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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 02:13 AM
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Chapter 2: The Center of the Storm

"Shards and shale... SNIPER! Get down you flying fool..."Acting on years of collective training and reflexes, Sul/Aurok tumbles along a lower roof ledge for cover, skimming across the tiles with a speed and grace unearthly for his size. In the blink of an eye, he has traversed the roof and picked up the still unconscious Deagan. Without losing momentum, he grabs onto a chimney pipe and makes a sharp mid-air turn, nearly wrenching the chimney out of its mold with a loud rusty creak.

"Stop flapping there and try to keep up, unless you enjoy being a target" as Sul/Aurok continues bounding eastward at fantastic speed.

"But what about..."

"dead... nothing we can do about that... now MOVE!" as the sound of another arrow breaks on the stone between them, the sharp ping barely audible in the rain. "We need to get to safety first... this mongrel better be worth it" as he huffs Deagan over his shoulder.
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formatting: speech in bold and darkslateblue, thoughts in italics and darkslateblue, telepathy in bold italics and indigo
- character 1: Sul

Last edited by Fil kearney; Dec 11th, 2007 at 12:32 AM.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 04:03 PM
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While Celestine had seen quite a bit of death for his years, Vintereth's sudden disintegration shocked him - how could he have not seen where those arrows came from? How could he still not see ((Celestine can see invisible creatures due to See the Unseen invocation, making his inability to see what is firing at them doubly shocking to him)). Up here he was the de facto lookout, he should've seen ... Celestine simply wasn't accustomed to failure on his part of this magnitude. Sul/Aurok's gruff voice pulled him back into reality.

"You run. I'll follow. Don't worry about me. I'll be out of sight."

That said, Celestine seems to simply pop out of existence (Walk the Unseen invocation), though Sul/Aurok can feel puffs of air at their back due to his wings beating. While he would've thought the rain would provide ample cover from snipers, it seems that this one is something special ...

Draco Pidgeon seems to appear out of nowhere (or from wherever he'd been hiding from the rain), flying alongside the invisible druid.

Last edited by zarzak; Jul 11th, 2007 at 04:03 PM.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 10:53 PM
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In a few short moments Sul/Aurok has traversed several city blocks. With enough turns and keeping to the shadows, plus the storm, any would-be pursuers would require skill of mythical proportion to find them. Celestine follows not far behind, invisible, though the faint sound of rain beating off his wings can be heard. Sul/Aurok picks the barely conscious Deagan off his back and hold him against a wall.

"Now then Mr. Deagan, we have gone to considerable pains to extract you from those demons, and we have lost some dear friends in the process. You will tell us everything you know, and everything you don't. In fact, I want you to pretend that you can read my mind and tell me everything that I want to know. If I am not satisfied with your answers, then I will break you, extract the information with my bare hands and throw you back to the wolves. Understand?" As he says this, he holds up his other free arm, shadowy tendrils extending from his fingertips, then places them on Deagan's skull, a cold deathly pressure reaching into his skull.
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- character 1: Sul
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 09:40 AM
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Safely in the lower dura, where only people like Aurok ask the questions, The dark alley they've tucked away in wouldn't know the difference between overcast skies or sunshine. The rain's distance is disguised by the thousands of rivulets tumbling down amongst the towerig structures from on high.

Deagan the Limp is shaken awake by the rough handling Sul/Aurok provides... The telepath reaches out for the man's mind in unison with the tentacles enveloping the target's head.
"Shards!"
Upon regaining consciousness, Sul realizes one of those baby-devils is still inside of Deagan, calling the shots.

As one could expect, no meaningful information is offered by the little monster-- but the fiend cannot prevent the tears from welling up in Deagan's eyes as his jaw begis working agaist his will.
Blood begins seeping from between his lips, now pouring onto Aurok's massive fist-- the little monster was chewing off deagan's own tongue in rebellion!

The mental feedback Sul receives is not pretty. The ghost knows the controlled victim has no defense against any pain felt. It's hard to sift through the mental screams and anguish the fence is experiencig to actually obtain any useful information-- but the little monster has a plan.
"Get back to master"
The little creature knows Sharn well. Disturbingly well. In it's mind it practically walks the entire route from where they stand to where it wants to go--
The Graveyard.
The tombs.
The massive statue of the Celestial Guardian

That's where they hide.

