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  #76  
Old Feb 18th, 2023, 01:41 PM
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LaisrenA sign of Laisren's acquired elder dignity is that he only lets his mouth hang agape for a moment before closing it, as the ghost governess' revelations of Liri's magical imprisonment. He nods (in what he hopes is stern resolution) to confirm that he is indeed talking about Tomas.

"The Lord is a man of his word. Tomas WILL lose his head, I've seen it. And that means... you too..." He blanches at the thought. "It's hard to explain how I know this. But we've got to free you from those chains." They are ghostly, what could he possibly do about them? But, didn't his daggers touch the groom? And his fork worked on Malve'en.

He holds the fork out, and is once again embarassed by it. A thought occurs to him. "Well. Here's one explanation. See this? It didn't used to be like this. It was made this way. By Li... by Malve'en. Something happened this night. I guess she didn't put on the dress! But she lost everything. She fell into despair. She became, um, well..." Laisren walks over to the chains as he tells the story. He suspects that the easiest approach is to sunder a few of the links in the ghostly chain. He moves some links into a useful position with the tines of his fork. "... there's not a kind way to say this. She became a banshee. She was very cruel. But this was all in our past. In your future. I guess? She - the future Malve'en - she send us here to this time. With Liri. For... reasons we're not sure of. But if we can somehow stop, or change, or, or, DO something about it. Maybe we're all going to be better off?"

He drives the fork down into a link, hoping to chip and bend the metal. Then he worries the tine into a link, and tries to twist the chain apart.

Muttering half to himself and half to the governess as he struggles with the jailbreak, "Though, if people lost heads, that means she did refuse to marry. That's good. So if we can stop the consequences of THAT, I think that's maybe the most important thing. Right? These Marda, would they help? The Lord talks to orcs, I hear. Are they around right now? That might make things harder. Or maybe easier?"
OOCOK, so I'm trying to break the links of the ghostly chain by using the magic weapon to gain supernatural purchase and plain-old leverage to pry it apart. I rolled 22 on a Guisance'd stregth check. 24, if you're willing to call it an Athletics check.

 
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Old Feb 19th, 2023, 05:59 PM
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Nukky points out the mirror to the group. "Lookie, same mirror from before. No needy mirror now to see another Marda though."

While looking around for anything else, he is slightly taken aback as he turns and sees the ghost slip into Aru's body. Wide-eyed in fear at first, but sighs as he sees his companion still himself. "You ok? Nukky give you some help if you feel ghost-sick." He taps Aru on the back for reassurance and Guidance.

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Old Feb 20th, 2023, 02:31 PM
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A'ru turns an unseeing gaze on Nukky, his pupils extremely dilated and fresh pink slime dripping down his chest. His mouth hangs open for several seconds. At last he sings in a gentle but distant voice,"Oh, th' owlbear sits in th' owlbear tree, an' seven an' seven an' seven makes three." The corners of his mouth turn up into a smile, which melts into a snarl, and the ranger barks in a hollow voice, "Let 'er come to, Mister Ruxpin! Lay aloft and loose topgallants! Sheets home t'lee! Ack..." His eyes roll back in their sockets. When he speaks again, his voice is a quavering whisper. "Lord Lathander, protect and deliver us, protect and deliver us, protect and..." Sneech crouches and starts growling softly.

But the marda's eyes refocus and his whole body shudders violently like a dog coming out of its bath. His knees give way but he places a paw on Nukky's shoulder and manages to stay on his feet. "That was weird." He wipes away some slime from his shirt with his other paw and flicks it off with a grimace, then shifts his feet uncomfortably. Sneech pads closer and and sniffs at his knees questioningly for a moment before sitting back on his haunches.

Intimacy was not a familiar sensation for A'ru. He'd been an only child, and he'd lost everyone in his pack close to his age before he'd been old enough to feel his first Stirrings of Spring. The sudden experience of unity with Oo'loo was highly confusing. He pulls his hand away from Nukky quickly.

