Murza sighs when she hears them speak of teaching her diplomacy. I am only half Drow... They consider me lower than even the lowest Drow. I'd be more fit pretending to be a slave. as the conversion continues and moves on to the discussion of orcs her face grows to a bored child's *sigh* Orcs are idiots. I'm sure we can spend plenty of time turning them, but do we really want to add their dull minds to the ranks of undead? Their rage and Furosity would mean nothing if they can't use it... And we could make an army out of anything, so long as it's alive and has blood. Who here thinks that a giant would make a perfect minion? How about a vampire one? But that's besides the point, if we go through the orc stronghold we can grab some snacks, but I'm not waiting my Spawn on some dull idiots...
Murnau give a dismissive wave of his hand, "Bah. The only mistake made with Lener was releasing his will. The great strength of orcs, combined with the supernatural power of the Childe, would prove formidable. Regardless, we do not have the time to wait for them to rise after we kill them. It would be far more expedient to simply crush their minds if we wish to control them. But Domination would come after more subtle subtle magics, which in turn would be used as a reserve should diplomacy fail. Even then, stealth should prove sufficient. Who among the orcs would notice a few wisps of smoke drifting in on the wind during a moonless night? For those still living, a simple illusion should suffice. The orcs never need know we were present."
Veldrin listens quietly as his friends and new allies discuss the various strategies to win the night. "I think Murnau has the right of it. Deception and guile should be sufficient to get us into past the orc stronghold, and to our true goal. I can easily render our living allies unseen, provided they stay close together. Should things turn against us, I have faith in our abilities to crush any obstacles that might arise."
Ah, but grandfather you forget my music, the sweet sound of sleep that only mortals can hear... no need to waist your spells I have my songs that can lull their dull minds away... If they see us they won't know the waking day... Murza smiles.Let me just remind you that if you attack those enthralled with my music they will not be able to fall under my spell again...
|DM Master of Eternal Night|
Tower of Sidisi - Chambers of the Eternal Council
Drakina finally speaks, "The Families as well as the Eternal Council frown upon creating armies of spawn. The effectiveness of the tactic is questionable and generally leads the living to not only rally against our kind but has the effect of recruiting ranks into the Gods of Light. Thus creating a new generation of Clerics where there may have been none, or at least far fewer, before.
Spawn should be created and used sparingly.
The idea of Deepgate is an interesting one Thulmerë. However, its access to the Darklands would bring you farther North than the access point located in Ustalav requiring your group to travel much farther back south through the Darklands to reach Zirnakaynin. The additional complication is that my understanding is that Vahnwynne Malkistra has a Haven there. The Orc will feel insulted that the Council did not pick his chosen representatives for this particular assignment. His reaction, as he is an Orc would be unclear. He may try to slay you all or worse, join you.
The Shadow Key is not in our possession Murnau, it is in the possession of the elves which is why an strike against the elves of Celwynvian may be necessary. The benefit of such a strike, besides the death of elves of course, is that my sources tell me this corrupted gate will bring you mere miles from the gates of Zirnakaynin itself.
The way through the Darklands in Ustalav is of course guarded as well. By Clerics of Pharasma no less. Their numbers are not great but their hatred for the undead is not necessary to discuss further.
I leave the decision as to which route to take to all of you.
Certainly once more Thulmerë you have the right of it, Murza will be the lead representative. She is female and she is drow. Half-drow yes, but a female half-drow is considered more worthy than a male drow or an anything else. However, she will be my personal emissary. Your cover story will be simple, we will offer the strength of our knowledge of the surface to the drow Noble Houses in exchange for certain concessions from these Houses. Even to the Nobles of Zirnakaynin is my name known and thus should afford you all the ability to act openly, as your true selves, Vampires.
All of you will be advisors of Murza. The drow will not find it odd that those who are clearly older or wiser than Murza advise her as she is female and they will simply assume it is her right by station to be in such a position.
