DM Lament Configuration's Carrion Hill (Inactive)

Game Master electricjokecascade

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.”
― H. P. Lovercraft, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories

[Loot] | [Maps]


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[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The Previous Night:

The southernmost door opens to a well appointed office (D13) complete with a heavy desk, shelves of leatherbound tomes, and a painting of nude children dancing out of the shadows of a dark wood, hand in hand and laughing. Or are they laughing? The quality of the painting is such that it's hard to be sure.

Three doors lead out of the office beside your own, with one set directly across from the desk being a grand, double door affair.

That's all you get with a peek. If you enter and search, give me a Perception roll.

The next door opens to a small, tightly stocked library (D12); the walls are dense with books, the shelves practically groaning, but it's dark within, and the light from the hallway but illuminates the gilt letters on the spines without actually allowing you to read them.

That's all you get with a peek. If you enter and search with a light source, give me a Perception roll.

Putting your ear to the third door allows you to make out the murmurings coming from within; someone is lecturing, or holding forth, speaking without pause or waiting for a response:

"...for the right fibrillium will allow the one who inserts it into the fleshy wound to dig it in deep, and there connect it with the victim's bella roseatus, or the subliminal coxis, as it is known amongst the peasantry, which will causes waves of delight to radiate forth into the universe, bringing goodwill and hope to man, woman, and child, which in turn justifies the operation to begin with, one which, without this felicitous outcome, would have been nothing but a dreary and sordid affair, a wallowing in the effluvium of the corpus mundialis, a mere tearing back of the veil so as to reveal - what? That we are but spit and sperm, bone and blood, flesh and quivering organs, no more and no less than the frogs and the roaches that swarm the swamps as they croak their delight up to the moon-mad air, their song summoning forth the dark powers that lie latent within the grand country that is Ustalav, a place of febrile wonder and majestic despair, where even the most humble of orphans can rise to wield power over the minds and souls of its citizenry, and then, decide in that moment of truth, whether to break or to heal, to mend or to sear, to elevate or debase, and this being Ustalav, we all know the answer to that question, do we not my beloved, my wholesome piggies, my starving starlets? They shall debase, they shall break, they shall draw forth screams and cries and bathe in the begging of they who deserve nothing more than to be cut apart and fed their own quivering flesh, still living, still bleeding...."0

Tag?

Then comes the dash across the hallway entrance - a moment of panic, a moment of explosive movement - and you're across. No outcry. You caught a glimpse of an empty hallway, some more doors, some other hallways leading off of it. Gray floors, green walls, a candle sconce, nothing else.

The last door betrays no sound. Opening the iron door reveals a bare room. Green walls, gray floor. And yet. There are iron hoops embedded in the stone, one in each wall, four in a square on the floor, one deadcenter in the roof.

And the air here. It chokes. It smothers. Though there is no smoke, no mist, nothing tangible or visible, the air here feels soured and burned, as if whatever had taken place - or takes place - in this room was so foul, so heinous, that the aura of those deeds still lingers, polluting the physical space itself.

A single, narrow door stands in the rear wall.

And a voice whispers into Lys' mind, familiar but gone these many weeks, Enter here, fair apprentice, step inside. Quench your candle, close the door. Strip down, and imagine chains binding your ever limb and neck. Close your eyes and allow the cold to seep into your bones. Stand here in the dark and relive what has happened here before. Pay testament to those who have given up so much in this chamber. Enter, Lys. Enter, and close the door behind you.


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

The Previous Night:

The sight of the office's gloom furniture draws a look of disgust from Lys. Vile. So this is the other way inside., she notes, throwing another glance at the laughing children. Laughing is the last thing I'll think of doing in this place..., she swallows her thoughts, continuing. As soon as the sight of the library is shed by the gentle light of the hallway, she closes the door. Not my interest. As long as they sit in place, they're not hurting anyone.

With baited breath, she lays an ear onto the murmuring man's door, and the insane rambling catches her off-guard, as she can do nothing but listen, try and find a glimpse of sense and purpose in the words. It's... It's almost like Walter, but a Walter that's gone through all the way. He's... just making excuses for the evil in these lands. Crooked or not, he loves this place in a broken way... Her eyes dart around in panic, having realised how long she'd spent listening, as she bites her lips and crosses the corridor. Pharasma take you, purpose over pondering., she scolds herself as she walks through the door, and the voice in her head isn't the irate one of her own thoughts, but one more frightening. "Vik-?", she hisses hopefully for a moment, before her eyes narrow and her nostrils flare out in anger.

Oh, like the Nine Hells you are. You want ME to imagine myself being CHAINED? Here? I barely listen to my conscience on that, let alone an apparition chained to a torture room., she responds in her mind with uncontained fury. Unstoppering the vial in her hand, she lifts it towards her mouth.
I'm going away, and you're staying here trapped forever. She drinks the liquid with a single swig. To my health, and your demise.

Using my Protection Against Evil, which should work for a good minute.

Closing the door behind her, she continues down the corridor with fury shaking in her arms. Did it work with Crowe? Whatever that was? At any rate, something knows that I was here. Glancing down the last corridor, she slowly makes her way, ears open to any sounds. Upon reaching the corner, she takes off her hat, crouches and leans over to see down the last hallway.

Stealth: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (16) + 15 = 31
Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (10) + 13 = 23 If nothing's there and the door to the north is locked, Lys will try and have another peek, before deciding to move out, return everything to the way it was (bar the door she entered from), and go back to the tavern.

Unless there's a particularly fascinating thing down that corridor that might pique my interest.


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The Previous Night:

Lys passes a door first on her left; pausing, she hears the same murmuring from within, and concludes it's but another entrance to the same chamber she listened at before.

A narrow hallway extends north; one door at its end. She passes it by, drawn to the final corridor at the end.

Peering around the corner, she sees that it's a long hall, extending right down what looks like the entire length of the asylum.

There's a sense of a large hallway opening up before what must be the main entrance, along with one other doorway and a left-hand turn into another hallway at the very end.

But what draws her attention is the man dragging someone down the hall toward her.

He's big, this man, brutish, as if molded crudely from clay. Dressed in leather armor that's more straps than anything else, he wears a metal cage around his head, some kind of helm, perhaps, and a wicked studded club hangs from his wide belt. Massive leather gloves enshrine his hands, and everything about him speaks of gross violence, of uncaring authority, like a butcher walking amidst a charnel house instead of an orderly down the hallway of an asylum.

He's dragging a young elf by the arm. Blood mats her long, silvery hair, and one eye is already swelling shut. She's dressed in filthy clothing, something a prison inmate might wear, and her bare feet are scabbed and bloodied.

She's limp, but not unconscious. "Please," she's whispering, over and over again. "Please not that room. Please don't hurt me anymore."

Neither of them can beat your stealth roll. They're coming your way, and are one round from turning your corner.


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

The Previous Night:

Oh, no. No, no, no..., Lys mouths, as she sees the elven girl dragged by the brute. Don't make me choose this, not now..., a thought rushes through her mind. Biting her lip through cold sweat, she turns around to glance at the corridor.

To get out, to freedom, and to safety. To warmth, to brace for one last adventure. Or even, the open road, the first carriage. Daggermark's probably nice this time of year. As she makes a cat-like step to turn around, unseen as a ghost, though, she feels the dagger in her left boot weigh heavy, like an anchor. Not one more, Carrion Hill. Not one more., a fire of anger rises inside Lys as she instead turns into the smaller corridor, pulling out the stopper on a small vial of oil with a sparrow's feather suspended in it. Quickly dousing the liquid on her crossbow, before ducking into the shadows.

They'll understand. And if they don't, damn them. As the footsteps approach her corner, she closes her eyes, pushing all thoughts and voices out of her mind. The last, that of the butterfly in Maritine's left hand, leaves last as Lys waits with baited breath, crossbow drawn.

