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  #1651  
Old 05-27-2017, 03:25 AM
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Stormy looks down at the gold coins in her palm, and then back up at the cowering villagers in front of her. "I don't want this... why did you give me this? All I did was ask if you had a spare chain. Helm's Hemorrhoids, what is wrong with you people? Grow a pair."

Stormy tosses the coins back to the villagers and goes to the next house...

After hours of searching, Stormy finds what she needs, and heads back to the center of town, where the leatherworking shops were located. She finds a hammer, some nails, and a stack of leather straps. She tosses them on the cart with Mardy and the other parts. She checks his bindings again and sets off to find Massif.

When she finds the big pile o' muscles, she asks, "Massif, I need your strength. Would you mind helping me secure Mardy?"

If Massif agrees to help, Stormy directs him to position Mardy on the cart, on his hands and knees, and Stormy places leather straps over both of Mardy's wrists, and then tightly nails the straps down onto the cart, using several nails at each side of the wrist. Casually, she says, "If you give me any trouble, these nails are going through your wrists." Then, Stormy forces Mardy down onto its elbows, and she repeats the process of tightly strapping its elbows down onto the wooden surface of the cart.

Then, as if instructing a student how to properly maintain a weapon, Stormy directs Massif, "Now this part is important. You don't want it to hurt, you just want it to be very uncomfortable. It's called a stress position. It's very effective at producing a desired behavior and preventing sleep."

With Massif's help, Stormy stretches Mardy's knees and feet forward, toward its elbows and head. When the legs feel like they're stretched sufficiently, and Mardy's rear is sticking vulnerably into the air, Stormy fastens Mardy's feet to the cart, with straps in front and in back.

Stormy steps back and surveys her work. Mardy perches on the cart, gagged, exhausted, humiliated; its wrists and elbows strapped down, its feet forward, its hindquarters up in the air. Stormy grimaces at the sight. That looks awful. I hope that never happens to me. She looks over at Massif and says, "Thank you, Massif. I hope we can still be friends after you've seen this part of me."

To make completely certain Mardy doesn't get any sleep tonight, Stormy hammers several of the sharpest nails upward through the cart, at the point where Mardy's head would rest, so only 1/4" of the nail tip sticks out. Painful to rest a forehead on, but not big enough to commit suicide by.
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  #1652  
Old 05-27-2017, 08:28 AM
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Nicodemus works tirelessly though the night to save as many live as he can. He looks and sees Stormy rigging up some sort of strange contraption and putting Mardy on it. "Waht exactly is your plan for all of this? Why persist n letting him live, I doubt he knows what you want and it's be better for you to rip the thought from his mind than risk him getting lose
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  #1653  
Old 05-27-2017, 03:28 PM
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Massif lends his strength and Gordon his tinkering acumen to completing the sorceror's rigging. Nicodemus, for his part, offers his services with detect thoughts, but Stormy politely says she'll think about it as she heads off with a smile. As she carts him off with Hooters and Humpy (her new pet camel) in tow, the rest of the party exchange glances, but ultimately shrug as they have other things on their own plates. As night encroaches, Stormy completes her search for the perfect area for her first "chat" with the shapeshifter - a nice secluded area with an abondoned house still retaining its roof post-battle. Mardy's eyes are wide with terror as she brings him inside... into the dark.
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  #1654  
Old 05-27-2017, 04:32 PM
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Stormy rolls the Mardywagon into an abandoned house, and she removes the blindfold and the wax from Mardy's ears. She casually sits down on an old wooden stool next to a table, and pulls a small bundle out of her pack. She unties the bundle and rolls it out over the table, and the dim light reflects on several glimmering metal surfaces and edges. Stormy pulls a file out of one of the pockets, and begins to work at her nails (which had been neglected for the past week or so). After about 20 minutes of delicate filing, Stormy holds her fingers up for Mardy to observe, as if to ask for its opinion. Stormy places the file back in the bundle and turns to Mardy.

"Who killed Aster?"

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  #1655  
Old 05-27-2017, 05:57 PM
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Mardy tries to spit at Stormy, but the gag makes it impossible to aim and instead the saliva just dribbles down his chin. He then replies in whatever gargle he can manage.