Unlike the surface dwellers, the Drow do not fear the sentient undead. Thus, shall we approach them with opportunity and not guile. Ware your use of Dominate on my former people. Even the lowliest farmer can resist all but the mightiest of magics. All Houses are ruled by Clerics which make Allizsah's magic seem quaint. Most of the Noble heads have spells which protect their minds or items that shield them. Moreover, the drow worship Demonic patrons, seeking to Thrall their Clerics may anger the Demonlords creating conflict for Zura. Most assuredly Murnau doing so could create a second Blood War as a Devil's agent stealing a Demonic Prime asset... well you get the picture.
First we must secure the device or spell, or object. Then, we shall have a reckoning with the living and the dead, until then, be circumspect in your dealings.
Now, the most difficult problem you all shall face. The drow of Zirnakaynin have acquired this mighty and ancient weapon which House has it, is not known to me but shall be discovered by you! Perhaps a Council of them has decided to use it but I have my doubts, the drow do not like to share power. The most prestigious Houses of the city are Azrinae, Dolour, Rasivrein, Tracinoa, Vexidyre, and Vonnarc. That does not include the lesser Houses which may, though I doubt it, could have acquired the weapon.
Now, have you further thoughts or questions before I send you upon your task?"
"That is all, mistress. However, what knowledge are we presenting? Are we to acknowledge that they have the Weapon, or are we to feign ignorance? What do we have to ensure they will believe our story?" he strokes his chin, "Lady Drakina, are there any advantages that you know of for seizing the elven city? You say it will deposit us close to Zirnakaynen, will the overall journey be less? In any case, I imagine the Drow might be even more hospitable if we brought with us a few... test subjects for them."
"Forgive me lady Drakina. My blood lust has gotten the best of me, it's been ages since I've been in a great battle. Lady Volinwrath has kept me too long in this tower." Bowing his head in respect.
"Murnau, that's an excellent idea. We captive the city of Celwynvian, this will give us food, should we desire some spawn and more importantly slaves. Murza will offer these slaves once we reach Zirnakaynin, a gift from House Drakina. This should be a good learning experience for Murza, I will help her to best of my abilities. I am in favour of the assault but am willing to go spelunking should the rest decide to."
"Yes... a few weak, pitiful elven slaves would do to endear us to them. Hmmm... It would prove amusing, to say the least, to Embrace some of Pharasma's own, but if we are going for a show of force, a massacre at Celeynvian would be quite effective. For a more subtle approach, quietly Embracing or Dominating a few key elven politicians and mages could prove advantageous at a later date. And should we require a hasty withdraw, a corrupted elf gate would prove advantageous if it works both ways."
"Hmm, the irony of embraced Pharasmans doesn't escape me, forever damned.
Yes play the part of the puppet masters."
"I would like to point out she is not the only female with drow blood. While my father's seed may show strongly but do not so easily set aside my mother's blood. I'm more worried about them laughing at young Murza." Allizsah said with a small smirk. "Having only two female advisors, and only one of those having any drow blood. But I guess having Vel around would help balance that out, as he is full drow and kin to Murza." She said thoughtfully.
"That aside, travel through Ustalav could be fun. I've never gotten to see much of it. Also how do the rest of you plan to travel? I am the only one who can walk in open sunlight." She pointed out.
Murza sighs. Well, I look Drow enough that I could pass as one... And the magic of my decent is just as strong as any Drow... If we need to we can always polymorph me into a full Drow... Make me look older... I will willing accept such transformation... If we can find a way it works on me that is... But like mother says I am not very wise... But I will do my best...
She turns to the rest of the party. in no way am I a good leader, and I don't want to be. But because I am of Noble decent I am greater than any of you, save for my grandfather... In the eyes of the Drow that is...
"Allizsah and Murza can pose together for all that matters, we have a plan for Zirnakaynin which is what matters for now."