Using my Oil of Abundant Ammunition. Plan is to let them pass the corridor that Lys' is in, as she's betting that they're going towards the room with the mind chains through the corridor. If she's wrong, well... less need to reload.
Stealth: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (9) + 15 = 24


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The Previous Night:

The brute approaches with implacable ponderousness, the elf maiden whimpering and pleading in that broken voice of hers.

Orderly Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Elf Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26

The orderly passes by the narrow hallway's mouth without glancing down its shadowed length. The elf, however, aided no doubt by her low light vision, lolls her head at just the wrong moment to stare right at where Lys crouches.

"Help," she croaks, voice suddenly desperate. "Please, whomever you are, help me!"

The orderly grunts and turns to stare right down the hallway as well.

Initiative!

Orderly: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Lys: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23

You've got the drop on him, and he's flatfooted.


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

The Previous Night:

As the elf locks eyes with Lys, the mercenary's heart freezes for a brief moment. But the hunter's instinct is stronger than her surprise. Her mouth snaps shut, giving a nod to the elf. Leaping up, Lys dashes madly through the corridor, only to turn around, aiming her crossbow at the orderly's unprotected neck. "Not again, Carrion Hill.", she mutters, as she squeezes the trigger.

Attack, Deadly Aim, Sharpshoot, PBS: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15 So that's vs flatfooted, touch AC.
Damage: 1d10 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The Previous Night:

Quicker than thought Lys slips past the orderly and the elf, to turn and loose a bolt that takes the man square in the chest. The man rocks, but does not stagger; then he tears the bolt free and hurls it aside with a phlegmatic growl.

His other huge gloved hand drops to his waist where he tears free what looks like a cattle bell, which he begins to shake with great, frenetic BA-LANG BA-LANG BA-LANGS as he strides right up to Lys, pulling his spiked club from his belt

"Gonna put you in a cage, little rat," he rasps, his voice thick, thuggish, as if even stringing the words together is a challenge for him. "Gonna put you in a very small cage in the dark!"

Standard action to ring bell, move action to draw club, five foot step to close with Lys.

The elf, released, curls up into a ball and wraps her arms around her head.


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +4 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +9 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 19

Night; The Stone Circle:

Maritine takes a large gulp of her wine as Miheala's words and expression falter, that familiar feeling of gnawing hopelessness at what could have been an unmitigated disaster in their handling of Hyve - luck had made all the difference, but they could not rely on luck. Not with the depths their foes were willing to sink to. They couldn't be found lacking again.

And then 'I wanted to protect you' finally registers and despite everything they'd all weathered since arrival at Carrion Hill, a small smile tugs at the corner of her mouth - she doesn't know if it's the wine or their history but she feels less alone in the dark, and sometimes that could be enough.

'I can't even protect myself'

If pressed, she would blame the wine, but at that moment she awkwardly reaches out and places her free hand on Miheala's back after a moment of hesitation and does her best to comfort her friend. She attempts to speak, finds her voice failing, gulps down the last of her wine and tries again.

"I, uh, I...We. We're still here. We protected eachother. If you asked me to, I would...I would..?" She blinks and catches herself, brow furrowing as the wine fuzzies her thoughts and she's suddenly unsure of what she wants to say or how to say it, and distractedly attempts to recollect her train of thought while continuing her attempt to be comforting.


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

The Previous Night:

Oh, hell..., Lys thinks, gritting her teeth as the orderly steps towards her nimbly stepping back in turn. "You didn't get the message, did you? We're leaving.", acrid words drip from her mouth, as two more bolts follow the first in his chest. Come on, girl, get up, we need to go!, she throws a glance at the poor injured elf, then her anger flares up again.

Attack, Rapid Shot, Deadly Aim, PBS, Sharpshoot: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28
Damage: 1d10 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
Attack, Rapid Shot, Deadly Aim, PBS, Sharpshoot: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
Damage: 1d10 + 12 ⇒ (7) + 12 = 19


M CG Dwarf Fighter 2/Cleric of Desna 3 | HP: 45/50 | AC: 21, T: 12, FF: 17) | CMB: +9, CMD: 21 | F: +10, R: +5, W: +7 (+1 against Fear Effects) | Init: +7 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +10, SM: +6 | Speed 30ft | Spells: 1st 4/4 2nd 3/3 | Active conditions: None

Hyve’s Cavern:

Lys wrote:
"I wasn't just stabbed, mauled and shot at. That's what you get, being tall like that, right Kolthis?"

He grinned back at her. ”Well I’d rather be as tall as me than as short as you. Much closer to the action here.”

The group spent some looking through the remains of the cavern, which unfortunately, gave Kolthis time to think. He was glad that they had taken him down as quick as they had. Sure, there were a couple bumps along the way. But with Lys and Mihaela’s aim, and the magics of Yelena and Walter, they had succeeded in hunting their second target. That’s right, it’s thanks to them. What did you do? Nothing but get stabbed, mauled, and shot at. You stood right in front of her and still let Mihaela almost die - you might as well have just not been there. You’re letting everyone down, Kolthis. Again.

Gritting his teeth, Kolthis tried to ignore the voice in his own head. Two down, one to go. Two down, one to go. He repeated the mantra even as they destroyed the damnable fungi and searched the corpse of Hyve. It stopped when he discovered the Crow and his discarded hammer.

Kolthis stood silently for a moment, gazing down at the lifeless pile of flesh. Another Desnan, another hammer. Another death. Could he have done something about this? Probably not, considering how long it had been here. The reasoning didn’t stop him from hating the answer.

He knelt and laid a hand on the Crow’s decaying body. It didn’t bother him - he had seen worse many times before. The man had died alone, in the dark, unknowingly contributing to something well beyond him. He deserved some measure of decency, even this far after his death. Saying a quick prayer to their Goddess, Kolthis took out his anytool and dug a pit in the ground, pushing what remained of the bodies into the makeshift grave. The flesh was deteriorated and moved as smoothly as a dwarf in a tar pit, but he did it anyway.

Decay and death is all that waits for you, Kolthis. Always following you like a hound. Who’s going to be next? Oh, it doesn’t matter - you can’t stop it after all.

Kolthis closed his eyes and strained, forcing the thoughts out. This was different than the voice that had led him here - wasn’t it? This malice had never been there. No, this was the result of this...this monster. This thing they were hunting. Or it seemed, was hunting them. He wouldn’t let it win. He wouldn’t lose, not this time.

Starsong, protect us. We’re so close. Please, just a little more.

Picking up the hammer of the fallen Crow, Kolthis was impressed by its quality - someone completely unaware of the details might even have said that it was better than his Lucy. They were wrong, but it would be a shame to leave it here. Surely, the man would have wanted it to be put to better use than decorating this hole of filth. ”Well, Lucy, looks like we got ourselves a new friend. What? Of course I won’t replace you. No hammer’s as good as you, you know that. Oh don’t pout at me. We need a name...” He traced the symbol of Desna on the head, feeling the energy of his goddess swirling within him. ”Aye. Lucky it is, then.” He stowed Lucky away on a quickly made loop. ”Now, you two get along. Don’t need any more trouble tonight.” With that, he left to meet up again with the others.

He was surprised at Lys’ decision to scout ahead, after all they’d been through tonight.

Is she scouting? Or is she working with the enemy? Hmmm who knows. It’s not too late to just leave them be, you know. You can’t lose someone you don’t have.”

”Be safe, Lys. If you’re not careful, you may end up a patient at the asylum instead, and I’d hate to see you lose any more faculties.”

The Stone Circle:

Kolthis sat at a table overlooking most of the rest of the room with back to a wall, ignoring the food in favor of the ale in front of him. How many had he had already? It was unclear. It didn’t matter. The more he had the more he could drown the voices.