I know only what you do, wench. As I said, the Brotherhood has scouted you all for some time - and most of their information on you came directly from you during one of your drunken stupors at the bar in Carran. You're a talkative drunk.

He says this with snark and tries his best to form a sarcastic smile (as much as the gag will allow) but then immediately regrets it as Stormy causes the pipe inside his mouth to heat to scorching. His garggled screams would be nauseating to most, but Stormy stands stone faced as she watches the already badly injured sorceror pass out from the pain. With a sigh, Stormy brings him back to consciousness and repeats her question. After a moment to regain his wits, he responds again - even more garggled as blood bubbles from his mouth with each barely audible word.

You... crazy... b...

Before he can even finish, Stormy pulls the threads of her spell once more causing more screams and, eventually, loss of consciousness once again. The smell of burnt flesh permeates the air of the abondoned house as the skin around Mardy's mouth becomes charred and begins oozing blackened blood. Stormy waits a few moments to revive him this time, but eventually does. As he rouses once more, the bard asks the question once more, but Mardy doesnt respond. Realizing this is more because of his present state than a slight against her, Stormy allows the changeling some time to regain his wits. Once he is able to hold his head up, she asks again and he responds, but this time he truly is inaudible. Stormy hunches down to inspect his mouth and sees that the sorceror's tongue has essentially fused to the roof of his mouth. Every breath he takes is difficult now from the constricted air flow and each time he attempts to speak he begins to choke on a repugnant mixture of liquified flesh, burnt blood and oozing saliva. Stormy, thinking she may have overdid it a bit, sighs once again. She tells Mardy that she will remove his gag for but a moment so that he may use minor illusion to answer her question; however, any funny business will result in pain that pales in comparison to what he has felt thus far. Mardy, wide eyed with terror, nods his head as much as his weakened state will allow. Stormy then removes the gag with her handcrossbow trained on his chest, but it does not prove necessary - Mardy is broken. He speaks via minor illusion - answering the question presented him.

I... no more, I beg you. I will tell you all I know - though I fear it will not be exactly what you had hoped for...

He pauses, bracing himself for some new type of insidious pain, but to his relief none comes. And so he continues.

How I described my knowledge of Aster was the truth. I only know of Aster because of what my spies told me had come straight from your mouth.
Truthfully, I dont even know what she was to you - sister, friend... perhaps this much thirst for vengeance would mean she was a lover? It matters not - and does not change the truth as it pertains to me. That said...


He pauses once again - praying for no reprisal from the bard. When he deems it "safe" to continue he does so.

The story my people told me that you recounted into your cups is familiar to me. Not because of your and Aster's story, but from others. This brutality,
deception and depravity is something I have heard of before.


He looks pitifully into Stormy's eyes as black bubbles of blood pulsate from his mouth and nostrils.

Promise me no more suffering and I shall tell you all I know.
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Last edited by Agrudez; 05-27-2017 at 06:00 PM.
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  #1656  
Old 05-27-2017, 08:55 PM
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Before this moment, Stormy assumed that her rage and hunger for vengeance would be enough to bolster her through any kind of emotional challenge. She assumed that all residue of humanity had been scoured away by the pain of her past. As she looked down at the husk of a living thing that gurgled and gasped, the intelligent being, with most of the emotions and drives that she had; that she had reduced to this, Stormy grew weak, and had to hold onto the table to keep her balance. I'm not as strong as I thought I was.

"Yes," Stormy said, around a gulp. "Yes, I promise you. Tell me what you know, and I'll put a bolt through your temple, and you'll never feel another thing, for the rest of whatever."
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  #1657  
Old 05-28-2017, 12:35 AM
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Mardy looks up at Stormy with pitiful eyes and attempts to turn his face into a smile - Stormy believes, anyway, it is difficult to tell at this point - with what little is left of it.

Thank you...

He gasps for a breath before continuing - still communicating via minor illusion.

This man... he is known to me because he is one of us...

Stormy interjects to inquire whether he means the Brotherhood. Mardy, in turn, attempts to shake his head side to side, but quickly stops as the endeavor obviously causes him great pain.

Think what you will of the Brotherhood, but to be a member requires conviction and ideals. The man you seek knows nothing of either. Everything he does is simply for sport - a true demon.

