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  #61  
Old 11-12-2017, 09:35 PM
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The Clay

Wild Shape

The Dream She came to him in a dream as she always did. But this was no ordinary dream, nor was it one of the nightmares that Lamashtu sent to her followers. This time, the dream was real.

She stood before him, her massive jackal head peering down at him, her third eye staring directly into Grak'Ark's mind. Her tail twitched as she spoke and a single sharp claw ran comfortingly around her heavily distended belly. Her shrill voice sent a chill down his spine as she spoke, the words simulataneously filling him both with a sense of awe and dread.

"You are a strange one, Grak'Ark. You have abandoned your own pack and joined with hairless pafe - even taking one of them as your own leader. You have put countless gnolls to the edge of your wicked blade. And yet you claim to do all this in my name?

What should I make of you?"
she asks, her lactating breasts pulsing heavily as she towers over the mortal frame of Grak'Ark menacingly.

"All I do is for your glory. Make of me what you will." he responds with all sincerity, his arms held wide as he exposes his naked belly to her judgement.

"And so I shall." she responds with a merciless smile, reaching out with one of her powerful claws, lifting him into the air as if he were a mere plaything.

The poison of her razor-like claws flowed through his body as they pierced his skin as if it was paper. Pain unlike any he had felt before flowed through his body as she pinched his hips, the indentation forcing his head lower to the ground. She continued as she snapped each of his legs like a wishbone, followed by his arms. With a single claw, she reached into his mouth and pulled, cracking his jaw and the roof of his mouth.

She released him, allowing him to drop to the ground, where he writhed in agony from the mortal wounds. But Lamashtu did not let him die, she followed her mutilation with simple wink of her eye. As she blinked, the wounds began to scab over, a wave of healing flushed over him. He legs fused together, but bent in the opposite direction they normally did. His mouth heals as well, an elongated version of what he once had,but with more power.

He inhaled deeply and nearly choked on his own tongue, for the myriad of scents that filled his nose were unlike any he had felt before. And then it was that he realized, he was no longer a gnoll. The Demon Mother had changed him into a hyenadon, a powerful beast born for a single purpose. To feed

His mouth opened as he called out to his goddess, but the words came out as a hideous laugh. But it did not matter, for she had already vanished, having grown tired of the plaything.


Grak'Ark the gnoll's eyes fluttered open as he awoke from his painful slumber. He could feel the poison still coursing through his veins and he saw the oozing blood leaking from the puncture wounds made by her claws. He had offered himself fully to the goddess and she had abused and mutilated him, leaving him writhing in pain without the mercy of death. The goddess had shown him that he was her slave and she could force him into whatever form suited her needs, regardless of the pain and personal cost to her servant.

And as he sat quivering in the pain brought to him by the Mistress of Monsters, Grak'Ark was able to croak out a single, garbled word through his blood stained lips.

"Glorious"

Last edited by Squeak; 11-12-2017 at 11:18 PM.
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  #62  
Old 11-25-2017, 12:59 AM
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Memories collide with the present
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As Remkah`ar sat on the edge of the lava pool watching his family engage the Salamanders they had vowed to destroy he felt dizzy, almost unconscious as he felt himself fall backward. He had anticipated feeling himself fall into the rocks as he lost his footing, but instead, he sensed himself plummet into a void of sorts, floating for a moment in the nothingness. He felt a tightness in his chest not knowing what was happening as he bit his lip. He felt his posture loosen as he fell further into this void, as though there was no one there to catch him.

Visions of Drusilla and Grak’ark flashed across his field of view for a moment as other images knocked them away. For some unknown reason, he grasped the ring he wore, the ring that had captured Vardishal some millennia ago after the War of Wishes. The vessel strong enough to hold a Hero of the War of Wishes, yet now vacant demonstrating that Vardishal had escaped.

As he felt steady, Remkah`ar saw that he was floating in the air over a balcony as to Genies argued. Deep down he recognized this was a quarrel of brothers, crashing into a conflict of purposes that categorically opposed each other.

Jhavhul glared at his brother, “Can’t you see the prophecy in my plan if we draw a company of the Salamanders into that world to defeat the gnolls they will not stand a chance! It is so perfect that it does not even require thought my brother.”

Vardishal shot back, “But they are only slaves, have we not done them enough torment by forcing them to forge our metal and slave in the workshops. To tear them away from the small life and their family for your intentions is outside of cruel.”

Remkah`ar watched in vain as Jhavhul backhanded his brother Vardishal into the wall, “Be quiet and listen to me,” Jhavhul bawled as his brother tried to recover from the stunning blow. “I will take Thratnias and her company of flame brothers to decimate these gnolls on that frigid plane. Do not try to stop me or we will be forced into mortal combat!” Jhavhul declared as flames seemed to erupt from his eyes.

Vardishal was stunned by the blow, and Remkah`ar could perceive how helpless he felt to stop his brother as he stormed off the balcony and into the palace. Vardishal had a look of defeat as he realized these creatures that belonged on this plane may never see their home ever again.

