine Avvie.
"Sorry Jakab, we were talking over what's wrong and we decided that now is better then waiting until the morning. Would you give Noggy permission to examine Av. Noggy is one of the best people I know and his healing magics have saved us many times." Sajeek says sincerely. Taking his remaining clawed handwrap, he drags the blade across his palm. Holding his hand out so that Jakab could see it, he nods at Noggy. "He is a cleric, and extremely good at healing many problems."
"I ask that you let him look at your daughter," Sajeek looks at Jakab, his emerald eyes large and liquid. "If he is truly unable to heal her, he could at least make her more comfortable."
He would wait on the asking about the Greenmist dagger problem until Noggy got back. Unless Jakab throws them out.
Jakab stops flitting about the room, trying to find out what he might do to make his guests more comfortable, until he is able to process the beastlord's words. Turning about he sees the cleric sitting on the stairs looking torn.
Nogglegrop reaches into his threadbare shirt, stained with his own blood from his rather gruesome death by stomping, and returns with his metal holy symbol.
"I am a vicar of Bristlebane Fizzlethorp and I swear on my honour that I will do all in my power to help your daughter."
Jakab takes a moment to consider the offer before nodding. He wipes he eyes with his filthy sleeve and moves up the stairs with the gnome.
What could a father do but tear his heart asunder time and again for any chance that his little girl might live.
A tense hour moves by with excruciating slowness before Jakab returns with Nogglegrop behind him. They both have dour looks on their faces.
The gnome speaks with a hoarse voice, "She has perhaps a tenday before the affliction will send her to the realm of the gods. All I can do is make her comfortab..."
Jakab stops your cleric in mid-sentence. "His magics are helping her to breathe and take away her pain. I appreciate what you have done for me."
Nogglegrop all but whispers, "I have agreed to stay until the last."
Jakab speaks to no one in particular when he says, "She has never walked and never talked and will die without ever getting the chance to run."
"We will stay and help out of course," Sajeek says with a nod to Jakab. Internally, he was surprisingly pleased to hear that Av was so young. Rahn might have an easier time adjusting. True, they might have to wait a few years for her to be old enough to tell them the information, but he didn't think that was too big of a deal. The Shissar's plan seemed to unfold slowly, after all they had nothing but time. Sajeek looks over at Gwen and nods to the shaman.
"I'm not sure if I am the right person to speak of this, but Gwen once told me of a ritual of her people that might be helpful," the vah shir says after a few minutes. "I don't know the details, I mean, it could hold a good deal of risk, but it might be something to think about. Gwen is a powerful shaman of the noble people of Halas." Sajeek says with a nod. He had gotten up and poured the good farmer another cup of whiskey. The man looked like he could use a bit of a brace. He didn't want to mention what the ritual would involve. He takes a good sized swig of his own refilled cup.
"The risk is the wait. If I remember, she said the ritual has to take place near or at the moment of... passing," Sajeek says. "I mean, it might not work, I know Gwen didn't want to bring it up to give you false hope. I truly believe it's worth a shot though," Sajeek says, looking at Jakab. Despite the bit of mistruth, he did think that it was the best way for Jakab to, in a sense, keep his daughter. He would have his child back.
Nogglegrop nods and supports the beastlord's lie, doing so with such aplomb that he almost convinces those of you that know how false his words are, "Only Gwendalyn has the power to possibly let your daughter live anew."
Bluff: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Jakab listens intently while staring at Gwendalyn, "If you would do this for my daughter, I would..." His tears run freely, but he does not even notice as he searches for any sign of hope, "I would give you anything."
Sense Motive: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6
All the shaman needs to do is nod and their course would be set.
Revery is surprised at Sajeek's lie. He had thought the truth would do best here, and he recalled Sajeek saying as much.
He is about to speak up, but he's tired, they're all tired, and it seems as though the girl will last a while, yet. They could still bring out the truth, perhaps in a way less painful to Jakab. He closes his eyes and breathes, before saying, "We will wait, and help out on your farm until... until such time as the task is complete and we are ready to leave. For now, I think we should all sleep."
