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  #91  
Old Nov 27th, 2023, 09:48 PM
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In Sunblight FortressOar, you swig the potion and slide around to the back side of Xardarok, thumping on him with your mace, but as he can't see you, and doesn't much feel you, he pays you no mind. The two guards who are swarming around you see you shrinking, and chase you with their mallets. You don't much feel them either.

Chizzich, you are so near the end of your reserves. In the space between the fall of wicked hammers, this is where a goblin can really get philosophical. But even for a tough, smart goblin, who has survived so much, this is a hard situation in which to maintain an academic distance. It hurts. And there's blood in your eyes. Of course, hard situations make for climactic chapters, don't they? One of your purpler prosodists might say, "For now our hero was fighting for his very life." Sensational stuff. Headline material, Felty might say. A story worth telling. Mr. Bojangles is with you, his small animal warmth present to comfort you even as the dingy weapons fall. You sidestep, flick one away with your nimble blade, and then one catches you in the back. Too much. Your vision fails. It won't be enough to destroy you. It won't be enough to stop your story. It will be over but it's not over. Morior invictus, eh, what? But -- but -- your manuscript!!!

The king roars with satisfaction when the little goblin goes down, his green flame dimming and subsiding, his scimitar still clasped in his hand as he drops into the ash scattered by the fallen brazier. The little wizard has fallen, but the king wants the kill, so he clashes his sharp black gauntlets together, relishing this moment, when he will tear his victim apart. And in that moment, a bright light fills the chamber. It starts in the shape of an egg, one foot long, a bright lavender glow that's illuminating this egg shape and then blasting out through the seams and straps of Chizzich's backpack. The purple glow stretches out to engulf the goblin, his pack, his weasel, his weapon. It flashes so bright that everyone in the room will be seeing purple halos around objects for the next few days. Then sudden blindness. Blinking into painful light. And then, when the light subsides, the goblin is gone.


GoneChizzich, you are not gone. You are here.

You take in a breath, you open your eyes, you see. The floor below you is strange. Your fingers are splayed over it, one hand still holding your scimitar, but the surface under you feels irregular, and even from your prone position you can tell it is canted somewhat. Looking up and around, you are in a chamber shaped like an oval, full of boxes and crates, some of them broken and some tumbled into piles. In the center of the room, a staircase rises 20 feet and leads through a ceiling made of similar purple material to the floor, with a texture that is almost biological, like chitin. Luminescent orbs hang from the ceiling, lighting the room, their anchors slightly off the perpendicular from the ceiling. One of them flickers, and one is faded nearly to black.

Attached to the walls in this chamber are three sets of chains and manacles, apparently designed to hold large creatures. Moving among the detritus around the floor are four creatures. Three of them are small, odd, purple things that float above the ground and pull themselves across the floor using oversized face-tentacles. One of them is lazily stacking the pieces of a broken crate inside another crate. Another of the purple blobs tosses a bored, desultory shard of glass at the fourth creature, a lumbering monstrosity made of stitched-together parts from goblins, dwarves, and reindeer. This massive thing snaps its head around to look at you as soon as you appear, so the glass shard hits it in the side of the face.
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  #92  
Old Dec 4th, 2023, 11:46 AM
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Entirely Eleswhere
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If that was dying, then it was certainly different. Oh, the pain was every bit as excruciating as one might expect except, the event itself happened so quickly. You might think there would be some sort of liminal time in which the animating energy made its transition from one form to the next. Maybe a great revelation or understanding. Perhaps even that feeling of oneness with everything you can get a taste of by directly touching the Weave of magic. But no. A flash of arcane light centered around him and everything was gone.

Or rather, Chizzich was gone. His eyes were sealed tight in anticipation of the killing blow when the glow surrounded and took him.

He chanced opening his eyes a scant sliver to take in whatever Hell had claimed his battered and broken form to find himself in a strange chamber of similar hue to the light that swallowed him up in Sunblight. A shaky breath told him that he was somehow still (mostly) alive, as the dead have no need for such habits of the living. Interesting. That glow, did it come from him? there was no spell he could think of that would've spaared him? The older wizard maybe. But, was that purple aura egg shaped? Like something that fell from the sky the night Hungry Sue met her end?

His mind, exhauseted and stretched as it was, began to wheel aand spin like a great raptor taking flight above the sullen, snow-laden clouds. Something big burned across the night back then when finally decided to lead a life of adventure. He thought it to be a comet but, perhaps it was something else. Could that egg have fallen off, was it the chardalyn dragon? This chamber didn't much look like the inside of a dragon but, then aagain, he'd never actuaally seen the inside of one either and the chardalyn one was made of magic and corruption so... who knows?

