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  #106  
Old Jan 18th, 2024, 11:53 AM
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On the Nautiloid
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Chizzich, the squidlings slurp and paw eagerly over the "trolley," but only for a moment, as Dredavax reaches out to snatch it back from them. They puddle and slap around, like kits in a litter, deprived of their treasure, and Dredavax returns it to you with a flourish.

"Don't wabaste technobology on these ibidiots," he admonishes you. "They will just slobobber on it. If you abare to be our chabampion, you'll nebeed this trabansporter stibill." Champion! Well now. Audendum est, it seems. He shows you the small keypad, with its nine buttons, and teaches you how to program the transporter. It has three settings. First, it can be set to transport the holder back to the ship automatically, if they lose consciousness. That was the setting it was on when you found it. Second, it can be set to transport up to eight people back to the nautiloid when a code is entered. Third, it can be set to transport just itself back to the nautiloid. He shows you a cavity in the crate that can be used to store an object.

When you suggest you will need companions for your mission, a very reasonable suggestion for any adventurer, small or large, Dredavax hesitates, and asks if you'd consider taking the squidlings instead.

left-aligned image
Dusty, the tunnel closing in on your mind pulls you backwards into that dark, close place. You were treated like an animal, your living body your only value, your destiny discarded like trash. How could you understand what you lost, when you were too young to know the width of the world. But now, traveler, adventurer, you know what it means to be free to wander, to make your own choices. Bounties instead of boundaries. Trying out your own experiments instead of being experimented on. So when your consciousness returns to recognize these strict limits, you rebel against the sphere that holds you. No more than a box. No more than a coffin. Can it be tested, tried?

It shocks again, and knocks back and forth. The image on the wall was the head of a bull. It comes to you clear as day, as the electricity rips through your tank and your newly-open eyes blank. The head of a bull, ringed with serpents. Worked into stone, malevolent and dark. It was a bull with horns. Will the glass break? Will you try to break it?

Khyyra-zvon, a rush of movement, liquid moving around your out-self and then you are out. Actually out and it's cold and air, smells sharp like animal and petroleum oil, the pink goo still coating your membranes, but no longer colors the looking. The one who wants to be called Vorryn blats his thinkspeak into your head and it sticks: You are free. Go with him. Try to survive. You feel, leaking around the edges of what he allows, that he has protection-admiration for you and he fears the decisions of the one he thinks of as Dredavax. He has opened the pod-place! He. It opened like an eye-blink. Two parts separating. There across the room from you is another pod-place, another out-self inside the pod, a mind inside the out-self, eyes open.

"Vorryn, whabat have you dobone!?" Dredavax demands.

Then a torrent of sticky think-speak from Vorryn. He is telling you about some science. Life and more life. The beings with the squiggle-faces used to be other beings. NOOOOMES. Captured, like you. A slither-thing in their heads. But Vorryn remembers being a NOME. Vorryn has protection-admiration for a NOME. He can't do mind-speak as well as you can. It's sticky-slow for him and tangle-breaks on words, always words.

OOCAthena, if you want Dusty to try the glass, give me a roll. On a DC 12 Athletics check, you break out. If another player helps you, you can add their modifier.

rhaiber, Khyyra is free and can mouth-speak and think-speak but will be a bit disoriented.
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  #107  
Old Jan 18th, 2024, 03:11 PM
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Dustavin
Never a prisoner again, if his own will be strong enough. His limbs quick enough. They must have surprised him when they took him; he doesn't remember fighting, but he knows that he would have. Who even are 'they'? He will know soon enough. He presses his hands out to the sides, and the tactile feedback gives him a sense of the integrity of his holding. It is compromised, he's sure of it. Nothing to do but try, then. Better than standing around getting shocked until something in him is compromised. Bracing against the shell with his hands, he pulls up his legs as best as he can in the cramped space, and kicks! Both feet together, with every ounce of strength and determination, desperation? He feels glass shatter beneath his feet, and follows through, pushing against the pod that his feet will carry him outward. He lands, rolls, comes back to his feet!

No people here, no desperate cultists that he can tell. Monstrosities and... a goblin? Strange, but not his concern. There are stairs but one of the monstrosities... a rather short one? He could probably knock it out of the way, but what if he can't? It doesn't look like something he wants to tangle with. It looks as if it could get a rather nasty grip if it wanted. And his control over his limbs is still uncertain after who knows how long sleeping in that tank. Instead, he lunges to the left, where there are fewer, smaller things to get by. Only when he has a wall to his back does he turn and try to speak- but then the goo he'd been steeping in wasn't made for talking... and his body would much rather have air. He doubles over, hands on his knees, coughing and spitting up the last of the offensive liquid. When that at last settles down, he looks up, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand. "Who are you all and what do you want with me?"