Thulmerë looks to Allizsah." There isn't much to see in Ustalav say for a few sites of refuge for the Whispering Way. The best form of travel my dear is in our bat or wolf forms, should we find an abandoned building, country side inn or barn we can rest there. Once we've dealt however with the inhabitants in the best suited way." He smiles, baring his fangs.
Murnau shrugs when Allizsah asks about protection from sunlight, "It is not challenging. While risky, a heavy cloak can serve as a shield. Personally, I can temporarily shield myself and one other-Caligo, usually- from harmful radiance for up to a minute at a time. I have heard tell of a spell that can protect us from all light- I have heard it being referred to as a Protective Penumbra. My lieutenant is currently working on learning it, but has yet to master the technique. Perhaps Zura can provide the magic needed if you ask, Mistress Dravonie, as to aid the others."
"I have access to such a spell, which last for about an hour when I cast it. Hopefully that will be long enough to avoid being destroyed by the sun."
"Regarding our being an envoy for Muzra, Thul it makes sense for you to be her bodyguard. Murnau will serve as her trusted diplomatic advisor, while Alli can be her spiritual guide. Rosalind can be her house mage. It's normally a male role, but shouldn't be too troublesome, seeing as your not drow. We might need to convince them you're a slave/servant. As for myself, I will be as I am, her grandfather, traveling with her."
The girl smiles. Well, The Drow have been known to work with lesser races for a mutual goal. Hobgoblin, and such. Deep dwarves not so much. But I'm sure they'd understand the usefulness of humans... Now, as for our first step... I'm sure that the clerics of Pharasma have studied our kind, but surely they have never met us? Hmm... The question is however if their Church is hallowed...
"I will attempt to see what my goddess will offer me but I can promise nothing." She told Murnau.
Allizsah smirked as she crossed her arms. "A job I some what fill already would make it much less of a lie. Now question is will she take the guidiance?" Allizsah asked as she looked from Veldrin to Murza
"Temples of Pharasma often double as graveyards. I can simply bring the dead from their graves and allow the cleric to come out and deal with the problem. You should be able to deal with them then as they will be out of the church proper. Now if the ground is hallowed as well, we move on and find another." Allizsah shrugged.
Thulmerë nods to Veldrin, "I will protect her as if she was my own." Crossing his arms, he reassures his old friend and companion.
"Very well, so is it decided? Shall we desecrate the lives of the Lady of Graves' own? Where is the entrance, Lady Drakina? Is it close enough to make it to cover this night?"
|DM Master of Eternal Night|
Tower of Sidisi - Chambers of the Eternal Council
Drakina remains silent until the Coterie completes its thoughts. "To the extent you are able, it would be best if your coffins could be transported with you. While it is unlikely that a foe could defeat all of you, some of you could potentially be immortality wounded and seek a coffin for succor. Ultimately, it is up to you all to decide how best to proceed with such details.
An excellent overview of the hierarchy as can be presented to the Drow Veldrin.
No need to forgive you Thulmerë, your desire is acknowledged.
As to your question Murnau, feign ignorance. Someone, or perhaps several someones, will know what you wish to know. Finding the right House will be the trick. Offering them an alliance and tie to the surface world will entice most if not all Noble Families.
To enter the Darklands, the location you seek is a Cathedral named Our Lady of Lanterns in the former Capital of Ustalav, Ardis. The city, if you are not familiar, is approximately 100 miles to the north east in the County of Ardeal. I am not certain of the ability of the entire Coterie to make the trip in one night Murnau.
The passage to the Darklands is beneath the Cathedral. My understanding is that only the Mistress of the Cathedral knows what lies beneath. The ground is indeed Hallowed and will likely repel our kind. Luckily, Allizsah is not one of us.
Ware your tactics for the Cathedral is in the middle of the City and it is best if you are able to enter undetected. Of course, a local infestation of the dead does not have anything necessarily to do with our kind..." Drakina smiles wickedly.