As curiously and quickly as he had felt himself fall Remkah`ar felt his feet solidly entrenched on the beach of the lava pool as he looked up and saw Grak’ark wrestling with the Flame Brother on the rocks before him. He shook his head to clear his head from vision and paid attention if Drusilla or Grak’ark needed anything he could aid them with.
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  #63  
Old 01-14-2018, 01:24 AM
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What evil exist in my future?
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Remkah`ar felt at ease as the troop made their way across the bridge and into Kelmarane. It was a charming village just this side of the Pale Mountain and the villagers were very welcoming. Perhaps they had found their way back to civilization. The baroque buildings stood out as though an artist had painted them on canvas. The temple to the south held his attention above all else. Remkah`ar was not a holy man himself, but he did respect those that followed their tenants, and whoever was the head priest here was observably devoted.

They found comfort for the night in the hotel over the stables. It felt odd to Remkah`ar how welcoming the villagers were of Gazouq and Pandrecha. A Gnoll and a Witch were not welcome in most places in this land for fear of their evil ways, but no one seemed like he or she was concerned. That helped Remkah`ar feel even more at ease as they ate their dinner in the tavern and prepared to sleep.

After dinner, they retired to their rooms and prepared for a civil night in a comfortable bed before they continued in the morning. Remkah`ar’s dreams troubled him that night. He had visions of Dullen again, the priest that had been haunting him since the gates to the Sinister Cleave, only now Dullen was much younger – AND – he had a family in this village. Remkah`ar awoke with a snap as he sat up in his bed. He sensed out of breath and felt himself shaking in the cold desert night. He rose from his bed to glance out the window and looked to the temple. Something was wrong, he could feel it at his core, but he did not know what was causing these apprehensions. He dressed and determined to himself that he would go to the temple, the center of his unknown concerns and find out the cause of them.

He was greeted by a lowly acolyte, and after a short discussion, he was informed the head priest was a man known as Halruun. “Forgive my intrusion,” Remkah`ar asked, “but, does Halruun have any family here.” The acolyte responded, “Yes he survives his wife and has two sons following in his shadows, Dullen and Brotis. Why do you ask, are you, friend?” Remkah`ar felt a tightness in his chest when he heard the name Dullen and took a deep breath before exhaling slowly, “No, I have never met them before, I was just curious.”

The acolyte allowed Remkah`ar entrance inside the temple, and he felt a cold breeze across his soul as though there was something evil in this temple. It was a strange feeling as the gold plating on the statuaries, and the bright light from the various temple holy symbols exuded an appearance of good and holiness. At this time of night, there was no one else in the temple but the priest praying quietly near the altar. Remkah`ar did not proceed any further. The red hair on the back of his neck was standing out, and the fear of utter world destruction was plucking at his mind. This was not a safe place to be, and we should leave as soon as possible he thought. He thanked the acolyte on the way out and made his way back to his room where he did not sleep the rest of the night.

As soon as the sun peaked its rays over the sands, Remkah`ar was up and at Pandrecha’s door. The witch answered quickly, as though she were already awake and ready to leave. Remkah`ar opened his mouth to speak, but Pandrecha interrupted his thoughts. “Something evil is seeping into this village, and the priest Halruun has been turned, we must leave.”

Remkah`ar shuffled back a step as his skin tingled. His mind went incoherent for a moment as he heard the words but did not know how to comprehend them. How did Pandrecha know the vision in his dream, or was it a dream. As his mind coalesced and found stable ground, he looked back at the Witch. She had a look of determination and that confirmed his premonition. He turned to go to find Gazouq, and the gnoll was already in the hallway ready to leave.

The trio left the hotel and the village of Kelmarane as quickly as they could. Disappearing into the Pesh fields and heading for home, or at least the squalor of the vast city they called home, the Nightstalls of Katapesh.
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Last edited by PIG; 01-27-2018 at 12:20 PM.
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  #64  
Old 01-30-2018, 04:48 PM
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A WAR WITHOUT RIVALS

Thematic Music

Sorn, Furcina Plains, Ardeal, Ustalav, Avistan, Golarion
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These were the years when the Furcina plains was introduced to olives - explorations to Southern Taldor and Qadira had yielded a few variants for experimentation in the Ustalavian rich soil. Great rows of the short, gnarled trees stood with easy white flowers and yielded neat, hard-skinned little olives with intense taste and a beautifully fragile purple hue. The fruits was picked by the nons devoted to Erastil and overseen by one of the deputies of Sorn - the thriving community Hector had been blessed with as economical and strategical leader under Count Olomon Venacdahlia - and brought in to two brand new worksheds solely erected for handling olives. This initiative had created employment for dozen of citizens and overall happiness.

Count Olomon was economically and politcally supported by the powerful and industrious Countess Carmilla Caliphvaso - the very reason why Hector of House Grimm in Lozeri county had been tasked with this job - his house had supported Caliphvaso's claims and schemes for two decades when they were in power - a feat hard to forget.

In the early spring 4689 AR - when the sun had gained momentum on the days and the buds of the olive trees have begun to swell - the informant returned from a Barstoi operation with grave news, heralding Count Aericnein Neska's claims of Olomon's incompetence and what would, later that year, be known as the beginning of the War Without Rivals.

Sorn was one of the primary resource foci for Ardeal, with huge rural areas full off rich, golden wheat fields, lush streams full of fresh-Water fish and, with Hector's genius addition, a luxury resource in form of olive products. It was one of Neska's Stepping stones for the war, that the current owner (Olomon) wantonly wasted the potential of this particular region - now where did that put the one who was in charge of that area? Needless to say, Hector had gone from being pretty damn satisfied with his own contributions to the overall progress of Sorn, Furcina, Ardeal and his life in general through a rapid deroute and ending up like a lice between two equally solid finger nails ready to pry everything little tidbit of success off him like vultures would do to a carcass.


