Luthael pushes himself trusting in Khors who would not burden him with more than he can bear. The prophet's visions and their treatment brought him to the edge and across his limits of stamina and willpower. He knew where his limits were and was not there yet.
So, when the cursed artifact whispered, he smiled. When it whispered again, he guffawed. When it whispered a third time, Invictusol laughed out loud. "As we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil; For Khors is with us; His sword and His Shield, they protect us." He recites a common prayer when he stops laughing at the voice of Evil.
Khors gives his flock time. Time to reach more support. He continues his routine creating food and water, monitoring the disease, and bathing in the Light of Khors.
'Oh confound, surely all children are not this flighty!' Aterro thinks as he doggedly keeps up the pursuit.
He promises himself that when the time comes for him to have children, his will not be the kind to go full gallop when shown the least part of liberty. Of course to do that he would need a partner for the task. The Oath of Conquest was hardly a celibate one. Indeed, it was heavily implied that skill at bedsport helped keep one's edge sharp. Perhaps when this mission was complete Zove would want to reward him....
Aterro shakes his head, forcing himself to focus on the task at hand.
"Gunnar! You go left and I'll go right! Surely one of us can catch the gnome!" Aterro calls to his fellow chaser.
It seems that in order to even the playing field, he's going to have to go full concert-mode and lead with the elbows.
Athletics!: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Drawing on only a sliver of his ardent discipline, Aterro put his head down and elbows out. Turning parallel to his flanking line of advance he puts on best speed.
He can feel DeathMetal calling for him with promises of greater speed. No doubt the crowd with part with dark iron brandished at them, but this was a race, not a contest. There is no need for that. Now.
:::Scram I have your pops and shirt. I forgot to say what size. Oh and a mug!But seriously hurry towards my location so your pops don't melt::: Ingryd thinks as she watches the show and sees Aterro and Gunnar struggle and laughs.
With his investment made, Scramsax the Night Trader patiently waited for divestiture. ::Oh yeah, thanks Ing. Sec...:: but the poisoner waited motionless in the grasses, not wanting to be at ground zero when the chunks started flying.
|DM - Tareth|
With the refugees...
Shunned by Luthael, the voice retreats back from whence it came. For now. The remainder of the night passes. Finally, after what can only be one of the most exhausting ordeals of the prophet's life, the first gleam of twilight illuminates the eastern horizon. A short while later the first rays of sunlight stream across the plain. Their golden glow lighting up the grass and warming chilled flesh.
As he had hoped, the direct light of the sun slows the parasitic growth and activity even further. But it does not remove them entirely. Regardless, it is a welcome respite. With the sun's natural light and power able to hold the demonic infection at bay, Luthael is able to get a few hours of rest while the refugees manage the wagon and continue the plodding journey north.
But sleep is elusive as another band of storm clouds can be seen working their way across the western mountains. Luthael and more than a few of the refugees worry about what will happen if the light of Khors is dimmed by the encroaching storm. Can the holy prophet maintain his vigil night and day? Surely Khors was putting him to the test.
Luthael: Give me a CON Save vs DC12. A failure results in one level of exhaustion.
|DM - Tareth|
Where it's ALWAYS a party...
"Hey handsome, buy a girl a lemonade?"
Scramsax turns toward the voice muffled by the wax in his ears and finds himself standing face to face with a platinum haired, purple eyed bombshell of a halfling who's smile is all red lips and white teeth. Her low cut, thigh slit, slinky red dress sparkles with sequins wraps around her lithe form leaving everything and nothing to the imagination. Her eye lashes flutter and a throaty laugh echoes to drown out the thrumming music. Somewhere in the multiverse, a divorce lawyer hears the enticing jangle of gold.
Zaanfear suddenly slows things way down. The lights go low, take on a soft red, blue, and purple hue. Notes from the flute echo low and haunting. The crowd breathes, but something else flutters across the gathered cacophony of faedom. Women smile, eyes twinkling in the dim light. Hopes, dreams and desires are reflected back from their partners.
Sensuous is the only way to describe the flowing notes backed by the soft heart beat thrumming of drum and another weaselkin plucking the strings of a harp. Her delicate fingers dance across the golden instrument creating a dreamlike, ethereal harmony. Together flute and harp intermingle just like the dancers in the clearing.
Gunnar and Aterro feeling the effects of the constant runabout pause. The knight has a plan. Left, right. Meet in the middle. The strategy is executed with military precision. Being too young to appreciate the skill and effectiveness of such maneuvers, the boy skips off into the tall grass along the edge of the clearing. His mother, having lost sight of the lad begins to grow increasingly frustrated and panicky.
"What ever could have gotten into him. He's never acted like this before!" She exclaims in teary eyed frustration to no one in particular.
That is when both dwarf and knight of Thor see it. It is no bigger than a chipmunk. In fact, after a second and third glance it appears to actually BE a chipmunk. But this particular rodent is currently adorned with glittering gold and silver racing stripes down its sides. Small red and blue twirling lights flash at the top of its head while cold purple, eldritch eyes glimmer above a toothy smile as it waves a crudely written 'Lose the Balloon and Follow Me' sign to once again catch the boy's attention before it disappears into the tall grass.
Giggling the shadow fae boy does just that. He snaps the string from his wrist and starts to launch himself deeper into the grass. The gnome-loon once again drifts upward into the night dark sky.
Ingryd is too busy warning Scramsax about the eminent demise of his frozen pops and trying to determine the how best to keep them from going to waste to respond to the big ogre. Eventually, he shrugs and ends up teaming up with a skinny, pale skinned shadow fae girl with gobs of black makeup circling her eyes giving her an almost undead look. The mass of the ogre's arms surround the girl who happily curls into the embrace and the two sway intimately to the music.
"Oh! Did you write this?" The old man asks surprised and blushing a bit as if he were meeting one of the illustrious masters of word and song. "I didn't mean to pry or intrude. It's...well..it's just that your the first one to come along and actually claim something in years and years." He says looking down and jumble of items.