Walter had gone up almost immediately. Kolthis wasn’t sure what to do about him. He had changed...but he was showing increasing signs of instability. Could he snap before they accomplished their mission? His help had been invaluable so far, but was there an ulterior motive? Could Kolthis do what was necessary if it came down to it? He’s going to betray you. Leave you all for dead and run, just like he’s probably down so many times before.

He took a long drink.

Yelena was with Tereza, eating and talking. He wondered if her harrowing could tell him anything past the material plane. It would be nice to know they were doing well, hopefully in Elysium - but on the other hand he couldn’t stand the idea of finding out the exact opposite. Better not to know, and leave it to his Goddess. They suffered, and could be suffering now. But you can’t help them anymore.

Another glass, another drink.

Maritine and Mihaela sat by the fire, discarding their wet clothes and warming up. Talking and shivering together. They had a history, of course they would be sitting together. Talking about what? You only fell because of Mihaela. It could have been on purpose. Can you be sure it wasn’t?

More drink.

Talking...that sounded nice. He looked over and saw that Yelena and Tereza had called it a night. Lyz was still out there, alone. It was getting late. Maybe if it took much longer, he would go and see if she was okay. They had their own history - a history that told him that she was likely going to be alright. He could trust that.

Instead he made his way over to the fire along with the inquisitor and inspector. The fire and the alcohol really did wonders for warming up the body after a long night. ”You two did good out there. Thanks for having my back - all our backs really. There’s bound to be more hurdles tomorrow, but next time...” He looked over at Mihaela, beard wet with ale, and although he couldn’t tell, there were tears mixed in too. ”Next time, I’ll protect you. I’ll protect you...I’ll protect all of you... He sat abruptly on the floor, going silent, staring fixedly into the depths of the flames.


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 24 (Tch 18 FF 18) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

Night; the Stone Circle:

Warmth. The comforting feeling of a human touch suddenly dissipating the chill in her bones.

Knowingly or not, separated only by the thinnest layer of black, silky cloth, Maritine's hand rests right upon the Monarch's abdomen, where all the tendrils converge. And it's as if carried by those inky conduits that a newly ignited spark spreads around Mihaela's shivering body, embracing it, soothing its pain.

She allows her body to lean on the taller, larger woman, raising her head to look the investigator in the eyes. "I have no right asking for your protection, Maritine" she says shaking her head, tenderly yet resolutely. "Nor yours, Master Kholtis. No point in sugarcoating it. For someone who's been training all of her life for this very moment, I did... embarrassingly."

She sighs, and then smiles; the tranquil smile of someone who's finally seen clarity and accepted it. "Your lives are yours, given by the Gods to use as you see fit. Don't waste them to protect someone whose time is merely borrowed. The Horrors — they were supposed to get me long ago. My Goddess granted me a bit more time — time to train and make my death meaningful. Your lives have meaning. Mine merely purpose."

Again, she locks eyes with the Ustalavian woman. "Will you promise me, Maritine? That you won't put yourself into danger for my sake?"


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Wait, Walter has ONE (1) rank in Sense Motive! It's his only rank in a social skill, and he just added it recently!

1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12 Okay, that's probably not high enough for him to realize that Kolthis is deeply suspicious of him.


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 25/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 7/8, (2nd) 6/6, (Bonus) 1/1 | Phrenic Pool 4/4 | Active Conditions: None

Stone Circle, Before Bed:
Yelena mostly stays with Tereza while they eat, wanting the comfort of her grandmother. (And, selfishly, not wanting to discuss what they'd done. What they were doing.) Tereza knows better than to pry, and for a long while Yelena can just...be.

That doesn't mean she doesn't hear other conversations, or see just how many ales Kolthis has downed. You're not the only one affected by this. Not even the most affected. You chose to be here, it's not a calling for you, not like some of the others.

Except it is, because she owes Desna everything, and she's pretty sure it's her goddess that called her here, and...

She shakes her head, dislodging the thoughts, and heads over to the fireplace with the others. "We're all alive. We all did well, as a team." She give Kolthis in particular a Look, then gently rests her own hand on Mihaela's shoulder. "I don't know what you've been taught, or what you believe. But for me...your life has meaning, not just your death." She gives a slight, wry smile. "It's unlikely I'll be in the front lines protecting anyone. But if that should happen, don't expect me to consider your life less valuable than anyone else's, just because you do."


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The Previous Night:

Lys' bolt slips between the bars of the orderly's cage helm, and the man staggers back and collapses heavily to the ground, to lie and drum his heels on the stone floor before going still.

"He's... he's dead..." whispers the elf maiden in disbelief, rising to her feet. "He's... he's actually dead..."

She takes a step toward Lys, still in a state of shock, when a door slams open from down the small hallway; an second orderly, as brutish and large as the first, comes hurrying into view - he takes in his fallen comrade, snarls wetly in the depths of his throat, and lunges for Lys, shouting all the while, "INTRUDER! INTRUDER GONNA DIE!"

Attack: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5

Assume the fallen orderly's icon now represents the new arrival.


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

The Previous Night:

As the orderly collapses on the ground, Lys breathes out a breath of relief. We're free!, only for the second orderly to rush into sight. Blood drains from her face for a moment, before rushing in like a red tide as the cudgel smashes in her ribs. "Oh, Pharasma take you, you psychotic bastard!", Lys coughs out. There are wards to protect. We hunt not for pleasure, but out of necessity.

Choosing to ignore the obvious mace-wielding fanatic in her face, Lys shoots with nary a regard for her own, instead turning towards the girl. "Come through, I'll distract him! Go for the door, I'll be right behind you!", she snaps, as the crossbow in her hands snaps twice at the orderly, hoping the burly man takes the chance to swing at her, while the girl moves past. With every shot, a new bolt appears as if out of thin air, as Lys snarls as viciously as she can in the man's caged head. "I'll bite your head off!"

Not moving this time, hit me! AC is currently 23, due to Protection from Evil.
Attack, All the gubbins: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19
Damage: 1d10 + 12 ⇒ (8) + 12 = 20
Second Verse: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (16) + 10 = 26
Damage: 1d10 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22
Ooh. Good Damage this time around.


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The Previous Night:

Orderly AoO: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10

The orderly swings with all the finesse of a landslide, and his studded club clacks into the wall, sending chips of stone stinging into Lys' cheek.

But both bolts hit, striking through the bars of his helm to drop the brutish man down atop his compatriot.

The elf is near hyperventilating, but she half-climbs up the wall, scrabbling against the green-painted walls to gain her feet, and with the natural grace of her kind glides forward, a grace that is only partially undone by the way she keeps ducking her head and looking behind her as if searching for a new source of pain. She slips neatly past Lys, and hurries down the hall to pause at the door and there crouch as bellows and shouts echo from seemingly everywhere - all of it accompanied by the alarum of more cattle bells.

Lys Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (4) + 13 = 17

Lys can't be completely sure, but it sounds like enough voices and bells - and the stamp of running feet echoing from around the corner ahead of her - to indicate perhaps a half dozen if not more orderlies barreling down on her location from the south end of the building.

Closing very, very quickly.

And yet, and yet.

Dear Pharasma.

The body of the first orderly she slew lies not still. Even as its fellow collapses across its broad chest, it jerks, it heaves, it seems to metastasize as the flesh within the leathers pushes, stretches, and tears.

"មុំលើត្រីកោណការបញ្ជាក់អំពីពេលវេលានិងលំហការបញ្ច្រាសនៃអ្វីៗដែលកំពុងរស់នៅនិងស ្លាប់។."

The words that stem from the body grate upon the ears, are more akin to shards of glass being dragged along the inner curves of Lys' skull than words, mere vocalizations made by vocal cords. Enough to make her skin creep, her teeth go on edge, and her stomach fill with acid.