The ranger inquires gingerly, "Eh, are yez okay in there? Oo'loo? Can yez...yipe!" This time A'ru does fall to his knees and buries his head in his paws. He kneels there trembling, and starts to whisper in a wondering voice, "I can feel Him. The Morninglord. He is with me. He is with..augh!" He gets painstakingly back on his feet and sputters irritably, "All right, yeah. Just what I needed. A god watchin' whenever I takes a wizz."

Sneech springs back onto his paws, and A'ru dusts off his trousers with his hands then takes a hesitating step toward the mastiff, as if not sure whether he would have control over his own limbs. Experiencing nothing out of the ordinary, he climbs onto his friend's back. "I'm fine, I'm fine. Oo'loo can take us to Liri. But he sez he has a sister that's in danger. What d'yez say we round up the others and see ta that first? The more friends we have in this nightmare the better, yeah?"

He looks from Nukky to Hlin inquiringly, then turns Sneech and trots out of the room in search of Laisren and Baly.





 


 
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Old Feb 20th, 2023, 05:15 PM
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Laisren, you are deep into it with this ghost and do not notice when Baly arrives with his much heavier pack, much less when he leaves. The ancient elf-lady blinks at you with zero comprehension. Forgive me, dear, but are you a real divination wizard? Or part of the entertainment? I know his Lordship mentioned hiring fortune tellers for the reception...

She has no idea she is dead, and all your talk of this future or that one is so much nonsense. But you look strong to her, and resolute, so she doesn't object when you come at her chains with your silly spangled fork. The family heirloom has been reshaped by this strange plane, but now this works in your favor instead of simply being a worry. Your foot, as you step forward, sinks right through the chain with little resistance, but the fork clinks and sticks. Using a tine as a lever and the considerable strength in your fit, farmer's body, you are able to snap a link.

She stands up and pats you; she doesn't notice her gellid, insubstantial hand sinks into your arm. Oh thank you, for even if you are but a mummer, you are a strong one, and kind with it.

She is bewildered by your mention of orcs. She has never seen one, but your assertion that Liri will not---did not--marry makes her weepy. No, no, I tell you true; when the lord ordered me chained and threatened her beloved, she begged for Tomas's life and mine and promised to obey. I saw her putting on the dress as I was dragged off. She was weeping, but resolute. Why, she'll be married any minute. There is no escape for her. I must flee, for the lord is cruel, and I fear he'll kill me anyway, after he has his way. I will not be used as a weapon to hurt her further! Once she's married, you see, I will not be needed as a lever. Unless you stop her with your words or your fork, she will drift up toward the ceiling, and then through it, until she is gone.

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Hlin, this is bonkers. Of course a person can't possess a ghost. But you try anyway, and you have many factors on your side: You are not a person; you are half a centaur. The ghost horse is also half a centaur. It is, in fact, half of you, and it desperately wants to reattach, and now you do, too. Perhaps the most important factor of all is this: the ghost horse has just watched a Ghost Marda possess A'ru. It kinda gets it.

When you try, the ghost horse tries right back, and this is, after all, a bit of the Feywild, and you feel a THE MOST POWERFUL SPELL IN THE GAME!Mending, feel vertigo, feel weirdfulness. Your foot itches. No, it doesn't because you don't have a foot. You have a spangled buzzing hoof, and three others. You are back together.

Your human half is fully flesh, fully you. Under you is your old familiar rest-of-self, also fully you, you can run and walk and feel a body there, but it is all ghost.

Waist up? Flesh. Waist down? Ghost, dripping merge-ectoplasm, translucent, non corporeal, the whole thing. If you back up, your butt can walk right through a wall, but then you stick when your human back hits the bricks or plaster. Hlin... your hoofs aren't even touching the ground, you realize. Hlin. You can fly.

Nukky, you tell the others that you have found the Marda's mirror, and then you offer A'ru guidance, as he has entered into strange and unknown territory.

Your spirit hovers near, but your connection with her fades each passing moment. Ten minutes has passed since you called her, so she can stay longer. She will stay as long as she can, and you get the sense she treasures your connection, this strange being. What do you know of her? When did she first come to you?

