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  #316  
Old 05-14-2019, 04:11 PM
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Confire stood dispassionately over the body of the orc shaman and nudged her with his foot, stump held out should she show any sign of life. He had seen so many strange things lately that nothing would surprise him, especially since she had been able to summon spirits to aid her. He wondered idly if she had made a pact like he had, with some orcish demon perhaps. When she didn’t move he conjured a spectral hand to search her body for anything which may prove useful or valuable, pocketing whatever he found for later study.

After that he made his way back towards the wagon and happened to overhear Bud discussing what to do with the bodies. "No. Don’t leave a pile of bodies lying around out there. Believe me, that way lies the kind of horror you wouldn’t believe. Just… just pile them up and I’ll burn them. I’ve had plenty of practice lately."

He left the work to those more capable than himself and staggered over to the wagon, hauling himself up the steps before collapsing into the little seat beside the desk. He stared out of the window at the gradually lightening sky and wondered what new horrors this day would bring.

"Oh, stop it you old grump," he muttered to himself in an approximation of Flora’s voice, remembering how she used to tease him when he got morose. Ha! What did he ever have to worry about back then?!

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  #317  
Old 05-14-2019, 05:49 PM
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Cyprian Thoros
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There was a sharp, droning ring in his ears that muted all other sounds. Voices were muddled as if spoken underwater as he stared off, barely on his feet. His disheveled mind made an attempt to sort everything into place but it fell short, the reality of the battle seemingly distant.

He was certain he had killed it...And it had walked off and killed one of its own. Had he been hallucinating? He must’ve been, otherwise how else could he explain a lake of gore and...?

Cyprian looked down at a shaking hand slick with blood that was beginning to dry and turn color. Details of his memory had faded into the blurry recesses where dreams went after waking, but he remembered her hand.

I should’ve taken it. The errant thought shocked him, seemingly coming from nowhere. His tacky fingers curled, setting it all aside to ignore. Cyprian looked around the battlefield, seeing no one had died or down. Or so he hoped, as some commotion was going on inside the building next to him.

As he went for a step in that direction, a burst of white flashed behind his eyes and he felt fire ants crawl around and burn his insides. It felt that if he were to remove his armor, his guts would fall out. A bubbling, wet cough sent excruciating, molten hot shards of pain lancing through his chest. He bore weight on the bow in his hands, one end stabbed into the ground to keep himself from falling over.

Gods, it hurt.

In the back of his mind, he supposed getting flailed in the dark by a giant, two well-aimed javelins and a poisoned dagger from a flying rat would do that to the body. He would’ve chuckled at his idiot self, but he was far too deep into agony to consider it.

After a few moments of waiting out the pain, he tested his footing once more. It was still painful but considerably less now that he expected it, however...It was going to take forever to get anywhere in his shape. The assassin concluded it really wasn’t worth it, and instead of fighting through it and quite possibly passing out in the process, Cyprian sat in the dirt still wet from his own blood.


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  #318  
Old 05-14-2019, 06:14 PM
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Talia
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Talia steps up beside Confire and has a hand on his shoulder as he explains that a pile of dead to rot isn't a good idea. She nods affirmatively and points to him as if to say he knows what he's speaking about.

She then goes to
Dice Investigation:
1d20+3 (16)+3 Total = 19
look over the bodies for anything of use as she double checks to see that she has all her own weapons in place and didn't lose any.


 
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  #319  
Old 05-15-2019, 04:05 AM
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Outside the Grassy GnollAbout a hundred yards west of the Grassy Gnoll, the bulbous humanoid flaps its leathery, bat-like wings and makes for the trees of the Riparian strip. Thick blood drips from his stomach, where the spiritual scythe caught him. Hissing with pain, the ugly little creature flaps desperately until it reaches the thick undergrowth of vines beneath the twisted oak trees.

The tiny Bucca lands in a hole in the trunk of a large tree and disappears inside. A moment later, grunting with the effort, it pushes three owl eggs out the opening, not bothering to see where they land. Finally, concealed within its stolen nest, the ugly thing leans up against the inner wall and rests on the bed of straw, twigs, and dry leaves.

Closing its beady eyes, the ugly thing seems to concentrate. Its coloring changes, from the deep purple to a fiery red. The bulbous little body grows lithe and angular, even as a row of sharp horns sprouts from the small head. A scorpion’s tail extends from the back. The bat-like wings shift, taking on the tall, arched shape of the winged creatures of the hells!

Its transformation complete, the Imp places a clawed hand on the wound across its stomach and chants in Infernal. A fiery heat spreads from the hand and the laceration closes; not completely, but enough to stop the bleeding. The Imp’s agitation only grows, however. It remains in the nest for several minutes before it seems to decide on a course of action.