"But I must say, your writing is...." His words are cut off. "Oh my...oh no!" He says frantically stepping backward as a tall trollkin comes stumbling toward the portable water closet just across the way. His face is a terrible shade of purplish orange and his eyes practically swirl in there sockets as he staggers and stumbles, bumping Arianna in the back. Before she can turn to give the drunk a piece of her mind, the trollkin is doubled over and splattering a sizable portion of the nearby ground with the days stomach contents of sausages, lemonades, and frozen treats. Only about a quarter of the filthy, stinking mess ends up scattered across Arianna's shoes and leggings.
Barely able to mutter an apology, the trollkin clutches his stomach and makes it out to the edge of the clearing before overcome by another bout of retching and vomiting.
Aterro and Gunnar: STR(Athletics) vs DC18 to try and nab the boy. WIS(Perception) vs DC20 to spot where the chipmunk went. WIS(Perception) vs DC15 to spot the balloon in the dark sky.
If she were of a more vengeful persuasion, Arianna would have cursed the trollkin and his line to the thirteenth generation. If she were of the more capricious sort, she might have tried leaving him stranded in on the Shadow Road until he either sobered or met his untimely demise as a grue's dinner. Thankfully for the Trollkin, she was neither. She turned to let him know her opinion of his manners, but seeing that he was already suffering, and would be suffering, she decides that compassion is the better course here, especially when the smell almost makes her toss the contents of her stomach out. She mutters a phrase of arcane power and with a wave of her hand weaves a spell from the aether to clean up the mess and get her shoes and leggings back to where they were.
Unfortunately for her sensibilities, it also ruined the glamour she'd put on them and was now dressed in the best frumpy-chic that Grandmother's Lemonade Stand had to offer. It certainly didn't help that the smallest size she could find to fit her seemed bound and determined to hang off her slight frame.
She sighs, hoping that maybe her pack still had a change or two of clothing left in it, and decides that's a problem for a future Arianna Moonwood to worry about. and turns to the trollkin.
"This way," she says as she walks up to him, literally as she draws on the magic of the place to float a little above the ground. "Let us get you somewhere you can let it all out," she adds as she rubs his back and guides him to the Swamp Hag's Finest Portadunny he was going for.
As the drunk trollkin pukes up his guts, she returns to the lost and found and terra firma. She still has questions to answer and paperwork to fill out.
"I did write them. I have been travelling for a while and I wanted to keep a record of my journey and the stories I have heard," she explains as she fills out the form, picking up where she and the clerk had been interrupted. "A bit of ill luck separated me from my belongings, but it seems that someone was kind enough to turn them in. I am glad you enjoyed my writing. If you want, I can get copies made and sent to you so you can read them at your leisure. Where would be a good place to send a courier?"
Made. How had this gold-digging femme fatale smoked out his little burrow, right on the edge of maximum plunder? He feigned deafness, mouthing 'I'm deaf' and giving a solid thumbs-down. Then, he spread his fingers and twinkled a few selective digits flashing the Thieves' Cant sign roughly translating to 'international newsworthy thermonuclear explosions' excusing himself towards more solitary shadows.
Did that weird not-Attero have something to do with this, he wondered.
Perception, Chipmunk: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
Speculations were on pause however as the chipmunk seemed to lock eyes with the grass-stalk halflings. Scram rapidly grabbed the woman's face with both hands (making some pretend neanderthal-like gruntings) and turned her eyes to deadlock with the eldritch eyes instead of his own in a masterfully, timely, neckpopping swap...not caring if the rotational force was sufficient to sever the slender information gathering nerve loosely dangling in whatever corrupted endoskeleton of the damned the psycho-woman was sporting inside.
I actually looked up a link to the legendary Simpson's line "It's a classic pincers maneuver! It can't be defeated by a ten year old!" but I could only find it on a janky site so I figured screw it. =p
A Hostage Gambit, well executed. Aterro gave whatever the demon-chipmunk was a measure of credit. If it had planned this all out it could not have devised a better measure to confound pursuers.
The boy was certainly in the vice now. For whatever intelligence to devise a sign and plan was truly conniving. The future did not bode well for the single young man.
Still, one does not win a war by opening a second front, nor does one trade a thing of known value for a thing unknown. The mission to secure and interrogate the slaver-gnome had the possibility to uncover a weakness of the enemy, possibly saving hundreds, or thousands. This fey-rodent was threatening only one soul, and by all accounts a foolish one at that. Priorities.
"Your son is there, madam!" Aterro shouts to the mother, pointing in the general direction. Besides, with her own intrinsic ability to shadow-leap, she had more mobility here than did he. He wished her well, for that was all the assistance he could render until the target of greatest priority was secured.
"Gunnar! There! The balloon is heading up!" Aterro doesn't bother really looking. The thing is probably out of his own jumping height, so all he could hope to do was make the Flying Dwarf's search easier.
He prestidigitates as many fireworks as he can. Hopefully the expanding light will cancel the dark long enough to secure the balloon.
Aid to Gunnar's search for the balloon.
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Gunnar soars up into the sky on the trail of the gnomish balloon.
Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 4
Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 17
Not seeing the balloon at first, Gunnar catches a reflection off the garish red cap with the aid of Aterro’s light show. He quickly grabs the string and brings it back down to earth, handing Aterro his prize.
CON Save vs DC 12: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
The prophet shoulders the burden of his faith with fortitude. He continues his magical routine and affirms to his flock to worry not for the impending storm. "Our faith and fortitude will be tested by more than Khors. There are many jealous powers of Him who wish to steal his faithful. But He will protect us in this life and the next."
|DM - Tareth|
With the wagon...
