When Sindariel stepped out from behind the wall, arms crossed, the younger spy's words caught in her throat, a single twitch of her eyebrow belying her consternation.
"My my, come to attend her Highness' empty carriage," Sindariel's voice was light and chiding even if her gaze could have killed, "or have you lost your way, little one?"
"No, your Ladyship, neither," the handmaiden hesitated, in spite of her best efforts, Amhranai had the sense she was party to a girl having been caught in some mischief by her schoolmistress. "Her Highness bade me seek Dame Amhranai here after you yourself suggested an alternate venue for rendezvous not 10 minutes ago."
Sense Motive Checks:
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
Arion spoke in a lowered voice to Lureene while chancing an arm around her waist, pulling her more closely to himself, "The odds do NOT look favourable for any who might have the impetuous audacity to formulate intrigues against our Princess' administration, or these lands she and such supernatural allies protect. This greatly fortifies my heart, to learn that divinities have stationed such hosts among us."
He surveyed, with a thrill, those gathered nearby and considered those he had witnessed earlier, hoping they would join the meetings soon.
"Already we have with us this mighty squadron: Our divining Royal Highness with the powers of the Bards and the Sacred of Súmalya; a great Dwarven Lightbringer in arms and armour beyond renown; determined Half-Elf Major of our Royal Army; divinely casting, insightful and knightly Moon Elf; adroit and ferocious Commando; and You, dear otherworldly, flying Enchantress..."
He looked upon those faces whose secret powers were known to him and then upon newer faces, wondering what powers they brought to this congregation. He also desired to approach Lady Lammontari and learn more of her. Slowly he moved nearer, so to arrive beside her somewhat, should they feel introductions or debriefings were in order.
The nymph's smile was full of melancholy. she squeezed the Princess' hand even as she gazed deep into the diamond at Alis' breast, finger tips lightly brushing the stone.
"Even a muse requires inspiration, you know this better than most. A catepillar must shed its cocoon to take flight."
As Alis' eyes threatened rain, the nymph tenderly embraced her, one hand stroking Alis' hair that the younger muse's tears might stream down unbeknownst to onlookers.
"Sweet Princess, we are not Lanscarilma to be beheld from a distance until we fall... we are flame and water reconciled in one."
W 1d20 + 34 ⇒ (18) + 34 = 52
Sense Motive Checks:
E 1d20 + 25 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 25 + 3 = 35 alertness
R 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (13) + 14 = 27
D 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (6) + 20 = 26
L 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 + 2 = 11 alertness
S 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 + 2 = 18 human
Wingilmë herself smiled. "Of that there is no doubt. Ours is a goddess of passion after all. Yet remember: untended, the flame that lights a thousand candles may be blown out. Used carelessly, it may raze the palace of your heart and burn others."
She sighed inwardly and thought, "Even Azata have succumbed to such temptations..."
"Oh yes," Wingilmë thought in reply, a knowing smile on her lovely face. "There are worlds unknown beyond ours, each defined by what portions of The Song resound there in harmony or discord, by who is invited to that choir... or remains absent."
"Just as a monarch rules absolutely within their own realm, there are yet kings and queens of other realms as well as those who would usurp them. Miralas and Cainrelée govern Elsemar and the Valar are their ministers and ambassadors, yet there are other worlds with their own powers..."
"Yes and no... Avoreen is an outsider, one who looks with desire on the kingdoms of others and would make them hers. It was from her cup that Charelle was poisoned against Súmalya. She sought to gain thru guile that which had been appointed to our Beloved Muse by corrupting her greatest servant."
The warmth and adoration in Wingilmë's smile as she gazed up at the marble countenance of the Goddess of Passion spoke volumes.
"Free will is a tricky thing, dear friend, and Avoreen is not the only power capable of alluring another's heart..."
She lowered her gaze, briefly meeting Sindariel's icy glare, before turning once more to meet Alis', the nymph's face a portrait of bliss.
"Ours is the Queen of Hearts, and Lureene's heart no longer belongs to her mother."
She released Alis' hand and took a step backwards. Smiling sweetly, she held her hands out and proclaimed in a voice that all present could understand regardless of heritage. "She entrusts it... to you, sweet Princess."
Lureene held Arion closely to her side. As he spoke confidently of the Princess' allies and the powerful team they made, she breathed easier as his words had a calming effect on her.
Her gaze is pulled as if by a magnet to where Alis and the beautiful nymph walked off in council, her mind lost in thought. As she stood there feeling Arion's heartbeat next to her own, she felt...at peace with herself. She felt her Mother's hold on her slipping further away from her heart and soul.
She may bring about my death, and the deaths of those who I LOVE...but she will never have me as her PUPPET again!