Tracing dark sigils in the air, muttering in Infernal, the Imp opens a portal, just big enough for itself. The heat from the fires of hell pours out the opening, setting the dry debris of the nest ablaze and causing the oak trunk to blacken and smoke. The Imp hesitates for a moment. Its master would not be pleased at his failure, but he was not so foolish to think he could escape judgement by failing to return. The little devil steps through the portal, which closes behind him in a gout of flame and heat.

ConfireHours later, tired and dirty from the effort of burning the orc bodies, Confire sits in the wagon and opens his book. The words and pages are becoming familiar, but there is something new. An unfamiliar passage is written beneath where the last words had been. Tracing the writing with his finger and forming the words silently in his mind, the warlock understands…and smiles. Dispater has granted him another gift; a new way to invoke the eldritch power…

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  #320  
Old 05-15-2019, 04:05 AM
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Bellamy stood up from where she was squatting over Ada, making sure that the cleric was stable, when Thadulos approached her. "Bind," she says and Ada's blood begins to stitch itself back together. Her cheeks turn red with a rush of vitality. Doc gave her a quick check, looking into her eyes and checking her pulse before she stands and listened with a stony expression to the blacksmith's decision.

"Well, that certainly is your choice," She says and it is clear that the half-orc thinks it the wrong one. He said he had no judgement, but what was that if not a judgement? About her abilities. About her. She looks down at her hands. You say it is not of the Archheart? How would he know? I don't even know!

She looks away as he offers his friendship and for a moment it seems like she might walk away. Instead she sighs, softening if only a bit and says, "Have you any skill with barding?"


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  #321  
Old 05-15-2019, 07:27 AM
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Emerging from the wagon after an hour or so with an uncharacteristic spring in his step, Confire hurried to the kitchen. He started opening cupboards at random, and when whoever was there protested he said, "Don’t worry, I just need something..." scowling, he closed the cupboard he was looking in and tried another, "...something like this!" And he removed two wooden bowls. He then grabbed a dirty spoon from beside the sink and crawled into the fireplace and scraped a large pile of soot into one of the bowls, emerging seconds later, face blackened but exultant.

"Hmmm, next time I should remember to use Mage Hand," he muttered to himself, then started casting about once again. "Salt, salt, where would they..." finally spying the salt he rushed over and crumbled some into the second bowl and then put that onto the other bowl and threw the spoon into the sink.

"Thank you, I’ll have the bowls back soon, I’ve just got to try something." And he bustled back out the door.

He spent the next twenty minutes getting things set up in the wagon, placing the strange green metal sheet in the centre of the table with the two bowls beside it, clearing anything which may blow away or burst into flames, and then he sat, not quite looking at the tablet as he wondered if this was a good idea.

Well, Dispater wouldn’t have given me the ability if it was going to harm me, would he? he thought wryly. Of course he wouldn’t put it past Dispater to have brought him this far just for the fun of watching him suffer, but he had to know. What secrets did the tablet hold?

He started the ritual chant, taking a pinch of the salt first and throwing it in the air. Next would come the soot...

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  #322  
Old 05-15-2019, 10:34 AM
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Cyprian Thoros
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Cyprian had more than slowly hobbled his way back to the wagon, nearly dead on his feet. He stripped his armor and sodden clothes, and didn't take the time to re-dress as he fell into bed, completely ignoring Confire's gaze of daggers at infiltrating his ‘personal space.’

The assassin was dead to the world as he fell asleep immediately. He hadn't slept well or nearly at all when the fight had broken out. Now though, it was almost a coma of peaceful rest-- that was until the wagon door slammed shut and hurried footfalls receded from the wagon.

Cyprain had jerked awake but slowly began to drift away as moments past. Dark. Quiet. It was restful. The door yanked open, morning light spilling in once more. Cyprian groaned, a sound between pitiful and irritated as he turned over with his back to Confire. Who do I have to kill around here to get a moment of peace?

He had thought the mage would go back to staring into his book, but instead it was clattering and muttering to himself. Cyprian held out, waiting for him to stop fiddling around. Five minutes turned into ten, ten to fifteen and it continued.

D*mn eccentric, idiotic arcanists! He snapped up and regretted it. Cyprian held his side as he winced.

Through blurry vision he growled, voice hoarse as he started “Confire, the hells--” he stopped as he saw what the mage was doing. The assassin became wary once he saw the green sheet of metal, and ingredients for some kind of ritual.

Idiot! You left the bag out to be rummaged though.

His watchful gaze flicked up to Confire. This time, more cautious, he asked, “What are you doing?” He wasn't about to go toe-to-toe with a caster in his shape, especially one with a delicate ego. Where did he put his knives? Hells.


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  #323  
Old 05-15-2019, 01:49 PM
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Confire held up one finger to Cyprian to indicate he would be with him in a moment and continued with his chant. He delicately took a pinch of soot, loosening it between his fingers and then tossed it up in the air to settle down over the table. He could feel the magic working. He could feel the magic working! He sat back in the chair, a big smile plastering his face, and then he suddenly remembered that Cyprian was there.