Before Chizzich could devote much time or mind to those questions, movement caught his yellow eyes. There were things skittering amongst the debris, broken crates and things, and something much larger. A hulking brute fashioned from other discarded things, dead things. He did not wish to add to the monstrocity's mass. The thing turned its great misshapen head to regard him aand a waave of terror engulfed the nearly dead goblin, threatening to drown him in a paralyzing fear.

Primal instincts took over as his mind scrambled for something, anything. Chizzich, in that moment, did what he's become proficient in over the years. He deciced to run and hide. A thin, shaky voice that he wasn't sure he could muster whispered, "PrestidigitationCanticum scintillae," and bloody fingers wiggled a small shower of sparks to life just in front of the goblin.

Chizzich moved on unsure legs far faster than a being in his state ought to. He Nimble Escape: Hidetumbled, ducked, and folded himself up into a tiny shivering package behind the first crate, detritus, or pile of rubble he could find and held his breath hoping the huge thing pieced together with corpses would turn and move on.

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  #93  
Old Dec 5th, 2023, 02:19 AM
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ElsewhereFizz and shimmer!! A shower of golden sparks, and then roll! An instinct bred into you for generations of small creatures, coupled with an arcane skill more recently acquired. You slide and skitter under a shelf and a loose metal sheet falls down with a clang right next to you, tilting, then smashing into the shelf where you are. The fleshy beast thunders over, following the noise, tripping across the scattered mess. You see its strange mottled hide and quilted limbs as it leans in, sniffing and searching. What an unusual smell, like everything at once, and none of it fresh. It's head is vaguely canine, snorting nose of a wolf at least, with most of the carcass attached around its neck. Quiet, quiet, and then it thunders on. Its heel catches the metal sheet and yanks it away but it's too late to be discovered, as the thing staggers away. Still, now you can see.

The end of a purple tentacle. Then a quivering clutch of them, like fingers on the end of a hand, then the levitating, shining thing. It has huge black eyes and a scrawny body that floats across the floor as the tentacles do the work of dragging it along and also questing about.

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Chizzich, you feel a pressure against your mind. Not your head, your mind. The thing, or at least one of the things, is trying to speak, or at least communicate with you. Yet the emptiness of those massive eyes cannot be comprehended. Coach always said, Control what you can control. Leave the rest to the Lord of Depths and Darkness. You are good enough. You are the best! Macreadus always said, Let perseverance finish its work? No, thank you, peasant scum. Understand you will never "arrive." Understand you will never be "good enough." You want to know if you've made it? You haven't. And if you're smarter than you look, you never will. Strive, peasant! STRIVE! There you were. Here you are. With the lumbering flesh mass, on a tilted floor, in the ruins of what might have been a storage room, in the presence of three purple tentacle things. Your mind. They want in. They can speak to you.

HAPPY? HAPPY! the word comes unbidden into your brain, and you see another one of the purple things come into your view from where you are hidden. They can't see you. There's a rush of emotion pounding into your head, from what feels like two directions at once. Relief. Curiosity. Strange drowsy energy, as if a very still river has a deep strong current at its bottom. The glowing orb flickers overhead, casting lavender light over the rough floor and all the jumbled contents. The tentacles are questing for you, more gently and timidly than the flesh creature was, but still coming. THE TROLLEY? THE TROLLEY! You don't fully understand this word but you know it means some kind of transportation. Now you hear another voice, an actual voice with noise your ears pick up. It seems to be coming down from upstairs, a deep guttural growl and then gibbering screech. This is not a language you know. It doesn't sound threatening, more like remonstrating, as you might speak to Mr. Bojangles if he was getting rowdy after hours. Speaking of Mr. Bojangles, somehow, miraculously, he is here. You feel him alive in your pocket. Moving slowly now, as if coming out of a daze. But he is here.
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Last edited by lostcheerio; Dec 5th, 2023 at 02:21 AM.
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Old Dec 6th, 2023, 07:37 PM
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Orwinton 'Oar' Grinstyrwi
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Art commission @ThePsysquatch


Oar leaps from the King to the King's raised, interactive dragon map, where he takes his maul and pounds against that elevates the dragon above the map. If he can break it off, then he will grab the miniature dragon and poof! through the doorways again, hopefully on the other side of the large duergar he had recently departed.


 


 


 
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Old Dec 9th, 2023, 12:23 PM
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In Sunblight Fortress
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You run to the table, smash the dragon off its post and grab its busted pieces. You bamf out into the hallway, leaving the king raging bigly behind you. Down the hall to the east, you see an elderly duergar woman just outside a door down there, flanked and followed by three duergar in grey-stained white tunics. She has a dragonet made of black metal beside her, writhing and curling around her legs. Each of the guards is wearing a chef's hat, but each also glowers with non-culinary malice and has a familiar-looking dagger raised to strike. Between you and her contingency is Dreck, the guard who let you into the fortress.

The woman looks at Dreck with a raised eyebrow. "Him?" she says imperiously.

