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  #61  
Old Aug 16th, 2021, 02:36 AM
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"I did catch it. I meant I detected no spellcasting to cause the shapechange itself. Spellcasting in animal form like that is what made me think of druids. As far as I knew it was an ability that was pretty specific to druids. It's also why I usually stick to polymorphing into things with the necessary appendages and vocal chords to do magic. Dragons are my favorite, what with the natural flight to go along with all their great physical attributes."
Dragons were best for general combat usage as well as utility. Few things flew faster.
If he just needed to bash something a war troll worked pretty well. Admittedly that hadn't worked out very well against Rhys during their sparring, but he'd never intended to win that fight, just get a feel for how far his adoptive brother had progressed.
"Alamen. Is that someone you'd be willing to put in The lizardskin book Morgan gave Nallaul to list people worth rescuing/recruiting/rehabilitating and generally work with.the blue book? If you have something that belonged to her, or know where we can go to acquire that, I can try to locate her with Discern Location."
Assuming she was still alive.
”And no, Xu'deln hasn't told me much about your background.” There had been a lot of drow to go over, so Morgan had only gotten the short version regarding most people. ”I wouldn't mind hearing about it if you feel like telling the story, but don't feel like you have to after I spoke of myself. It just sometimes feels good to let these things out.”
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  #62  
Old Aug 17th, 2021, 07:49 PM
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Nallaul is silent for a long time after Morgan asks about Alamen. He's reviewing what he knows of her, as he wants to give Morgan an honest reply. Nothing specifically really evil came to his mind that would bar her from rescue, and the things she had done, were things he had done, or were similar to things he had done. Realising it had been a while Nallaul answered. "I'm sorry about the wait. There was a lot of history between Alamen and I. Wanted to make sure I gave you an honest answer. Yes on balance I think I would like her in the book. She's always been professional, and I can't recall a time where she indulged in the worst aspects of our culture. We respected each other, and Alamen is a factor in why I'm still alive. I'd still check with Zilira though. It's possible she may have seen something in my mind I have forgotten. The only concern I might have is she was the lover of Myr'delith, although I'm uncertain how much consent was involved there.
It's unlikely she's still alive. I see two possible scenarios where she survived and escaped the fiends. They offered a deal to her, or Hali picks her up."
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Old Aug 18th, 2021, 01:35 AM
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Morgan patiently waits while Nallaul mulls over his answer. If he had answered right away the Morgan would have likely pressed him for more details. He'd much rather the drow give it full consideration rather than making a hasty judgment call.
"A third possibility is that the Maiden Snatcher snatched her up, and he had her.
The Discern Location should be telling."

Deimos might want another source of information beyond the drow scout he'd captured. If that were the case, it was anyone's guess what was done with her after Deimos' fall.
"Either way, I intend to do my research first before attempting to make contact, or more likely asking you to make contact. Vision, Contact other Plane, maybe some scrying. Wages of being raised by a scholar. Even before I acquired a Spellbook of Tiaan full of divination spells, I was half-diviner."
Sometimes Morgan regretted not becoming a specialist when he began his training. There were so many things that a specialist potentially had access to that a generalist never would. He also envied them the number of spells they could prepare at one time. On the other hand every school had so much to offer that locking yourself away from any of them seemed sheer folly.
"Anyway, I don't consider her having been Myr'delith's former lover to be a particular problem. You did see the matron mother's death with your own eyes if I recall correctly. If we find nothing untoward, then I think it would be best to let you contact her. Maybe see if you can arrange a meeting to discuss things with her. Or a rescue."
Morgan pauses, giving Nallaul a chance to decide if he wanted to talk about his past, or change the subject.
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  #64  
Old Aug 18th, 2021, 07:51 PM
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"Alamen had a small armoury of mundane weapons. She used these in her one on one sessions with new soldiers, to see where their specialities lay. It might not have been touched, as the weapons were not valuable. Of course that would require going back to the house, and would have either claimed, or destroyed. The good news is that Myr'delith allowed me to put in some phase doors after the failed assassination by Xul'olin. So I should be able to get us through to there quickly."
Nallaul considers another possibility. "Hali'ara might know as well. That would likely cost me something though. Likely information about Halva." Nallaul sighed when Morgan mentions Alamen and Myr'delith lovers doesn't matter. "I see it as a warning sign. To keep the attention of a loved such as a matron mother, traditionally their lovers have done some horrendous acts of evil."
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  #65  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 01:47 AM
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"Heh, I should have been more specific. Her being the Matron Mother's lover in and of itself isn't a problem. It is a caution to do my homework regarding her, as you're implying, but I've already mentioned I'm going to do so.
Unless you happen to know of any shining beacons of light down there, we're going to have to look for those who aren't irredeemable monsters. Those might be rehabilitated, or maybe even yearning for something better, and then work from there."