Deagan as been forced to swallow his own tongue. At this point, anything deagan may know will need to be extracted through telepathy. A gout of blood pours from his tormented face as the little crature smiles broadly,
"Mou Rafl Da Gwababbol"

Clicking through the arm's length of languages Sul knows, he can't pick this particular phrase out as being meaningful at all.
The Demon expects Deagan to die-- wants Deagan to die. The fence's lower lip is the next thing the monster can get into it's victim's mouth. More blood. More tears.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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Celestine pops out of thin air next to Deagan, an annoyed look on his face - with this spirit sight he could see the devil possessing Deagan ((is this true fil?)). "We went to far too much trouble to procure you." As he says this, he reaches out, healing energies flowing through him to Deagan, as the man's wounds slowly knit themselves back together (cure moderate wounds).

That said, Celestine spreads out his arms and a pearly light spreads out from him, as he brings the Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia into existence around them ((mildly good-aligned, mildly law-aligned; all evil creatures take a -2 circumstance penalty on cha checks, all chaotic creatures take a -2 penalty, all chaotic evil creatures take a -4 penalty; his one use of planar bubble for the day; lasts as long as Celestine can concentrate on it (up to 1 hour/level; 11 hours or 6 hours, depending on whether it means planar shepherd levels or character levels, + 3 rounds .)).

Celestine looks to Sul, then. "Your turn."

Last edited by zarzak; Jul 12th, 2007 at 09:59 AM.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 12:51 PM
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As the bubble slowly encompasses them, Sul feels a small knot in his otherwise non-existent stomach. If the experience is mildly unsettling him for him, it must nearly be painful for the demon.

"Cut that out, it's not going to be that easy" as he jabs a finger into Deagan's mouth to force it open. No amount of chewing in the world would be able to make a dent through those massive calloused hands. Half of Deagan's lower lip dangles loosely, perhaps heal-able though not without scarring. Hopefully Celestine has a way to restore his tongue as well.

"Now, little demon, you may enjoy mocking me but you forget... now that I can see you, I can hurt you, and..." (looking around at the bubble) "you have nowhere left to hide." With that, the shadows around Sul/Aurok flare into a shroud around him. Against humanoid foes this would serve to intimidate them. Against demonic foes, well, it serves to prove a point. The shadowy tendrils around Deagan's skull now sink more deeply, in search of more fiendish targets. Sul can sense the demon's uncertainty and locks in, attacking him from the realm of thought.

((thought stun, DC 30, dark companion aura imposes -2 save, I can Hexblade curse for another -2 if need be))
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- character 1: Sul

Last edited by Surreal; Jul 12th, 2007 at 12:54 PM.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 11:45 PM
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Deagan's eyes change immediately-- although the little demon s still within, it's control hs been temporarily subdued by the ghost's mental assault.

The healing provided by Celestine restored most function to Deagan's mouth... but he now has an eccentric lisp as well....
"Oh, Godth! Pleathe ged me OUD OF HERE! I don'd care whad you wand! I'll dell you anything! Jutht ged thith horrid thing oudda my HEAD!"

The fence begins from the beginning.. a connection of his named Benny the Lizard, a smart little kobold in the lower cogs set up an arrangement for him... get a job at the wharf on night security, when the forged come around, take em to a crate. It's a specific crate, etched with all sorts of wierd symbols and prints. when the forged show up, open the crate, there's two bags... one for Deagan, ONe for the Forged. The forged replace the two bags with two bags of their own. No one says nothing, everyone walks away.
Deagan has been doing this since the Heists began. Of course he knew what the 'forged were carrying, but he technically never laid a finger on the goods, never saw the goods, and has been able to finally pay off his bookies. The gig ws to last another four drops over the next week. Then he'd be done, and clear. No more worries, no more looking over his back.
Then the Demons showed up. Said they wanted some "insurance"... This has been the worst day of his life. His face isn't the first thing those little demons have "nibbled on", and now a number of the little theif's vacation plans have changed for life.
All this takes a few moments; telepathy has to help fill in the gaps of incoherant babbling as the wretched human attempts to spit out all of the story as fast as possible.

Both Celestine and Sul/Aurok furrow their brow... Not the most enlightening of stories.
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 01:28 AM
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((really short post from me; I'm running helter skelter trying to get ready for my trip)

"Well then Mr. Deagan, I believe we have some crates to visit."