" True, for we all must be up early; and much will need to be done around here." Kwen says, knowing that the rest of the lie would revolve around the Shaman who had just taken a physical beating. It was a strange feeling knowing what Gwen was told, without her saying anything, it seems that the gods were at least working in a bit of the party favor for a change.
Kwen started laying out a plan in his head if the Shaman wouldn't play along, he would work on convincing her and Jakab if needed. While it wouldn't be devious, the truth could hurt Jakab more than the lie that was being told.
Gwendalyn lies there with a bloody head and heavy limbs. "I. Am NOT. Doing that again." Truth be told, she had experienced worse on the Plane of Fear; but those memories had begun to be mercifully blunted, while this one would remain as razor sharp as broken glass, she was sure of it. She slowly cleans herself up before Nogglegrop goes up the stairs, so as not to alarm their host.
Then she listens, appalled, as her friends deceive the trusting farmer about what the ritual would do. "I am not so sure that it is a good idea. The cost is high -- perhaps higher than my friends realize. We will stay and help, but I need to discuss it with them further before committing to it."
When they next get a chance to talk privately, Gwen raises the subject in Iksar, just in case; you never know what small ears might hear. "What if the soul displaced goes to the Faceless? We can't do that to a baby! What if Rahn has been warped by her time with him; the farmer would have no idea what he was dealing with! There is no limit to the vessel, but if we wait until the baby's soul has fled, what would it do to the girl to put her soul in a corpse? And even if it all goes right, either he will have a baby that suddenly reasons and talks, or we will have to take her with us until she can tell us what we need to know; either one would be inexplicable."
She sighs. "No, I think this shining opportunity is fool's gold. I'd rather capture and sacrifice the next bandit that threatens our lives; it would still be better for Rahn than staying in the dagger, and if their souls are exchanged, it would be a just punishment rather than another layer of horror. You know that He likes torturing souls as much as bodies; it would be just like Him to trick us this way, just to cause us pain."
Jakab accepts Gwendalyn's caution, and in that the lie is solidified, for if it were a easy option it would have been presented before then. There is hope in the man's tear-rimmed eyes as he retires for the night, which rips at your heart.
The drift of days finds Nogglegrop absent as he uses his hours to care for Avvie, who looks to be about a 6 year old girl who was born with a horrific condition that twisted her joints and stole her mobility. Breathing was always difficult, which is why she never spoke, but now each breath is a labour.
Jakab sleeps in the same room as his daughter, waking with her every movement and caring for her with infinite patience and unbelievable tenderness.
Work around the farm is constant, and greatly appreciated for everyone that offers to help. Nearly everything had fallen into disrepair when Avvie had grown too sick to be left for long periods at a time. With Nogglegrop's expert ministrations you see Jakab working sections of the field that have not seen tending in months.
Jakab is incredibly strong, and wields farm implements like weapons when coyotes come too close. You recognize that the holes in the fence could lead to something horrific happening to one of the children.
If the children have names you never learn them, for they are simply "Pest 1" and "Pest 2", and they never stop tormenting everyone, especially Bast. Even a tiger's roar does not stop them, it only has them pause, stare with wide eyes, and then start laughing and tormenting Bast once again.
Avvie turns for the worse on the 5th day, and only has a handful of hours left, which finds the group out of the house in the middle of the afternoon to discuss their next move. The children and Jakab are in the house with Avvie.
Iksar is not a tongue that there is enough fluency in (require 3.0 ranks for fluency) for the group to engage in a long conversation filled with nuance, especially considering that the iksar language was a warrior's tongue and not build to talk about caring and feelings other than caring for supping on the eye fluids of one's foes, or feeling content after slitting a slave's throat.
Nogglegrop stands with black smudges under both eyes and lids made heavy with toil, lack of sleep and worry. "We each stand hear with hearts made sore by the injustices this goodly man has had to endure, and wish to ease the burden from him however we might do so. I do not know what the right course is, and anything we might do could be wrong..." The gnome leans against the weathered fence board and considers his next words carefully.
"I lied in the hopes of assuaging some of the burden of Jakab. I am not proud of the lie, though it came from a good place."