"No, he serves the king!" Dreck tells her.

She gives a command, and her guards attack you. She utters another word and disappears.

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Old Dec 10th, 2023, 12:47 PM
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Orwinton 'Oar' Grinstyrwi
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Art commission @ThePsysquatch


Oar makes a scrunched face expression--the type you would make if someone shoves your face into an arrowslit--and winks at Dreck as he says: "OK, that was good! I hope we're even now. But you know, if I was the king's man, I wouldn't have taken his dragon from him. Dragons are for dragonites, that's what I always thought!"

And then he poofs! down hallway as far as he can go toward the direction where duergar-granny had been standing. If his teleportation brings him to an area where he can continue to run away, he will. Going as far down the hallway as he can until he finds another area, a duergar-granny, or a window or arrow-slit with a view to the outside.


 


 


 
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Old Dec 16th, 2023, 04:41 PM
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In a purple haze
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Now that he knew Mr. Bojangles was with him, Chizzich was fairly certain he didn't die in that awful map room back at Sunblight. Why he didn't still very much remains a mystery, but he's never been able to resist the siren call of a puzzle. The next step will be figuring out where exactly Here is if it isn't some Hell or another. The best evidence that he was indeed somewhere else trilled softly close to his chest, Bojangles! Our story continues Old Noodle. I'm not sure if we're somewhere safe or not so we'll quietly slip away. Just like old times, eh?

He didn't much like the sensation of those tentacled creatures prodding at his mind. At least, Chizzich assumed that's who was responsible. Even if they were happy for their trolly, whatever that was.

It suddenly occurred to him that a trolly could be some sort of transport and something ripped him from imminent and fatal harm. But he didn't have a trolly. Strange. Still, the purple light took him and here, everything was bathed in a soft purple glow. Interesting. He opted to remain silent in both body and mind while the big-eyed things crawled the room with their probing tentacles. They were still too much of an unknown to trust, not like the patchwork of death that lumbered about. One could fairly surmise what they were getting at first glance from that hulk.

Now, the audible expostulation coming down the stairs was one more variable. If he had time, which is a luxury for the safe and secure, he could perform a ritual that would allow him to understand the foreign language. Chizzich wasn't confident in his hiding place to begin that magic, he'd just have to do what it seemed he was born to do and sneak, scuttle his way up to have a peek. Maybe it was a friendly wizard! Or a terrible demon.

Carefully and cautiously the bookish goblin crawled out of his nook and made a break across the sloped space for the stairs. Stealt: 11He was more concerned with being quick than quiet, the smaller searchers seemed so focused on their mental scans to notice and the hulking brute was just that. Maybe it was a risk, but like most everything Chizzich does, it was calculated. On the way to more cover, he Perception: 8performed his own cursory scan of the room for other possible means of egress. Always have an escape plan, that was one rule both Coach and Maccreadus could agree on.

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Old Dec 19th, 2023, 06:24 PM
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Elsewhere
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Chizzich, you make a run for the stairs, knocking over a nearby bucket as you extract yourself from under the shelf. Everyone startles and looks your way -- the flesh golem, the tentacle creepers. But just as they begin to move toward you, the tentacle creeper with their gurgling crawl and the flesh golem with his thundering step, there's another sharp guttural sound at the top of the stairs. You reach the bottom and look up. A creature appears there, at the top of the stairs. He is also purple, with tentacles, but he's upright, bipedal, and wearing a black coat with a severely popped collar. In his hand he holds a device, kind of like a pointed bottle with a handle on it. He points this device, not at you but at the fleshy monster, and after repeating his command he gives a squeeze to the handle and a radiant missile emerges from the device with a "pew!" and thuds into the monster. The monster shakes his head, a bit dizzy perhaps, and then nods, nods again, mutters, leans oddly against the canted floor, and then goes criss-cross on the ground.

The cloaked creature begins to descend the stairs. "Grebeetings, Torilian. I am Drebedavabex," he says in a high, nasal, accented common. His words are very carefully spoken and chosen, but his tentacles appear to interfere with his speech, adding B sounds randomly as they thwap and jiggle around his face. "You habave respobonded to our dibistress sibignal. We webelcome you. Our hour of nebeed is grebeat. You have, perhabaps, secubured a psi crybystal for us?"

He comes down the stairs, and the little purple crawlers gather, reach out to you mentally, joyfully, with emotions like "Yay!" and "Dredavex!" and "Brains!" You gather from their chirpings that they super love Dredavex and also brains. The flesh golem sits up straight in the posture he's been ordered to, very obedient, his wolf eyes looking around to see if anyone notices.

"Thibis is Pubuddles." He points his weapon toward the flesh golem. His super formal tone takes a dip into modesty with a wet little snort. "My crebation. I apologibize for any misubunderstandibing he mabay have cabaused."