Will Save: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15

A half-dozen insectile legs burst forth in a welter of gore, each looking somewhere between a hair spider or a crab's limb, their tips however culminating in snapping maws filled with shard-like teeth. The way they sway and jerk in the air is nauseating, but Lys manages to keep her gorge down - even as a number of them lash out at her.

Protection from Evil Vs. Spell Resistance: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6

Attack 1: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13
Attack 2: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11
Attack 3: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13

The legs snap at Lys, but their flailing fail to connect.

Whatever is inside the body, however, is coming out.

And the second felled orderly begins to twitch and jerk in turn.


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +4 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +9 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 19

Night; The Stone Circle:

Between the warmth of the fire and the numbing of her wine (When had she poured more?) it takes Maritine a moment longer than she'd like to realize that almost everyone had gathered around the fire to provide what support they could for everyone and that Mihaela had very piercing eyes.

Intimidatingly piercing eyes.

She has to turn away to regather her thoughts and focus. They had been moving so fast since their arrival - faster still since they had discovered the men responsible for the unholy madness consuming the city - A moment to breathe was necessary. To regather and regroup, and remember they weren't alone.

She sips some more mystery wine and attempts to answer Miheala. "I-I suppose...yes. Yes I promise. But!" She does her best to match her friends piercing gaze and unconsciously pulls her friend closer. "But you! Also have to promise. I won't let you face the dark alone." She meant it for all of them gathered there by the fire, but if pressed...

Well...


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

The Previous Night:

As the bolts drop the second orderly, Lys lets out a deviant screech of fury, giving the body a kick. "Die, bastard!", she adds as the elf scurries past her, only for the undulating carcass to make her instinctively jump back. Gods. Oh, gods., the blood draws from her face, as the ringing begins.

The ringing from down the corridor rings in Lys' mind, echoing like a tolling bell. Her stomach curls at the vile beast spawn snapping at her feet. Out. Now. With nary a moment to spare, she leaps back from the insects. When I'm back. This place will burn... The blood withdrawn from her face, she grabs the elven girl by the arm, pointing towards the door. "Let's go! Keep running, and don't look back! I'm right here, okay?", she commands, only to turn herself at the last moment, crossbow raised. We're almost there. Oh, moon, I've never been happier to see you., she adds as the pale moonlight graces the room through the open door.

Readying an action to move as the girl does, trying to keep myself between whatever comes and her.


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The Previous Night:

With bells clanging and bodies splitting in the halls, with the sounds of brassy bellows and the pounding of heavy leather boots behind them, Lys and the elf maiden flee into the darkness, out into the Carrion Hill night, which, for once, is free of rain.

Along the rough and rambling edges of the eastern cliffs they run, the drop precipitous and falling away into the darkness and marshes below. They race, the elf fleet-footed and sure, leading Lys a few times away from sudden drops or hidden chasms, her superior vision guiding them back around the asylum and into Carrion Hill proper once more, so that the pair race into a narrow street, turn down an alley, out into a broader street and finally into a blind court where the elf staggers to a stop, stands as if struck dumb for a moment, then turns, wonder writ large across her face.

"You... you saved me. I'm...free." This said in a tone of near disbelief. Then the elf studies Lys' face with growing confusion. It's as if the moonlight itself is nourishing her, the the night air invigorating her, bringing her back to herself moment by moment; already she stands with greater dignity, with more self-possession, her beauty marked and ethereal. "But who are you? Why did you risk so much for my sake?"


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

The Previous Night:

Lucky me, was just heading out and I saw the post!
The frantic run through the cliffs of Carrion Hill leaves Lys almost short of breath, and she swears a couple of times that the elf's sight is the only thing between her and her skull breaking on the cliffside.

Breathing out, she stands slack-jawed at the young elf's question. "Uh...", she blurts out, before a smile crawls on it, the realisation that while tomorrow may come death, tonight she's victorious. Why? Because it was the right thing to do, even if it bites me in the ass.

"Well.", Lys' face matches the confusion in the elf's. She taps the stock of her crossbow, where the silvered spiral of Pharasma hangs. It's because of the girl in the lake. It's what Viktor would've done. And other reasons. Lys' expression grows sorrowful for a moment, before replying, "That's what inquisitors do. Right wrongs, save people.", she replies, before a guilty smile crawls on her face. "Honestly... I wasn't there for you. But nobody right would just leave anyone in that place without doing something." She shakes her head. "I walked in that room... in the corner. Won't let anyone else be dragged there, afterwards."

Waving her hand dismissively. "Ah, that doesn't matter, now. My friends are staying just over on the other side of town. We'll get you something to eat, and I'll get something to drink, then you'll sleep in a nice, warm bed." She extends her hand towards the girl to lead her towards the tavern. "Oh! Sorry, we didn't have time earlier.", she smiles. "I'm Lys. Who are you?"


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The Previous Night:

"We were indeed a little pre-occupied," says the elf self-consciously, curling a strand of silver hair behind her elongated ear. A crack sounds from a street over, a shutter being forced shut, perhaps, and she flinches violently, shoulders immediately hunching.

A moment, then she catches herself and straightens. "An honor to meet you, Lys the Inquisitor. I am Aneltherien Belonderias, come to Carrion Hill two months ago from Kynonin in search of my lost brother. It's... not a pleasant tale, seeing as it brought me to Crove's hive of insanity and abuse, but..."

She trails off, biting her lower lip as she stares down and away at some memory. Then she gathers herself and forces a smile. "Food, a drink, and if Calistria wills it, a hot, hot bath. That sounds divine, and so far from what I thought my night held for me."

Her smile becomes more brittle. "You didn't go to the asylum for me, but I'm all you left with. Which... I assume... means you intend to return. If so, I would be happy to tell you what I've learned of Crove and his asylum. But preferably with your friends, on the other side of town."


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

Hyve's Cavern:

At the cavern, Lys can't help but chuckle at her dwarven friend's emotional response towards the hammer. "Way to insult us cloud-rakers.", she snaps in response, stretching her head to her towering 4'10". Raising her crossbow, she pats the stock. "Look at that dwarf, Messenger. He's gone insane, talking to his hammers. If I do something like that, tell me, please.", she mutters to her crossbow in a stage whisper, before giving the dwarf a jovial poke. "I'll be fine. I've managed to avoid having faculties so far, so there's precious little to lose.", before her face turning serious. "But if you drink all the ale, I will haunt you and your ancestors."

Mihaela's hug comes out as a massive surprise to Lys, and the crossbowwoman hangs limp for a second. I... I did help. I did something., she ponders. "You'd h-", she swallows, the words not really coming to her mouth. "Any time. Just pay it forward.", she responds a moment later, before disappearing into the night.

The Previous Night:

"True. Believe it or not, I don't routinely break into asylums either.", Lys offers the elf a slanted smile, just as the shutter slams shut with a terrifying snap. A few painstakingly long moments later, Lys releases a long-held breath, only to stare with confusion at the elf's face. Lys the Inquisitor? What? "Oh- I'm, uh. I'm not the inquistor. That's, was, Vi-", a mangled mash of words leaves her mouth, before she shakes her head and lowers her brows at the elf's long name. "Hey there, Anel-the-rien." I should probably distract her from thinking about the asylum. The sight of the bugs snapping through the orderly's corpses to lunge at Lys sends shivers down her spine. Us. Distract us.

The smile from the elf is matched by one at Lys. "Now you're talking!", she responds with a dismissive wave at the question for her purpose, gesturing for the two to start walking. "Hey, an elf in the hand is worth two in the bush. Now, tell me about Kyonin! I've been at the border passing by when I was...", Lys' mouth starts chattering about tales of adventures from far, far away as the two make their way through the town.