Revery helps out on the farm by doing some manual labour - mending fences. If they can keep children in or animals out, he is all for them.
After four days of this he holds up his hands to proudly show off his calices and blisters. He had never been on a farm, never done hard manual work like this, save cleaning boudoirs and privies in a whorehouse in Freeport. This work was easier, even if it was harder on his hands, feet, knees and back.
On the subject of Rahn, he says, "I think putting the poor Rahn into a body like that is not a kindness, and is liable to backfire, if she were to die again before imparting her secret to someone. She might not be able to communicate with that body. And then what? Leave her here, to be taken care of by Jakab, who does not have the time or energy to do that, as we have all seen? Take her with us, leaving doubts and questions in his mind until the day he dies? No, we should mend fences, bury his poor girl, and let him get on with his normal life."
"Aye, I'm not really proud of myself for that one either," Sajeek says with a nod. The last fives days had been spent in heavy physical tole for the vah shir. Sajeek had mended fences, hunted for fresh meat, helped clear out weeds and rat's nest that Bast missed to help the corn grow. It was an excuse for him to stay very busy and fall asleep very tired. A fine plan to distract his mind from.
Not that it had worked. Sajeek's mind had spent a great deal of time mulling over the newest part of their soul dagger problem. Especially after the sight of Jakab's daughter's form, twisted by her aliment. The Beastlord had simply clasp Jakab's shoulder tightly, no words he could think of would convey the sorrow he felt for the brave farmer.
Shaking his head, he returns to the present.
"I think that the Fearful one knows that Rahn holds the key to the Shissar's plan. It dissected our minds after all," Sajeek shudders at the memory, his voice barely above a whisper. "While It will never be mistaken for being kind, I don't think the world burning would serve any of the gods well. I sincerely doubt it would bother to restore us to life in perfect condition, after we learned what eternity and hell really mean. Too not bother to restore the body of whomever is to be the vessel for the key to the Shissar plan?" Sajeek whispers to his friends. "That seems like a mistake a god wouldn't make. Rahn is a bit too important, and we have been the ones that fate slapped on the back to take care of this mess." Sajeek says, forcing a grin.
"As far as what happens after Rahn comes back? Spirits, I couldn't even begin to imagine," Sajeek tugs on his right ear. "Perhaps she will want the chance at a completely normal life. After all, let's not forget that Swenj was pretty much a psycho. Sure, he loved his daughter, but his actions ended up with her being slain. Not great dad material really."
Kwen may not have spent much time learning how to farm, but he had tended the garden at the keep, some of the work seemed to come naturally. More then likely that was the elvish blood flowing through his veins; helping Jakab tend to the fields was something that Kwen didn't mind, his mind acting like a sponge learning more about fields than he ever wanted.
Kwen also kept on eye on for coyotes, keeping his bow handy, along with his daggers making sure that the coyotes would get the bite of an arrow if they came to close.
When the half-elf has a time he spends it talking to the others in a low voice and in Iksar as needed " Look, we all have received our share of emotional, spiritual, and physical scars. Yes I think we feel just a shadow of what happened to us, who is to say that the Faceless one wouldn't due the same for Rahn. It isn't the best idea, in fact I'm sure it rates pretty high on the grey/bad ideas. If we are to find a bandit, then we have to deal with the same moral quandary; then we have to have the same debate over and over again. Do I feel that this is the right decision? No but at the same time this may be the best choice; or would you like to track down Justis? Or spend time tracking someone else?"
" Avvie's soul will go back to whatever god helped give her the spark of life, to burn out as quickly as she is; is truly a shame but it could be another message for us. Our options are very poor indeed, perhaps the gods are helping forge us to help be a very potent weapon or poison to the Shissar. The message could be that hard choices are ahead; this is a hope that we are giving, a man will not have the same daughter but she will have a life to live, and Jakab is a good man, this is giving him a hope that no one else could give. " The rogue whispers to the others.
Kwen didn't like it any more then the others in fact the others could see the wounded expression on his face, but the resolve was fierce in his eyes, his emerald eyes have an intense burning in them.