You see in the back of the room there's a small alcove with four doors in it. One of the doors opens, and another cloaked creature emerges, leaving the door open. Wizard, you've read enough books and you know enough about history and interplanar travel to know that these things are mindflayers. Illithid. But, in all the pictures you've seen, mindflayers are taller, human-sized. These are small, like you.

"This ibis Voborryn," explains Dredavax. "He is ebengaged in repabiring the stabasis pods. But he mabakes no probogress. You may obseberve the subjebects of our stubudy, maintabained in perfebect peace, of course. But wheben the ship crabashed, all our our sybystems are mabalfunctionabing. They are abat risk, and mabay have to be teberminated."

What you see behind the door, where Vorryn is now emerging, a soldering instrument in his hand, is a red-purple glowing orb, canted like everything else, and giving off electric sparks periodically. Inside the orb is a gathered darkness, peppered with bright lights. The darkness has a form, but as the orb is full of purplish liquid, it's hard to make it out what are the bubbles in the solvent, and what bright bulbs are precipitated. If you have read in tomes of foreign origin of a magical illumination called a "lava lamp" you may be able to recognize similar qualities in this object.

Vorryn is dressed in gear like Dredavex, but he's a bit taller, and a bit less well-put-together. He adds, in a deeper more gurgly voice, "This ogone has alregeady expigered." He kicks open another door, and you see another orb, this one opened with a pool of red gooey liquid around it. In the pool, folded carefully over itself so that it's still mostly submerged, a large bipedal frog with long clawed arms. Dead. "But I've got thigis one wogorking okagay." He kicks open the third door, and you see another orb, buzzing a little, but mostly intact. Inside is a man, floating in reddish bubbly liquid. The tall man's hair is white and floats in long curls around his face.

"Yebes, yebes, Vorryn. And these are the squibidlings," Dredavex finishes up, coming down the stairs the rest of the way, a bit impatient. The squidlings think their names to you enthusiastically: "Rin!" "Rix!" and "Zglarrd!!" they chirp. Dredavex advances toward you respectfully but urgently. "And nobow, the psi crybystal if you plebase? We can pabay."



OOCHere's a link to the new map on Owlbear Rodeo. Hopefully this helps you visualize what I am struggling to explain spatially.



In the OrbsDustavin, this is sweet peace, real sleep, a cessation of all restless desires, and darkness. Quiet. A long quiet. For the longest time you float there, in dark red darkness. And dream. Rivers, ponds, plops and trickles. A warm current. A sailboat with a black sail on red waves. A sweet silence. Life has been hard. This is easy. Before this, you were. During this, you are.

left-aligned image
And then, after so many missing breaths, the whine and buzz of that insect. Just a shadow of sound behind your left ear, nudging at your mind like a memory. The whine and buzz, closer, inviting a slap but you can't move. Next comes a smell, the mossy decayed smell of that town of rot and bridges. Hum of insects and the smell of damp wood, sour corn. A bump interrupts your deep sleep. You feel, after so long floating upright in nothingness, your body, and it's tilted, then rights itself like a buoy. Sickening. An awareness is here. You are awake. Blind. Deaf. After many missing breaths, you open your eyes. This is stuff, bubbling and red, but it's carmine with threads of fuchsia. You sleep again. A banging noise, like someone stupid negotiating poorly with plumbing. No. Sleep is better. The tide rolls in and out, lifting your fingers, the wind making low sounds in the twists of driftwood. You wake again and open your eyes. You are floating in an orb. But this time, the door in front of you is open, and you see -- two ridiculously small illithids, three little purply tentacly thingies, and a snow-covered goblin holding a weasel, all in an egregiously messy room.

Khyyra-zvon, you have come to be called. But here in the orb, no one calls you anything. There's no one here for your eyes to see, but of course, you are not alone. What is "stasis"? What is "sleep"? It seems to be in "stasis" is to be removed from the presence of other out-selves, to be fragmented from the world of here-touch. When you find yourself in the orb, the space is small, closed. No minds, no thoughts, here. A little silent pocket. But you are not contained to here! Everwhere, everywhere, with far away The People you roam! There-think is always open and flowing, expanding and contracting like the lungs that humanoids have that makes their bodies swell with air. You can reach Leader-Father. Not to talk-touch, but to feel, even if very diluted, a bit of your sparkle dim with him.

You are awake when the loud sound jars you, and the bump tilts you. A sudden reconvergence of all your wandering thoughts into this sloshing sphere. And here. Another. His outself purple and wearing clothes and walking on two legs. He comes and glargles and spits and yorks, but if you wait through his mouth-speech and reach for his thoughts he reassures you, stumbling to think-speak "It will be okay," but he doesn't believe it. He is fear. He visits often. He hesitates to be a friends. He will not let you out of the sphere. He doesn't know what to do. He is Vorryn. He is the only out-self you ever see. Until this time-now, you see someone else behind him when the door outside the sphere is open. A small green one, huddled in clothes for cold. No tentacles on his face. Glowing eyes like you.