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A'ru, you ain't necessarily religious. The Marda's sweet faith is a jarring thing, as is his presence, tucked inside your body, left of the double spleens your race is known for. You can feel how his faith has been a bastion for him and a comfort for his pack. He loves them. He loves his sister. He loves a girl with dark brown ears named Shala'shoo who is down in the kennels. She has no idea. He years for a better life and the freedom promised in the stories.

He has zero idea he is dead. He is a ghost, and he could, if he came to understand what he was, take absolute control of you. But in his mind, he is tucked and hidden in a secret pocket in your cloak. He also never would take your agency. Your insight was correct. This is a true-hearted young fellow, well-meaning, with a history and memories that don't bear long consideration. You see how much he longs for freedom, reveres it; he would not take yours. But, yes, you could push out his faith like a weapon. You feel it there.

You suggest you reconvene the party and help his sister. He whispers, Yes, oh please! He thinks he whispers it. Really, he just says it into your head. You head back to the room where you left Laisren, but before you get there, you come upon a strange, disturbing thing. Baly's pack, open and abandoned on the ground. It has spilled open, and you see it is full of ancient elven jewelry, beautifully crafted. Oh yes, you remember seeing these pieces on the ghouls, but apparently Baly collected them when no one else was paying attention. They are antique, worth thousands on the Prime. Next to the pack sits a strange little cat figurine with a green gemmed eye that brightens and twinkles at you.

If you look in it, you see a teeny tiny Baly, frozen like a bug in amber. He seems unharmed, just sitting, tiny and still.


OOCbadger, your fly speed equals your walking speed.

nukky is near HLIN when the infestation happens, so BTM, please ROLL PERCEPTION. You too, badger, and you have advantage as you get the man perceptions and horse ones before you meld. First roll, man, second, horse. We will see who is more alert!

I think A'ru is too distracted with his own possession while the merge is happening.

Drachenspirit has left the game on good terms-- so I just gave A'ru the info that Baly is in the cat. I will tell you OOC: Do not spend a post cycle trying to get him out. Let it fuel your character's urgency, if you like, but you can't get him out because he isn't playing. META this please-- let your characters accept that he is stuck. You know the Marda's sister is very hurt, you know the wedding is ON and due to start in in a few hot minutes, so it is reasonable to assume that if you try to save him now, you will ALL be doomed. I made him nice and portable, so if you can tote him along if you like, and whatever end you find, we will story him into it.

All his gear is ON him, the only thing is the pack with the loot he hid spilled out of it: The cat (magic, obviously lol), the diamond earring, the tiara, the tie pin (mundane but VERY valuable).

Here is the MAP.
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Old Feb 21st, 2023, 07:05 PM
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LaisrenLaisren breaks the nursemaid's chains. She rises, thanks him, says a few things that don't make much sene to Laisren, and then drifts through the ceiling. He scowls as he watches her go, then talks to himself. "That's rude! She speaks nicely, but she said she'd lead the way, and when I let her go, she just drifts off. Is that what being old is all about? Talk nice, but then don't actually do the deeds?" He strokes his stubbly salt-and-pepper chin. "No thank you." He sighs and walks out the door.

There he finds the others; he hardly notices they had left. "The nurse - um, there was a ghost in there. But she was nice? Well, except at the end. But she said that the ceremony is happening any second! That, that, Liri's father swore to kill Tomas if she didn't marry, um, that ghost we tried to get rid of, I guess. And, well, you've seen Tomas. So... you know what must happen. But she's with her father, and she'd dressed to marry!

"The Nurse ghost said we need to find the Chapel. She said there's a secret passage through the ballroom. Wherever that is. Beind a tapestry. Or she said there's dressing rooms by a library, that would take us there."


He looks at A'Ru, examining a cat statue. "Oh, and she said there are others, more Marda, somewhere. They're all usually trapped on the grounds, them and Liri, by wards. But they're down right now, for the first time, for the wedding."