I think we're ready to rejoin the party, and Lys is pretty adamant to start talking about things that are completely unrelated to Carrion Hill.


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

At the Stone Circle

The courtyard door receives a hammering that jolts those yet awake back to their fullest senses, and Old Bosworth huffs and heaves himself out of his chair in the corner in which he'd retired to whittle at a hunk of wood and slowly polish away a small bottle of muddy brown liquor.

"Hold your hammers, hold your hammers," he mutters as he walks up, and then slides back the slat to peer out into the night. "Who goes... ah, tis you, lass."

He unbolts and unbars the door, then throws it open wide to allow both women to enter.

For a second lady follows Lys, a slender elf maiden dressed in filthy tunic and drawstring pants, her feet filthy and bare, her face marked by privation and exhaustion, her eyes made wild with linger fear.

And yet there still clings to her that alien, noble grace inherent in her kind, that ethereal air that makes it seem as if she is but only partly in the inn, and somehow another part of her exists in a realm beyond this own. Her silver hair glimmers like spun silver, and her eyes shift hues so that depending on when you glance at them they shimmer from coppery green to cobalt blue to a rich, vibrant hazel.

It's clear, however, that she's suffered in more ways than one; despite herself, she glances nervously around the common room, the rapid glances of someone expecting trouble or an attack, and hugs herself tightly as she looms behind Lys, as if the shorter woman were a bulwark against all the ills this world could throw at her.


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

"An asylum. I was in an asylum for a time," says Walter conversationally. "In Ustalav. Briarstone Home for the Troubled, near Thrushmoor. I hear it closed, later. They had... troubles."

I'm going to give Walter a DC 15 Sense Motive check to not be weird, obnoxious, or just inappropriate here. 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16 Aw yeah who's the wizard with the social skillz?


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Walter frowns faintly. You're starting to recognize this frown. It's Walter's working-it-out-from-first-principles frown.

"This woman may be... upset. So we should... ensure that she is safe... and comfortable... and not a threat to herself or others." Walter stares at the elf a bit longer than is strictly comfortable. (He is very obviously wondering how to politely ask whether she is a threat to herself or others.)

Then, after a slightly awkward pause: "Would you... would you like some tea? I can make many sorts of tea. I have... gillyflowers. From Kyonin Forest. Petals and roots both. The tea brush is rosewood, of course, with reed bristles. Cut in the Bright Flower style." Profession: Herbalist 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29 Wow well if it comes to it Walter can actually make a MEAN cup of gillyflower tea. Pour it over three times, no animal products in the tea brush, drizzle some crystallized honey harvested from wild bees that nest in an ash tree that's at least 200 years old, he knows just how elves like it. He read it in a book but then he practiced until he got it right.


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 24 (Tch 18 FF 18) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

Night; the Stone Circle:

"You're both wise and kind beyond your age, Yelena" says Mihaela demurely lowering her gaze, its piercing intensity now gone, replaced by an unusual sense of vulnerability.

"And so it is, come tomorrow, we'll be facing the dark together. Fear not. I won't throw away my life." She feels Maritine pulling her ever closer, the larger woman's arms now embracing her completely as she finds herself unable — or unwilling — to resist.

"I still love life" she dreamily says.

"Who gave it to me."

"Who takes it back."

It's the banging on the door which suddenly has her snap out of her reverie, quickly followed by Lys and a ragged elven figure nimbly following her.

"I feel there's a story waiting to be told here."


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

Ushering the shivering elf inside, Lys follows quickly after, the warmth from the fireplace as if breathing in life itself. She breathes out, and all the heaviness and exhaustion from the day sets in her bones. As Walter makes his offer, Lys' eyebrow lowers down. He is the resident expert on insanity, I suppose.

"You'd be right, but I need something to wet my singing voice first.", Lys waves cheerfully at Mihaela as she gently leads the elf closer to the fireplace, setting her down in a comfortable chair. Maybe next to Teresa, if she's still awake? Nudge, Yelena. "Take a seat, we'll get you something to eat. Everyone, this is Anel...", Lys pauses, slightly embarrassed, as she tries to recall the elegant name, "therien. She has a last name, too.", she sends an apologetic half-smile at the elf, before putting her hand on her shoulder and gesturing around the room."This is Walter, who knows a lot about a lot, and he talks about it a lot. But he's a good heart." Or is he?

Giving an appreciative wave at Old Bosworth at the counter, Lys grins. "I was hoping we could have something to eat. And I'll have a grog with honey, hold the tea and the honey.", she adds, before crashing in front of the fireplace next to Aneltherien. As the drink finds itself in her hand, she takes a dwarf-worthy swing with gusto, before staring. "So... As we split, I ventured towards the madhouse. Not to brag, but locks weren't too hard to pick. Then I started going room by ro-", she stops herself, head drawing backwards, "and then I ran into Aneltherien being escorted by an orderly." Her face grows darker as the vivid memory of beasts wearing the flesh of man snapping at her feet resurface. Grasping the crossbow on her side, she continues with her usual smirk. "We had a small misunderstanding, but parted ways as friends, and decided to go for a little midnight run. Good for the humours.", she finishes, her green eyes suggesting that she'd happily share the details after the girl has a chance to rest. Well. I got out once. And now I'll have backup.

"Aneltherien offered to tell us what to expect, but I suggest we let her have a meal, some drink and a breather before we start asking questions.", she concludes, finishing up her drink in another gulp. "Oh! And we could probably scrounge some things for you to wear."


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[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

Aneltherien gratefully accepts being herded into her chair, where she sits gazing into the fire, drinking in the light and warmth as if her very soul had hungered for such things.

It's with some surprise and appreciation that she considers Walter and his offer, and a rush of emotions flicker through her face, almost faster than can be caught.

Sense Motivation DC 20:

Surprise which leads to happiness which immediately unlocks doors behind which grief, pain, and guilt lurk. All of which is then smoothed back down over her elfen mien.

"Gillyflower tea would be an unexpected blessing, Master..." She looks to Lys as her rescuer makes the introductions. "Master Walter. Yes. Thank you."

The brew placed in her hand, she inhales deeply, and seems to derive strength from the scent and first sip. She doesn't quite settle back into the armchair so much as relax a fraction of a degree, as if the taste itself were grounding.

"I was indeed an unwilling guest of Crove in his charnel house of an asylum. And would be glad to share all that I learned during my stay, though I fear it will prove insufficient; there are depths to that place that I did not plumb, and doubt I would have returned from if I had."

Her voice grows more confident as she speaks, her posture at once elegant, relaxed, and ineffably poised; she sits with an erect spine, not through effort or tension, but with the natural grace of a dancer.

"My brother, Ebelliaris Belonderias, was a dreamer, a sage, and attuned to currents of magic beyond my understanding. A year ago he said that a grave danger was manifesting here in Carrion Hill, and asked for support in coming forth to quench it. Grave dangers, said our grovekeeper, are always manifesting across all of Golarian; his request was denied. Still, he disappeared one night, and I know he came here of his own accord. It is my shame that I did not take his warnings with greater urgency, and failed to accompany him."

A sip, to steady her voice anew.

"Three months ago I set out after him. Upon arriving here I sought to unearth his trail, a trail which led to Crove's asylum. Fearing that his studies had led him down too dark a path and that his mind might have snapped, hence his going to an asylum, I approached Crove directly, asking him if he had seen or met my brother, having taken the precaution of registering both my presence and intent with the local mayor for protection. Crove denied doing so, but I could tell he was much taken with me; he asked me numerous times to come visit, to dine with him, and other such importunities. I turned him down as graciously as I could, but didn't realize my peril. Crove finally revealed his fascination with the Old Ones quite purposefully to me; I flew to the mayor, not knowing that Crove had laid his groundwork ahead of time. The mayor, hearing me rant, agreed that I had lost my mind, and consigned me to Crove's care. That was... two weeks ago."