OOCYou are both free to post! Dusty was taken from Ravensmoor, and Khyyra-zvon was taken from the Rose-Thorn. I've read back both your most recent games with these characters and I would like to work with some of those ideas, but I'd prefer to bring those memories out over time, if we can play that their minds are a bit blurry after being in the orbs. Why the illithid took them, for now, is a mystery.
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Last edited by lostcheerio; Jan 2nd, 2024 at 09:13 AM.
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Old Dec 30th, 2023, 10:54 AM
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Strange encounters
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So much for a quiet escape. His mind raced, filled with calculations of escape trajectories and velocities as the monstrous delegation turned their searching eyes (and tentacles) towards the small bladesinger. A mild panic descended upon him as visions of angry grey dwarves reminded him of his fragile mortality. Is adventuring really just a string of near-death experiences? Where does discovery fit in a constant path of fight or flight?

Before he finished that bleak line of thinking, a new creature with a certain air of authority emerged and made introductions. The formality was a small comfort but, of course, the dwarves of Sunblight had been formal as well. Chizzich noted that Dredavex addressed him as Torilian; that was an interesting bit. Could this... place?.. be that great comet that burned through the sky the night he decided to follow the path of adventure? The implications of that naming coupled with the exuberant exaltations of brains from the crawlers made the wizard realize he was meeting an Illithid, a Mind Flayer.

So, his panic wasn't entirely misplaced then. However, it would seem they thought he had something of value to them. He'd need to leverage that to save his (and Bojangles', by extension) skin. Chizzich smiled with a mouth full of pointed teeth and nodded his head in a bow to Dredavex, and then Vorryn. He then turned his smile to the Squdlings and Puddles before he spoke, choosing his words carefully. "Ah, always a pleasure to meet a fellow pilgrim along the path of knowledge Dredavex. I am Chizzich, a humble wizard." Again, the goblin bowed slightly. "This is your laboratory then? It's quite impressive." He let his eyes linger on the stasis pods and their contained subjects. Despite the alien nature of it all, he felt there was a great deal he could learn from studying this equipment, even in its damaged state.

"It would seem you've already assisted me out of a most troubling situation so, I would certainly like to repay the favor. Although, I'm not certain what a psi crystal is." It wasn't necessarily a lie, even though he knew it had to be the strange purple egg he found. That would confirm the theory that the artifact was what extracted him via the strange amethyst light. "Does it resemble a purple egg?" Chizzich swung his pack around and rummaged for the psi crystal. "Oh, one thing occurs to me, if you aren't from Here you wouldn't know but Auril, the Frostmaiden, has claimed this territory and locked it into a permanent night. Nobody has been able to breach her Rime and escape but, if you have managed to find a way in perhaps there is indeed a way out." He will lift the artifact for Dredavex to see, hoping these beings were true to their word and not the ravenous brain eaters he'd heard about. They were smaller than he expected so maybe these were different, a more scholarly sort like himself.

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Old Dec 30th, 2023, 05:54 PM
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A Portrait of an Albino in Red
It had been blissful, at first, this timeless aeon of floating away, subsumed in lassitude. But all too suddenly, a forever later, the ache comes again. A dry thickness in his throat, a gnawing itch in his veins. He tries to drink of the darkness, to wet his tongue from the river, but to no avail. Discomfort grows, but he can do nothing to alleviate it.

Now and then, sounds reach his ears, as if from a great distance. A voice, perhaps? If so, he does not understand the words. Sometimes, other sounds. Movement, activity? But there is nothing. Nothing, until light begins to needle through his eyelids, and the sounds draw closer, grow louder. Heavily, heavily, his eyelids part. Drowning! He is drowning in some strange crystalline shell!

He tries to pound his fists against the glass, but his limbs are heavy, and refuse to follow his commands. Will he die here? Is he already dead? He feels the liquid heavy in his lungs... but other than the blooming panic, there is no pain. Despite the liquid, he breathes. Thankfully, he breathes, though he cannot expel the liquid. Not drowning. Not urgent. At least, not with quite such urgency. He focuses on quelling the panic, and lowering his lids to slits again. If he cannot move, he had best observe, glean what information he can from his... captors? Rescuers? What had happened? Where was he, before he was... here? Where was here? Why did his body refuse to cooperate with his desires?

