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  #91  
Old Mar 1st, 2023, 06:46 PM
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LaisrenLaisren is baffled again by the question of just how real any of this is. It's clearly real, everything verifies it. But, like, what IS reality, though? His sudden age has granted him some philosophy. He feels an urge to engage in a needlessly-heated debate on the matter with Hlin, where in his "youth" Laisren mostly felt awed and averse to Hlin's worldly perspective.

A'Ru guides the group down a short flight of stairs, and seems momentarilty dumbfounded. Nukky gets sort of a hazy look in his eyes. And Hlin decides to play dress-up in mildewed old rags.

"Uhm, we shouldn't, y'know, STAY here, right? We need to find Liri, and some kind of kennels? Yes. So... I'm going to.... just...." he inches to his right, towards the stairs that point downwards. His hand taps anxiously at his thigh as he scootches. Reaching the top descending stair, he hisses "...just going to peek down here."

He does the most rapid-fire Which is pretty good! 17 on stealth.tip-toe he can manage down the stairs, and when nearing the bottom (or at least the next floor, if the stairs continue to descend), he tries to take in the scene without being noticed.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2023, 12:56 PM
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"Agh, knock it off, will yez!" A'ru clamps his hands uselessly over his ears and topples off Sneech. Oo'loo's distress jangles every nerve in his body, and it is all the ranger can do to stop himself bashing his skull against the floor to try and make it stop. He rolls onto his back with his teeth gritted, and only then does he notice Nukky pointing at the Cause Liri's got a chaise longue in her dressing room! Where's the pack of warm beer that we can consume?chaise lounge
.

Oo'loo's voice quietens in A'ru's head as he peers closely at the chair, and sees the ghostly paws that his friend had noticed. Echoing the excited cries of his spectral stowaway, A'ru calls out softly, "Ra'rar? That's you, ain't it? I'm A'ru, leader of the Free Watchermacallits. I gotcher brother Oo'loo here, but he's hiding in my cloak or something and has ta whisper. Eh, hold on."

The ranger cocks his head for a second as if listening, then nods and continues. "Oo'loo sez ter tell yez that yez can trust me, and that yer mum's name is Hay'ha." He looks up at Nukky for a moment, an idea dawning. The marda stands and confers with the kobold quietly for a moment, then kneels by the lounge again.

"My friend Nukky here is gonna help us free the rest of the marda. He sez yez can use him to hide in, if yeh want. Nothin' more can hurt yeh, then."







 


 
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Old Mar 3rd, 2023, 12:14 AM
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Nukky gives a short bow. "Hello, hello, marda friend. Nukky here will help in....however way he can?" The young Kobold is very unsure about what is about to transpire, but he knows that this is someone in need of their help. He nods over at Aru, then turns to the hiding one again. "Nukky think you just...come here and do the thingie that other friend do."

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  #94  
Old Mar 3rd, 2023, 05:15 PM
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Vestry, Upstairs and Down
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Hlin, the vestments are for a person. They are also "real." Which means they fall right through your ghost-half, and you have a spectral butt sticking out the back. You still and try to listen to this protrusion of self, let the back end do what it likes, seeing if it will canter-fly you to---

What its wants to do is flick its tail about, SWISH! SWASH! lashing at its own ghostly hide. Which has...fleas? A twist and an investigation reveals some kind of little ghost-parasite settling itself. Little teeny spirits. By the time you find them, three or four of the little boogers have embedded happily in your horse-self. The itching fades, the tail swishing stops. You are ready to perform the ceremony...

Nukky, you see the poor Marda first and bend down to address her. She is barely conscious, barely tethered to the world, and seems to have a hard time following what you are saying. She is small and pretty, perhaps a little older than Oo'loo, her eyebrow hair hanging down in bangs. She pushes the puffy hat your friend A'ru seems to hate so much off to try to hear you better and creeps out to lie on the ground, panting, fading in and out of view with each inhale and exhale.