On hearing Wingilmë's proclamation, she knew intuitively it was HERSELF they are referring to. She turns to face the two aspects of Súmalya and senses the presence of their deity behind them. Eyes again brimming with tears, she smiled at both of them, a smile filled with love.
Not knowing what's going on or what to do, Darvesch remains standing at-ease. He contemplates his reaction to Wingilmë, "Just how does one command that much force of personality? It's otherworldly!"
He shakes his head, ridding himself of the thought for the moment, trying to refocus his thoughts on his plan for the Zuck people. "I wonder if she'll go for it. More importantly, I hope Alis allows it." His eyes widen as he imagines some of the negative reactions he faces as a possibility. Darvesch blinks twice, purges the thoughts, and smiles, "No. She'll like it. I'm sure of it."
Confidence restored, he looks about the area, ensuring all is well, and no surprises will meet the group.
Perception 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (8) + 15 = 23
Sense Motive1d20 + 20 ⇒ (10) + 20 = 30
He's not looking for anything in particular. Just scanning the room visually, and making sure nobody is hiding in the area, or concealing motives. After seeing the nobles in that party, and gauging their reactions to the Princess, I don't think it's at all unreasonable to be a little paranoid, even as pleasant as this meeting is.
Looking around, Darvesch could see many smiling, appreciative faces both amidst his companions and the elves who had gathered inside the woodland shrine to gaze upon nymph and Princess. Indeed everyone seemed quite elated save for the redheaded elven baroness, Sindariel, who had suggested the House of the Muse as an alternate meeting place. Indeed, when Arion had boasted about the mighty array of allies now gathered, the dwarf had thought he heard a faint snort of derision from someone. Could that have been her?
It was while the warrior pondered the incongruous reaction that the sound of many urgent, hurried footfalls coming from the south. Although Alis, Sasha, and much of the crowd remained distracted, those who did turn saw an unlikely sight. Running at full tilt toward the shrine were three elves, one clad all in black, face tattooed; another garbed in the fashion of a palace servant; and... Lady Lammontari?!
To say that the sight of TWO Sindariels was unexpected would have been an understatement!
A 1d20 + 16 + 3 - 5 ⇒ (5) + 16 + 3 - 5 = 19 alertness, distracted
E 1d20 + 19 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 19 + 3 = 29 alertness
R 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (14) + 15 = 29
D 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (13) + 13 = 26
L 1d20 + 9 + 3 - 5 ⇒ (19) + 9 + 3 - 5 = 26 alertness, distracted
S 1d20 + 12 - 5 ⇒ (10) + 12 - 5 = 17 distracted
To see two Sindariels in front of him, feelings of anger and frustration wash over him in a blinding flash. Darvesch quickly attempts to apprehend the doppelganger that was already with his group as he shouts, "Seize them! Both of them! I'm not taking any chances!"
Activate Judgement:Justice(+2 atk) and Purity (+2 saves)
Move to Sindariel (with his group)
Grapple 1d20 + 13 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 13 + 2 = 31 Judgement:Justice
Theme: State of Emergency
The Sindariel closest to the shrine gave a short laugh. "My, how impertinent!"
From further away, the one running ahead of Tiniel and Amhranai cursed under her breath and growled, "The dwarf's right, take us both into custody!"
Upon hearing the other's reply, the Sindariel nearest Darvesch merely snickered, "Not half as clever as I had hoped, yet more than I had imagined..."
Oof, I'll post more after I wake up. Map creation took longer than I expected...
A 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (9) + 11 = 20
E 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
M 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
R 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
D 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24
L 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
S 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
Royal Guards 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
Sindariel 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
Tiniel 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (14) + 9 = 23
Wingilmë 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
Imposter 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Note: The central dais on which the statues stand is 20-ft tall. The statues themselves are each 50-ft tall. That means the statues heads and the stained-glass butterfly are about 70-ft above ground-level.
Lining the 8 paths are a series of archways. These archways have 15-ft support columns on each side before the actual curves of the arch itself begins. Because the arches are buttressed from the inside face of the pillars (rather than from the top of the capital), this means there is a small platform atop each pillar. The slope of the arches is fairly steep (>45°), and atop the keystone is a 5-ft tall, conical finial.
The elves with the golden helms are members of the Royal Guard. There are a total of 12 positioned around the shrine.
Lastly, the crowd of onlookers is further back — no closer than 3-4 archways away from the shrine. i.e. Amhranai, Sindariel, and Tiniel have already run thru the crowd and into the open.
As the dwarf rushed to close with the Sindariel closest to him, she sighed wistfully and said, "Not to imply that I'm ungrateful for how you redecorated my old friend's island home, but..."
Yet when he lunged, it was everything he could do avoid wiping out as he passed clear thru her — an illusion!