As he lay in the liquid, he strove to exert the tiniest effect on his own form, clenching his jaw as he attempted to regain control of his tongue, to press it against the roof of his mouth, or run it over his teeth. Surely, his most used tool would respond to his directives, would it not? if he could work his tongue, he could perhaps call for help. But would the blurry figures moving around beyond the confines of his prison offer aid?
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Last edited by Humble Athena; Dec 30th, 2023 at 07:48 PM.
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  #101  
Old Jan 2nd, 2024, 12:45 AM
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The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon
right-aligned image
A sudden wave of emotion and sensation washed over Chizzich. The feelings were oddly alien, not his own, and yet so vivid that it was hard to distinguish where his own consciousness ended and this other began. There was a surge of elation, curiosity, and warmth. This was coupled with a disconcerting sense of synesthesia: the taste of the color blue, the smell of twinkling starlight, the sound of enclosed space. The cascade of impressions struck all at once, then in an instant so quick that there was barely enough time to process them, they were superseded by a sense of embarrassment, shame, guilt, before receding like the waters after a tsunami. The absence of feeling was almost as jarring as the information overload that preceded it, leaving strange echoes of thought rattling about in his psyche.

This mental silence may have lasted a moment or a millennium; it was impossible to tell. But there followed an almost imperceptible nudge around the corners of Chizzich’s awareness. Gentle, tentative, a timid request for permission … and perhaps an apology for the intensity of the earlier interaction.
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  #102  
Old Jan 5th, 2024, 09:30 PM
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On the Nautiloid
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Chizzich, just as you feel the hesitant press of the strange sweet consciousness in your brain, you see a form coalesce in the tank full of stars. As if the consciousness has produced precipitation. A form full of stars, in the shape of a humanoid. Diminutive. How can a small cluster of stars floating in a tank in vaguely bipedal form be plaintive? And yet. How will your mind respond?

"Nobo, nobo, nobo," says Dredavax. "This is nobot my laboboratobory!This is meberely a mobodified storage hobold. In my quabarters on the observabation deck, we cobobble and thrabash at our work, as bebest we caban."

The diminutive illithid shakes his head with regret when you show him your egg-shaped crate. But the squidlings get excited. "Trolley! Trolley!" they squeak into your head. Then "Reeeeee-turn!" one mind of the three of them says. Then the others pick up on this word, as if your mind is some kind of nexus for their communication with each other. "Return! Return!"

Dredaxax tells you that this crate is indeed theirs, but not a psi crystal. It is a personal transportation device, which has a few different settings. The one that activated for you was its mechanism to return its user to the ship when its user fell unconscious. He takes it from you, and flips his little purple fingers over the keypad, causing little sparks to glow within it, and a mechanical sighing noise.

"The psi crybystal that webe require is not mebechanical," he explains, tentacles a-flappin'. "It ibis really a clubuster of purple crystabals, sometimes formed in the mibind of a fobound in the skubull of a psion who has died. Sometimes fobound in natubure."

He acknowledges your explanation for the eternal night in Icewind Dale. The tiny mindflayers have been off the ship to look around. In fact they released some of their pets and research specimens into the wild to fend for themselves after the crash. They searched a bit to find a psi crystal and jump-start the ship’s propulsion system. But they are expending considerable effort to keep their ship functional, and they can’t trust the squidlings to accomplish any kind of search. But, they have built a device that can detect the presence of psi crystals in a 5-mile radius.

"If you coubould take the devibice, and search the Dabale, we could pabay in armamebents and mabagic," Dredavax tells you. "If we cabannot find a psi crybystal before the sybystem inevebevitably crabashes, we shall have no choboice but to activabate the nautiloid's self destrubuct sybystem, and head to Teben Tobowns to shebelter oursebelves."

Eh, an illithid incursion in Ten Towns. Sounds fine? Goblinia supra ominia?

A sharp crackle and a shower of sparks comes from the broken pod of liquid that holds the pale man. Puddles the flesh golem, aroused and alerted, rises from his criss-cross position and lumbers toward it, whuffling and champing. He throws himself at the orb, roaring angrily and slapping at the loud sparks. The squidlings cheer. Vorryn and Dredavax react instantly, Vorryn going for a tackle and Dredavax shooting his weapon.

Pew, pew! The shots ring out in the messy hold, and it takes three blasts to get Puddles. The first hits the pod itself, the second takes out Vorryn, and the third finally stuns the furry golem as the pod rocks on its base.

left-aligned image
Dusty, electricity shoots through the medium in which you float helpless, and a bright sensation takes you, invigorating your muscles before sending them into a spasm. Well, this is suddenly a party. WHAM! A mess of furry forms slams into the front of your pod and you feel the glass orb shake on its foundations. ZAP! Another shower of sparks produces a shock to your nerves. Could you, move your ankle? Could you turn your head? Maybe sharply back and forth? You hear noises, noises for the first time in a thousand tides, as your ears return to life, you feel a heartbeat thrub into rhythm, you feel your eyes blink, wide and blink!