Progress is slow. Without his companions there to help, Luthael is left to manage the weakest and sickest refugees along with usual hazards of travel all by himself. Anette and one or two others are well enough to help with some of the chores and to occasionally take the reins of the wagon. But where the minds are willing, the flesh is still weak and frail. This is true of the animals themselves. The ox team is still recovering from their infernal enforced march. The pace is slow. Much too soon the sun is slipping once again behind the Cloudwall Mountains bathing the plain in reds, golds and purples. A colorful display that briefly eases thoughts of the coming ordeal. Another night of fear, agony, hope and constant prayer as Luthael pushes himself once again to the limit in his efforts to keep the demonic parasites at bay.
Luthael: Another CON Save vs DC14 for night and day 2. Gain a level of exhaustion on a fail.
|DM - Tareth|
When life gives you lemons...
With Aterro's aide, Gunnar manages to snatch the balloon before it gets more than twenty or thirty feet off the ground.
"Kelemvor! You get back here right this instant!" The young shadow fey's mother calls out diving past Aterro into the wilds of the tall grass. The boy's giggles echo back. "When your father finds out..." She hurries down the narrow path of stomped grass created by the boy's passage.
Returning to the counter after dealing with the terribly sick trollkin, Arianna watches as the man's face lights up at her offer of providing an actual copy of her writings to him.
"Why I'd be most delighted." He says, his elderly face beaming with gratitude. "You've a remarkable way with words. Your depictions of the..." Suddenly his features go from thrilled excitement to concerned puzzlement. The man's sudden change causes Arianna to spin about searching for another sickly trollkin or other patron.
Her search is quickly rewarded as another shadow fey, a woman, looking a peculiar greenish grayblue in color races past. Her face and skin look somewhat like the surface of the northern sea all stirred up and choppy from an oncoming storm. Her eyes frantic and desperately seeking the little portable water closet. Fortunately, the elf is quicker on her feet than the trollkin. She makes it to the tiny building at the edge of the clearing. Unfortunately, the facility is still occupied by the trollkin, so she's forced to unleash her stomach fury upon the poor prairie grasses.
Moments later a third victim comes staggering past the surprised elf and elderly booth monitor.
"Dear me." He exclaims. "In all my years, I've never seen anyone get sick like that. And now three in one day." He says turning back to Arianna. "If you'll excuse me, I should see if there is something I can do to help." He starts to close up the booth, but then stops and frown at Arianna. Eyes squint as he takes another good look at her. "If you don't mind my asking, are you feeling well miss?"
As the man asks his question, Arianna is wracked with sudden pain. It's as if something was suddenly crawling around willy nilly inside her gut. Crawling and stomping around with little regard for any potential consequences.
Ingryd is truly good and caught up in the music now. The dreamy flute combined with the copious amounts of alcohol take the bearkin on a warm journey across time and space. Suddenly she's dancing with her husband. It is the night celebrating their first year together. It was during the great Honey Festival in Bjeornheim. Colorful paper lanterns surround the dance floor beneath a warm midsummer sky. A pair of empty sweet cherry wine bottles hold vigil back on the table along with the crumb remnants of the most magnificent honeycake. The memory is warm, happy, and a comfort as Ingryd sways dreamily back and forth in her chair.
The halfing woman smiles an laughs seductively as Scramsax takes her head. Nimbly spinning with the halfling's attention diverting head twist, her chuckle goes low and throaty
"Oh...what a cute little fella." She says spotting the chipmunk just before it disappears into the grassy forest. "But I'm not here for the technicolor rodents." Spinning back and snatching at Scramsax's own arm as she presses her lips up against his then nipping at his lower lip. "So you like to get a little rough with a girl." A breathy whisper in his ear.
Scramsax: STR(Athletics) or DEX(Acrobatics) vs DC26 to Escape a Grapple.
Arianna: CON Save vs DC16 or all actions are at Disadvantage as demonic parasites begin to nibble at your insides.
Gunnar: You have the gnome-loon.
Ingryd: WIS Save vs DC15 to escape the musical vision.
Aterro: You see Gunnar with the gnome-loon. The boy and mother disappeared into the grass.
Grapple vs Scramsax: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (16) + 10 = 26
Ingryd smiles are enjoying the time, in the past, reliving the memory.
Wisdom Save: 1d20 ⇒ 20
However, the truth stays and she saddens. Still, it was nice while it lasted. The woman returns to her seat and gathers her things to find her friends.
Acro: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Acro, adv Squat Nimbleness Feat: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Psi-bolstered Knack: 1d8 ⇒ 4 ==27 total
Scram could barely hear the babbling woman, and in a blur of Barsellan street jiujitsu dismantled her grip as mechanically fluid as picking a lock. He was soon executing 27 backflips away from the threat, giving her the double-birds with his middle fingers on each feet plant. That is, until he couldn't be seen at all.
Bonus Hide: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
Psi-bolstered Knack: 1d8 ⇒ 8 ==24 total
Disengage then bonus hide, 30 ft from woman. Still want to be in the concealing grasses but will move closer to the booth if possible.
CON Save vs DC 14: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Glad we don't have critical failures on saves
Heading into the second night, Luthael's body starts to flag. While he maintains his positive spirit and outloud praise in Khors, the bags under his eyes darken and his steps shorten.
The prophet maintains his ritual routine to keep his flock healthy and protected. His faith in Khors pushing them forward as hard as the oxen themselves.
Arcana: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
Uncertain as to how long it would be safe to stay in the shadow realm, Gunnar starts to get worried by how separated his companions are. Handing the balloon to Aterro, he says, "We have what we came for. Help me gather the others--we need to return to some rescued prisoners and make sure they make it to safety."
CON Save, DC16: 1d20 ⇒ 1 Oof.
Arianna screams in agony as pain erupts like fire in a bone-dry field of dead grass all over her body. She collapses and writhes like a snake on hot coals. The gnome-loon tied to her wrist is jerked about by the thrashing movements.
That seems pretty appropriate for a nat 1 on that roll.