"Sorry, what? Oh, what was I doing? Well, I don’t want to get too technical, but I have figured out how to translate this thing," and he carelessly gestured at the tablet, "so we don’t even need to go to Westruun, I can read it right now and then we can figure out exactly what’s happening."

He thought the smile on his face looked triumphant but it could probably have been better described as smug.

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  #324  
Old 05-16-2019, 11:01 AM
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Ronald ‘One-Bone’ Devyn
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Once the battle is over and Ada is back on her feet, Ron helps with the dead bodies of what he slowly realizes aren’t particularly ugly half-orcs but full-blooded orc warriors. He doesn’t bother dressing before dragging the almost unrecognizable body of the chieftain out of the house. He is covered in blood and brain matter already so he doesn’t bother with finesse when he carries and drags bodies of the fallen out of the fortified area.

The others are right in insisting they burn the bodies, so Ron licks a bloody finger and sticks it in the air like Lenny three-shoes used to do when out on a smuggling run to determine which way the wind is blowing. The enforcer blinks a couple of times as he wonders how this is supposed to work. He only really saw Lenny lick his finger and stick it in the air and never really understood the rest of it. Just thinking about old Lenny brings back memories. Ron was one of the people present in that brothel where terrifically well-endowed Lenny got the nickname that stuck with him until he was hung for murdering that storekeeper in cold blood.

Once the others point out a suitable location to burn the bodies, he stops licking his finger, which doesn’t seem to be working, and starts carrying and dragging the corpses into a pile. Gathering wood and lighting that thing up will have to wait until later. The two-headed ettin is the last corpse to be dragged out of the courtyard. That guy is massive enough that Ron needs help from the others to get it to the pile. It stinks too, even more than a normal corpse does, Ron notes.

When all the corpses have been cleared out of the courtyard and inn, Ron finds a water barrel and a bucket and scrubs himself sort of clean. Clean enough. He’ll have another bath in the morning. But first he sleeps, suddenly bone tired after the hard work.

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  #325  
Old 05-16-2019, 11:24 AM
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Talia
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Talia didn't drag any bodies. She did remove any gear and weapons and pile them neatly against a building, all based on the type of gear, and left it all for the townfolk. If there were any gems, or items dagger sized or smaller that looked quite valuable, she'd use
Dice Sleight of hand:
1d20+10 (1)+10 Total = 11
her skills to just make them disappear on her person.

The first item she tried assuming the roll of 11 is a failgot hung on her light armor and fell out into the open for everyone to see. She picked the item up and polished it, remarking on how pretty it was, though internally, she was cursing her bad luck.
She put it in a pile, now with everything else she found.

That done, she paused to stand beside Ron when he was doing his finger in the air thing. She tried it as he seemed so intent and focused on it. He was serious.
Then when he dismissed it, she caught herself, and rolled her eyes for even thinking he was doing something that made sense. She went off to one side and began to practice some moves with both her swords out.

There was something she had been taught back in the swamps and it was more of the way she fought in melee than how she fought. No, that wasn't it. It had something to do with the way she moved while attacking and how she moved in between attacks. Water or wind, he had told her when she tried it before the master that was teaching everyone back there. She had to get past her own self, or so he'd said. She kept moving slowly like a dance, and finally it clicked. It wasn't moving away, or out of the way from a foe's strike, or attack. It was moving with it, and around it.
Her movements changed to be acrobatic almost, but more like a dance. Her twin blades were slashing and thrusting at invisible enemies for quite some time until she finally sat down from near exhaustion. Sitting cross-legged, her blades in her lap while breathing heavily, she smiled and uttered, " I got it."

Talia... just became Uncanny Dodgeharder to kill, and the sting from her fighting a foe alone would now be Sneak Attack now at 3d6 damagemore deadly as well.


 
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  #326  
Old 05-16-2019, 12:13 PM
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Ada
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As she came out of the murk of unconsciousness, Ada tried to roll up to her feet, prepared for more battle. When she saw Cyprian, Ron, and Bellamy relatively relaxed, she leaned against the wooden wall. "Thank you.." Looking over at the orc, her stomach turned. Ugh.. that.. was Ron. She did allow a sigh of relief as her gaze scanned her allies, happy that everyone seemed to be alive.

After bandaging herself and the others, she visited Giran to check in. The unconscious man still reeked of alcohol, mixed with the smell of his drying blood. You are a brave soul, Giran.. the world yet needs you. As she turned to leave, she paused to look out the door at the morning light. It's dangerous out here, and our presence makes it all the more dangerous for these people. They couldn't endure another night like that if the tablet happens to attract something..