Gwendalyn looks down at the ground pensively, then over the mended fences at the distant horizon and sighs. "Very well." She nods reluctantly and looks at Nogglegrop. "I will only do this if you help. We need to work elements of our worship into the ceremony, so that our gods of Mischief and Justice can foil Fear, if he tries to take Avvie's soul from her just reward. That would too high of a price." She looks around at the others. "I will also have to warn Jakab of the brutality of the ritual, that she must die to be reborn, and that it will be as painful and bloody as any birth. He deserves at least that much."
Jakab permits none to be in the room with his daughter, save family, for Nogglegrop has assured him that the ritual must be performed after she has fallen still.
The farmer is so trusting that he does not even question any part of the ritual, or that his part of the ritual will be to take his two youngest children and remain outside to embrace each other in the warmth of the sun.
Tears flow from Jakab's eyes as he rushes past the solemn group and collects his children and leaves the house.
You enter the room and see Avvie, her limbs twisted in her death throes, with a line of spittle hanging from her chin. She is still and Nogglegrop makes sure that she is dead. The gnome nods to the others.
You are alone in the room with the dead girl, a mission to save Norrath, a plan, and the Greenmist dagger.
Tears unbidden fall from Kwen's eyes, anyone who had to suffer for their whole life, as short as Avvie had been, was a cruel injustice; Kwen was sure that even the god of Mischief wouldn't have played that cruel card on anyone. That was joke that none in this life would ever get; Nature herself would have offspring but they were quickly snuff of the coil, this was just a long and cruel fate. Kwen hoped that the girl was no longer suffering in the after life.
" Anything that need me to do to help, let me know you two." Kwen manages to choke out; then he clears his throat; choking his emotions was slightly hard but Kwen managed to follow his training; locking up all the feelings for the moment. Forcing himself to truly distance himself from the outrage; he feeds everything that he is currently feeling into a fire; using it to make himself functional. Wiping the tears from he face he nods at the others still in the room.
Revery falls upon his knees and closes his eyes. He begins to pray in earnest to Quellious, for he had found that the gods do indeed meddle in the affairs of mortals, and this girl, both of these girls, deserve peace. He is concerned that they may not get it. He begs Quellious for peace for both Rahn and Avvie, or for wisdom to know how to achieve it for them. Aside from the time in the torture chamber of Cazic Thule, Revery has never wished for something so hard.
Nogglegrop was uncomfortable with his follow-up lie, of having Jakab and the children go outside, but he justifies it as better than having the group be forced to maintain an extended facade. The gnome could not imagine a lie that would cover the traumatic experience of watching a jagged dagger being plunged into his disabled child's quiescent heart.
Each of you are attuned to the dagger and understand that this action will require much more energy to bridge the gap between the soul and the dead body. Gwendalyn would likely be destroyed in the process, unless each member of the group also holds onto the dagger to lend their support, and share in the pain.
Gwendalyn feels the dagger pulsing and growing in power as she stands over Avvie's lifeless body...and then the pain starts, building to a crescendo...
Total damage (by the end of the ritual of soul transference): 7d100 ⇒ (50, 3, 76, 13, 47, 94, 81) = 364 (can be shared)
Nogglegrop clambers onto the bed and holds out his left hand, prepared to assist his friends. Tears run freely down the gnome's face, disappearing into the maze of his beard.
If even one fails to act they will all die.
Revery finishes his prayer and stands, moving over to hold onto the dagger. He is prepared to die to save this problematic world.
The one saving grace of all this is that Justis would be able to continue her life.
Gwendalyn wipes the spittle from the girl's chin tenderly and bares her chest. Under normal circumstances, a solemn ritual to manipulate life and death would take time, and ceremony; meditation, incense, and chanting to entreat the spirits; but not now. Not with a dagger with a soul in it, and divine will behind it. They had already paid half the price with their own deaths -- already made their entreaties face-to-Faceless with a god on his home plane -- and the rest of the price would be exacted in their pain.
Only realizing at the last minute how dangerous this was to their own lives, the mystic stops and casts Inner Fire on everyone. The damage from just a little Q & A would be as nothing compared to the energy that would course through her in bringing a dead girl to life. "If you have any magic to improve health, now is the time to use it."