Stepping away from anyone nearby when he sees Arianna go down, Gunnar raises his hammer and a loud thunderclap resounds through the area. He shouts, ”NN6! We are leaving NOW!” and flies over to Arianna, helping her up and moving at best speed to the area outside of the shadow realm effect where they landed on the magic carpet.
(Thunderclap with no one in range for damage, but quite loud).
CON Check (Letting fate decide how this goes DC 10 to power through it a bit): 1d20 ⇒ 5 Well, it's not a 1. :P
Arianna's trashing slows as it starts hurting too much to move. She instinctively grabs hold of Gunnar as he picks her up.
"It hurts," she sobs. "Papa, it hurts!"
It takes some coaxing and coaching, but Arianna does manage to at least help Gunnar a little bit by floating using the spell he'd cast on her.
"That would be me, Sorry I can't stay, It has been fun" Ingryd says as she eats a sweet bun and begins to book it towards the perimeter and then to where they entered.
:::What's happening, do I need to drop my buns and draw my hammer::: Ingryd asks on the mental communique as she navigates the crowds.
”There is a sickness spreading rapidly. We need to get Arianna to Luthael for healing.” responds Gunnar.
Does he notice her possessions on the counter?
Perception: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (12) + 0 = 12
Eh, good enough…
Gunnar grabs Arianna’s possessions before they leave.
"Gratitude, my friend," Aterro nods as he takes the balloon and makes it fast around his shield arm.
"Hopefully you will be worth all the trouble you have caused," he says to the balloon, taking stock of the situation.
Returning to a rally point and seeing to the safety of prisoners was indeed a noble calling, but he had just seen a woman go, alone and scared, into the tall grass searching her son who was lured away by some malevolent rodent. He would not feel right with himself did he not see to her safety for the least part.
The Armored Saint trumps after the searching mother and he hears the familiar BOOM of thunder. Looking up he sees Gunnar call for a rally. He looked about. The scene seem unchanged. There was no monstrous attacker. Did he receive some secret and magical signal from afar?
Shaking his head he maintained his present course. The world was in danger. The world would -always- be in danger. He had not seen to the son to secure the prize, but with the gnome now secured if he left his mother off too in favor of some amorphous, ambiguous threat, that seemed too much.
He could always double-time after the others. For now he had to make sure the mother was not a victim of some elaborate trap.
|DM - Tareth|
Sunrise over the wagon...
The night was dark and painfully long. At one point Anette and two others simply collapsed into fits and convulsions. Luthael poured his light into each of them. From miles away it was as if a second sun was rising upon the prairie. Both a warning...and a beacon. But the sacrifice was not in vain.
Luthael pulls himself slowly to his feet, his knees red and sore from having been locked in prayer for hours. He bends down, giving a cursory check to Anette's slim frame. The spasms have stopped. Disaster adverted as the unholy parasites were driven back into a torpor by Luthael and his god.
But for how much longer? That is the question beginning to nibble at the edges of the prophet's mind. And his poor charges. Little progress is made a few are well enough to wrangle the oxen or walk along side the wagon. All can see the toll the long, sleepless nights are taking upon their protector. All wonder what will happen if his mind and spirit and body can no longer sustain the holy connection. For a mortal to touch divinity is a true blessing. To live with divinity coursing through one's body night after night...
Despite their fears and worries, they are Krakovan. They have seen and faced much over the last several years. Death has been their constant companion and overseer. And so they struggle ahead anyway. Fighting for themselves and each other. Surviving beneath the holy rays of Khors and their third day of freedom. Each grimly striding toward their third night.
I can help.
Luthael: Another CON Save vs DC16. On a fail, add another level of exhaustion.
|DM - Tareth|
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"Ohhh...ohhh...myyy" The dazzling halfling lemonade stand regular party goer exclaims as Scramsax wriggles and wrangles his way free of her grasp. Her eyes glitter with fierce desire even as he gestures his disinterest while tumbling into the obscurity of the crowd.
"Ahhh...come back my leettle darling. My leettle liebchen." She shouts, racing in the general direction of the halfling's disappearance. Her hands working the crowd as she goes.
Meanwhile a third customer goes racing past the Lost and Found booth to empty the contents of his belly into the wilds of the grass. Upon the ground where the poor unfortunate souls excavated their daily food and drink intake, a tiny vine sprouts from the disgusting ooze as it slowly soaks into the soil.
Arianna's eyes roll into the back of her head as she is utterly overcome by the body rending pain. The old man bends over her to try and help, but jumps back his eyes growing wide and white as the moon. "What' in all the realms?!" He exclaims as an ugly worm like, winged form pushes against Arianna's stomach. Not yet strong enough to break through the elf's flesh it sinks back down and looks for a juicy internal organ to feed on. Arianna can do little more than writhe and scream in agony.
A spell is broken with a palatable *POP* and Gunnar's thunderclap blasts across the clearing causing Paanfear to miss a series of high pitched keening notes. A gasp erupts from the audience. Dream-filled eyes and look around is startled surprise and displeasure as clutching hands are slowly drawn back. The weaselkin of the band try to regain the rhythm, but to no avail as Paanfear simply stands there, flute still held to lips, eyes burning with artistic rage and insult.
Hundred of angry eyes and scowling faces turn toward the dwarf as he drops down next to Arianna, grabbing her things from the now doubly startled old man.
Ingryd finds herself surrounded by the hostile crowd, although none currently know she is allied with the dwarven scoundrel who would interrupt their fun and the great musician that is Paanfear. By while they do not actively hinder her, they no longer easily move aside, not even for the bearkin. To force her way through could start an ugly scene. To delay could be even worse.
Outside the confines of the crowd, already pushing his way through the tall stalks of dense prairie grass, Aterro follows after mother and son. The holy warrior of Thor does not have to struggle for long. After thirty or so paces he stumbles into another much smaller area of broken and stomped down grass. Stumbles is the correct term, as the knight nearly breaks an ankle stepping into a deep gopher hole hidden beneath the grass. A quick test reveals the limb to be intact, allowing him to focus on the rather surprising and odd scene before him.