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  #108  
Old Jan 18th, 2024, 07:46 PM
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The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon
right-aligned image

As the pod Vorryn was working on hissed and slid open, a mass of inky darkness seemed to separate itself from the shadows and emerge directly into the light, in exactly the way that a shadow should not be able to. If seen only in silhouette, she might be taken for an adolescent humanoid female, with a slight frame standing just under five feet in height. However, any similarity to most known races ends there. Her skin (if it is even skin) appeared transparent, though no internal organs could be seen through it. Instead her body appeared to be composed of swirling motes of light floating in a sea of inky darkness, almost as if she was a miniature galaxy in the shape of a girl. With her seemingly transparent skin, one might expect to see straight through her, yet oddly, on closer examination the cascading void within her seemed to stretch on impossibly far. Gazing too deeply into her could have a dizzying and disconcerting effect on those not of her people.

She appeared at first to have long, flowing hair, but it was more like an artistic representation of hair as made by one who has only seen the hair of others from afar, without ever examining it up close. In fact, it was not composed of individual fibres, but rather only an outline which conformed to the shape of physical hair, while the interior was simply a continuation of the scintillating void that made up the rest of her body. This “hair” seemed to be constantly flowing behind her, as though caught in some perpetual yet imperceptible breeze, or as though suspended within an invisible viscous fluid. Her eyes were two pupil-less gleaming points of light that remained fixed against the ever-swirling shapes that floated within the inky darkness of her form.

A bright beaming smile spread across her face (or at least, the semblance of a smile - with neither lips nor teeth, it was more like a soft crescent of gleaming light) as she took in her surroundings with all the joyful curiosity of a newborn kitten.

”Jubilation! Please allow me to express the feelings of joy-relief that my out-self is no longer confined to the inside of the pod-place.” The voice that came from the figure was soft and melodic, yet somewhat stilted, as one who practiced speaking a great deal, but alone in front of a mirror without anyone to engage in dialogue. ”I extend to you the salutations! Those who mouth-speak refer to me as Khyyra-zvon. As I am under the assumption that most of you are mouth-speakers, you may exercise the freedom to use that mouth-speak name. (Although, I must make the confession that I have not the familiarity with some of your species, but I have the feelings of hope that you will extend your forgiveness if my assumptions have been in error.)

“And to those of you who can make use of the think-speak, I beg you to kindly extend the magnanimous forgiveness if my words cause the offense, but your think-speak is sticky-slow, giving to me the feeling that you are less experienced in think-speak than most Children ot the People. Since your think-speak is oddly restrained by the tangle-break of ’words’, I make the suggestion that it may create the feelings of comfort-ease for all if we attempt to make use of the mouth-speak.

“You may notice that I have received much training in the art of the mouth-speak. I have the understanding that many who cannot think-speak are made uncomfortable when The People think-speak with them. Though I can never experience the inadequacy you must feel at being unable to think-speak, I do have the sympathy for your feelings. Therefore I shall endeavor not to enter your thoughts unless you will it. For your convenience I have taken the mouth-speak name: Khyyra-zvon. It is an appellation derived from the mouth-speak patterns of the Cold Ones. If my translation is correct, it has the meaning of ‘open heart,’ though I also have the understanding that this meaning is ‘met-a-phor-ical’, following the curious mouth-speak tradition of using words which do not precisely mean that which they refer to. In this case, I do not in fact possess the internal organ labeled as a ‘heart,’ but rather the name refers to the manner in which I freely share my emotional state with others.

“Now, I also have the understanding that it is the custom of mouth-speakers to exchange names when meeting new acquaintances, so I will pause now to allow you to complete your portion of this ritual, should you have the desire to do so.”



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  #109  
Old Jan 21st, 2024, 05:39 PM
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A grand uncasking
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Chizzich shrugged at the Squidlings, he could certainly understand their excitement over the wondrous technology (it had saved his chartreuse skin, after all), as if to say, "Well, I tried, friends". Then he turned his full attention to Dredavex's quick tutorial on how to operate the transporter like A Real CHAMPION! Imagine that! A lowly goblin and his cowardly weasel, champions! This was an entirely unexpected turn of events after facing a gruesome death at the hands, boots, and hammers of dirty disgruntled dwarves.