Smack! his three-ringed hand hit her hard on her thick cheeks and flung her back in a cry. She hit the supporter beam for the bead and her nude form washed over the silken bed linen before she curled up in a sobbing worm of Chelaxian fat and fair skin. Hector stood rank and naked over her, his breast rising and falling with wrathful breathing. His grey eyes pierced right through her and saw something else. The downfall of his enemies, the freedom of his citizens and the law unfolding to make things right again. Marylinn's ragged sobs drew him out of his misery and he looked from the bloody nose of hers to his hand. Three colors. Pale orange carnelian, vibrant malachite and fragile, misty scolecite. You have become fat, Marylinn. Like these lands. Rich and voluminous and vibrantly full of life, his voice was hard, lecturing and with no hint of the regret he had felt for the shortest of moments, You can take a hit, rise and wipe off the blood like it was water from the rain. He squirmed up up on her, her plump figure unfolding in a chaos of folds, nooks and crevices. She looked at him with tears in her blinking eyes. She knew nothing of the downfall that would was inevitable and it angered him to conclude it. He held his chin high, looking from the tower room out over the canals and fields in the gloomy dusk. There was fires lined up - far out in the horizon. Neska's camp. On the other side of Sorn's districts had Olomon set up his defenses. There would be war.

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Stupid, stupid whore. He used his knees to press her down into the mattress until he sat right over her chest. She looked baffled - no wonder. But my dear little Marylinn? What if the hits and the beatings, the torture and the razings, the deprivation and corruption, the thefts and robberies and the slaughter and butchering will pile on and continue until you are left barren, desolate, breathless and slain in cold, dried blood? Words to fuel your thoughts, bitch. Would you then, my dear Marylinn, be able to rise and walk away? for a long moment the scared merchant daughter with her plumb face and beady eyes just kept her fearful eyes on him - searching for mercy maybe. Searching for a way out, but there was none. That was kind of the point. The night would be one long painful test of vigor, last resolve and inwardly won victories. He would be the shepherd of mortality and rulership and she would be his faithful little lamb...

One week later, Neska was marching for war and he was herding big groups of innocent folk, caravans and merchants before him. He had a rough way of handling anything that slowed him down or opposed his intentions, thus the groups that came through Sorn, seeking friendly territory had tales that required a strong stomach and they, themselves, were busy to continue as far away from the onslaught and pressure as possible. Hector had received an emissary from Carmilla Caliphvaso herself - a particular bright-eyed fellow named Clemment Sixprin. Hector had been unnerved by the man's sly ways right from the get go, but he was an agent of the Countess herself and he could hardly do anything else than take him in as the adviser he claimed to be. As if that was not enough, Count Olomon had also send a delegation of counselors and sages to aid in preparing defenses, while it felt like they hawked over his food resources and laid plans for how to turn the place around to a fortification rather than a township. At one such meetings where the band of advisers cackled up about preparing defensive positions here, dissembling the olive oil halls for field hospitals and other horrible ideas and Sixprin soaked himself in the finest Qadiran wine while offering nothing but sly smiles and teasing remarks to Hector, there was a messenger heralding a particular grand group of merchants that had arrived outside the city gates asking for permission to file through. Why have you come with this to me? Hector demanded. Groups of merchants constantly filed through the gates and he had not been tasked with trifles like this before. Master Grimm? the annoying and garlic-reeking strategical adviser from Olomon called from the other end of the room. Hector looked weary from the messenger to the adviser and saw to his disgust, that Clemment had emptied the canteen of wine - almost all by himself. Yes. Give me a moment, and I'll be... he was cut off by the half-deaf crone that was supposedly maintaining goodwill of Gorum - a feat in itself - The time is now... she had turned pale and shook like an aspen leaf. Hector took a worried step towards her, noticing to his dismay that in her odd revelation, she had not been able to hold her bodily fluids within... To further fuel his wrath the messenger had the insolence to call for his attention again, Captain Grimm. The merchants... what should I...


Hector Grimm lost his temper. He had an empty crystal wine glass in his hand - one that would stay empty due to the intemperance of Clemment Sixprin. He threw it with all his might at the wall beside the messenger. Shut your mouth! Don't bother me with stupid peddlers seeking refuge when we are at the brink of war. he turned to face the witch behind him - his throat bulging and the veins pumping blood to his brain, and for the sake of everything that is true - what in the nine hells are you babbling about woman? he took four angry steps closer to Clemment and grabbed him by the collar. In Sorn we aid each other. We don't just stroll around and pretend that everything is gay and merry. Got it? If you want to drink fine wine and joke - go somewhere else.

The room had fallen silent. Dead silent, save for the running footsteps of the messenger as he dashed down the stairs in the outside tower. Sixprin didn't look happy. He narrowed his eyes and had a hard line for mouth. He shook himself lose and walked slowly from the room. probably not the best idea, Hector...

Minutes later he followed the procession of the biggest caravan of sprawled colors and variety that he had ever seen before, snake through his town to safety on the other side. There was over a thousand gypsies, caravan guards, derelicts, whores and traders in the group and half as many mounts plus carriages, wagons, carts and wheelbarrows. Hector found himself starring at it and wishing that he had foreseen their entrance. How could he not have known of their presence in the fields of Furcina before now?