Telepathically to Celestine: "We'll head back to the docks and retrieve Vintereth's remains. The jewel we purchased should still be within the ashes. I can hide myself within the gem and we can make the exchange in the crates on schedule. Hopefully this will bring us a step closer to solving this mystery..."
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- character 1: Sul
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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Celestine gives a nod.

"I'll be invisible for the flight back, just in case."

That said, he seems to wink out of existence after a few words and gestures. The only indication of where he is going is the tiny form of Draco-Pigeon flitting after him.

"I wonder if its been long enough yet for the transformation ..."

Flying quickly, Celestine makes it back to the dock well before Sul/Aurok (240' run fly speed), who has to navigate his way through the various alleyways they'd come by earlier. Before he settles down to collects Vintereth's equipment, he looks around to make sure the area is clear (spot check ). Not noticing anything immediately obvious due to the heavy rain, settles down, and begins to collect Vintereth's gear (still invisible).
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 01:26 PM
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The storm's fury was not at its peak, yet it still rained heavily. Such weather could not pass into the Ethereal, but it was still dimly visible from that plane.

One by one, the Thranish mercenaries appeared from ectoplasmic nothingness to survey their surroundings. They could not stay quickly, for they would need to pass on to join with the divine fire of the Silver Flame.

But Vintereth also was recreated before they left. Her appearance remained that of an armored warforged; while this equipment could do nothing, it remained there with her unconscious sense of self. So this is how things are...dead and yet not quite beyond. I had heard much of this, but to experience it is altogether distinct.

"You! Your crew fouled this all up!"

Vintereth turned to face the Thranes. Despite her own disturbing appearance, she did not look the worse for wear with her small wounds. They did; all four were heavily scorched by the Stonebrothers' Fireballs.

"Did we? How then would you have dealt with the Stonebrothers, set to extract and potentially kill Deegan? What of the jovocs and the other gigantic walking weaponry? If your whole intent was to speak to Deegan...how did you plan to converse with him before one of the others could simply remove him?

In short...what did you expect to be able to do when you were badly overmatched?"


One dwarf snorted. "Th' same to ya, dearie. Yer dead, just like us." And as Vintereth thought, he did have a point.

"That was more out of luck than skill...for I will not continue in this state for long, if I can affect anything."

The cleric stepped in to cool the argument. "What's done is done. But we've the lightning rail to catch, to merge with the Flame. I take it you'll not be coming?"

Vintereth glared at the man. Damnable proselyting priests. Their gods always have the answers...expect when they frequently do not. "I will not. You are certain that you will be passing on, however? Do you not wish to at least notify your superiors?"

"They'll know that we've not returned and do the right thing. Shall we move on then, men?"

Four ectoplasmic visages began to fade back out. No dying wishes? Just this feeling of peace? I shall likely not have such true rest for weeks, if not months or years. This is something very strange we are getting into, is it not?

"WAIT!"

Four ghosts ceased fading further. The priest cocked an eyebrow at Vintereth. "Yes...?"

"What would you wish to be done to your bodies, now that you are dead and walking beyond the Veil?"

The man smiled. There was a palpable sense that it would be his last one. "If you don't take them back to the church, bury them and pray that we might be accepted into the Flame." And then he and his compatriots were gone.

OoC: I was thinking of "Be Absentminded", one of the tracks from Tales of Phantasia, when writing this.
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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Vintereth Tolmaki raced through the streets along the docks of Sharn. House Phiarlan had taken a dim view of the Thuranni agent appearing in the city - despite her reluctant retirement ten years ago. Her reputation was still after her in certain circles, it seemed.

Ducking into a nearby warehouse, she paused to catch her breath. Her armor was sturdy, and yet silent when it needed to be. After all, she'd made it herself, and was an experienced magical smith. Thuranni did not doubt her value.

Safe for the moment, Vintereth turned to survey the warehouse. This one had been recently blasted apart, it seemed. There was a large hole near the former doorway opposite her, ringed by scorch marks and ammunition. Broken planking and crates littered the ground outside it.

The first corpse the Aereni drow saw was that of an outsider composed of chains. It seemed that someone had killed it with one solid blow. That must have been an incredible chop with that blade - likely by some hulking monster. There were more corpses; four were of burned devotees of the Silver Flame, and a few more were jovocs. A nasty battle indeed! But one set of remains was different from the rest.