"Soooo.... we need to move! Fast! Something is going to happen soon. Her father, the 'Lord' thinks she's going to marry, but I think he's going to learn otherwise soon. And that's when the bad stuff follows."

OOCI'm not stopping the ghost from floating off, obviously. Laisren is happy to follow whichever path (library or ballroom or other) that someone might launch us towards, as long as we get on the move.

 
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Old Feb 21st, 2023, 08:57 PM
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A'ru tears his gaze away from the treasure that used to be Baly, and shrugs. Stranger things had most certainly happened, and he wasn't likely to use the word "impossible" again in his lifetime. Someone else could grab the loot if they'd a mind to.

The ranger squints at the aged Laisren. "Yesterday yeh'd not have believed me, but today yez will. I got possessed by a friendly marda, named Oo'loo. He knows the way to Liri. But he wants us to stop quick and get his sister free. All right by you? We'd best not dilly-dally."




 


 
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Old Feb 22nd, 2023, 05:50 PM
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Nukky looks up at the spirit before he motions to follow A'ru and Hlin. Mother Forest was a creature Nukky had always felt a kindred spirit with back in a forest. He grew up understanding that she oversaw the forces death and rebirth in the natural world. The winding flame around her barky exterior was a reminder of her cyclical nature. The Kobold smiles, glad that the spirit was still here with them, a comforting sense of home.

As they follow A'ru back, Nukky looks shocked at what happened with Baly. "Baly friend? Baly?" He looks at the jewels scattered around, before seeing the cat statue where Baly lay frozen inside. He breaths slowly, then nods his head, recognizing the danger they were in. The kobold gingerly picks up the cat statue and places it into his Bag of Holding, where at least Baly would stay safe in suspension.

The surprises were not really over as Nukky looks over at Hlin, trying to make out what's happening to him.

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Old Feb 22nd, 2023, 08:58 PM
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So much has happened today, that becoming a flying ghostly centaur seems only the natural culmination of this so-muchness.

And yet, to use the vernacular of his lost charge Forgotten, this was, indeed, freaky, funked up stuff going on.

Hlin might have been more overwhelmed--or even overjoyed--by the change, if he had not finally allowed himself to focus on the horseshoe. With A'ru at least set for his task, Hlin wanted to see what the horseshoe was telling him (or at least the horse part that was him).

As A'ru walked off with his inner Marda, Hlin took two steps behind them to see if the horseshoe's radiance signaled the presence of the ghostly Marda. If it did then, Hlin will continue to follow, stopping only to pick up Baly's objects not secured by Nukky.

If the horseshoe does not shimmer in response to the Marda, then Hlin will gather Baly's objects and approach the northwest corner of the room again to see if the horseshoe is leading him in that direction by shining signals or small jolts of urgency running through equine ectoplasm and up his human-set spine.

If that is the case, he will call out to Nukky, the last party member to leave the room: "Nukky, friend! There is some urgency in the ancestral spirits at this location. I need to examine this area quickly and catch up with the rest of you as soon as I can. "


 


 

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Old Feb 25th, 2023, 06:31 PM
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LibraryParty, there is a story you all know: Hlin, you wanderer, what story have you not heard? A'ru, the druids know many stories of the Feach and that place your brother called "The Over There." Nukky, a half-Eladrin told it to you in the Wild when you stopped to share his campfire. Laisren, this was one your favorite sister Aisling had in her rotation. It was her, more often then your hard-working mother, who tucked you in with a tale and sent you off to dreaming---

Who better to do it, your mother said. She named all her children well.

THE STORYA knight was traversing a forest known to be infested by the Fey. Night was falling, and he was not yet clear when a maiden appeared a scant few feet ahead of him. It was as if she grew up out of the shadows.

He drew his iron blade and said, Not one step closer, or you die!

She quailed, afraid and held out her hands to him and said, My lord, please! If you will sheath your blade, I swear upon your holy symbol that I will not take one step closer, as you say.