It turned out that the snake of traders, was indeed the biggest show of strategical battle bluffing Ustalav had ever seen. Every artist, merchant, prostitute or beggar in the procession was a soldier, knight, assassin or archer, every mount was battle trained and every carriage held weapons and provisions for war. One week later, one third of the army had, unknowingly to Hector - or maybe just because of fate, wrath and bad coincidence - marched right through the best defensive positions of the Furcina plains and the invasion was as good as complete.


The night this became apparent to Hector he had a nightmare. A battle-hardened beauty of an angel came to visit him and free him from his bonds. Dark wings sprouted from her back and her divine face was encroached by jet-black hair. She kissed him and took him in his sleep to a sexual climax before she tore him from his earthly bonds, burst through the roof and lifted him up, high above the wicked, treacherous plains of Furcina. Here she whispered words that he still clung to in the morning,

"Even as the Archfiend is the great revealing one who bestows the structure of the absolute onto the created, his penumbra, Eiseth - seducer of the First King - conceal the nature of the perfect. We are those who oppose mortality, only to grant what is stronger and ring true. Now live through the ignominy and return to me, stronger."

She dropped him from there, with a wicked, devilish grin to her face and he was impaled by an olive tree that had risen to a jagged spire. He woke, drenched in sweat and his seed spilled over the scarlet bedding. Above all, he had a trembling urge to seek answers...

Last edited by Dressedtojazz; 04-24-2018 at 05:50 AM.
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  #65  
Old 03-01-2018, 05:18 PM
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A PARTICULAR BRIGHT-EYED FELLOW

Thematic Music

Katapesh City, Katapesh, Garund, Golarion
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Clemment Sixprin
I know just the man for the job, Clemment smiled wide to the conglomerate of powerful men and women in the bathroom. He smiled a lot and that smile, along with his playful attitude and entrance to almost everything had gotten him far on the rainbow of power. Clemment was an ambitious entrepreneur from Caliphas and his quick rise from a mere thug among the Pathfinder initiates hanging around the Vodavani Lodge to a rich kid lobbying for new trade opportunities out of Ustalav at the court, was noted and acted upon by the scheming and power-hungry Countess Carmilla Caliphvaso.

Clemment Sixprin sat cross legged, as it was custom, on a purple silken ottoman with inlaid scent-sachets - every move he made gave off faint whiffs of dried rose and carnation. His ash hair was neatly tied back in a little Galtan-style pony-tail and the orb lights glinted in the midnight iolite gems that sat in his earrings, necklace and wristband. Clemment always cared much for the colors of his clothing and accessories to match and as todays counter to the dark-blue gems he had chosen egg-cream silken drawstring breeches trimmed with beaver fur and a loose beige tunic embroidered with black floral pattern along the neck.

Hector Grimm... he elaborated as none of them spoke and he felt the silence suffocating him, an expendable man under the Countess' ever-growing regime. He has a few stars on his shoulders and will act in accordance with the lady's wants, but should failure become an issue, everyone back home will nod in acknowledgement that Captain Grimm, Sixprin sneered out both title and surname, failed his Countess and country again.

Clemment leaned back and breathed in the scent of roses blending in with the pesh pipe on the stool beside him. He squinted at it and considered another relieving suck, but he gave it another wait. I have to secure this before I indulge in the love the city has to offer. Instead he turned his attention on the three before him,

Lebora of Graal, an attractive middle-aged lady if not for the left eye bulging like a fish and constantly leaking yellow puss. She wore her wealth like a queen, with veils and glitter adorning her massive headpiece and her stiffened neck. She had only spoken once, when introducing her name and the amount she was willing to support Clemment with, should he have the guts to pull off the job. Since then, she had waved her maroon fan with one hand and dubbed away puss with a moist cloth with the other. Her hands was constant moving and Clemment found it unnerving.

Pontiac Locus, the mastermind behind the Zelshabbar raids that brought home an abundance of luxury goods from the Kelesh satrap without leaving a single hint back that the base for the operation was Katapesh. Clemment was in awe that Pontiac had answered his call. The man was black like the night, with short-cropped beard and hair and a pleasant vanilla smell. He carried two large knives on his hip and had, since they entered the room, already administered several messengers carried back and forth by his young boy servant.

The last, Kowl, was as different from the two others than he was a freak of nature. Even while seated, he towered two-to-three heads over Clemment and his tusky face with all the tribal tattoos of the wild only made his scowling expression that much more frightening. He spoke louder than Clemment would have liked - this being a meeting that was carrying a necessary level of secrecy - and he had a bad habit of pointing at Clemment whenever he spoke of the flaws in the plan. As if the weak points are my work?

Kowl spoke again, rough bass elbowing its way through the room, What if your suicide servant decides to screw you up and sell you off to Epoch? Not only did he point three times during that question at Clemment, "your suicide servant", "screw you up" and "sell you off..." He also had the insolence to bellow out the name of one of the most notorious dealers of all things exotic in the city and the very target of the operation. Clemment gulped down the answer he wanted to give, Then I'll make sure that you are dragged down with Hector when he falls..., and laid his soft fingers on the big man's knee, Oh, Hector? He does not have clearance to know as much. He'll be given the information that is enough to explain the wares origin and a story to fuel his desire for the Countess' appreciation, Something the fool will never have, as long as I have anything to say, so in the unlikely event of a failed expedition, we will lose the goods - a blow to all of us - and I will lose a man. I can live with that. There is no way that it can ever fall back on me, much less any of you.