"Set of remains" was the most appropriate term, for the equipment dwarfed the bodily remains present. This one had been disintegrated - the dust was luckily present in a neat pile within it's owner's armor. The equipment itself surprised Vintereth, for much of its craftsmenship seemed nearly identical to her own. The helm, the glasses, the gloves, the armor, the works. It was only when she searched did she notice the differences. The armor and amulet were both marked by a spider pierced by a dagger - rather than the spider of Tolmaki. Examining the corpse's backpack, she found a spellbook. Not a prayerbook, but a spellbook. The other books were things she might have read, including Beyond Countless Doorways. Skimming, the elf found that that particular text detailed the author's journey across a number of planes before arriving upon Eberron.

"It is mostly correct, in case you were wondering. Certain details have been changed, but only to protect those involved or to ensure privacy."

Her head whirled in the direction of the voice. A ghost? Why has only this one stayed here? And...why does she look like that? So much like I do... "...who...are you?"

Her quavering voice did not change the ghost's calm visage. "I am the author of that text you have been looking over. And the being whose body you have been looting or otherwise searching. It is depressing that I am the only one who remains - the Thranes left to join with their 'divine fire', and the jovocs have no distinction between body and soul. Thus have I been waiting."

Calm yourself, Vintereth. Ghosts are part of the natural spiritual progression. Despite these thoughts, she couldn't help but remain disturbed. It was not so much that the being near her was a ghost recently entered onto the Spirit Plane - it was that this ghost seemed a dark twin of her. Or a light twin for that matter...I am drow, after all. The trembling continued, though it began to subside. "But...that does not...answer my question."

"It did. It may not have answered the implicit query behind it, however."

Clearly this being was willing to speak, if cryptically. "Why do you resemble me so well? The craftmanship, the familial symbol you used there, even your appearance. How is it that you are my mirror image?"

"For a start, my name is Vintereth Tolmaki." The elf drew in breath sharply. An identical name? "From the sound of things, that is yours as well. But you are a pureblood elf, and a native of Eberron, are you not? I am neither. Though my ancestry does seem to have certain connections to this world, I am - or more precisely, was - a changeling of Serran. Suffice it to say that I am your literal doppleganger.

I must admit that I was more surprised than you when I first made the connection. But that was minutes ago, when I was hidden from your sight."


An alternate self indeed...and yet different in certain ways. I have the power of my ancestors in the Court to guide me...but what of her? "What was the meaning, then, of your family's symbol? The Aereni family of Tolmaki used the spider as its icon, representing stealth and information gathering. But yours is...marred in its death throes."

The ghost scowled at her. "A deity of long past that once held us in her grip with her insane edicts. The Mistress of Mixed Messages was something of a spider herself - that Tolmaki of Serran now despises above all other deities." The changeling floated upwards to view the effective roadway above the warehouses. "In any case, one of my companions will soon be here to inspect my remains. What say you to meeting with me and the remainder of them tomorrow in the spires of Silvergate? I know that you shall be available, after all."

This last statement of the ghost reminded Vintereth of her double's capabilities. She was likely an arcane spellcaster...but also a being who specialized in knowing. Even more so than I? Only the akashics have that level of prowess...and they are few even within Phiarlan and Thuranni. This is a being worth watching, it seems.

Celestine arrived only to see the ghost of Vintereth, the one he expected. "So when might I be able to use my things again? Would I have to wait for our other spirit friend to reappear on this plane?"

All the while, the Aereni elf smiled in the shadows. Her double didn't plan to reveal the entirety of things just yet...much like herself.
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Old Jul 16th, 2007, 04:36 PM
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"Vintereth, it is good to see you ... here." The druid, while glad to see that Vintereth had chosen to come back, is somewhat annoyed at the inconvenience that death can cause. "I'm afraid I don't have the spells necessary to give you your gear at this time ... Sul might be able to aid with that. Our comrades should be arriving shortly. After that I believe our next stop should be the graveyard."

That said, Celestine bends down to gather up Vintereth's assorted gear. "Is there anything I shouldn't be putting in my bag of holding?"
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 11:38 PM
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Chapter 2: The Center of the Storm

Not a moment later, Aurok bounds acros the roof of the damaged warehouse, causing a deep gouge in the weather-proof exterior slanting towards the water's edge. Sul recognizes Vintereth immediately standing quietly on the otheside of life.