The mother stands midway across the ten pace clearing. Opposite the entrance her boy stands scared and shaking. Tears race down his cheeks as his mother holds out her hand and pleads. It takes a moment for Aterro to spot the source of the mother and little Kelemvor's stress. For one doesn't usually expect to see a chipmunk wearing a black steel clawed gauntlet to the next of a shadow fey child. It is obvious from the delicate drops of blood slowly gathering and dripping down the boy's throat that the chipmunk means business. Although what business is unclear as it chitters and chatters angrily in what can only be it's natural tongue.
Arianna: Take 11 points of damage. You may make another CON Save DC16 to ease the parasites for a while.
Ingryd: It is a STR(Athletics) or DEX(Acrobatics) vs DC 15 to try and ease your way through the crowd.
Party is up.
Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13
Sleight of Hand: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
Sleight of Hand: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
Bean Roll: 1d100 ⇒ 100 Huh....
Hungry, hungry, demon worms: 2d10 ⇒ (8, 3) = 11
CON Save vs DC 16: 1d2 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Exhaustion level 2!
Luthael's consciousness disappears into past visions from Khors while his body trudges forward. His ritual routine unconscious in its practice. He replies to the artifact, Khors does not offer to help. Khors helps. If you are a spirit trapped in that cursed sword, you power Evil in Midgard.
The well-being of Gregor, Magda, Yaro, Caius, Vladomir, and of course Anette makes his mission more than himself. The mantra of Let no shadow harm the innocent, cycles through his mind.
CON Save DC 16: 1d20 ⇒ 19 Woo!
Arianna fights through the pain just long enough to see her bow and quiver still in the bin where she'd spotted it. Her jaw aches from the force it takes her to clamp her mouth shut on the screams clawing to get out like whatever is tearing through her insides. She cannot tell Gunnar about it, so she grabs it instead, and then grabs the amulet glowing with moon and star light as it slips through the dwarf's fingers as he carries her in one arm while the other grabs the stack of gear she'd separating out.
"Elalune, kiitos, jos kuulet minut, auta minua! Se sattuu! Se sattuu niin paljon!" She begs for relief as Gunnar carries her away form the stand to where they landed. She doesn't know if the goddess can hear her, but she cannot think of anyone else that may be able to help her before whatever it is finishes her off from the inside.
"Elalune, please, if you can hear me, please help me! It hurts! It hurts so much!"
::Eh, some psycho halfling woman is after me...or its some monster in disguise. Also...there was a chipmunk of the damned giving everyone the stink-eye earlier. Both are sneaking around in the grass right now...I'll make my way to you guys soon.::
Lemme see what happens with Ingryd before I make a move.
This was too much.
After seeing the slaver gnomes turned into balloons, after un-transforming from a balloon himself, after touring about the surreal concert of all fae-dom and after chasing a teleporting child halfway around said carnival...to come face to face with this scene was perhaps one of the most strangest things he had seen.
"Do not worry, madam. I will handle this."
He doesn't need to draw DeathMetal. He can hear it howling in his head for DEATH and GLORY. Even if he doesn't currently hold it, it is always in his hand. The foe need never know that.
He strides across the clearing. Slowly. Confidently. It's a Goblin Standoff. The only thing keeping the rodent alive is his hold on a live child. Should either 'hold' or 'live' suddenly no longer maintain their place in that sentence there is nothing keeping the thing alive. If it has a gauntlet on its hand it must know that.
"Release the child, chipmunk. He has nothing for you. If you have need of a thing, address to me your concern. The path you tread on now leads only to your destruction."
Aterro walks closer. Negotiation is not done through weakness. Perhaps a LifeCleric might stand with the mother. A Warrior of Thor will never let evil win for fear of allowing a soul to reach salvation.
Then a thought occurs to him. Perhaps the creature is not what it seems? Aterro had studied much in his learning of the enemies of Man. A few remnants of how to speak to the more twisted forms stuck to him, and now seemed a fine time to make the attempt.
"Eto luchshe? Otpustite rebenka i davayte posporim. Ne delay etogo, i ty ne budesh' znat' bezopasnosti."
Persuation!: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16
Gunnar pulls Arianna along above the heads of the crowd, using the fly spell on both of them to attempt to make good their escape. Moving as far towards the location where they originally landed (outside the clearing), Gunnar realizes the danger they are both in with the angry crowd and casts a spell. Another loud thunderclap resounds and the two are suddenly nowhere to be seen.
(Move action to fly up and away with Arianna (60 foot speed), then action to cast Thunder Step and disappear into the tall grass another 90 feet closer to the rendezvous spot. High enough with Thunder Step to avoid hurting anyone).
The crack of thunder breaks through the fog of delirium that has taken hold from the wracking pain. She blinks and finds that it's not her father carrying her, but Gunnar.
"G-gunnar? W-whus goin' on?"
Athletics: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
The huge bear folk woman, accustomed to bar room brawls was no stranger to a burgeoning mob. With subtitle flexes of her muscles, she moves free. As she does she consumes her sticky bun and reaches for the Rug. Once free of the mob she will spring into full speed eating a bun and cupping the rug under her arm as she looks for her group.
:::Are you sure she isn't being sweet on you Scram? I'm not a halfling but I can see the attraction. You are a catch!!:::
Scram-stats: Charisma: 9
::I'm certain, kill on sight.:: the rogue confirmed.
Seeing Ingryd free and the suspicious-Aterro keeping the chipmunk horror in check, the thief only had one last chance to make a move for the lost treasures...unaware of whatever foolproof counter-thievery magics were going to wholly foil his Grand Theft Trinket.