The elf shudders and turns away for a spell, gazing once more into the fire.

"I was kept by Crove in an isolation cell in the sublevel. He would come by each night and offer my freedom if I agreed to entertain his... advances. I refused. After the fourth night, he had me escorted to... to a torture chamber. It is operated by a derro called Zhezzek." Aneltherien's voice trembles. "Crove instructed him to break my will without harming my body, as that was what he was most interested in. Zhezzek... failed, I suppose, though some nights..."

She takes a hasty sip of gillytea.

"Regardless. I don't know what my fate would have been if Crove hadn't returned in a panic a night ago. All order and routine was thrown into chaos. He acted as if he expected to be attacked. I was placed in my isolation cell and there ignored, but was fetched just an hour before Lys saved me by an orderly. I was told... that I was to be used as bait. That perhaps my... 'immortal nature,' as Crove called it, would lure what he feared toward me. I was to be mentally broken in the chamber Lys saw, and then brought below to a special trap Crove was laying for his foe."

"Crove is terrified of what's coming for him. He's turned out the worst of his inmates and scattered them throughout the asylum as warning signs for any trespassers, counting on their shrieks to alert the orderlies and himself as to the approach of intruders. Here. I can draw you a map of the ground floor and indicate what I know of each room, as well as what I saw below ground."

When someone fetches her charcoal and paper, she sketches in quick, brisk lines, though occasional a tremor in her hand ruins the cleanliness of her diagram.

Maps:
Maps updated. The following are the rooms that Aneltherien has seen:

D1. Main Entrance hall: "An empty space, but I saw some three inmates bound in straitjackets there as I was dragged past, left tied up on the floor."
D2. Cloak Room: "Where Crove hung my cloak when I first visited."
D4: Meeting Room: "Where he first heard my questions - it's also where he processes new patients. A ghastly little room."
D5: Main Hall: "The doors to the stairwells are off this hall, both were unlocked and open when I last saw them, with an inmate bound at the top of each - they scream when one approaches."
D7: Library: "I spent time here in the beginning when awaiting Crove to be available, and it's filled with books on madness anatomy, necrology, and studies of deformity."
D8: North Entrance: "Usually attended to by an orderly."
D9: Examination Room: "I don't want to speak of this place."
D11: Lecture Room: "I only glanced inside a few times when passing by, but it's a large lecture hall."
D12: Library: "Crove's smaller library. Just before our relationship soured he would allow me to browse in there while waiting for him instead of the main library. The books are on ancient history, astrology, astronomy, portals, and other eldritch topics."
D13: Crove's Office: "We never spent time here; he would invite me through this space to his private lounge."
D14: Private Lounge: "I shudder with revulsion to think of how he feigned interest in my situation in that room."
D16: Dining Room: "I only glimpsed this as well - it's where the orderlies dine."
D22: Guest Room: "Crove invited me to stay at the asylum, and insisted I visit this small room in the hopes of enticing me. I politely refused."

Lower level map.

D23: The Green Walk: "The sounds of screams, laughter, and pain filled this area, the main hallways that seemed to connect everything below ground. It opens to what used to be a common room of sorts for the orderlies, but Crove was busy casting magical spells upon this chamber when I was dragged out earlier tonight. I know not what kind of spells."
D24: The Interrogation Room: "Here is where Zhezzek sought to break me."
D27: "This was my private cell."


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +4 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +9 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 19

Night, The Stone Circle:

Distracted by the warmth from fire and close friends, Maritine lets go of her wine glass and just enjoys the moment for what it is, unable to properly recall the last time she'd had a moment to just sit among friends.

It is only from Lys's sudden arrival that she realizes that she'd come close to dozing from how warm she is and that she hadn't notice the devil-slayer's absence, but before she can kick herself she's aware of the elven rescue and she needs a moment to properly process everything, slowly and perhaps unwillingly untangling herself from Mihaela in the process as she stands, blinks hard and absorbs everything she can from Aneltherien and her map.

"Hmm. It seems... Hrm. excuse me. I do not think Crove is aware of us so much that, like Hyve, he must know that whatever they called forth has -hic- oh, damn it - whatever they unleashed is coming for its due. Myre had zombies, Hyve enlisted devils, Crove will throw the whole asylum at it." She frowns a little and gives the map a twice over before her eyes move to catch Lys's - she doesn't say anything so as not to spook Aneltherien, but she's aware enough to know that there's more to the story of the rescue than is being told. There would be time.

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 24 (Tch 18 FF 18) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

Sense Motive (studied target): 1d20 + 12 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 12 + 2 = 20

For a while, Mihaela has abandoned herself to the comfort of a circle of... companions? ... comrades-in-arms? ... friends? And for a while, she has hoped this moment could extend and expand and engulf the whole night, the whole world, frozen in time — for in her life, moments such as this have been few and far between, and thus all the more precious.

They have spoken of the value of life, and for a while, as they pushed the horror a bit further away, it had become more than an abstract concept. Yet now the horror has returned, more violent and overwhelming than ever before. As the elf tells her story and Maritine's warmth slowly fades away, Mihaela finds herself slipping back into her Inquisitor persona.

"So it's no longer a matter of killing a man to stop an abomination" she says in a steely voice. "Now we have two monsters on our hands."


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

Night, The Stone Circle:

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (12) + 13 = 25

Walter's offer seems to bring a smile to Lys' face, before she gently reaches for the elf's shoulder. "Hey, trust me, nothing like the taste of home.", she nods, taking a sip from her own taste from home's frothy foam.

"That... just about covers the place.", she adds, before giving a glance back at Aneltherien. Well. She's been through a lot of muck. But she saw them defeated, and that heals better than time. At least for us, humans, I suppose. She taps her crossbow, exhaling. "The orderlies, however - they aren't exactly your everyday thugs. They took enough punishment to bring down a bull, and when they, hrm, expired", she nods at the elf. "Something came out of them. Bugs. Or crawly things. Didn't stay long enough to check what, but if there's anyone thinking they aren't monsters - or non-human monsters. They are.", she bites her lips, before glancing at Walter.

"I didn't much keep track of it, but one of the inmates was rambling." Reminded me of you, but past the edge., she almost spills out, but stops herself. "Something about breaking, and that if one is broken, they'll turn towards darkness, as Ustalavians are want to. And something about an operation." The mercenary shakes her head. "I think that might be the previous asylum warden, or someone close to him. Or someone independently insane, I suppose, there's no shortage here!"

"If I had to advise - hit them hard, and hit them fast. They might be expecting an attack now, so if we go first thing in the morning, they'll be tired." If they're human, that is... And they're probably not.


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Walter's sleep is restless.

The Countess is short, blonde, and wears a very expensive looking sundress with an enormous hat. "Here I am! Are you early? Am I late?" She has one of those singsong voices. She pulls out the last remaining seats herself without asking. "It's been some time! It's... Oh, who is this? Have you taken a new apprentice, then?"

The Countess could be -- might be? -- just a silly noblewoman with a very large hat. But this close, she radiates... vitality. Her cheeks glow with health, and energy just seems to bubble off her. She carries a very large handbag. Her eyes are a pale, pale blue.

Walter moans softly in his sleep. His mind rebels against itself, struggles to claw a way back up to wakefulness, away from the nightmare that is coming.


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 25/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 7/8, (2nd) 6/6, (Bonus) 1/1 | Phrenic Pool 4/4 | Active Conditions: None
Mihaela Stellamaris wrote:
"So it's no longer a matter of killing a man to stop an abomination" she says in a steely voice. "Now we have two monsters on our hands."