Departing Aurok's body, Sul flits to where celestine has been gathering her gear. With a thought, the undead filcher retrieves the baubles Vintereth purchased at the merchant's store earlier today.
"this will help us get to the bottom of where the stolen goods have gone. Deagan... where is the box?"

The wretched fence points over towards the mass of crates where he was burined recently in battle. Tromping over to the mess, Aurok sets the little man down to sift through the mess.
"Here it ith."
Deagan says, again pointing at a man-sizede box with lots of unusual carvings and symbols on every surface.
"I'll open it."

as expected, two bags sit within the trunk. the capacity it could carry far outmeasures the small contents within.
Aurok gingerly reaches into the box, as though not wanting to touch the sides of the eery object-- and plucks out the two packages... Deagan grabs one with greedy speed, dumping the content into another pouch he has in his jacket.
Aurok does the same, feeling the weight of coins fill his purse.. the flash of platinum would certainly be tantalizing to any pickpocket or scoundrel.
((OOC: 500 platinum))

Taking the two empty bags, Celestine places the jewelry that Vintereth purchased and in the bags... awfully skimpy it would seem...but there aren't any other items to offer...

Looting the cleric and his dwarven goons yeilds a holy symbol, and a few ring insignias on the dwarves that look familiar... Vintereth confirms they match the coat of arms of the Korvaire Stoneworker's Alliance-- which likely means these were the Inquisitors Murgis warned them to stay clear of.
Pawing through the armour and weapons, the dead have few other possessions that survived the fireballs.

AFter Sul possesses the necklace, the two bags are placed back in the box. Deagan latches the trunk and buries it under the wreckage where it was found.

Much to vintereth's surprise, the trunk comes into sharp focus an instant after Deagan closes it. Readjustin her eyes, it apears to exist on both planes simultaneously (DM15)... both in the real world and beyond.
Deagan and Arok sense nothing unusual, but it is plain to both Celestine and the now dead changling....
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Last edited by Fil kearney; Aug 6th, 2007 at 04:51 PM.
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Old Jul 18th, 2007, 02:40 AM
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"My my...a planeshifting box. Doubtless useful to the Stonebrothers, allowing them to peruse its contents without ever being seen on the Material Plane of Eberron. I can touch it and even lift it with these hands of ectoplasm, and yet I am not on the Material where this exists simultaneously.

Speaking of that...Celestine, might you be able to place my things in that locker such that I can retrieve them on the Spiritual? That would greatly help to simplify things on both ends. And this of course includes my ashes...they would prove useful for use in most resurrections, after all."


The druid complied, and Vintereth was able to replace her equipment. "How long might we be waiting here, if at all? I know that I can sit in the shadows and patiently watch...but when will the retrievers come?"

The changeling thought for a few seconds before smiling. "I have a better idea. Might one of you be able to open this on the Material after I close it? It would make things easier in certain respects." With that, she climbed into the crate and shut the lid. A bemused Aurok opened it to find a mildly shiny but definitively solid Vintereth.
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Old Jul 18th, 2007, 02:57 AM
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While Celestine had been putting Vintereth's gear into bags of holding (hers and his) and otherwise carrying it (in his current werebear form he was actually quite strong ((a light load is 932 pounds))) he had quietly muttered instructions to his two wrights to start work on his cloak. Quietly powering them with two spells (Eagle's Splendor and Resistance) he sets the wrights to work on his cloak (adding +2 charisma to the cloak and +5 resistance bonus to the cloak ((as per the magic item compendium rules))).

That task done Celestine turns to the trunk and the job of putting the bags in. Once the trunk has been closed Celestine's eyes widen slightly in surprise as he sees it manifests both in the ethereal and prime plane. Fairly sure that he recongizes the effect, Celestine turns to the ghost of Vintereth once Deagan had replaced the trunk.

"Now that Sul is otherwise occupied it is somewhat fortunate that you are in this state - it will most likely aid in our investigations at the graveyard. Though perhaps first we should first find Tanner and Mara?" With that last question Celestine turned to include Aurok in his gaze as well, as Draco Pigeon settles on the Druid's shoulder. Celestine mutters a command word and a wide-brimmed hat appears on his head (Hat of Disguise), under which Draco Pigeon takes shelter form the relentless rain, shaking water off of his feathers.
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