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A'ru, she seems reassured by your form, your presence. You say her mother's name and she eases further. A free Marda? The legends...I knew... she fades away entirely for a moment, then sparks back. I always believed.

Oo'loo pokes his head right. out. of. your. side. He thinks he is peeking out of your cloak, but for you, this is disconcerting, to say the very, very least. Ra'rar smiles to see him, and he says, You must try! Climb up into a cloak as A'ru says! They will hide you!

Nukky you are small, and there is no way Ra'rar can remain upright to hide behind you or in your cloak, and she simply hasn't the strength to possess anyone---even a willing host.

Her eyes land on Hlin, swathed in the long alb. She float creeps painfully and slowly up and under, until she is lying prone on the ghost-withers, hidden by the back of the chimere.

A'ru, she says to you, Please, can we go get Mama and the rest---we cannot be free without the pack! She loses consciousness again, and Oo'loo chuffs and ducks back out of sight inside your, uh, cloak, worried.

Hlin, two more of the little buglets leap off of her, onto the horse-parts, itching briefly as they settle The hoof sparkles and tingles.

Laisren, you engage in philosophy, as you learn what every druid knows, what habitual Polymorphers sense and sink into: The body is not a thing you ride around in; you are the body; the body is you.

As much as your remembered youth might balk, this body is a good one, wiry and strong, your weathered face mirroring your father's craggy handsomeness. It stealths well, too, seasoned enough to be cautious as it eases expertly down the stairs.

You learn the Dressing Room---the vestry---has a second floor. Same carpet. Smashed stained glass ornamentation and chalices all over, ruined chests and benches. You can see one cracked open chest is packed with the moldering robes of alcolytes embroidered with holy symbols, a black disc with purple rim. You know on the other side of the north wall is the ground floor ballroom, but you see no way in. Back upstairs the curtain will lead you to the balcony hanging over it, however.

There is a door immediately at the bottom of the stairs. Through the crack, pale light streams into this dark room, and you hear a solemn female singer intoning in solemn. Her words are Elven, but this is close enough to Sylvan for you to understand the words and know this is a wedding song:

With this Union
Roses are planted where thorns grow,
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees.

A perilous path is planted; we
Merge the river and the spring.
Today on every cliff and tomb,
And on the bleachŤd bones
Flowers bloom


OOC BTM I couldn't find your rolls for the perception or the heal in the stat block -- Were those leftovers? I played this as if Nukky did NOT cast heal on the sister, but if you did roll that somewhere, please let me know.

PS Sorry the nanny ghost left after she said she would lead you. Blame the DM (illness + these drugs that make my poor brain buzz and feel very scattershot) I FORGOT she said that. My bad, not hers.

The wedding song is of course from Blake -- this time a bit of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

Map for Laisren: The door is RIGHT by the steps, and cracked open. If Laisren wants to peek before proceeding roll perception---you can let that good stealth roll ride, and also assume you beat that singer's passive perception.



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Old Mar 4th, 2023, 11:03 PM
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A-ru
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A'ru stares dumbfounded at the wispy specter of Rar'rar, overcome and confused at the prospect of losing a marda so soon after she was found, but one who had already died so long ago. At last he mutters, "Ghosties or no, they're the only kin I got right now." More loudly, he adds, "Now yez just breathe easy, Rar'rar, oh, er." He trails off wondering if he'd made a faux pas, before recalling that the ghosts do not understand that they are dead. "Yeah, all right? Try ta relax and not worry, and we're gonna find yer family."

He looks pleadingly at Hlin and Nukky. "Will yez come with me, or will yez go with Laisren? I gets it if you decide against coming. But I can't leave this to the end."

Then A'ru turns back to the task at hand. "But how can we take this poor lady along? She's too weak ta ride." He stops again, feeling the ridiculousness of the concern. But he shrugs, unable to think of the matter any other way. His eyes drift over to Sneech, and a light enters his eyes. He stands and places a paw on his companion's muzzle.