"We already knew he was a monster," Yelena mutters. "To have done what he did, with the summoning...Aneltherien's testimony just makes it more...visceral." She hardly seems to be aware of what she's saying, and for a moment you can hear Walter in her tone of voice. "Killing a monster. Monsters. That's...justified."

She blinks, and seems to shake herself, focusing once more on the present. "Aneltherien. I am very sorry for what you've suffered. If we find any sign of your brother, we'll be certain to let you know." She starts to put a hand on the elf's shoulder, then thinks better of it. "There will be...justice. Of a sort." She forces a smile, although it's grim. "We'll stop him. Keep him from ever hurting anyone else."


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +4 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +9 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 19

Night, The Stone Circle:

The lateness of the hour and everything that had happened that day, not to mention the mood whiplash over the last several moments has exhausted Maritine further than she'd thought possible - talk of their need to kill Crove seemed to have done more to harm their fragile morale than the fiasco at the church. She's too tired to properly wonder why and instead focuses on the matters at hand, casting an aside glance at Miheala as she does so.

"Justice and vengeance in equal measure. And a plan, if possible." She says, going over the map again and pointedly ignoring Lys' jab at Ustalavians - it would be more insulting if it wasn't so annoyingly true.

"We'll need to prepare for the patients - if Crove doesn't use them they'll need to be restrained for their safety. Other than that, I think Lys is correct, we hit him hard and fast once we've recovered. I can make a few preparations and regents to help, else all we can really do is rest." She looks at the others with her and with a small but genuine smile quietly says "Knowing that there are others who stand against this darkness, it gives... it gives hope. Thankyou."

She turns and gathers her things and looks as she's about to rush to one of the free rooms, but she pauses a moment and approaches Mihaela, doing her best to keep apprehension out of her eyes as she chooses her words carefully - and hopefully.

"I, um. I would...I think I should pray. But not alone. Will you join me?"


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

Sense Motive Maritine/Mihaela:
You both get the sense that what the elf is sharing is largely true; she might be hiding some details, but you intuit that these are if anything quite minor and don't change the overall narrative of what she's shared.


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The elf bows his head gratefully to Yelena, clasping the now half-empty cup of tea to her breast.

"Thank you. Thank all of you. To think such horrors can take place for years in the heart of a community such as this. It makes one shudder as to our capacity to turn a blind eye to the darkness amongst us."

She rises unsteadily to her feet. "If you will excuse me, I would bathe and rest. It has been a... difficult past few weeks. I've need to meditate and restore myself. I'll await here at the inn for your return, however. And - perhaps? If I've not heard of you before midday, I shall send word to the mayor once more?"


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The next dawn.

Following an early breakfast and several steaming mugs of coffee, the group heads out into the light drizzle that blankets the Stone Circle and its environs.

Jarvis just catches them before they begin making their way toward the Asylum.

"Ah! Almost missed you. I've news, and it's dour stuff. The beast - the monster - whatever it is - has not been idle. Both Rupman's vats and Aroden's temple have been destroyed - swallowed whole."

He runs his fingers through his soaked hair, clearly shocked. "Saw the sights myself. There's little left but gaping tunnels where they once stood. Looks like you're but one step ahead of it. The mayor ordered you to hurry up and deal with the aslyum before the beast reaches it."

He grimaces apologetically.

Tag?

Your party proceed through the near deserted town, the only signs of life being other refugees still making their way out of Carrion Hill. You reach the cliffs of the town's east side, and descend by a torturous path to where the asylum rises on the last bluff, overlooking the foggy plain that sweeps out, seemingly, into eternity.

The low cloud cover and general gloom are such that the lights are on in Crove's asylum, and as you draw closer, you hears the harrowing, spiraling laugh of an insane man rising like a howl to the moon.

The building is one story tall, without windows, and the doors - of which there are four besides the main double doored entry, are made of iron. The building has a terrible aura to it, seeming to loom over where you all skulks in the near distance, seemingly aware of your somehow, possessed of its own terrible intelligence, bearing down on you, and for all the world the only word that seems to fit is hungry. As if the building itself desires you to enter.

To descend into its madness-infused bowels and there be devoured forevermore.

Description above corrected to reflect what the building actually looks like, and not how I mistakenly described it. Map is in the maps tab, and I've revealed what the elf described so you can be aware of what lies before you.


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 25/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 7/8, (2nd) 6/6, (Bonus) 1/1 | Phrenic Pool 4/4 | Active Conditions: None

Yelena covers her mouth with her hand when she hears the news. "So close," she whispers. They had suspected the creature would be after Myre and Hyve, but it's still worrisome to hear that it had been right behind them. That, had they done things a little differently, the creature might have killed them instead.

Whatever her concerns about the morality of killing these men without even the formality of a trial, she has to acknowledge that killing them was almost certainly a mercy compared to what the creature would have done.

"Thank you, Jarvis. For the news." She swallows hard, willing herself not to vomit. "It seems we are on the right track. To the asylum, then, and by Desna's grace may we continue to stay one step ahead."

Once they get to the asylum, her spirit sinks at the sight of the close quarters. Not to mention the dungeon below. So far away, both in time and space, from the night sky and its comforting stars. Her hand goes to the amulet she wears. Starsong please grant us your light in this dark place.

"It seems imprudent to use the front door. Lys, you saw side entrances, did you not? There might not have been time to get more guards for them after your excursion, last night."


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

Lys' waking up is rougher than usual, as the mercenary grabs onto the coffee cup with a clawed hand. No, nightmares, you've had your chance., she ponders as she sits down at the table, bloodshot eyes staring in the distance.

Jarvis' news seem to give her pause. We thought we were so fast. And yet, we were mere hours before the ground itself swallowed them. I can only imagine what the creature could've done if it ate all five. So I'll stop imagining. The familiar, obviously fake smile graces the mercenary's face as she shrugs at Jarvis. "We were already on our way to the asylum, funnily enough.", she snaps, before pausing and raising her hand. "Right. Sorry.", she adds hastily. "We were ahead so far. And third time's the charm only works for us heroes, not monsters.", she grins darkly.

The sight of the asylum in the light still sends a shake into Lys. You'd think it'd be better in the light of day. It is, but it's still..., she ponders, as the howl echoes out. "Oh, go fu-", she starts saying, panickedly, before snapping her jaw. "Should've warned you about the howling lunatics. That one's on me." Turning to Yelena, Lys nods. "I'd imagine you're right. Though, I'm sure they saw me sneaking through a side door, given that they chased me out of it, so I'm not entirely sure being sneaky's going to be an option." I snuck in and I got Anel out. I'm out to get you, you mad place, and then, let the ground swallow you.

Unsheathing her crossbow, Lys nods. "I say we go for the same door I used last night. They'll never except us to try the same trick twice, right?", she adds with a cocky smile.


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +4 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +9 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 19

Despite a tumultuous night and a restless sleep amid raw nerves and unremembered dreams Maritine unfortunatly looks mostly as she usualy does the next morning, the barest hint of dishevelment all that really gives away anything being amiss and even those little hints are lost within her coat and hat, the inquisitor self once again front and center.

Javis' news is disheartening but unsurprising and she chooses to focus on the lone brightness that if nothing else, they were ahead.

It would have to be enough.

She's impassive as she looks at - then listens to - the asylum before them, knowing it was as much a trap as it was a tomb, and listens to her companions discussing a possible entry.

"Front door seems the best way to get ourselves killed. He has to know we're coming, and he can't possibly think we'd try that way again - We're smarter than that. Seems that's our way in." She doesn't thrilled by the idea, but there's no way she's going by the front entrance unless there's a better suggestion


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 25/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 7/8, (2nd) 6/6, (Bonus) 1/1 | Phrenic Pool 4/4 | Active Conditions: None

"Side door it is." Yelena isn't exactly comfortable entering the gloomy building in front of them, but her reading from the night before somewhat buoys her spirits. Big Sky. Hope.