Murnau remains quiet for a moment as he thinks, "I have no difficulty transporting my own coffin- I arranged for that on the way here- for the others I would advise a spell of shrinking. As for transportation... do you happen to have a bound imp flying around the Tower that we could borrow for a few minutes? We could make it all the way to Zirnakayin that way. However... a simple cart, a pair of skeletal horses, and we could continue even after dawn. Once we have arrived in Ardis, perhaps a few days spent animating skeletons would be prudent. From there, we can send them as a distraction against the church, and we slip in the back unseen and unnoticed. However, the hallowed ground does pose a challenge" He strokes his chin, "Perhaps Allizsah can infiltrate the church and remove the blessing? Or would a Dominated priest function better? Do we have any knowledge as to how the consecration functions? If we were to deface the altar, would that end the ward?"
Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (14) + 9 = 23
"Hmmm... perhaps a counter of some sort? If we send Allizsah into the cathedral, she could then counter the consecration and allow us to enter unimpeded, after drawing away the clerics to fight a 'random' outbreak of mindless undead? No... too complicated. A quiet coup would work best... either Embraced or Dominated, the Mistress of the Cathedral would prove a valuable asset. Regardless, I vote that we leave immediately, and discuss plans as we travel. It has been millennia since time was of the essence, and I relish this opportunity."
"Times is always of the essence to those of us whom are still mortal." Allizsah comments. "Honestly it depends upon what form of spell protects the temple on if I can remove it or not. Though I'm sure I could bring it down... Oh I'll have to change clothes. They wouldn't welcome one who has the mark of Zura upon her openly. Allow me to gather a few more things to help this a long." She smiled as she seemed to be forming something in her head.
"I do have an idea however. It may prove rather... entertaining for all involved. In one form or another."
"Well most of us can call our children of the night, they should act as a good distraction, giving us enough time to sneak into the city. Once inside we just need to kindly "ask" them to allow us to enter."
Thulmerë stands there, grinning at the prospect.
Thulmerë begins to chant and mutter in his ancient tongue, seemingly out of nowhere a large skeletal Owlbear appears beside him.
"Should we have a carriage, this beast would be more than happy to pull it for us day and night."
What of traveling Adventurers? Mayhaps we come across a party? I understand we can easily overpower them, but I think it best to avoid them given the chance. Infact let's diguise whatever pulls us as living so as to not draw too much attention
|DM Master of Eternal Night|
Tower of Sidisi - Chambers of the Eternal Council
Drakina stands, "The resources to arrive at the city must be your own for none are here who have ever lain eyes on the place and those who have do not possess the magic to translocate you there.
So long as you travel through the lands of Night a skeletal procession will not be noticed. Once into Ustalav though you must either hide or disguise yourselves.
Your ideas thus far seem promising, I look forward to your return and hearing the tales of foes slain and blood drunk".
She takes her leave of the Council Chambers.
Do you all want to head up with Allizsah and get her things on the way you can solidify your travel plans as well as a generic plan to infiltrate the Cathedral. No doubt as the plan meets the enemy it will need to be subject to some change.
Veldrin bows to his matriarch "Our foes shall before our spells, fangs and blade Mistress, of that, I can promise."
He turns to the others "Let us accompany Allizsah, and hear more of her plan. I am quite intrigued."
Murnau goes quickly with the others, leaving with a respectful, "For the Glory of the Night, we shall go," to the Lady Drakina.
Once they are in the private chambers, Murnau turns to his companions, "Very well. Shall we set off tonight? It will be a simple matter, should it come to it, to find shelter during the day. Or do we want a chariot, pulled by a skeleton? Speed or subtlety, that is the question. I, of course, vote subtlety. Traveling lightly and quickly across the countryside when it is safe to do so, taking cover when it is not, perhaps persuading a few hapless lives to help us?"
You know, it probably helps if I hit the post button before I leave the forum hmm? XD
Hush, I was sleepy last night... but now I get to type this all over again... >.<
"If all of you wish to depart tonight I would be find with that." Allizsah said from her closet, she had allowed the group into her bedroom which was of respectable size for a mortal to have among them. There was a large bed in the middle of the room with what seemed like a form of red netting over it from the ceiling above it some what hiding the black silk covered bed.