He waited until the poisoned hulk's eyes were sufficiently watery from vomiting, then tip-toed through the quavering knee-stalks...zig-zagging the splashing nasty fluids and bean juice. Popping behind the counter, he quickly dumped the contents into his Lootsack of Thievery (a quite normal sack) whispering "Finders Keepers".
Stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13
Psi-Bolstered Knack: 1d8 ⇒ 6 ==19
Sleight: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
Psi-Bolstered Knack: 1d8 ⇒ 5 ==23
|DM - Tareth|
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It was just a simple stop for lemonade...
Outside the main clearing a mother's cry echoes in the night. A young boy trembles as cold claws of doom tickle his throat. A paladin speaks his case. The technicolor chipmunk listens with interest to the infernal words spoken by Aterro. But it shakes its head, not in denial of the demand, but with a lack of understanding. It rapid fire chitters something in its native rodent tongue. Stops. Furrows a furry brow. Sighs.
"Haallflliiing." Is slowly drawls. It's voice high pitched. But even in the awkwardness of its slow moving common speech, Aterro can sense the fury, hatred and need for revenge dripping from each word as it emerges from its small rodent throat. "Briiinnng, me the ooonneee caalllled Ssssccraaamssssaxxxx. Hheeee mmmuuuusssttt wwittnesssss deaaath of innoooocccent assss I did. Elssse...."
The vengeful chipmunk's evil rant is suddenly cut off. His eyes go wide. Like so many animals, he seems to have a sense for such things and so it momentarily forewarned When the earth begins to tremor.
"NOOOOOO!!!!" Screams the chipmunk in frustration as the ground heave and lurches causing the boy, the mother, and Aterro to stagger and jerk about in vain attempts to regain balance atop a storm churned sea of earth. Resolute and determined as ever, Aterro does not let his gaze shift from the tiny villain so he witnesses the startled look of disbelief cross the critters fuzzy features as it gazes back toward the lemonade stand and its concert festival. With another curse it leaps away from the boy and races deeper into the churning swirling grassland.
Turning to see what caused the renegade rodent such ill ease, Aterro watches as a massive series of unimaginably thick vines shot upward into the moonlit night sky. Looking down at the still shifting and churning earth, the paladin can just make out the top edge of a single giant sized root burrowing beneath his boots. Already as thick as a typical frontier watchtower as thrice as tall, the mass of greenery continues to grow even as young Kelemvor is scooped up into his mother's relieved and furious embrace.
Eyes blazing with the righteous indignation of the master artist rudely interrupted at the height of a creative masterpiece, Paanfear brings the flute to his lips even as Gunnar unleashes a second blast of thunder to disguise and distract as he dives into the grass carrying the parasite stricken Arianna. The ruse captures the attention of most of the audience as arms wave in the direction of the blast and bolts of fire, ice, necrotic power, eldritch destruction, and numerous other fey inspired magics and energies shred the sky in a blazing cacophony of color and destructive power.
Paanfear is not so dependent on location and sight for his darker fey magics. He blows a note. It is a note of purest chaos. Followed by a series of chaotic ear rending notes. The piercing notes drifts across the open air, searching for the special recipients of their disharmonic message. Within moments the master musicians discordant melody reaches the ears of dwarf and elf.
Pain is a word that doesn't really begin to describe the initial onslaught of the mystic music as it burrows into the heart and mind of Gunnar and Arianna. It is more of an unraveling. Fingers of pure chaos pulling at the very threads of their existence and mortal souls. With each ear shattering note, Paanfear unwinds their threads from the Weaver's grand design. The two can do naught but scream.
But in an odd twist, Fate and the Weaver Sisters apparently have other designs upon these two. The threads are not unraveled completely. Instead a new thread is woven into the world's mosaic tapestry. The notes of chaos are sudden cut short as the earth heaves and groans. A massive root burrows beneath the stage sending faun and weaselkin musicians tumbling about.
Through tear filled eyes, Gunnar and Arianna watch as the giant mass of interwoven vines emerges and shoots upward farther and farther. They watch as the small portable water closet is carried away, a sickly trollkin screaming and groaning in surprise and fright. They watch as the Lost and Found stand is torn from its simple foundation of ropes and boards and lifted away as if a dragon had swooped down to carry it back to its mountain eerie.
"Vheereee aaarre you?!" A ravenously attractive halfling woman calls, her dazzling blue eyes searching the crowd as she passes by Ingryd. "I understand my leetle darlink, you vish to play the hard to get. Very well. I vill seek you out like zee heartbroken lover." Her ruby red lips are pursed in momentary thought before an idea clearly strikes and she is off toward the back of the lemonade stand.
Ingryd quickly finishes the sticky bun and watches the halfling disappear into the crowd. Her movements graceful and sensual even as she slides past a pack of shadow elves unleashing their arcane anger on Gunnar's former position. Needing a moment to regain her bearings, Ingryd hurries off toward the planned rendezvous point. She only makes it halfway there before the trembling begins and the earth starts churning beneath her feet like an angry sea. Barely able to stay upright, she to turns to see the huge growing mass of vines now lifting the very lemonade stand itself up into the sky.
Despite the icky and smelly route taken to get there, the halfling is rewarded by the amount of interesting bling gathered by Grandmother's Ole Fashioned Lemonade over the years. Bracelet's, necklaces, rings, tiny mirrors, lipsticks, an uncountable number of keys, pens, and garments. Knowing he's only got a few minutes, the quick handed thief starts stuffing anything and everything into his big cloth sack.
Scramsax flinches as some kind of off key series of notes sounding like someone pulling a moose ear emerges from the stage and breaks through his earplugs. Apparently the great Paanfear wasn't all that cool if things diverted from the plan by just a wee little bit.
But more disconcerting to the halfling was the second thing to make its way through the background cacophony of the not so bemused crowd and past his ear protectors.
"Come out, come out, my leetle sourbug. Let me sveeten your heart and vee vill make our own music."