She could use some hope right about now.

Her lips quirk. "Hopefully they haven't been able to restaff the guards just yet. The number of mercenaries available at 3am in a locked-down city can't be many. Besides, Crove is human," presumably, "he has to sleep sometime."

"Lead the way," she gestures forward to the side door. "I'm not much use in the breaking and entering part of things, but I'll have your back if we see anyone."


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

DM Rolls:

Kolthis: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
Walter: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
Mihaela: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22
Maritine: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19
Lys: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (10) + 13 = 23
Yelena: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19

The party proceeds down to the Asylum, leaving the crushed gravel road to circle around back, following Lys as she leads the way. The dawn is just breaking, with the first rosy fingers of light probing over the far eastern horizon of Ustalav, casting smears of pastel light over the fog enshrouded glens and swamps that surround Carrion Hill, so that for a moment the sight is lovely; a benediction of color and softness that masks the horrors that squirm and writhe in the muck below.

Lys reaches the door first, and finds it closed as before. The lock, however, has been badly battered, half-moon dents ringing its mechanism as if someone had gone at it with a hammer, rendering it inoperative.

A push, and the iron door swings open, allowing a breath of stale, foul air to emerge like an exhalation from a dying man.

Within, the gloomy confines of the familiar hallway. All hard stone painted a dispiriting pale green, the closed doors, the clinging cold.

Lys leads the way inside, and is confronted by the four doors as before; two on her left, leading to the study and the private library; one on her immediate right, behind which the lecturer had held forth; and then the passageway and the slender door to that despicable square room.

Kolthis, Mihaela, and Lys all hear the soft clink of chains and muttering coming from down the passageway and around the corner, as if some doleful ghost were manacled just out of sight.

But Lys sees no signs of the violence and madness that had spilled out into the hallway before, no splashes of blood, no hint of the terrors she'd witnessed.

I'm going to go with our regular marching order. Where to, oh brave adventurers?


M CG Dwarf Fighter 2/Cleric of Desna 3 | HP: 45/50 | AC: 21, T: 12, FF: 17) | CMB: +9, CMD: 21 | F: +10, R: +5, W: +7 (+1 against Fear Effects) | Init: +7 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +10, SM: +6 | Speed 30ft | Spells: 1st 4/4 2nd 3/3 | Active conditions: None

Night, Stone Circle:

Yelena wrote:
"We're all alive. We all did well, as a team." She give Kolthis in particular a Look, then gently rests her own hand on Mihaela's shoulder.

Kolthis reflected on the group’s words as they sat at the fireplace. Yelena was right - they were a team, and they had survived together. They hadn’t given any reason to doubt that they would continue to do just that. There was no reason for him to shoulder the task on himself, when every one of them had proved capable.

His thoughts were only strengthened when Lys returned from her expedition, elven friend in hand. Kolthis was impressed, hearing the details of the escape. Her shooting hadn’t lost any of its edge, even alone in this forsaken town.

Listening to Aneltherien’s story brought Kolthis not only sorrow, but immense anger. Despite everything he had seen here, the depths of human depravity still amazed him. Anyone doing what Crove and these others did were no better than raving monsters - worse even. And he would ensure that all monsters, human and otherwise, plaguing this town would meet Pharasma before he was done.

”Thank you for your help. We will be sure to bring the repayment he deserves for everything you and your brother have suffered. If you need any help healing, or simply a prayer, I am at your service.” In case she needs any hp healing, or ability restoration, etc.

That night, Kolthis was once again thrust into nightmares of darkness, fire, and destruction. Except now, it was all of Carrion HIll that burned. In the middle of the square was a monstrous mass of swirling, chaotic energy, consuming all space around it. A small light flickered on the ground, not giving up to the darkness - Kolthis knew this to be himself. Around him, 5 other stars of light shone in defiance to the destruction surrounding everything. Whether they would survive and save this city was yet to be seen, but at least he wasn’t alone.

Morning:

He awoke the next morning drenched in sweat and exhausted. Yet at the same time, he still held fast to what little hope he had conjured up last night. After praying to Lady Luck, as was his morning ritual, Kolthis donned his equipment and met the others before heading out to the Asylum. He was silent as Jarvis relayed the information about the beast’s advancing schedule. It was close behind them, and they were running out of time. They could beat it. They had to.

Crove’s asylum gave off an aura of madness, not unlike the feelings in his own dreams. Despite the similarities, it was a difficult feeling to shrug off, even as Kolthis tried to focus on the task at hand. The howling of the inmates battered against his ears, lending truth to the horrors of the asylum Aneltherien had relayed. Unsettling really was not an apt enough description.

”Don’t worry Lys. I’ve got your back.No bug filled orderlies are gonna get us without a fight.” He says, as she leads the group to their chosen entrance. Once inside, Kolthis looked around the hallway, trying to get a bearing based on the directions and map they had been provided.

”If I’m right, it looks like the study and private library are right here. I think we should make sure that they’re empty before we go any further. It would be a good spot to hole up any hiding guards to flank at this entrance, and maybe we’ll find something useful in the library. Regardless, let’s move carefully - I hear some chains and muttering just around the corner there.”


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Regular marching order it is.

Walter is quiet. Is he weary from stress and lack of sleep? Is he composed because he believes he's doing the right thing? Is he febrile and twitchy because his sanity is steadily eroding? Pick one or all three. But for now: he's quiet. He takes his now-accustomed place in the party.


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +4 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +9 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 19

Maritine is all glares and scowls as she steps into the asylum, finding nothing that would give weight to Lys's story of what happened in the halls the previous night, finding herself unsurprising that whatever the hells was happening here would be covered up. The quickness of it impressed her, but she would never say it out loud.

"Asylum chains will be the least terrible noise we here in this damned place. But you are right Kolthis - the study and library first. I wouldn't put it past Crove to hide things in plain sight here, and to know how to do it well."


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The study is empty, and reveals itself to be well-appointed, with multiple doors leading off its irregular shape, and a heavy desk whose surface is scrupulously bare.

Kolthis: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24
Walter: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14
Mihaela: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (19) + 12 = 31
Maritine: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23
Lys: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (7) + 13 = 20
Yelena: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16

Many in the group notice a hidden panel in the front of the desk, however, which upon activation reveals a worn wand of suggestion.

A set of double doors leads - from the elf's description - to the main hall with the stairways leading down to the basement level, while the southernmost door leads to what the elf described as Crove's private lounge.

A fourth door, set flush with the northern one they just opened, is a mystery.

Peering into the private library reveals no occupants. The books here are universally about ancient history, astrology and astronomy, portals, and other eldritch (but not necessarily forbidden) topics.

To retrace Lys' footsteps and head north, or to go through Crove's office and use one of the other doors?


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Whoa. A wand of Suggestion? Does it have charges left?


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

A quick, wizardly shake elicits a shower of golden sparks. It seems to be running low on charges, but have somewhere around a baker's dozen or so left.


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 25/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 7/8, (2nd) 6/6, (Bonus) 1/1 | Phrenic Pool 4/4 | Active Conditions: None

Yelena glances at the wand. "I could use it, but I don't know how much good it would do in my hands." She grimaces. "It's a pretty close-range spell, and I'm not the best at sneaking up on people."

"The basement seems like the most likely place for Crove to have holed up, but I'm not entirely comfortable leaving rooms unexplored behind us. Although I guess what we don't disturb won't come after us." She shivers in the damp air and wraps her arms around herself. "Any thoughts?"

Tenantive vote to check the door flush with the one we entered through, but Yelena won't object to other ideas.


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Check the door, let's.

"I can be quiet," Walter murmurs, turning the wand over in his hands.

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