"Sneech, I don't know if yer gonna like this, but I needs yez ta bear with me on this one." The mastiff whimpers a little and noses A'ru's arm, granting tacit permission for whatever plan the the ranger was hatching. "Thanks, budsy." With that, the ranger busies himself extracting his rope and bedroll from his pack, then lashing the soft, rolled-up sleeping mat onto Sneech's back as best he can, accepting whatever help his companions might offer.

Once done, he surveys his handiwork with cautious optimism. The ranger calls gently, "All right, Rar'rar, here's as safe and cozy a hidin' spot as yez could ask for. Sneech is my friend. He is brave and mighty, and won't let yez come ta harm." He watches the suffering ghost with concern, wondering if she can get herself into the bedroll and offering whatever assistance he can.



 


 
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Old Mar 6th, 2023, 08:38 AM
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ClarityA'ru, she can't ride Sneech. Your friend, for all his mystical nature, is corporeal, and she is a ghost, and not conscious. If you try to lift her, your hands go through her and come out cold and wet with ectoplasm.

She is ethereal -- but so is half of Hlin. She stays where she is, resting on his withers, hidden under the chimere that hangs down over his moldering alb.
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Old Mar 6th, 2023, 06:36 PM
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LaisrenSeeing that the lower portion of the room is empty, Laisren skulks into the room. There is nearby singing, and garments.

Hm, well, Hlin was getting disguised. Maybe I should too? Laisren rifles though the mouldering vestments, and does his best to pick one that is large enough to hide his tail, but is as little stinky and moth-eaten as possible. Snatching up what he can find, he throws the garment over his arm and makes his way back towards the stairs. But he can't help try and get a peek at what's behind the door. rolled a 14 on perception, which is something but not great. Maybe his caution in leaving the door mostly-shut gets in the way of getting a better view?He daren't open it much, but he tries to see what he can see.

He then tip-toes back up the steps and reports his findings. "Door to the ballroom down there. And look, I found these!" He shows off the purloined vestments. "Maybe if you're all dressed up as a priest," he suggests to Hlin, "I can be your altar boy? I can probably do that better than being a 'tail dancer' (whatever that means...)" he grumbles, apparently forgetting his lost 'boyhood'.

"Oh! You've got a Marda on your back!" he blurts, pointing out the obvious. "Do we need to take care of that? Can they guide us to Liri? I don't think the ceremony has started yet. It's the chatting and singing bit beforehand, I guess. But it's started. Not much time..."

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Old Mar 6th, 2023, 06:47 PM
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"This might seem rude, but the ghosts and the undead have been waiting literally lifetimes before we arrived ... and the ceremony has not yet begun. Let them wait. I think they need a priest--and of course a wizened altar boy--to begin the ceremony, and as long as they don't have one, it won't begin. At least that is my hope," Hlin tells the others.

"Besides ... we don't know exactly what to do at the ceremony. We know neither how to stop it nor how to cause it to open a wide crack into our own world. But we do know this--the mardas believe that by exiting this mansion, they can be free. So, with only one certainty--and a noble one at that--I think our choice is clear. We focus on liberating the mardas, and then we decide our next steps."

He turns back to A'ru.

"Pack leader? Where to?"


 


 

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Old Mar 7th, 2023, 08:53 AM
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Wedding
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Laisren, you see a ruined temple room made of cracked white marble, so shrouded in webbing it is as if the scene is being filmed through cheesecloth. The benches are empty of guests, but an elf-ghost with a small harp sings in the back corner. You don't see the banshee, only Liri, standing in the back with the older man who hired the orcs. Her face is expressionless, her eyes downcast, her hands hidden by a mass of flowers that crawl with ghostly butterflies.

It's hard to see more than that through the crack, and as you watch, Liri and the man begin to walk slowly, in time to the music, to the other end of the temple. A red glow begins to build in the room, centered on the bride.