Later, she found herself observing Confire gathering items while she sat on a stoop, sipping on herbal tea from the kitchens. He scurried past to the wagon, with the same excited look he always had when he found something to study.

Standing, she stretched some of the soreness from her legs and shield arm. They are going to smart tomorrow. The rays of the sun warmed her face, and she could feel that despite nearly facing death, the power of the Dawnfather had only grown inside her. It gave her a little hope, even as their journey across the plains had been more than harrowing thus far...



 


 
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  #327  
Old 05-16-2019, 12:44 PM
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Cyprian Thoros
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Cyprian tried a couple of times to speak, but ended up closing his mouth each time as he reworked a response for Confire in his head. After the third attempt, he rubbed his eyes with a forefinger and thumb in a slow massage. He let go of a long-suffering sigh, biting through the pain brought on by the motion. Cyprian had too many things he wanted to say all at once, and it caused him to short out and restart.

Okay. He whispered but it as if replying to himself. He sniffed and dropped his hand away from his face. “You just so happened to have figured it out now?”

Gods, how he had forgotten how much he detested magic the closer and longer he was around it. The cankerous assassin put up his hand to stave off a reply for just a moment. “Never mind. I’m not sure I want to know how or why you’ve suddenly had an epiphany.” Don’t ever get an arcanist started talking magic, it would never end. He had learned that, like most things, the hard way.

Cyprian got up, remembering he had fallen asleep half dressed. He wasn’t going to return to sleep for the time being, so he found a clean enough shirt and pulled it over the absolute carpet of violent scars. A menagerie of fire and acid burns, cuts, claw marks, bites, stab wounds, and some peculiar raised lesions that cross-hatched across his back. The only other thing of note was an unusual nine-legged spider tattooed on the inside of his left forearm.

Cyprian carried on, “I'm glad you can read it now and all, but does the tablet say how to destroy itself? Because if it doesn’t, we are still going to have to find the answer and I doubt we’ll find it here at The Grassy Gnoll.” He briefly looked over Confire. “Or, is there a reason you don’t want to go to Westruun?”

Was there a reason, or was the mage just merely gloating? The assassin could make an educated guess, but he wasn't about to make more assumptions about this cluster crew.


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  #328  
Old 05-16-2019, 12:56 PM
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"It’s not so much that I don’t want to go to Westruun, it’s more that maybe we don’t need to. After all, if I can figure out where this thing gets its power maybe we don’t need this wizard guy from the letter at all." He shrugged and glanced at the tablet still lying on the desk. "Only one way to find out. But…" For a moment he failed to hide his uncertainty at the thought of delving into this knowledge which, according to the letter, had already driven one person mad. "Can… can you watch me while I’m reading it? Just to make sure nothing, I don’t know, weird happens?"

He suddenly realised he was showing vulnerability and looked away. "Tsk, I’m being melodramatic, it’s just writing, what harm could it do?"

And he hunched over the thing, wrangling the symbols with his mind to try to keep them from squirming as he used his newfound facility with languages to force them to give up their secrets.

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  #329  
Old 05-16-2019, 01:17 PM
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Cyprian Thoros
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Cyprian nodded, having figured that as his answer. However, Westrunn was the place with more knowledge on how to get rid of this thing. At least, he hoped. The sooner they could destroy it, the better. Otherwise, where else could they take it? He had a vague idea for an answer and he didn’t like it.

He snorted as he found a place to sit. “It’s magic. A weird...dark magic.” He waved his hand and wiggled his fingers, a mock gesture of a casting spell. “There’s no doubt something weird might happen, Ruffles.”

Cyprian gave no indication having noted the uncertainty in Confire’s voice, letting him save face of having expressed any kind of fear. He smiled, seemingly darkly amused as he sat back in his chair. “Maybe you’ll explode and I’ll have a front row seat.” It seemed the only wise-cracking the assassin had was a twisted sense of gallows' humor.


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Old 05-18-2019, 12:45 AM
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Alys
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Everyone had lived. Even the Grassy Gnoll's residents. For some reason, Alys found that terribly surprising.

She didn't have much to contribute as the group started stacking bodies, looting corpses, and otherwise going through the expected motions of adventurers. Every part of her hurt, that flail had done a number on her. Instead she found a clear spot to lean against the inn and sat down heavily. Concentrating on her breathing helped, focusing on the water within was soothing as well. It was a trick she'd picked up ages ago, after one too many fights in Drynna, and Alys was more than glad of it now.

Eventually, though, reality had to set in. She cracked an eye and stood back up with a groan. Most of the work was done, now, and Alys didn't feel the bit guilty for dodging it. Most of the group was milling around, doing something or other...Confire and Cyprian were absent, though. Confire's probably in the wagon, she thought, grinning. Wonder if he ever made it out after casting that spell? She started in that direction, taking everything just a bit slowly for the moment.
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