The arrangement was straight forward: Clemment had found that there was a large shipment of valuable exotic drugs and magical-enhanced weapons that was waiting for distribution on the market in Katapesh. The sum of gold that it would grant was enough to send Clemment a few life-standards higher for the rest of his life and so he had made the arrangements for aid. Lebora would provide him with funds to hire a decent mercenary-protected caravan to go North. Kowl would lend a force to help dig out the wares from the warehouse and Pontiac would make sure that the heist operation would go smoothly and avoid the watchful eyes of the Pactmasters and Abadar's stern gaze.
Clemment would then send off the caravan with Hector as a living pass to make the story feasible and be ready to cash in the reward when his contacts in Driftwood smuggle the goods out to an Osirion buyer waiting on a sailing vessel there. As the emissary of Countess Carmilla Caliphvaso, Clemment has arranged it, so that the three benefactors would become beneficiaries of the soon-to-be ruler of entire Ustalav. None of them knew about the Osirion merchant and Sixprin would be leagues away from their grasp, if they ever found out. The countess would understand too, he was sure. In fact, he had the idea that she would support him, when he returned with wealth, experience and power. After all - if all played out like he wanted it to - he would have dealt with the failure of Hector Grimm, for the dear countess, too.

Last edited by Dressedtojazz; 04-24-2018 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 09-26-2018, 02:41 PM
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House of the Beast: Day 2
Gozran 12 4710 – Sunday

Sunrise 6:30AM | 8:00PM Sunset
(12:44PM)

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Darkvision
All Gnolls (60')


House of the Beast: The Lower Temple


Johace trembles in the slave pin, her hands shaking despite the filthy heat. She wipes her tears from her dirty face with stubby fingers. She hadn’t seen her younger brother, Garret, for days and hopes against hope that he is still in the mines.

She swallows and feels the sourness in her throat. The female halfling had forced her self to eat the slop the gnolls fed them but she couldn’t keep it down while having to breath in the stench of the House of the Beast. Her vomiting has gotten worse.

Forty years of age, she tried keeping up with the other slaves in the mines but her body was just failing her altogether. She would even fumble when loading the alchemy explosives in tight halfling-sized holes to detonate and loosen rock. The slavemasters made her pay dearly for blotching the job, the cuts from their razor tipped whips have ripped her back. The soars are now infected and the poisonous bacteria is now ravaging her immune system, which is causing the shakes. Her liver and kidneys are shutting down and she can barely stand. The other halfling slaves helped her the best they could but only so much could be done. “Oh Garret. Where are you?” she whispers to her self. She only holds onto to life for his sake.

Unable to work she remains here, with a few feeble humans, when she hears the slavemasters coming.

Gnolls are frightening, violent creatures and Johace panics as they hoot and holler, whipping the ground and grabbing their chains. Are they sending her back to work? She doesn’t think she can handle even taking a few steps.

The gnolls just drag her as the other slaves are ushered ahead. Her furry feet cut open and she leaves a trail of blood behind, the gnoll’s strong claws grip each arm. She goes limp under their strength, letting her head bow forward. Torch light comes and goes, lit for the slaves to navigate by. Then darkness envelope the hallways as she is dragged past the stairs leading up to the Middle Temple and the mines. Where are they going? She is frightened and helpless when they come to heavy, battered, metal doors that she has only seen from the distance. Horrible, deprived sounds can be heard behind it.

The doors lurch open and a blast of sick, feverish wind introduces our poor halfling to a deprived festival of fur, blood, pain, rot, and death. It is the Hall of Whispers.

The only light she can see by are the dozen or so fires speckled throughout the enormous room- some for cooking but most are for ritual burning. Gnolls have darkvision and spend their life in darkness. Unseen, a pair are hiccuping laughter next to her, their feral eyes glinting in the distant light as they rip something wet apart. Up ahead a massive gnoll is on top of another gnoll by the fire, biting it’s neck from behind and thrusting forward. A scream comes from behind a massive stone stairway curving to the ceiling as a fire flares. A trunk of expensive silk clothing are poured over the flames and the delicate things curl, turning black, as the fire blooms higher. The gnolls howl and join in with their tittering laughter.

Johace’s heart is hammering in her chest, horrified, confused. A hundred different scenes play out as they continue to drag her to a center pit in the middle of the hall. A one legged young gnoll, nearly a cub, is forced to kneel as a gnoll with red dyed fur swings an axe to behead him, misses, and chops into his back instead. With some amusement the axe weirder tries again and again to hit her mark when finally the lame gnoll is headless, his screams cut off. Blood splashes on the axe-weirder and a gnoll licks her fur with a long, lapping tongue.

The halfling is finally thrown before the King’s Witch, Rraelliarh, and her lowly fatara. Trembling she brings her self up to her knees, too drained to cry, the horror instead going into the pit of her stomach and weighing her down. Rraelliarh watches lazily as the witch dips her claws into a kelish dish of kishik spiced with peppers and fermented by human nomads, just more plunder from the raids. “Please... please...” she begs in halfling when her two Carrion Initiators step up with their battle axes. Initiators are devout clerics of the Beast, Rovagug, and wear dark split mail, animal fur vestments, and animal heads as masks. Their identity means nothing, their face and tribal name are stripped away as Rovagug destroys all.