A small spiteful corner of Morgan's psyche suggests that he mention he's willing to work with a baby killer for example, but that would be unnecessarily cruel. Nallaul regretted what he'd done under duress and seems to want to make up for it, even if he seemed to feel redemption might be beyond him. Perhaps there were others in similar situations, that would take the opportunity to find something better. Maybe not becoming a “shining beacon of light,” but at least not a giant bag of dicks.

Morgan shifts the pipe to the other corner of his mouth, hmmming thoughtfully.
"If we do wind up making an excursion down there, I'd like to make a side trip. The chamber where the God Forge shard was and the Paragons imprisoned. Would you be able to access to it, or was it necessary for someone like the Matron Mother or Xuafer to give you access?"
Thoretically it should be the most well protected place in the underdark, given what it housed and how important it was to them, but for all he knew everyone just assumed the intimidation of Lolth and her clergy would do most of the work keeping it secure.
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  #66  
Old Aug 21st, 2021, 08:24 PM
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"I don't know." Nallaul said bluntly. "I know it was guarded by priestesses, and it may have had magical defences, but the time of Lolth's fall was the only time I was allowed in there. The priestesses were very discouraging of curiosity there, and I was very keen for my skin to not be flayed off. I'm silly like that. Assuming the temple hasn't been destroyed by one side or other, I can't see it being left vacant. I also don't see Shade leaving much evidence conveniently lying around." Nallaul looks his fellow wizard right in the eye. "Morgan, why do you want to go there?"
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Old Aug 21st, 2021, 09:27 PM
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Morgan looks Nallaul right back in the eyes, matching Nallaul's red orbs with his hazel.
"Because for several centuries that room housed one of the three shards of the Godforge. Not only housed that piece but was in regular use there, siphoning off and redirecting enough energy to blanket an entire civilization from the eyes of even other gods. As well as presumably granting Lolth her deity status."
Morgan's voice is level, conversational, as if they were discussing the growing of crops rather than channeling unthinkable levels of power.
"Because that is but one of three pieces sundered from an original whole. Of the other two pieces, one is with Zera, built into Sanctuary, and the third is currently unknown.
And."

Morgan pauses, probably for dramatic effect from what little he knows of the mage.
"Because I am a seer.
And I might be able to see something there about the other two shards. A lingering connection. Anything really might be helpful."

Between those who'd retreated to Rincala and those captured by Zera seers, already few in number, were likely but a bare hand-full free to act. Of the couple Morgan was aware of still free, only he and Kala were working to directly oppose the Great Betrayer.
Morgan snorts out a laugh.
"Plus I think I'd like to piss on Lolth's altar."
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Old Aug 22nd, 2021, 06:22 AM
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Nallaul sighed. "Shade has it. He used true magic to teleport it away, which activated a trap Lolth placed which destroyed the room it was in. Or perhaps he lied and it was him. Looks like Shade and Zera are after that final piece then. It might be worth interrogating Triss, just to make sure Hywel wasn't up to anything else, as I doubt he could have taken it by himself, though I doubt he confided much in her."
Nallaul chuckles after the comment about the altar. "I think there's a long, long queue for that."