Innuendo 1d20 + 40 ⇒ (6) + 40 = 46
Sense Motive Checks:
E 1d20 + 25 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 25 + 3 = 35 alertness
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (7) + 12 = 19
R 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (17) + 14 = 31
D Reflex 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 4 + 1 = 14 resistance
Theme: Dark One
Even as Tiniel's grasp on Sindariel loosened, gasps of fear echoed from the gathered elves and pointed fingers drew everyone's attention to Súmalya's outstretch hand high above. There, silhouetted against the sky was the form of a shapely woman with broad, bat-like wings. Laughing cruelly, her voice rang down like a deathknell from on-high, "Don't you know? When you disrespect another's home, you invite the same upon your own!"
With that, the woman gave a deafening snap of her fingers and the stone finger holding aloft the magnificent, stained-glass butterfly plummeted straight for Alis and Wingilmë!
Although shrieks of terror went up from all the crowd, the nymph standing by the Princess' side merely smiled peacefully and gave her a light push in the chest, fingertips brushing the Tear of Súmalya. It was just enough to send the younger woman stumbling backwards before the falling sculpture crushed Wingilmë to the ground, shattered glass spraying everywhere!
Even as Alis' scream rent the air, a calm, loving voice could be heard in the hearts of others.
- Party Buffs:
- +1: Attacks & Saves vs. Fear (+1 morale: Alis' scepter)
- A hp: 46 - 6 = 40/46
- k: 23 = 23/23
- E hp: 53 = 53/53
- M hp: 71 = 71/71
- R hp: 71 = 71/71
- D hp: 96 = 96/96
- L hp: 62 = 62/62
- g: 47 = 47/47 (41 small)
- S hp: 78 = 78/78
Lureene watched the events unfold with a horrified expression on her beautiful face. It is clear to those nearby that the resemblance between the golden-winged enchantress and the murderous demoness was...quite uncanny!
She stared transfixed as the sense of heart wrenching loss and sadness nearly overwhelms her. The sense of peace emanating in her heart snaps her back to the present.
Her voice cried out as a clarion of defiance and anger, "MO--...This outrage WILL NOT STAND!"
She pauses for a moment thankful she did not blurt out her relationship to the demoness. Instead she tried recalling the various means to deal with a demoness that would be...somewhat effective.
Even as Avoreen laughed at Lureene's rage, the real Sindariel slipped free of Tiniel's loose grasp and hissed, "I'll make for The Enclave and reinforcements."
With that, she dashed eastwards, trying to put Fëarianna's statue between herself and the demon queen. "Get the Princess to safety!"
Undaunted by the demoness' taunts, three guards were quick to reach Alis, shields raised in defense, while others kept their spears at the ready along the escape route Lady Lammontari followed. "Highness, this way!"
Two guards hesitated near Lureene, spears and shields raised in defense. Another drew their sword and thrust the hilt at Sasha, imploring, "Lady Ourson, please hurry!"
Arion's first thoughts were for Lureene and Sasha nearby. He felt strongly that the Princess would want them protected and trusted in Her Highness' prowess and allies elsewhere on the field of battle.
Who or WHAT do we face here? Does Lureene recognise them? Come what may, my place should be to make a stand beside the Ladies here.
The Magus drew out his quill from its hidden sheath - feathered instrument rapidly transforming into a long Rapier of Cold Iron - while he chanted and, with his other hand, readied the magical energies to Dispel Magic, hoping to counterspell any magical assault upon their location.
As the trio of lovers prepared themselves, perhaps hoping to delay the demoness long enough for either reinforcements to arrive or Alis to escape, Grak's mind touched Lureene's.
"Missstressss, Mother should not be in thisss plane — there are barriersss... Grak thinksss thisss is tricksss..."
G 1d20 + 7 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 7 + 10 = 28 familiarity
Sense Motive Checks:
G 1d20 + 4 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 4 + 10 = 26 familiarity
Lureene holds her hand up for the guards to pause. "We need to deal with...HER NOW...else she will pursue us to no end!"
She then casts a magical spell of protection on herself even as she waves her hand towards Grak, who is hovering nearby. As his body starts to elongate and his wings grow larger, she sends him her mental wish. "Grak, I need you to help me here...MOTHER must not escape us...if this is indeed a trick we must find out WHY she is doing this NOW!
Arion's questioning look causes her to take a deep breath, allowing her rage to reduce to a slow burn. She turns to him and quickly says, "Arion, I DO know this demoness! She is called Arvoreen, a Demon-Queen! I will explain further when we have time!"
I MUST be careful here...DID Mother truly gain access to this plane? Does she have THAT much power? she turns her gaze on her Mother looking for answers...