The freakishly beautiful halfling was just across the way. Not letting a possible entanglement with someone of clearly poor taste stop his thievery, Scramsax simply ducks lower into the booth where he finds a couple more bins of unmissed items. Smiling at the boon, he moves quickly.
Then everything starts to get weird. Suddenly the booth is jumping about like it was water tossed on a hot plate. An old moth eaten coat tumbles from the back wall and tries to smother him even as he's suddenly thrown to the floor as the booth itself is whooshed upward. The all encompassing rattling and crackling of clearly over-caffeinated and over-fertilized vines drowns out any other noise except the whistling of the wind as the booth is carried higher and higher into the night. Scrambling to the edge, Scramsax peeks out and quickly ducks back as the flashing lights of the stage and shadow fey magics are hundreds, thousands of feet below and getting further away with every moment.
The emergence of the gargantuan beanstalk within the center of a small bubble of the shadow realm upon the vast northern section of the Rothenian Plain of Midgard was one of those little events that later historians and scholars liked to label a total cock up.
As the mass of magical vines grew larger and larger, the bubble of shadow eventually burst with a massive shockwave inducing
creating a permanent rupture between the two realms. This of course created the usual arcane anomalies that accompany any such rending of the fabric between planes and attracted the usual denizens of both worlds who looked to try and take advantage. It was never really discovered what actually happened that particular evening and ever since the Great Eastern Crusades of 2134-2157 OC and the emergence of the Cult of the Bean in the year 2751 OC, no one has been able to continue explorations of the site. Until further arcano-archeological studies are conducted little can be learned of the true events that led to the creation of such an anomaly.
Party is up.
Already 150 feet away from the location he picked up Arianna, Gunnar uses the tall grass for cover as he moves towards the rendezvous point, hopefully already outside the shadow plane border. As the magical musical misery comes his way, he realizes the caster is too far away for him to properly counterspell, so instead he extends his Arcane Ward over his stricken ally to protect her from further damage. Drawing out his healing potion as he goes, he says, ”Here, drink this,” to Arianna.
Reaction to extend ward, move with flight if he still has it (concentration check?), and hand Arianna his healing potion.
|DM - Tareth|
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A lonely vigil on the wagons...
Day four dawns with winter's chill in the air. A cold wind blows from the east and gray, rain fat clouds billow above the Cloudwall's. Progress continues, but Luthael estimates it is still a day or possibly two before the ragtag band of weary refugees will see the outer walls of Lingenau. Concern over his companions wrestles with the prophet's immediate need to keep his charges alive and his slowly dwindling mental, spiritual, and physical resources.
With weary eyes Luthael Invictusol watches the grasslands slowly pass. The steady creak and groan of the wagon echoing across the wide open plain. He broken out of his internal reverie by a sudden gasp from Anette who stands staring back toward the south a blend of fear and wonder upon her tired features.
"W-w-what is that?" She says, her finger pointing off into the distance. At the same time the oxen let out a few low moans of worry as the ground shimmers and shivers slightly.
Turning to follow Anette's pointing finger, Luthael and the others each see the thick green thread of...something...twisting and growing into the daytime sky. It is miles and miles away, stretching high into the thin clouds marking the very edge of the oncoming storm front. Luthael can only guess at the massive width of such a thing. Can only guess at how high into the heavens it reaches. Can only guess at the cause...actually...after a bit of thought, he has a pretty good idea about that last question.
::::Head to the rendezvous point! I'll have the rug set and ready. I'll even light the hammer for ya:::: Ingryd shouts mentally through the group as she continues to the area in question. Once there she unfurls the rug and stands atop it. Hammer out and head alight with fire that vaguely resembled a Swarm and angry bees in shape awaited her friends.
Ingryd, I believe everyone's link to the Scramsax telepathic-relay would be down now. It only functions within 1 mile. The effect is still going with the original duration, just cant be used outside that distance and Scram is in bean-land miles above.
Healing Potion: 2d4 + 2 ⇒ (4, 1) + 2 = 7
Arianna manages to get a few mouthfuls down before something writhes inside her and causes some of the healing elixir to go the wrong way down. Thankfully she drank enough for it to work its magic on her ravaged insides and dull the pain. Between being torn apart from the inside and having her mind and spirit frayed by the slighted musician's attempt to unravel their very being, however, she feels tired and drained.
"S-sorry, Gunnar. I wasted some of it," she apologizes weakly. Her mind a little more clear, she tries to focus on flying and holding onto Gunnar. She could still feel something wiggling and wriggling inside of her, making her nauseous even as she did her best to ignore it.
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After Luthael's little thought, he replies to Anette, "Scramsax." He remembers what happened in the saint's holy temple has probably wreaked revenge on the gnomes.
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The master escape artist made his ascent, splattered like a pancake as the acceleration topped 9 g's. Scram thought it was odd how the clouds were falling from the sky, as the dampened sound of the festival through the beeswax earplugs fell away to total silence...save one powerful squawk of a bar-headed goose. When the motion finally stopped, the halfling cautiously peeked over the Lost 'n Found stall curious of his new surroundings...yet still wary of chipmunks and sluts.
Stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11
Halfling Luck!: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
::Uh...guys?:: but there was no friend nearby to answer.
Initially, he thought things were going well.
At the first elongated word Aterro thought he knew how things were going, and was all for adjudicating it. Heh what? The halfling? Finally one of his over-drawn checks is now coming due and he must needs make payment for some long-ago ill-thought scheme? Oh yes, of course. Come right this way, we shall make introductions and, if something civilized is sought, like GLORIOUS COMBAT in The Circle, to see satisfaction on the Field of Honor, yes of course we can have that. Right this way, sir chipmunk, and we can see what can....
And then the rodent started talking about killing innocents and we were right back to combat, but more on the order of the immediate.
Then the earth shook and Aterro suspected that the halfling was preemptively having his revenge on the rodent.
As the mother takes off with son the paladin nods his head. 'All's well that ends well.' That the place was being invaded by giant beanstalks was a different problem.