Khyyra-zvon, the one who calls himself Vorryn has said he can mindspeak, but their mindspeak isn't the same as yours, and it glubs and sticks when you try. They are in the reach-mind and you are in the fog-mind. Or, they are in the wiggle-toward-beam and you are in the writhe-center-glow. Still, the one you know as Vorryn, the one you feel has been at the fringe of your mind for all the long waiting, stumbles over his mindspeak to get to your knowing now, when there are sounds and wobbles in the sphere. Your boundaries contract, and you become more here. He blasts toward you with his reaching and wiggling toward IT WILL BE OKAY. He cares. He sends caring, okay. Poor Vorryn is so strained. He wants to think about the sphere you are in, and try to make you be here, in this sphere. Will it be easier to mindspeak with the green mouthspeaker, maybe, if he is willing, than to try and tangle with these ones who do knowing in their own set way?

OOCAthena you can do some movements now, as the orb is malfunctioning with the help of Puddles, and you are becoming more aware and in control.

rhaiber, you can wait for Dragoon to post for Chizzich to respond to Khyyra-zvon's request for permission to mindspeak, or if you want to, you guys can just OOC agree that he gives permission, so she can begin talking this round.

Dragoon, all hell broke loose for a second there with Puddles crashing into Dusty's sparking orb, but Dredavax has that under control now and would be ready to continue the conversation if you want to respond to his request for help.
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  #103  
Old Jan 6th, 2024, 12:24 PM
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Dustavin
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Careful consideration gives way to renewed alarm as first electric surge dances through him, and then rapid activity rocks the container. Someone trying to free him? Or something trying to crack the shell to eat him? He knew too little to guess. What he did know is that he would need to be ready to take action to save himself.

As his mind came alive faster than his body, for a moment he was drawn back down a long, dark tunnel, to another place and time. A moment chained together with this one by the same feeling of helplessness. Only then, he had been small, and the room had been so large and empty and dark. Mother's voice silent, the warmth of her touch, gone. Only the strange men in their robes and harsh voices, chanting alien words edged with malice and demand. The only light granted to him dripping off a symbol carved into the wall, the symbol that seemed to grow brighter the longer he was left in the cell.

The memory broke as another surge jolted through him. The current had done him another favor- it had reminded him of his limbs, gave him a sense of position. Fingers that had spasmed, now flexed intentionally, and started to unclench from the arms they had been folded against. Liquid gurgles from a throat trying to make sound, only to be absorbed by the fluid around him. The glass! Is it intact? Breakable? There is an ache in his bones that assures him he is still alive, but for how long, if he cannot make sense of this situation and get free?



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Last edited by Humble Athena; Jan 7th, 2024 at 04:57 PM.
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  #104  
Old Jan 8th, 2024, 08:10 AM
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The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon
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The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon felt the mind of the wriggle-faced being reaching toward her own. It made use of the think-speak! … But it was not like the think-speak of the People. The think-speak of the People was free and open, immediate and all-encompassing. The being that thought of itself as Vorryn made use of a think-speak that was more … guarded. He sought to control his thoughts, to share only some thoughts while suppressing others. More than that, his thoughts felt … sticky. It was as if his mind was trying to grasp onto hers, to hold her, to keep her in place. Instinctively, the one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon felt her own mind retreat and disengage.

But there was another! She extended her think-speak toward the green skinned one. He seemed to be a mouth-speaker. The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon experienced the feelings of disappointment. The device that contained her out-self made it impossible to practice her own skills at the mouth-speak, and she was aware that those who were unable to make use of the think-speak for themselves often experienced the feelings of inadequacy and discomfort when the People made use of the think-speak with them. With no alternative, she gently asked permission to engage in the think-speak.

As soon as Chizzich granted permission to the consciousness that touched his mind, he felt an instantaneous wave of emotions flood over him. They were not his own emotions, but he felt them as intensely as if they had been. There was glee, the excitement of a highly social young mind that had been kept in isolation for some time taking great pleasure in freedom and connection. This was followed by a flood of images. They were more structured this time, more deliberate, and yet they came with such frenetic energy and speed that there was hardly enough time to process them.

The mind-fasting
left-aligned image
First came a sense of self. Chizzich felt what it was to be a young girl … though not a goblin girl, but rather … something else. A being composed of light and sense, held together by sheer force of will, like nothing he had likely ever encountered before. Even the “girl” part was unclear. He felt a gentle probing in his mind at the word that was his and did not belong to the consciousness that touched his mind. It had no understanding of the biological distinctions of gender, but settled on the concept of “girl” being closest to its own sense of identity. There also came a strong sense of location - this being was inside one of the pods.

This identification soon melded together with images of a place Chizzich had never seen before. Images was perhaps inaccurate, as they were more than visual - a full sensory immersion in memory. He saw islands floating in the sky, smelled the sweet scents of lush vegetation, felt cool water upon his skin. All of this was suffused with a sense of comfort, nostalgia, belonging. This was Home.