The sorcerer begins to gag as blood fills his mouth and begins to drip down his throat. One of the bubbled blisters inside his mouth pops from the gyration and it causes Mardy to be ceased with excruciating pain. Stormy looks upon the sight no longer with a steely gaze. Instead, she now looks upon this wretched creature whom she created with something resembling pity. As hot streaks of bloody tears begin to stream down Mardy's face, salty ones grace Stormy's cheeks as well. After some struggle, Mardy finally is able to continue.

By 'us', I mean that he is of my people - a changeling. We are a race that is few in numbers, but the prejudices of the outside world bind us to one another. This is why we all know of one another - and none is as infamous as this man you seek. The other races look down upon us as natural thieves and cutthroats because of our abilities, but truly we are like any other race - some of us are bad and some good. Most of our kind try to not feed this stereotype senselessly, but he took pride in it - committing heinous acts on human settlements brazenly. The elders tried to reign him in - make him see reason, but he did not care for their words of wisdom. And when his acts turned more and more... depraved - like what my informants told me of your and Aster's story... he was eventually exiled from the community. I was still a child then, but my father took to telling my brothers and I the story of his acts as a means to scare us into good behavior.

Listening intently, Stormy asks Mardy the man's name - or anything that may aid in tracking him.

When one can change your skin, it is a simple enough task to change your name. I was not born Mardy... in fact, to think on it, I don't even recall my birth name now...

He trails off, this last sentiment seems to have made him very introspective as he looks back on his life at the last moments preceding his death. After a moment, he brings his attention back to Stormy and continues.

There was a sickness in him. Something like that does not go away. He will be somewhere that victims would be plentiful so that he can keep his inner demons sated.

Mardy looks up at Stormy pitifully once more as black blood oozes from every orifice - both natural and unnatural - on his face.

I know nothing else...
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Last edited by Agrudez; 05-28-2017 at 03:03 AM.
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  #1658  
Old 05-28-2017, 02:01 AM
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Stormy angrily wipes the tear off her cheek, and does her best to focus on the words of Mardy, rather than her own self-doubt and emotional tempest. So many questions raced through Stormy's mind, but she didn't ask. None of them would get her closer to what she sought.

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Originally Posted by Agrudez View Post
There was a sickness in him. Something like that does not go away.
Sick like me.

Stormy draws her crossbow, loads it, and aims it at Mardy's skull in a single, efficient motion. "Mardy, if we meet in hell, will you let me buy you a drink?"

Stormy waits half a breath, and then pulls the trigger.



Stormy wipes the vomit off of her lips and mouth, and wipes the tears off her cheeks.

This did not go well. This was not how I pictured this moment.

Stormy looks at the dark, wet stains on the surface of the cart, where Mardy had been bound. The leather straps are sliced, but still nailed down. She had considered just burning the whole cart with Mardy on top, but carts were useful and Stormy didn't waste useful tools. The blood would eventually dry, and then she could paint over it. Or she could leave it to remind herself, and punish herself. Somehow, she had failed today; something went wrong, because the elation she fantasized about was not present.

That wasn't justice, or revenge. It was just misguided rage, and it made her feel... Stormy wretches on the ground again. She spits and grabs the stained cart and starts pulling it out of the building. She turns and looks at the shadow of Mardy's corpse lying on the floor, and she has another urge to burn it or bury it or perform some ceremony. She dismisses the urge, thinking, No, he was a murderer, and he doesn't deserve to be remembered with ceremony or rites. This stained cart will remember him, as will the dirt of this town, and the corpses of all the people he killed. Plus, the rats and crows need to eat. Not that they'll be hungry in the coming days.



Stormy easily finds the Goliath, when she returns late in the evening. She leads Humpy the Camel forward, and attached to Humpy is the cart stained with Mardy's blood. "Here's justice, Goliath. Mardy the Changeling paid for his crimes; with his screams, with his blood, and with his life. Are we good?"
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Last edited by theoryaction; 05-28-2017 at 02:06 AM.
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  #1659  
Old 05-28-2017, 02:13 AM
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Aukan looks at her and a tear appears. "Lass I am sorry my frustration was misguided. Did you find your answers or from the look of it you and I are alike. It is a sad thing to do what we do. Go take your time by yourself and find us in the morning. You have the look of someone who faced death in the eyes and stared too long. "
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