The decor in the room held a lightness to it that the main room didn't, the red upon the walls where decorated with fairly sized black swirls yet the dark colors didn't seem to darken the room. A black vanity was on the far left corner from the door so that the mirror faced the door, though that would help little in a home of vampires. Then on the right side of the room against the wall was a tall dresser that was straight out from the bed, then to the left of that was the closet that held the priestess at the moment. The room was also littered with relics and paintings of different planes, even Heaven.
"It has to be in here some where... I know I didn't get rid of it..." They could hear the priestess say from the closet. "Ah ha! Here it is." She called out as she stepped from the closet. In her arms was a simple peasant woman's dress. "May temple will take in a poor person. Especially a Pharasmain temple when the damsel is begin attack by one of the undead." She smirked. "This will also cover my birthmark, allowing me to hide it long enough to enter the temple."
Veldrin ponders their options, then replies to Murnau "I believe our best bet is to hide in plain sight. After all, Murza is to be a visiting drow of some import, so why would she not be arriving via a coach? Heck, even a skeletal horse plays into that, as such a steed is a mark of prestige and power."
He looks to the bed in Allizsah's room, then to the still mortal priestess "Grave dirt?" He asks simply, thinking that a bit odd.
"My Skeletal beast of burden could move us tirelessly. These lands belong to the dead, making our travels safe. There are many dark caves, forests and mountains to hide in. Once in the land of the living, we will need to blend in as we always have." Proposed Thulmerë, weighing their options.
"Hell all save for Allizsah can transform into dire bats or wolves, this would give us the speed we need to travel."
Thulmerë will join Veldrin near the bed."Grave dirt? By chance is it hidden under the mattress? If so, clever girl. Dirt from her homeland should she ever be embraced"
"Sheets actually. Though there isn't any there now." Allizsah said. "And it isn't mine, no I keep that in a jar for after I'm changed." She smirked as she rolled up the dress. "But no, I find allowing other to bring some of their grave dirt for the times makes them feel a bit more comfortable."
"Also I'm sure some of it is from the graves I visit for my bones." She shrugged as she stuffed the dress into her bag.
Is there something I'm missing about homeland dirt and vampires? I'm not familiar with that lore.
"My cohort is also unable to assume the form of a wolf. Rather, his transformation is more akin to our mist forms, but far deadlier. Also, I believe that Lady Thuvia's lieutenant is likewise not one of us. Veldrin, if my sources are correct,
Which they usually are
is also incapable of full form changes. Which leaves only you, myself, and Murza able to take the skin of a wolf. A simple cart should prove sufficient cover, from my experience. Once we reach the lands of the living, more care might be needed, but for much of the journey, a skeleton will provide ample transportation."
Murza chuckles. ah, I'm afraid I also turn into a swarm, instead if a gas. Perhaps a rare condition based on the strange mix of ancestry. Spiders, bats, rats, a wolf, a single bat, and not much else... I am however trained in the art of the Bard, and could pass by a crowd without notice... she says, you could simply be standing and I could hide in your shadow...
Soil from the land of which you where buried, a classic Dracula thing
|DM Master of Eternal Night|
Ustalav - Night 1
Allizsah summons a lower ranking Ghoul with a bell ordering them to have a carriage ready for Thulmerë's beast.
In short order, the servants chain the best to the carriage and the Chosen of the Council speed off into the dead of night in Virlych. Before midnight the Chosen pass by the shadows of Gallowspire passing around the peaks of the Hungry Mountains.
After Midnight, the beast pulls the carriage across the unmarked boundaries of Virlyh and into Canterwall, here the sight of the beast will bring terror to the hearts of mortals but also suspicion upon those who utilize such a beast for burden.
More than halfway to their destination lies the city of Marian Leigh.