Knowing that Fairies must keep their holy oaths, worried she was lost and human, he put the blade away. The fairy---for she was one---immediately took three steps toward him, so fast he couldn't draw again. She pressed her mouth to his, and he was lost.


You all know this story. But only one of you is thinking of it now...

Nukky, you scoop up Baly-cat for safekeeping. Of everyone here, you have spent the most time and energy on this elf-thief, and perhaps you think of him as a friend. You see Hlin has re-unified into a single creature---but what a creature! Half live human, half ghost horse. He ambles along, hoofs not touching the floor.

Hlin, you secure the tie pin, the earring, the tiara...you are a centaur of the world, well-traveled, so recognize the artistry and age makes them quite valuable. You do your experiment, and the results are decisive. It is the ghost Marda that makes your translucent hoof spangle and zing.

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Laisren, you catch the party up on all you learned. You are urgent, but collaborative. You will go anywhere they think will help, as long as it is now. You follow the Marda to the library, a room you have not been in before. Together the party skirts the wide hole, the bookcases sending you all rather close to the edge.

Down in the pit, you see the ballroom with the edges lit by fading ancient drift globes, the revolving ghosts, the vile buffet. You have no dark vision to penetrate the blackness in the center, but you yourself are a man whose very name means Light, and you have other senses.

This place is all mildew and drip, and from the hole, you catch a faint smell, bright and astringent, like when you bend an orange peel close to your face. There. Then gone. You know it though---you grew up in Rie. That's a Rift!

You have lived near the fey-addled swamps all your life, so you know better than to jump to conclusions. Most rifts are too small for anything past a pixie or a butterfly to use. Those large enough to act as doors are almost almost claimed by something Feach-side, and keyed to an item so only those who carry it can cross.

But if there is a Rift down somewhere in that room so full of ghosts that even your stalwart heart quails (that's not a room you can conquor in a straightforward fight, period, not even with a secret cleric tucked up inside your Marda) but if there is! And if it is big enough! and if you find the key! Is it a way out?

A'ru, you agree to help Oo'Loo's sister, and anyway, he says the dressing room where she was beaten is on the way to the chapel. You lead the party back to the library, and Oo'loo tells you Ra'rar is north and up the stairs.

But you are remembering that old story. A Banshee is a dead elf maiden, always an elf, only an elf, and elves have a fey Origin. This place is a pocket of the Feywild. Fey things are known for tricky wording... She said, Not one step, and didn't take one step. No, she took three.

Nukky just said to you: "Lookie, same mirror from before. No needy mirror now to see another Marda though."

But...that's not what Malveen said. You remember her words exactly, exactly, because they cut you to the bone: I tell you true, because it pleases me to do so... You'll need a mirror to see another living Marda on the Prime Material.


OOCbadger, I need a perception check with your next post.
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Old Feb 26th, 2023, 04:17 PM
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A'ru's jaw hangs down as he stares at Nukky. "What did yez just say? No, no..no need to repeat yerself." He practically spits,"Shark biscuits!" and slaps his forehead with his right paw. After a moment he says wearily, "Aru, yer thinkin' cap must've blown off at sea. Damnable faerie gimcrackery. She said I had to look in th' mirror to see another marda. She didn't say there weren't any others."

"So I reckon I know exactly as much as when I set out to find the damn banshee" He spurs Sneech forward. "No time ta worry about that now, though. We got marda in the here an' now what needs help."

As he follows Oo'loo's advice, the very distracted ranger tries to keep an eye out for dangers on the way.




 


 
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Old Feb 26th, 2023, 04:24 PM
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"Or perhaps there is a mirror in this mansion that is our portal to the world we know?" Hlin replies to A'ru.

And then, turning to Laisren and Nukky he asks: "Both of you seem to be familiar with how the fey world cracks into ours. Could it be possible that a mirror could be used to bridge them? I think I've heard a similar tale from a doughty faerie I once encountered. She described a pond that led to a god-not-god of the depths. Something I had never heard of before, but definitely fey. And the way she described it, at least as I understood, this spiritual-not-spiritual world was entered through the surface of a pond, when the moonlight shone on it as if it was a mirror of glass. Does that ring a bell?"