Finally, the young Northwoman pulls out the greenmist dagger. "This better work," she mutters under her breath, as close as she dares get to a prayer while holding the dangerous artifact. Waiting until everyone there has had a chance to add their hands to the task, she plunges the glass-sharp weapon into Avvie's chest, into her unbeating heart.
As the leading edge of the wicked Greenmist dagger pierces the still heart tissue you know doom. True doom. You sense your soul being pulled forth, as if the dagger drinks your very life essence. You feel the coldness of utter obliteration, the emptiness of nothingness. You feel violated, but your hands are locked about the crude hilt and a sickly green miasma drifts up from your burning flesh. Your arms are burned so severely that you see the meet and bone ‘neath the charred flesh.
The process takes several minutes, which provides Gwendalyn, Sajeek and Nogglegrop time to utter healing prayers (minor healing) time and again to stave off the worst of the injuries (43 damage each, exhausted, out of mana, disoriented).
The vessel is prepared:
- Twisted limbs straighten.
- Ashen skin and cyan lips regain the blush of life.
- Warm breath passes those lips.
What remains is the body that Avvie was born to inhabit less any disfigurement or disease, and it is your very souls that are the conduit for Rahn to live anew.
The dagger dissolves and disappears as if it never was, leaving behind green flames that rise to the ceiling.
Eyes flutter and open revealing orbs of a warm brown. She looks at the group and says three words, in the sweetest voice imaginable, "You....is....doomed!" Avvie's eyes close and the innocent spirit of Rahn, disgusted by what her father wanted for her, accepts the afterlife and begs for Avvie to take up the body she once inhabited.
You feel a warmth that you could not understand and watch as Rahn moves to the breast of the goodly gods and Avvie's soul returns to her body. She coughs as the burning room fills her pristine lungs.
You regain your senses, from the disorientation (end of disoriented condition), to coughing as Avvie drags you each free of the burning room, as a overwhelmed Jakab works to put out the flames.
Pain floods your exhausted sinews as you look upon your garish injuries, but seeing the teary farmer return to hug his daughter, one the flames have been douse, is all the thanks you will ever need.
The sight of the Avvie's body, twisted by the sickness that had stolen her life, filled Sajeek with a deep sense of sorry. He felt both sad for Jakab, and awed by the man's sense of love and duty towrads his sick child. He could only hope his disception would bring about some good.
Waiting until Gwen was ready, Sajeek nods to his friends and grips the dagger as well. He really hoped that this didn't kill them all. He would feel really dumb in the afterlife if it did.
Blinks tears out of his eyes, Sajeek opens his mouth to speak and begins hacking out his smoke filled lungs. Slowly, his mind pieces together what had just occured. As his body relearns how to breath, the vah shir recalls the Event. It seems the goodly natured gods were involved. He truly hadn't thought what Rahn would have wanted. He supposes being freed from the grasp of the Faceless was enough.
"Told ya it was dangerous," Sajeek says weakly to Jakab. After another coughing fit passes he rubs Bastms head to let the tiger know he was alight. "Oh, and thanks for saving our lives, Avvie and Jakab," the vah shir grins tiredly.
Kwen wonders what was meant by the doomed comment that was spoken, but for know the rogue puts that thought to the back of his mind to be examined later when he has a spare moment.
It seems like the chances of the party are going to get slimmer is all the rogue is able to think.
Nogglegrop holds his burned hand up for his inspection. The wound was horrific, as was the pain associated with the injury, but his magical reserves were depleted (21/64 hit points, 0/96 mana, exhausted).
The gnome coughs as his lungs remind him that they were unhappy with his choices as of late, but in seeing Jarak hugging his mute daughter, since she had never learned to speak, it was all worth it.
"Give me some time and I will take the edge off of the discomfort."
Within a few hours, time that Jarak's family leaves you in peace, you are all healthy again (full health) with some permanent scars to remind you of what you just went through.
Gwendalyn is wracked with searing pain for the third time in the last few weeks (if you count a post-mortem eternity as a single event). She can't even heal her own wrecked limb, having spent all her magic to keep them alive through the process. She sits dazed by conflicting emotions.