At hearing another great thunderclap Aterro took off, gnome-alloon in tow, at a quick jaunt to gather with the others.
|DM - Tareth|
Base of the beanstalk...
With the massive bursting of the pocket shadow plane bubble, night suddenly turns into midday. The sun shines in a partial cloudy sky and some kind of storm seems to be working its way across the Cloudwall Mountains to the west. A wind blows from the east, ruffling the giant leaves that cover the beanstalk. The air whistling eerily through the tiny gaps and nooks of the interwoven vines.
The crowds angry shouts have all turned to cries of fright and confusion as the entire area is the epicenter of the gargantuan beanstalk's growth and base. The ground churns and rumbles. The roots of the beanstalk driving deeper and deeper into the ground even as its interwoven vines push higher and higher into the sky.
Somewhere above the chaos on the ground, several kegs of lemonade burst as vines crush or puncture their wooden sides. The citrus flavored alcoholic beverage rains down upon the confused and panicked crowd adding to the confusion. Or to the delight of those few uncaring folk who realize the actual content of the sudden storm and simply tilt their heads back to enjoy the sky born beverage for all its worth. Most others curse ruined hairdos, suddenly sticky, likely ruined, suede coats and shoes, or the cold trickle down the neck as somehow a drop or two inevitably makes it way past coat, collar, and scarf. Many folk slip onto the shadow road, despite the chaotic arcane distortions and aftershocks rippling through that magical thoroughfare. Some just scatter to the four winds across the open plain. A few others look up with awe and wonder at the whims of the gods. Finally, one or two gaze up and up into the clouds and think here's an opportunity to earn a bit of gold.
Amongst all this chaos and confusion, a sudden fiery orb appears frantically swinging round and round above the tall tops of the prairie grass. Ingryd's signal, a beacon to her companions marking the rally point. Soon enough the bearkin is joined by Gunnar, Arianna, and Aterro. The nasty rug rolled out and ready for lift off. But of Scramsax, there is no sign. Not since the telepathic link went suddenly and abruptly dead.
I'm assuming someone besides Scramsax knows the command words to fly the carpet.
|DM - Tareth|
High above it all...
The call of a second flock of south bound geese passing by below is the only sound Scramsax can hear beyond the constant blustering wind rustling the giant leaves. The telepathic link to Gunnar, Arianna, and Ingryd is dead. Nothing but silence. No fae music. No angry crowd. All is peace and calm.
Oddly, night has turned to day. But that seems like a relatively minor concern as the halfling's breath clouds in front of his face and his teeth start to chatter. It seems the warm confines of the magical clearing have given way to the bone chilling cold of the higher elevations.
Still, the view is lovely and surely the other loyal and stouthearted members of the Narg Nasty Six will be along at any moment. Coming to your rescue on the feline cursed carpet. In the meantime, there's a whole bag of loot to go through. And then...
"Yooohoooo! I know you...are up der my darlink. Do not vorry, I vill bee...zer soon and I shall varm you in my tender embraces."
A peek over the edge of the booth's rickety side reveals the tell tale rustle of leaves. She is still a good half mile or more below, but the nimble little minx does seem to be scaling the vines with a surprising and disconcerting quickness and ease.
Out of range of his neuronal daggers and stolen magics, Scramsax desperately looked around for something heavy enough to kill the woman instantly. With only the Lost n' Found booth at the top of the stalk, he would need leverage to drop the lethal construction.
The thief then smirked and decided to add a little extra misdirection, rapidly slashing some thick beanstalk tendrils and lashing them together into Scramcrow the Beanboy...complete with spare pair of clothes and extra large dong growing out of the pants.
Int, craft decoy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
"See you in hell, Scramcrow..." he whispered to the perfect, lifelike replica before chucking it over the side.
Rapidly he screwed the segments of his 10 ft pole together, then placed the heavy metal coil of the Patriarch's electromagnet nearby as a fulcrum. He would have to time it perfect. Stuffing the short end under the booth, he pulled sharply down on the 1st class lever mumbling 2nd class curses...
Athletics: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Athletics, Inspiration: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Psi-bolstered Knack: 1d8 ⇒ 5 ==28
...and the little wooden shack began its descent.
Just to be clear, I am attempting to murder not harm her.
Jumping onto the rug with Arianna, Gunnar asks, ”Can anyone heal Arianna? And where is Scramsax?” As soon as everyone is aboard, he takes off, though he is unsure whether to head towards Luthael’s last known location or searching for Scramsax.
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'Never thought I'd see this again,' Aterro muses as he, at last, re-mounts the magical flying carpet of the Narg Nasty Six.
"I've not seen the halfling at all. Though I would not worry. He has proven himself capable in all forms. Indeed, I can not shake the feeling this sudden burst of staggeringly good gardening might have him at the heart of it. Although, never was it said that his plans always went the way they were intended....
'Ere now, what's this? Arianna, you look ill. Calm thyself. Now that Thor has elevated my to the ranks of his personal guard, I am given more authority over the ailments of mortals. Allow me to pass a portion of Grace unto you and we shall see what becomes of it."
Aterro directs Arianna to place his hand nearest the source of pain. A great warm yellow light originates on his palm and bathes the source of illness with a healing glow.
Spending 5 points of Lay on Hands to Cure Disease. I also have Lesser Restore if this counts as poisoning.
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Pretty sure that Arianna has the parasites that Luthael has been fighting off in the other prisoners.
"Hurts all o'er," Arianna mutters when Aterro asks where it hurts. As if to emphasize the point, pain flashes white-hot over her body as several things squirm within.
"Well he was running from some halfling woman, she was really amorous, and Scram thought something was wrong with her. I thought he could handle it but now I am worried" Ingryd said not wanting her little friend to get attacked or worse.
Seeing Arianna she then works to Gunnar."If you need to you can get her out of here and I can look for our Halfling friend. Then you can swing back and grab us."