Swift Action: Lightning Struck Ritual
Standard Action: Cast Mage Armor
Sense Motive 1d20 + 3 + 2 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 3 + 2 + 10 = 35 Alis BoL
Grak's words rang true and Lureene realized that it should indeed be as impossible for Avoreen to enter Elsemar in full as it would for any powerful outsider. The young succubus recalled her last lucid dream; Mother had commented about allowing her to associate with Alis because their goals were aligned.
Destroying Charelle's temple...
Had Lucretia's presence kept her at bay...?
Mother had hinted at killing Alis to see if it would awaken the old Lureene. The atonement ceremony in Valehaven had angered Avoreen greatly, but coming here to the shrine of her greatest rival in this particular world? Avoreen had always spoke with contempt where gods were concerned. Indeed mention of such beings in her court was tantamount to sedition. The Queen of the Lies would suffer no other gods before her.
Was that it then? Was this too great of an insult to let slide, or was slaying Wingilmë and terrorizing Port Eldarion merely a theatrical cover for some even more convoluted plot?
Only time would tell...
As the wheels turned in Lureene's head, Avoreen chuckled, "Time — such a fleeting commodity. Use it wisely... daughter."
A demon queen? And she calls Lureene 'daughter'? Figuratively or literally, I wonder? Amhranai saw the royal guards collapse about Alis, heard Sindariel's voice echoing back as she ran towards the shrine. I don't know about safety, but perhaps moving to a location where we could more effectively corner that thing would work best.
Amhranai darted across the grounds, a plan forming in her head as she ran forward.
Run to Y19
Amelia watched as the illusion of Sindariel faded away as demoness appeared above them. Well, this wasn't good, Winglime was now gone and the crap had hit the fan. The witch kept her eyes on the winged demon queen and with her eyes still on her, turned back and headed to safer ground, not wanting to be in range of any area effects this woman could cast down on them.
Once she was near the tree that Amhranai had just left, the Witch knelt down, reaching into her robes and pulled out some old bones of a small creature. Old one's guide me, what can be done about this she-devil...? She muttered inside of her head and scattered the bones by her feet.
Moves to AI 9
Casting a Divination spell, GM's permission.
As the Dafari witch cast the bones beneath the well-tended tree, the staff she carried resonated with a deep thrum of power. Looking up, high above the elven arches, all the world save the demon queen seemed to fade into darkness. Gazing at the winged-figure, primordial glyphs became visible upon its form, but only to the witch's eyes.
So that was the answer!
Theme: Lilitu's Dance, part C
"Grak, hmm...?" With an unconcerned air, Avoreen leapt from Súmalya's broken hand to alight atop the spire nearest Alis. As she gazed at the nearby serpent, one hand caressed the marble spire beside her while she ran the other down her side.
"I wonder, Grak," she mused, "what would be the surest way to awaken your old mistress? Should I kill her best friend? Her lovers? What do you think, pet?"
With a laugh, she twisted seductively about the spire, making ornate flourishes with her rhythmic movements as if to taunt him.
Although Lureene's cry was a wordless one, for Arion, Alis, Amelia and Darvesch, the meaning was clear — there was nothing innocent about Avoreen's gyrations, she was working a spell!
A 1d20 + 16 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 16 + 3 = 29 alertness, +1 trapfinding
k 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (18) + 13 = 31
E 1d20 + 19 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 19 + 3 = 34 alertness
M 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (18) + 15 = 33
R 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (17) + 15 = 32
D SM 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (9) + 20 = 29
L 1d20 + 9 + 3 + 10 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 9 + 3 + 10 + 4 = 41 alertness, familiarity, a voice
L 1d20 + 9 + 3 + 10 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 9 + 3 + 10 + 4 = 38 bit of luck
S 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (18) + 12 = 30
L 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (7) + 13 = 20
L 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (19) + 13 = 32 bit of luck
L 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (6) + 20 = 26
L 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (11) + 20 = 31 bit of luck
Sense Motive Checks:
A 1d20 + 25 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 25 + 4 = 34 alertness
E 1d20 + 25 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 25 + 3 = 32 alertness
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (8) + 12 = 20
D 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (18) + 20 = 38
S 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
As Arion's spell went off, there was a crackling in the air around the demoness, and she paused in her gyrations, casting him a petulant glance thru her long, sooty eyelashes. "A volunteer, hmm? I see my daughter's caress left you wanting. Little surprise really..."
Holding onto the archway's spire with one hand, hips cocked and red wings thrust out behind her, Avoreen crooked a beckoning finger at the mage and smiled seductively, "Well, why don't you show me what you can do, magus."
Next Up: Avoreen, Darvesch, Sasha, Tiniel, Alis, Sindariel, Royal Guards, Lureene, Amhranai, Amelia, Arion