The visions soon became populated by other beings like this one, composed of light and energy perpetually shifting. They were separate, and yet also joined. All minds shared experience as one. There was a sense of community, of unity, of family. Joy was shared and multiplied. Contentment, empathy, love. These were the People.

The scenes of idyllic bliss were then invaded by other beings: green-skinned like Chizzich, but also not like Chizzich. They were larger, with tough, scaled hides. Cruel and unfeeling, they brought pain to the people. Feelings of anxiety washed over Chizzich. Pain, fear, suffering, loss, horror and mourning. To the People, these are the Cold Ones, but they identify themselves as the H’kharr Ssisslah.

Finally, one rose among the People as an individual. This one is tall, strong, different. This one is Leader-Father. The feelings that come with this vision are more complex, confused, muddled. There is the feeling of pride-admiration. Leader-Father saved the People from the tyranny of the Cold Ones. He taught the People to do the Fighting, a thing that had been unknown to the People before. To be counted among his kin was a great thing indeed. But there were also the feelings of loneliness-isolation. Leader-Father was not like the rest of the People. His mind was less open, his thoughts not always shared. The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon knew that this was necessary. Leader-Father needed to think the thoughts that would remain unknown to others, especially to the Cold Ones. But she could not help having the desire that Leader-Father be more Father-Leader. This came with the feelings of guilt-shame. He was father to one, but Leader to all of the People. It was necessary for Leader to be more than father. To have the desire for the opposite would be to place the feelings of her in-self above the needs of all the People. No, she must instead become a part of his mission. Then she could give Leader-Father the feelings of pride-admiration for her.

And so she left Home, though this gave her the feelings of sadness-loss. She left the People, though this gave her the feelings of loneliness-isolation. The People needed to form the positive relationships with Outsiders who were not the Cold Ones. This would be her purpose. She came upon the wiggle-face sticky-minded ones. They kept her with them. This was good? But they seldom made use of the think-speak with her and did not let her leave the pod-place. Little progress had been made in the forming of the positive relationships. Perhaps Chizzich would have interest in the forming of the positive relationships?
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  #105  
Old Jan 13th, 2024, 09:53 PM
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Salient sensations come in frenzied flashes
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His mind raced, there were so many interesting devices beyond anything Chizzich had encountered in his brief academic tenure with the wizard Maccreadus. He'd need to be careful not to get lost in his own musings or distracted by all the marvels that filled this purple palace dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge for, even though these Illithids were smaller and friendlier than the tomes had led him to believe, they were still Mind Flayers. A race known for having a most peculiar and ravenous appetite, a real hunger for knowledge one might say. But there were just so many distractions.

Like the pale humanoid shape slightly twitching inside the red liquid-filled pod or the swirling cloud of starry night that has formed a small humanoid shape. That must be the presence gently rapping at the door to his mind space. The feeling was vastly different from the eager and insistent alien pressure of the Squidlings. This was more of a soft susurrus waiting in the penumbra between thought and reality. Very interesting indeed.

Dredavax explained how the strange artifact, the "trolley" the squidlings so desire, activated to extract Chizzich from the deadly meeting mere minutes ago. Now, as a goblin and curious scholar, he's never regretted picking up any odd artifact or peculiar trinket and this particular incident would only serve to strengthen that confirmation bias. Reluctantly, the Bladesinger relinquished the device to the excited squidlings who were presently making the inside of his head sound like the mess hall when Coach brought out the beer.

However! Dredavax has a different device that he would like Chizzich to use to find some rare crystals infused with psionic power in exchange for armaments! And Magic! All of these things are relevant to this goblin's interests. This felt an awful lot like an adventurer being presented with a quest in a story.

Before he could ask any questions or agree, another fantastic distraction erupted in the form of sparks, thrashing, a bit of electric zapping, and cheering from the Squidlings when Puddles was apparently startled. Chizzich took this moment to close his eyes and imagine himself comfortable in a warm, welcoming study before opening the door to his mental sanctum to the soft and polite consciousness he'd felt hesitantly reach out moments ago. Hello?

Sensations and emotions flooded through his being. Some he knew well, others he'd only recently experienced. Then the images flitted across his mind like pages of a book blowing in the wind. He understood these were memories and, they too, came with a weight of emotion. Chizzich's eyelids fluttered open and the black pupils in their yellow orbs moved rapidly back and forth as if he was reading and the moment was over. He was left with more of a feeling of understanding.

"I'll locate and deliver your crystals," as he spoke, somewhere in Chizzich's robes a white weasel chirped and chittered in dissent, "but there is movement in those two pods, are their contents awake and aware? Will they survive the damage?" He pointed at the cracked tank that had incensed Puddles. "Maybe, they could come with me? Then instead of maintaining the pods, you could focus on the ship. Less stress on your system, you called it? It would be faster, of course, with more hands for the searching." Asking for companions was a cold reminder of what was left behind in Sunblight when he found himself suddenly here.

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