You put on an acolyte's vestments, forgetting your age for a moment. Your hands on the Alb are strong and calloused and rough. They look like your father's hands. You see them clearing rocky fields, planting, tilling, harvesting, season after season after season. You have a strange moment of vertigo as you realize these memories are not of your father. It is---well, it's you. Laisren, you are young, but this body has lived a whole full life. It remembers that life, years and years on a farmstead -- in Righ? Hard to tell. It's hazy, but it feels real to this body.

You hurry up and report to the party.

Hlin, they can wait. And if they can't, they are not your priority. You ask A'ru where to go.

A'ru, Oo'loo is whispering in answer. He tells you he can show you the way through the house. Since the wedding is happening, the way might be clear, but if he is seen, there will be trouble. He is supposed to be carrying rings or in a cage, not wandering the halls.

He has another option. The mansion has a few tunnels that allow servants to pass unseen to work spaces--- the scullery and kennels and kitchen, this vestry room, the elf-servant sleeping quarters.

There is an entrance to one of these hidden under the chaise lounge that his sister was creeping toward, trying to get to her mother.


OOC Okay that ought to get us back on track. Sorry the last DM post was so confusing.

A map is here

Wyn you can roll history if you like to see what Old Laisren's body might remember.

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Old Mar 7th, 2023, 11:28 PM
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Nukky looks up and down the tunnel. "Yes yes, this seems to be a nice secret way to Marda friends." He does a quick scan to make sure the way is clear. "Nukky go with you, Aru. Help find family. Nukky knows what it's like to not have family." He clings to hope, still thinking about his own family.

"Lead the way, friend."

 


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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 06:52 PM
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Laisren"... she is RIGHT THERE!" Laisren urges in his passionate hissed-shout, continuing a description of the situation that was totally always correct and internally consistent to begin with. "I can just go down those stairs, move in, grab her while her father is all shocked and awed, and take her away. Just like that! Back here in seconds!" His worry-worn eyes are wide and kinetic for a moment. Then doubt seeps in.

"Oh, but she's a ghost, too. So... I'd go right through her. Then her da would so that spooky ghost thing." he shudders, thinking of the groom. "Or he'd call in the zombies and all hanging around next door. There's a secret passage right there. And they'd come in. And well, I guess that would be the end of me." He scowls, wringing his hands, trying to think of other plans. But the vision of his hands just Rolled 7 on the suggested History check of Laisren's own not-experienced life historyreminds him how his-and-not-his and later-his they are. What does that mean?

He sighs and settles the mouldering altar boy's robes around him, nudging his again-hidden tail into a comfortable position. "Let's find your folk, A'Ru. But we got to get back here fast, yeah? Then I'm going in there with you, Hlin." he adds, 'there' apparently meaning the chapel where the not-yet-banshee not-yet-bride waits in despair.
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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 09:06 PM
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He stands/floats there, listening to Nukky announce his decision and then listening to Laisren struggle through his thoughts aloud. There are, Hlin thinks, no easy answers. No farmer's wisdom nor courtly manuals for how to handle this situation.

As he moves slightly back and forth, a habitual twitching that seems to have carried over into his ghostly hinds, Hlin feels a gentle swishing of his tail over parts that are ghostly him and not him. Trying to deepen the connection between spine and spirit, he hums and passes down a deep vibration of healing through his spine and, hopefully, into the very extremes of his being.

Tails are more than ornamental, though they are that. Tails disrupt the spite of flies, tails protect the most vulnerable skins, and perhaps this tail, this ghostly appendage is in touch enough with the spirit world to transmit Hlin's healing across the spirit world and into a weakened, ghostly mardra.

If nothing else, she will feel a caring brush over her fur, like a mother kentori's gentle lick of her foal, like a warrior kentori's caring cleansing of a fellow warrior's wounds, like one lost, exiled soul trying to give whatever comfort it can to another.

And as his tail falls back into position, so does Hlin--behind A'ru and into whatever foolishness they have chosen.