 


 

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Old Feb 27th, 2023, 04:39 PM
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Nukky burrows his head in thought. He remembers a while ago seeing the nature of the world around them, a jumble of enchantments suspending people in time and place. But, this was a magick that the young Kobold was not familiar with. "No, Nukky not know much of fey magicks. But Nukky can try and learn." He stands still for a second as he readies a Detect Magic spell, applying the spell once again to his eyes to see the nature of the mansion they currently travel through, seeing if he can spot the cracks and passageways.

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Old Feb 27th, 2023, 06:26 PM
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LaisrenLaisren follows the others, apparently led by a ghost that has some sort of possession of A'Ru? The Marda is right, it's not much of a urprise any more. It certainly seems better than Laisren's possible fate, posessed by the groom. He shudders and follows where led.

They go past a huge hole in the floor. A familar sharp tang is in the air. Wait, he knows that smell! He opens his mouth to chime in: It's.... also something that Hlin recognizes. The bard summarizes faster and more insighfully and eloquently than Laisren could. Laisren closes his mouth and self consciously grabs a listless grey lock of his long hair. He twists it and tugs at it, a reminder of all he has lost, and all he has to lose.

He mutters as he folllows a few steps behind and worries at his hair, "not as simple as just walking though, though. Need a key to make it work. Could be anything. Probably a symbol of something-or-other...."
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  #89  
Old Feb 28th, 2023, 05:28 PM
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Dressing Room A'ru, you allow Oo'loo to point the way, and he leads with what he thinks are whispers from inside your cloak, but you experience as a voice in your head. You move north of the library, and see an open doorway that leads down a half-staircase. It takes you to a narrow room with a ruined, golden carpet soaked in ancient blood.

The stairs turn and go down another level, but Oo'loo wants to stop here. She's gone! he yipes into your head, distraught. Do you think she--- he cannot finish.

Laisren, you follow, thinking about rifts and worrying, but you cannot help but notice, as you pass the last shelves, that here a good many of the books are intact. You see a row of them you recognize from when Malveen went to this room from the overlap in the cabin. There is a gap in one spot, like a missing tooth. The riddle book goes there. You have it in your pack now. So it is...real?

Nukky, your Detection only reaches thirty feet. You can't sense the ballroom from up here. The library and hall hold all the same strange magics that you saw back in Vildenai, with an even heavier weave of Necromancy. You sense the magic Cat Statue holding Baly. In the Dressing Room, it is only your detect that allows you too see the faint, nearly transparent outline of paws and a tail sticking out from under the ruined chaise lounge. Another ghost Marda has crept under under there, and she is very very hurt indeed!

Hlin, other than the stairs that curve and continue down, the only exit is an ancient velvet curtain pulled over an archway. From behind it, the Quartetto plays, loud and true. You think this leads to the balcony halfway up the vaulted ceiling of the ballroom. On the Chaise lounge itself is a set of moldering, ancient vestments, the god insignia lost to rot and time. Ahm yes the priest's things that the Groom told you could be found in the dressing room.

Your horse half itches. Faintly, but you feel it. Maybe it is just that New Form Itch? Is that a thing? You wouldn't know, having always been a whole, fully flesh and blood centaur before today. Maybe it is normal. But. Maybe it is worth investigating?



I got us off schedule being ill. SORRY! If everyone posts, I will go again Friday, and that will get us on target for Monday as per usual.
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  #90  
Old Feb 28th, 2023, 06:03 PM
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Hlin moves himselves toward the vestments, picks them up and begins to don them--he will play the role he was expected to be for it might offer the group some protection.

With stole, chimere, alb, and all in place, he turns inward once more and speaks to himself.

I have been directing us, but it seems that I-as-you have direction to lead?

And he wills the invisible reins of control over to his ghostly half, allowing his upper body to be born in the direction that the lower body is compelled to move.


 


 

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