OoCI only caught the teleportation after my memory nagged me into rereading that thread. Not sure if Nallaul mentioned it, but I'm fairly certain Zilira would have mentioned it to Morgan after she mind whammied Nallaul.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2021, 12:57 AM
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"Of course Shade has it, it's how Shade depowered Deimos. I said housed in the past tense. I was interested in getting to the location where all that stuff I said before happened in hopes of finding something. Because.
One: I don't know how common knowledge Shade is down there, but Shade is somewhat difficult to track down for a chat. So getting access to his bit of the godforge isn't going to be something I can actively work towards.
And Two: I think it might be safer than going and trying my seer bit on the actual piece of the godforge. I'd rather not die in the throes of a vision again unless there's no other way. While it did turn out to be useful last time-"

Morgan looks momentarily nervous.
"-I think... Something happened on the other side. I remember bits and pieces of the afterlife's waiting room thanks to Val'erin's coin, but..."
Morgan seems somewhat at a loss for words.
"Something has felt a little bit off since I came back, and I can't put my finger on it.
Anyway, if the room is now in the middle of an underground collapse, I guess it's inaccessible. And if Hywel had gotten his hands on a piece of the forge it would be in Zera's hands by now."

He sighs, obviously frustrated.
"Still worth the trip if we can get a few more names in the blue book."
Morgan brightens up slightly.
"Actually, that poet you were talking about earlier. What was his name? He scarfered off looking for Zil. How long ago was that? Could he still be alive? Also, the amulet of Zilira that Sulion gave you, how long ago was that before you popped in with Shade?"
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  #70  
Old Aug 23rd, 2021, 06:21 PM
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Nallaul goes very quiet once Morgan mentions dying. The seer was clearly in some distress. As sympathetic as Nallaul felt for the human, there was something else he was obliged to bring up. "I think Zilira needs to take a look inside your head, if she hasn't already. I appreciate it's very traumatic for you, but we need every clue about what's going on. Plus we need to make sure nothing else came over with you." Nallaul was extremely worried about that last possibility. The last thing they needed was a malevolent spirit inside the court mage. Indeed for a moment the Arachnomancer evaluated his own defences, in case something reacted violently to him.
Assuming nothing happened to him, and the subject changes to Mukirr. "Ah the poet Mukirr! Likely not his real name, and likely our greatest poet and commentator. Unless he knew magic, he's unlikely to have survived. You see he disappeared a couple of decades after Zilira. He saw something in her, and believed she could be better than Lolth. He also wrote extensively on male rights, as well male and female relations. I choose to believe he left to find Zilira. It's possible his house quietly ended him to avoid scandal, because if another hour had discovered him, it would have been made public, and he would have been executed in one of the horrible ways we have." Nallaul got carried away and hadn't actually answered the last question put to him.
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Old Aug 24th, 2021, 02:08 AM
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"Yea, that would probably be a good idea even if I wasn't worried about picking up a passenger on the other side of the veil."
He'd let Sammael into his head to secure the information that allowed him to free Zilira. And again to unlock it. Worth it.
He'd agreed to let Ihnolker try to enhance his seer abilities, resulting in said death. Sort of worth it since it was what let him meet the zodiacs on the other side, gain Val'erin's coin, and triggered the chain of events leading to L'arabiel's return.
He was flitting around schmoozing with a number of beings who might very well have the ability and impetus to muck about with his head without him noticing, Mind Blank or no Mind Blank. Worth the risk if it allowed him to draw together the sort of people that could stamp paid to Zera's debts.
And worst of all he was up against Zera. Fu%#ing with others is his entire thing.
"Yes, a check-up at the vet is probably a very sane idea. Thank you for mentioning it."