She looks up to see a dead goat head with long horns staring down at her, nearly a skeleton at this stage of rot. Now she is shaking violently and it’s not just because of being ill. “Please I... I...” The faceless gnoll lifts up the axe and she scrambles back. The other Initiator hunches down to grab her and she freezes... and screams in absolute, wrenching pain as she beholds the other cleric. Carrion Initiator #21One is wearing the mask of a dead goat, Carrion Initiator #22the other that grabbed her wears the face of her brother, Garret. His face has been stripped off and wrapped on a wooden mask. Garret, with his brown curly hair and little wisps of a beard, stares down at her with a stretched face and insane eyes that are not his. She screams until there is no more breath.

And then the axe comes down.


Rraelliarh (Witch to the King) #23Rraelliarh watches, bored, as her Initiator chops the halfling wrench into ribbons and bones. The witch remembers the days when sacrifice used to be exciting, arousing. Over the years of more than a hundred murders it’s hard to find that sweet spot again.

The female halfling dies quick, Rovagug is not interested in pain or torture; just utter annihilation.

The only way to arouse the witches’ pleasure is if they sacrifice someone more powerful, more meaningful in the world. The Beast wants to see mountains crumble and castles fall! Not little halfling slaves at the end of their life! At least she can enjoy the spicy yogurt coating her claws as Johace’s body is ripped apart for her meat and the remains kicked into the offering fire.

But even that small pleasure is interrupted when howls from the Middle Temple are called.

A fight has broken out in the House.

Gnoll tribes fight amongst their selves, fatara vs fatara, warrior vs warrior. It’s in their tribal DNA. But the Carrion King crushes this tradition without mercy. His tribe is successful because he makes sure their destructive nature is turned outwards, not inwards (Praise Rovagug).

Perhaps disciplining some Carrion gnolls will be better entertainment! As Rraelliarh’s place in the tribe has risen it has been her enforcing the laws of the King that has solidified her position. Also her strange powers have grown from the harsh practices of authority, feeding off the experience. She has a better understanding of the shadowy being that grants her that deadly hex following behind her everywhere.

Four Carrion Guards run up to the Middle Temple and Rraelliarh gathers her fatara to follow after, to punish these criminals that dare fight other tribe members. Another guard darts to the Maggot Throne to report what is happening to the Carrion King.

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Old 01-01-2019, 04:14 PM
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THE FALL OF HOUSE GRIMM

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Courtaud, Lozeri, Ustalav, Avistan, Golarion
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he Eunuch Prince was as cockless and craven as his name suggested and it showed extensively in the county of Lozeri. Up until the year of 4670 AR, his lack of interest and inability to exercise his power from Ardis through the Shudderwood, was a blessing for the ruling nobility of Lozeri. How the rulers of Lozeri at that time - Hector Grimm’s grandparents, Sergei Grimm and his exceptionally stern wife, Annika, could not foresee the turn of events, was - when Hector looked in retrospect - compromisingly strange.

In short and through the bards’ stories, the citizens of Lozeri was discontent with the ruling class of the county, blaming them for their hereditary rights combined with a series of bad choices for the county. They started protesting and when they felt there was no one listening, they amassed in great numbers and forced the families - Huntingtorp, Whitestein, Curlberg, Denise and Grimm - from their seats of power. None of Hector's family members were killed in the relatively non-violent coup, but his grandparents and many of the other older, current holders of power, died in the early years after the copy due to the sudden change in lifestyle. Hector's parents, Fidele and Otto - both shrewdly industrious and judicious to a point - decided to regroup and withdraw their assets to establish a mercantile base from where they could recapture power. Via archways and funding Hector was taken in by relatives to Countess Carmilla Caliphvaso and in time was granted a position of promising power in the Furcina Plains. That is another story...


Lilith Denise was a plump, fair-skinned daughter of one of the oldest Ustalav houses. Her umber hair hung in crafted curls down over round shoulders, carefully touching the upper part of a perfectly bouncing, non-sagging bust. She was equipped with the finest gowns of Galtan quality, often in ox-blood red, honey-gold and pale cream. Pearls and jewelry that adorned neck, ears and fingers was imported from far away Garund and they sparkled radiantly and readily, like her smile.

Otto had invited several of the other lords of Lozeri to a late autumn celebration in conjunction with the Pharasma-procession to the unforgotten souls. Gate, unluck or luck would have it, that Hector had broken a few fingers on his right hand under sword training and he was prevented from partaking in the great hunt. The Ustalav nobility was strongly patriarchal, this the women, including Lilith, was left back at the castle with Hector.

right-aligned image
Gaze upon the stars, Lilith. They are the heralds of tomorrow. No men, magicians, priests or gods can tell you what life will bring you. Just your own ambitions, your own drive forward and the fate aligned in the stars... Do you see it?
She laid flat on her back on a woollen blanket on the highest part of fortification of the Grimm Hold towers. Hector had brought the blanket, he had sent the guard off and he had increased the stakes for ending somewhere intimate with Lilith for every day the return of the hunting company would return. Lilith was quiet for a moment, her hazel pools drowning in the dots of light above, All I see, Hector, is field of dark much, much greater than the little lights. If it was a struggle between light and darkness, good and bad, we were losing...
The poetry in her words and the honey in her voice, rendered him speechless for a while. He swallowed, are you afraid of the dark, Lilith? his breath a hot whisper close to her ear. She turned her neck and he could hear her smile, Very. Will you guide me, Mister Grimm?