 


 

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Old Mar 10th, 2023, 04:26 PM
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A-ru
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A'ru's eyes go soft and bright. Small, dark tears well up at their corners. He says in a sweet, wavering voice, "Yez'd all do this...fer me? What a beautiful group o' friends I have. I just love yez all so...aaagh!" He smacks the side of his head repeatedly. "Knock...that...off...right...NOW!"

When he stops hitting himself, he looks crossly around at the party, then snaps, "Well what're yez all starin' at. Let's get the hell outta here." He replaces his bedroll and mounts Sneech, then descends through the secret tunnel door, following his ghostly passenger's direction.



 


 
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 10:08 AM
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Marda Manuever
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The secret door is in the wall behind the lounge, and it opens into something like a dumbwaiter. You pile in and descend, and it lets you out in a tunnel as black as pitch.

Nukky, you hear Laisren's description, and you think of your family, and as the dumb waiter descends, you realize what the red light inside of Liri is. Your fire-stone! Malveen ate it, and it was a red glow inside of her, which means ----They are Russian nesting dolls. Your rock inside a vile banshee inside a lost, sad bride.

Hlin, your song and tail do seem to comfort her. The longer she is on your back, the more she seems to settle and sleep, and your ghost-hoof that bears the magical shoe that will save your people sparkles and burbles more intensely as her little ghost bugs embed. You will not see this part of the banshee's story unfold, but A'ru needs this, and anyway, the hoof! Clearly the destiny of your people is entwined with the Marda.

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Laisren, you forget you are old and put on the robes, and the reason you forget is, you are not actually old. You are a beautiful young man currently operating under a curse. But this body, for all the jaw is still firm and the hair has some red in it, is old, and it remembers the life it led. Not your life. This guy never came here, never heard the riddles---he stayed in Rie and fought the Fomorians and then worked his farm. Which means he won. Whatever choice he ended up making, it was correct or it was enough. The town won...

Trying to remember this life you never lived, trying to remember HOW he won, is like trying to remember a dream. It is hard and seems misty. Well, your sister Aisling (well-named, as are all your mother's children) keeps a dream-journal. She says this helps her remember her dreams. How do you remember yours?

A'ru, the tunnel is long and dark. It forks once 50 feet in, a branch bending northish, but Oo'loo points west with absolute certainty.


OOC1) I need to know your marching order. The tunnel allows 2 abreast in most places, but you can also go single file.

2) I need one of you to roll me d8 and tell us all what you got in the OOC so everyone sees it and there are nto multiple rolls. You are welcome to even roll it in OOC.

3) A light source will be needed for those with no dark vision.

badger, Yoshi had already pointed out that the spell as written cannot work on undead, period, and we had already discussed in the OOC that a ghost casting it would not change the flat statement of NO added to the spell in 5e. I can't agree to let Yoshi hold A'ru to RAW but let the same idea work if Hlin does it. Sorry -- it is some GREAT RP you laid out there. Really enjoyed the entry.
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Old Mar 11th, 2023, 11:50 AM
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LaisrenLaisren steps into the strange hidden box-room with trepidation. I assume? I can tote a torch if necessary, but IIRC Hlin brought a light when he entered the manse for the first ghoul fightLit by Hlin's light, he silently gawps, having never even heard of such a thing. Does Fain have this sort of thing in his house? I don't think it's big enough. I guess rich elves can get REALLY rich.

He braces himself as it jitters into its descent. Once it stops and opens, he grips his fork defensively, and steps forward to walk aside A'Ru, who is being led by their ghost-guide.

OOCLucky for you, dear reader, Laisren isn't anywhere close to worldly enough to contemplate the mathematics of compound interest for wealthy nigh-enternal beings and their bloodlines. Because I was ready to go off...

I'm assuming that the best marching order would put A'Ru and Laisren in the front, with casters in the back. It seems like we're not very likely to get flanked from behind in the servant's passages?

 
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