Avvie had the most miraculous resurrection, not only revived but also cured; and Rahn had won free of Cazic-Thule, to a proper rest where she belonged. The mystic couldn't regret the result, and she didn't doubt the veracity of the message -- but it seemed rather useless. So, awe and elation were tempered by despair that they had found nothing to help them save the world, and indignation that they had quite likely been tricked by Swenj into suffering unspeakable horrors just to save his daughter's soul.
The clashing feelings melt into a kind of numbness and resignation. Who were they to think that they could save the world, anyway? She recovers enough mana to heal her arm enough to feel more pain; there's probably a lesson or metaphor in there somewhere, but she hurts too much to see it. "Ach! Urgh! We need to talk about that at some point. The message, and what it means."
Shifting his torso sent another white hot bolt of pain shooting down his left arm. Sajeek had managed to get his crispified hand away from pretty much everything. Now that shock was beginning to were off, the vah shir was all too aware of how much pain he was in. Sajeek's mind felt fuzzy, almost like he was floating a little bit over his own head. 'At least the three of us were albe to channel healing magic into everybody. Otherwise we'd all have charred bones inplace of whatever hand touched the dagger.' Sajeek thinks, blinking slowly.
Looking at his burnt left hand, the Beastlord has to mentally stop himself from trying to flex his heavily fried hand. The pads on his hand had broken open, blistered and burst, his claws blackened and cracked. While it hurt, a lot, it certainly wasn't the worst he had endured. The presence that he had felt just before the ritual began had reminded him all too much of the forever he had spent in the grasp of Cazic-Thule. So, knowing that he would be able to heal himself in a fairly short time, the vah shir does his best to push the seared nerve pain of his burns out of his head. Which was pretty damn tricky.
Sajeek watches Jakab and all three of his healthy children after the fire had been taken care off. He nods vaguely to Gwen's words, a tired, but happy smile laying about the vah shir's muzzled face. His emerald eyes were large and had just the hint of sadness in the depths as the young Beastlord watches the family laugh and cry and hug at the same time.
"So, Jakab," Sajeek asks after things had calmed down. "I really hate to ask a favor of you, but how about a cup of whiskey?" a lop-sided grin finds it's way to his muzzle. "If it's not too much trouble, I know we sort set your house on fire a little bit, sorry about that," Sajeek laughes, winking at Avvie, who looks back at them with large, liquid brown eyes. "But it seems a fine time to have a cup in celebration." He looks over at his friends and sticks out his tongue at them.
"Well that was a bit on the different side of things. Not at all what I was expecting, or even close," he says to his friends speaking a little vaguely. "Still, I would say it pretty much worked out well enough. Not quite how we expected, but what about our travels have been what we might have planned?" Sajeek laughs, then winces when he bumps his bbq'd hand. "Still, could have been much worse," he says, looking at the farmhouse.
Not that he was talking about the house, more what had happened with Avvie and Rahn and the Greenmist dagger. Sajeek was glad that Av had been restored and brought back to life. Rahn having found her true resting place made his heart soar. While the answer that he had heard was less then pleasing, it had served a purpose. He know had a true, desperate need to find the Treasure. Sajeek was going to need those claws to have any kind of chance against the Shissar.
Looking up into the night sky, Sajeek breathes in deeply and looks at the stars. The young Beastlord silent vows to the spirits that he would make those snakey bastards curse his name to their own dark gods. The group of friends might be doomed, but the Shissar would indeed regret choosing Sajeek and the others before they managed to destroy him.
" Ow." Kwen mutters to himself, feeling the familiar pain of burnt flesh yet again. It seems that no matter what happens with Kwen, fire always was seeking his tender half-elf flesh. Even with all the training he had received and the gloves, the fire was still making catching hold of him.
Kwen gives a sigh, wondering if there was another way that the group could get more information about the Shissar. Perhaps Swenji had tricked the group into bringing Rahn's soul to rest, but misleading them into trying to kill another, it was of course too late to ask any questions, but perhaps with the right spells; Noggy could bring Rahn's soul back into this plane.