He did that, effectively and extensively over the course of the following for days. He planted the seeds of Grimm in her womb repeatedly and to a point where it was undebatable whether or not to go ask Lord Corning Denise, for his daughter's hand in marriage.

Nine months later, Kaspar Grimm was born under the smiling stars of the Pack and to the warm sun in Arodus.

Hector had always been prone to radical outbursts of emotions, but where the flow of anger, depression, joy, lust and wrath had been running free, such things as sorrow, grief and vulnerability had been stemmed by himself. When Kaspar was born he wept like if he had been whipped in the halls of Zon Khuton. There was nothing wrong with the baby and Lilith was okay, albeit dizzy and utterly smashed from her first child birth. No, Hector wept out of shear joy that something so incredibly beautiful and wonderful had happened for him. He spent the weeks after in constant focus on his son. It was uncommon for men in Ustalav and Otto and Hector’s mother started hinting - subtly at first, then more directly - that he had duties that needed tending and Kaspar would grow weak if he kept on witnessing how his father became like jelly whenever he was close.

The cruelty of fate sided with Otto later and took Kaspar away from Hector.


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They have stormed Huntingtorps’ Towers!

The man was young and wild-eyed, sweat forming beads on his forehead and all manners had been forgotten. Hector sat behind a desk, signing papers on a new quarry in the Eastern reaches of the Grimm holdings. He looked up when the man entered and noticed how the grime and mud of a hasty ride now had been dragged in on the Lambrethian carpets. Otto was there too, pouring over maps and crunching nuts. The two of them spent awfully long seances together in this planning and administration lounge - Sergei, the ruler of the House was rarely there and quickly grew tired of their inability to cooperate. This day, he was attending a ceremony at the church. Otto ate awfully many nuts and Hector grind his teeth. With the new man entering, both of them stood, looking equally perplexed. Hector spoke, Speak, man. What are you talking about? Otto narrowed his eyes and sighed, So it has come that far now? He turned to Hector, I was informed only yesterday that rioters was formed to protest against the rulership in Lozeri... YESTERDAY!? Hector roared and threw his inkpen across the room, Now they have forced their way into Huntingtorps’ towers? veins bulge on the side of his neck and Otto stepped forward, hands spread and a stern look in his eyes, calm yourself, Hector..., but Hector refused angrily I will not! You, he turned to the gaping man in the entrance, Where are these people now? What have you done to stop them?

As it turned out. The rioting mobs were quickly moving along - it was part of their plan and the key to success. So Hector soon found himself running headlessly through the city fortification where he had grown up in search for Lilith and Kaspar. He managed to violently trip down an old washerwoman and shove the chef back against the iron stove in his stressed hunt. He found them both in the rose sanctuary. Lilith sat with a cup of tea and gave a shrill laugh when their five-year old Kaspar bursted from a bush in heated pursuit of his pet rabbit. Yiyiyiyiii. Look Mamma! I have caught sight of the snow dragon!

For all it was worth it took the brunt of Hector’s wrath over the stress his father’s ill-advised wisdom had put him in. Lilith. Listen closely. No questions. Go upstairs, pack travel clothes and valuables for you and Kaspar. Meet us in the yard in less than half an hour. Preferably less. She objected, but.. and Hector cut her off, no but, Lilith. Do as I say. He then scooped up Kaspar, who as always was thrilled to see his father, I was sooo close to kill the ice dragon, Pappa! Hector melted, but noted to his satisfaction that Lilith had left the table in a hurry, I saw, darling. I saw. He buried his nose in the shoulder-long blond hair and drew in the scent of smoke and soap. Nothing must happen to you, my love. He loved his boy more than anything and Hector was capable of loving very intensely. Kaspar, dear. Remember that castle by the lake, where we went last summer? You caught eels with Sir Rocell. You and Mamma will be going their this afternoon. I will be with you soon. Kaspar arched back to focus on the face of his father. No doubt he was able to see the pain in the grey eyes, Why are you not coming with us today, Pappa? Hector turned and carried the boy towards the yard, explaining to his best abilities, With this castle, these lands, forests and lakes that we own, comes a responsibility. One day you will grow up and be in charge of it all and there are people that you need to look after. Now... some of these people feel that they have not been looked after and I need to go with Grandfather Otto to assure them that they have nothing to fear. That we are making sure that they are looked after. You understand? The boy nodded, thoughtfully. Hector tapped Kaspar’s little button nose as they entered the yard, Now. I need you to be brave and make sure that no ice dragons will swoop down and eat the horses. Aim for the soft spot under their bellies, okay? Kaspar nodded again. good boy.

Half an hour later and with the rising sounds of an angry mob drawing closer, Hector gave order for a group of half a dozen guards and the carriage to speed out of the rear bridge and towards the family’s holiday mansion in Tamrivena. A few groups of men formed a sort of resistance, but to no avail against the heavily armed cavalry that created a spearhead in front of the carriage. Kaspar and Lilith was racing towards freedom.

And that was the last time Hector saw them alive.


There was no argument that could stop the claims of the Lozerian people. It was either a guaranteed safe exit from the Grimm castle - built by Hector’s grand-grand father - or well over three hundred primitively armed men and women that would storm them. They claimed to have the same numbers camping near several holdings of the Grimm family and means to make them attack within day. Hector, Otto and Fidele, along with a large number of other family members was driven out of their seats of power.