"This Mukirr sounds like an interesting character. Actually sounds like the epitome of a Bard. I wouldn't count him as dead-dead until someone can confirm it somehow. I wonder if it's possible he was one of Zilira's children from the time of the Demongate wars. She said they were all dead, but it seems like many things from that era are coming back to haunt us."
A godling could certainly live that long. Coiya had managed to stay hidden for about the same amount of time, and he was both famous and well known, and people had definitely looked for him. Possible, but actually confirming any of that might be hellaciously difficult.
"Hmmm. I'm assuming nobody knew his real name or what house he belonged to? I wonder if anything actually belonging to him, even a piece penned by him personally, is still around."
Another Vision might give him more.
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Old Aug 25th, 2021, 08:22 PM
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Nallaul relaxes a little when Morgan takes his suggestion seriously. Not completely as there still is a remote possibility of it being a trick. The Arachnomancer will feel better when he follows up with Zilira.
On Mukirr being Zilira's child, Nallaul shakes his head. "I doubt it. Otherwise it would cast his love poetry in a new and disturbing interpretation. He's not necessarily a bard, as males were encouraged to develop skills to appeal to our female overlords...overladies? As I said if his house found out, he would have been quietly dealt with. We would have likely heard if another house found out. Lolth would have likely had him broken, but not killed. Just to remind us pesky males to not get uppity. There was one possibility, Charyl Talneth. I was able to rule him out after he died in a house coup along with his priestess lover, and the works of Mukirr came out about 5 years after Charyl died. They also referenced stuff that happened after Charyl's death. It's simply not him. I'm glad it isn't given what that house turned into. Still we not be conversing in Halvan if not for them."
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Old Aug 26th, 2021, 03:45 AM
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Morgan hadn't known of, or perhaps had forgotten about, the apparent love poetry.
"He doesn't have to be a bard, but the approach is very much in alignment with the bard's idiom. Thumbing your nose at a lawful and overbearing authority by distributing controversial and thought provoking ideas to the masses. That's about as 'bard' as it gets."
Morgan Hmms again, chewing lightly on the stem of his pipe.
"He disappeared a few decades after Zil. Zilira disappeared a few decades after the end of the Demongate Wars. It's entirely possible, maybe even likely, he was a veteran of the wars."
Given the character was apparently a total mystery, there's no telling if he was a drow even a he for that matter. He was most likely long dead, but it was an interesting little mystery to contemplate.

Morgan raises an arch eyebrow at the last bit.
"What do you mean about not conversing in Halvan if not for them?"
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Old Aug 26th, 2021, 05:20 AM
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"I got to know their house mage Angauf through the exchange. He was a talented wizard. Not Xufaer talented, or even me talented, but still talented. We grew as friendly as we could be, given we were in rival houses. Once during a long term job, we got bored and he taught me Halvan. Don't know how he knew your language. Likely through the s word, though it's possible he learnt from another source. It was a debt I was destined to never repay, as he died. I had assumed he had died during the assault on house Talneth, after they tried to poison the city water supply. However the truth was far worse." Nallaul's tone took on a far harder tone, as he was genuinely angry about what had happened to Angauf. His eyes seemed to burn like fire. "I found out later, years later, his own house had polymorfed him into the likeness of their matron, ripped out his tongue, and smashed his fingers so he could not speak, sign, or spell cast. He was handed over to save the necks of the matron and her daughters. The worse thing is that it worked. What remained of house Talneth was allowed to slip into the city."
Nallaul had gone from angry to sad. "Angauf had told Hali'ara about the poison plot, then the idiot went back to his house. Perhaps he thought he wouldn't be found out. The priestesses always find out." Nallaul sighed again. "I had a number of run ins with the remnants of the Talneth over the years. Just a bad, mad bunch all round. We should have put the lot of then to the sword, but Lolth had become concerned about the numbers of true Drow."
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Old Aug 28th, 2021, 08:43 PM
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"Oof. A rough story all around. I'd ask what they thought to get out of something as brutish and indiscriminate as poisoning an entire city's water supply, but I suppose there is a certain twisted logic in it."
Even if it never got everyone, just hurting other houses would raise their house by comparison. Still...
"Assuming they thought Lolth wouldn't mind something like that, considering her concern for the number of drow. Still, it seems odd to me that they'd accept the fake matron mother at face value when she'd been rendered unable to communicate."
Between this story, Tel'shar's bald faced murder, Deimos' investigators infiltrating them, and Hywel's mucking about at will with a member of the city's highest house, Morgan finds himself starting to wonder if this Drowish reputation as masters of subterfuge is maybe a little exaggerated. Even Nallaul himself seemed pretty easy to read. Then again, that might just be what he wanted Morgan to think.

Morgan shakes his head sadly.
"All the more reason to try to rescue as many people as possible from that morass."
Whether they thought to need rescue or not.
"While I'm looking into the demi-plane bit we can always make use of one of the mage duelling arenas to work off a little stress. I don't know if you have them downstairs, but they're about as safe as you can get. Nobody has ever died in one to the best of my knowledge. I've got access to the one at the Arcane Order, but if you want the biggest fanciest one, we could see about booking the Dragonblaze arena. I doubt it's much in use."
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