This will be the only city the Chosen will be able to make it to before night falls and they would have to rely on a lack of curiosity from visitors as to a carriage on the side of the road in Canterwall...
What do you do?
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
Not knowing much of anything about Marian Leigh (being far outside his normal Web), Murnau stays silent for their plans of the night until others mention its features, not wishing to appear uninformed about any topic.
Know(Local): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13
Murza, depite her study of human cultures and traditions, doesn't know much of the city...
Ah, You the villian and I your Devilish Child... Hm? she smiles, glad to be outside if a Castle once again.
"Between the ages of sleep and being locked away in that tower like Baphon. I know not of the mortal feedbags of these lands."
Yup, no knowledge local
Change my 3rd level memorization to 2x appearance of life, 1x haste no windwall until we're below ground
Kn.Local: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
Rosalind smiles, listening as Dylan whispers a short reminder.
"A good thing I was sent with us then, this is a simple enough town. In many ways the life here is almost idyllic. Although, they do have a reputation as man eaters, several visitors of the manly persuasion have gone missing. Outsiders probably assumed they settled, but if so I've heard no word of it. No, I suspect we can all guess how they might have been settled. Why, If you can play human enough, you might turn the tables on their local predator Thulmere, Murnau."
She nods to the two, her lips twisting in a smile.
"I can help with that, I think. Let's see, we'll need to disguise the beast. Ourselves. Dylan, you'll need to be invisible I suspect, and the lovely Allizsah will appear our leader, just in case. Yes."
She nods, thinking quickly, then continues.
"The beast is beyond me I think, but I can shift the rest of our appearance towards life. That should allow for easy entry to the city, assuming you all consent? It will only last slightly more than an hour, however, so best to find ourselves lodging quickly once we are accepted."
She nods, and looks over her spellbook, then glances up at the faces of her companions.
"I am not always the quiet daughter of a dangerous woman, we all have our masks to wear, yes? Mother swears it will be the redeath of me, but here, here it might be useful."
"Linger with the little people, I can certainly play the part."
Thulmerë tinkers with his armor, reforming it with magic into a new shape to better suit his new found role. He transforms his armor into the rustic clothing typical of the people of Ustalav, although it's dressed with wolf pelts and appears to be of high quality.
"There we go,that's more fitting. As for my beast of burden, it can linger far on the outskirts. It's bound to my will and can be summoned when I desire so."
"Once we're beneath the earth, little Murza will play her role. For now, we play the part of simple travelers." Thulmerë slinks back into his seat, eagerly awaiting his fieldtrip though he hides his enthusiasm
"Ah an excellent idea, strength in numbers after all."
"Shall we leave the carriage behind for now? we could easily convince them that our horses were frightening by a pack of wolves and ran away." He asked his traveling companions, as they ventured closer to the city.
"It is your creation, Thul. Do as you wish with it. I can care for myself, should it be needed. However, I do think it wise that we secure the cart for now- we can resume once Allizsah has rested. How do we wish to separate?"
Allizsah is the only one that actually needs to sleep, right? I don't fully understand why we don't just continue, and have her sleep in the back of the cart. Sure, we might look suspicious to the one person looking out on back country roads at midnight, but it's much more efficient altogether.
Murza sighs. I will not rest near the only living member of this party... After all I'm still young and my hunger does make it difficult to keep at bay.
|DM Master of Eternal Night|
Ustalav - Night 1 - Marian Leigh
After some further discussion, the Chosen of the Council decide to leave the carriage on the outskirts of the city under lock and key. Thulmerë's idea about skittish horses should enable the group to get someone to ride out and pull it into town. The beast of burden in the meantime will simply hide itself until it is time to set out once more.
The group approaches the village of Marian Leigh on foot heading north. After a brisk ten minute walk following the moving water of the river they arrive and are greeted by a single guard at the gate. The guard is female and quite tall wearing battle armor and visor.
"Salutations Travelers. It s a dark night to be afoot here in such a dangerous county. State your business".