It took two weeks for the family to regroup on a farm in the Northern part of Lozeri. Some wanted revenge, some wanted to wait out the inevitable failure of running the country and return as saviors of Lozeri. Hector wanted to be reunited with his wife and son, but it was agreed that he should establish a few alliances as he rode through the county. He did that and felt light-headed and with a sliver of hope for the future as he crossed the border to Tamrivena to seek out a mansion untouched by riots and state coups.

He couldn’t have been more wrong. The idea of exiling the ruling elite, in Lozeri, had planted seeds in fertile ground in both Vieland and Tamrivena. It had worked like a domino game and raced across the countryside like wildfire. In the more rural and uneducated parts of the county, the riots had turned particular wrathful and the resistance had been fought out. This meant that when Hector rode up the alley of Maidenhair and Hornbeam trees, he could smell the smoke and when he, in increasingly wild galop, reached the grounds of the lake-side mansion he found only a scorched crater and a few bleating sheep.

He near fell off the horse, sprinting into the ashes and throwing beams and debris to the side in search of them. He quickly realized that the guards had been murdered here. He found the first three before he fell to his knees and cried out his agony to the sinking sun on the horizon. Kaspar? Lilith? No sign of them, but it meant nothing. The ruin of black, smoking death spoke a crystal clear language. The entire night, he sat there or scrambled around in the ashes, sobbing and writhing in shame, guilt and pain.

In less than two weeks, Hector had gone from heir to one of the greatest noble houses of Lozeri, Ustalav to an exiled loner, robbed of fame, love, purpose and sanity. The perfect vessel for darkness made flesh and Hell’s winged heralds to seek out.


A full year of mourning, random spiteful revenge exercised on those that provoked him just a tad too much and a hesitant return to aid his parents in their unsuccessful reclaiming of power. Only then was he ready to take on an offer that he deemed could lift him out of the gloomy and sorrowful muck he was neck-deep in. He was to go and indirectly support Countess Carmilla Caliphvaso. Not that it dimmed his loss, but there was a future with purpose. Something he had lacked since he witnessed the obliteration of his family.



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Old 01-09-2019, 01:32 PM
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The Potter's Clay
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Fog billowed around the Grak'Ark's feet as he looked up at Lamashtu, his goddess. The feet and hands contained within her swollen belly kicked and prodded, seeking to exit from Grandmother Nightmare's womb. Her massive claws tap together hungrily as she looks down at her chosen one with a snarl on her lip.

"Whom do you serve?" she intones in a raspy, grating voice.

The response leaps quickly to the gnoll’s lips, for he had thought of little other than serving the goddess. "I serve only you, goddess," he replied, his voice strong and confident.

"Do not lie to me!" she snaps, her serpentine tail lashing out and connecting with Grak'Ark's belly. Only though a herculean effort is Grak'Ark able to stand, but he refused to show any signs weakness before his goddess.

"I have watched you follow her like a slave like a pup, submissive to her every demand. And she rewards you by stripping you of the position within your pack that you rightfully deserve. That one would make a good gnoll" she muses, her reference to Drusilla causing Grak’Ark’s eyes to widen.

"But she does not even worship me." she adds, as she rises a few feet into the air about Grak’Ark, looking down at her chosen one squirm.

"You cannot serve two masters, you can serve only me. No longer will you be subservient to that insolent human bitch" she cackles, a smile coming to her face as she sees the look of concern on Grak'Ark's face.

"But you will stay with her and as many of the hairless ones as you can. They are your pack now, exactly as I had planned them to be. I have sent you to destroy the Carrion King and they will be powerful tools to that end. There are several of them who are possessed of a prowess that belies their meager stature.

But none of them worship me.
"
she whispers, obviously bothered by the though.

Her wings tuck in behind her shoulder as she returns to the ground, making it clear she was serious about her words.

"There are few of the hairless ones that give me the worship I deserve. I intend to change that. And so I send you to become one of them .." she says, pausing as she looks down at her chosen.

"You will become one of them. You will speak like them, eat like them, sleep like them and even rut with them, if that is your wish. But you will adhere to all of their pathetic codes and limitations. Starting today, you are no longer a gnoll."

"NO!!! You cannot ask this of me!" Grak'Ark blurts, the blasphemous words coming out of his mouth before he realizes what he is saying.

Rage fills the goddesses face as she lashes out with her razor like talon, bringing 4 long scratches across his face as knocking him to the ground. "You bear my mark! You belong to me and will do as I command!!!" she howls, making it clear she would not tolerate anything less than complete obedience from her servant.

A trickle of urine flows down Grak'Ark's leg as he meekly nods and lowers his head before the might that was Lamashtu. The goddess continues to speak, the words addressed more to herself than to the subservient druid. "I will mold you into one of them and I will watch you. And through you I will learn their weaknesses, fears and their deepest desires. I will know what it takes to manipulate the hairless ones, much like I am able to manipulate you. I will take what I learn from your experiences and I will use that knowledge.

And then they will all worship me.
"


The gnoll wakes up from the nightmare in a cold sweat, his breathing heavy as he remembers the words of his dream. His brings his right claw up to his cheek and his left touches his belly. then slowly brings them both before his eye. Terror fills the gnoll as he looks at his own blood covered hands, a lasting reminder from his goddess that his dream was indeed real.

And nothing would ever be the same.
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