The first thing he did was set the program to return him, should he fail and fall again. Then he chose the codes to transport others or the transporter alone. "If I were to send a crystal back with this, would you be able to send it back to me for more uses? In the event I find an abundant supply?" This was quite the marvelous device, advanced magics involved, Maccreadus would love to examine such a thing. If he still lives, that is.

When Dredavex suggested the Squidlings accompany him on this crystal quest, Chizzich raised an inquisitive eyebrow. "It's not that I doubt their, um enthusiasm, but did you not just now instruct me not to waste technology upon their slobber? Besides, the dangers of the Auril's eternal Rime are quite numerous. If my attention is occupied with keeping them alive, well I won't be very effective in my investigations." Besides, a lone goblin armed with a scimitar and spell book was suspicious enough, a pack of Squidlings in tow might be a bridge too far for most of the Dale.

However, the ongoing debate about assistants and quest companions was suddenly, and dramatically, interrupted when one of the pods spectacularly shattered spilling its contents in a crimson sluice. A rather pale person tumbled out rather gracefully onto his feet looking about as panicked as one might expect from a sensible person in that specific scenario. The albino man caught his breath before asking the most pertinent question a being freshly spilled from a strange pod could querry. Chizzich offered a formal bow, he's read about these courtly displays, and answered, "Greetings, my name is Chizzich and I'd like to offer you Adventure and Discovery. If you'd take it."

A timid furry face the color of fresh snow peeked up out of his collar and chirped twice. "And this is my curious colleague Bojangles." Chizzich rubbed the top of his familiar's head as it tsked and chittered before scampering up on a wool-ensconced shoulder of the bladesinger. His full attention was on Vorryn and the pod he was opening despite the lambasting from his betentacled partner.

Chizzich did not know what kind of night-sky-turned-to-life the being that unfolded from the vermilion capsule was, but he very much wanted to find out. She, for she did resemble a she, had to have been the polite presence knocking on the door of his mind. When she spoke aloud, he knew it to be true. Nobody else in all of Ten Towns spoke in that strange fashion. Again, he bowed and offered introductions, "The name I've taken for myself is Chizzich, a pleasure to meet you Khyyra-zvon. My trusty familiar, Bojangles, and I do share a rudimentary form of think-speak and I possess magic that helps me understand languages different from my own but I will freely admit my lack of skill in telepathic communications. We are on the first shaky legs of a journey of discovery to prove that purpose and potential does not exist shackled to the fate of one's birth but rather smolder, like embers, inside every sentient person. There have been some stumbles recently but that's to be expected, I assume. I'm most certain your experiences and travels would be most interesting, if not enlightening."

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  #110  
Old Jan 24th, 2024, 01:44 PM
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The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon
right-aligned image

The roughly girl-shaped patch of night-sky smiled warmly, a dazzlingly brilliant crescent of light widening in the center of the space where her face seemed to be.

”Congeniality! Now that I have the understanding that Chizzich’s mouth-speak name is Chizzich, I will make the effort to use Chizzich’s mouth-speak name whenever I mouth-speak to or about Chizzich. I have the understanding that this is a practice among those who mouth-speak, used for the purpose of developing the bonds of trust-companionship. It would give to me the feelings of comfort-satisfaction to mouth-speak of Chizzich as ’Friend-Chizzich,’ but I have the understanding that among those who mouth-speak, this is a label that requires the full establishment of the trust-companionship before it is used. Therefore I shall await Chizzich’s expression of the consent before I do so. But perhaps now that we have completed the ritual exchange of the names, it would give Chizzich the feeling of pleasure if we confirmed our formation of the positive relationship through the ritual of contact between our out-selves?”

She crossed the distance between them rather suddenly, her feet barely touching the floor as she seemed to glide effortlessly above its surface. Stopping directly in front of Chizzich, she extended her arm, somewhat stiffly and mechanically, as one who has had a handshake described to her, though never actually participated in one.

As Chizzich described his journey of discovery, Khyyra-zvon’s eyes blinked in bewilderment, two brilliant stars briefly extinguishing themselves, only to reignite moments later. Her head then tilted curiously to one side. Rather than simply stopping at the neck, the motion drew her entre torso along with it, until she was bent sideways at the waist in an effort to closely Chizzich’s lower half.

”Confusion.” she spoke tentatively in a manner that was either a question or an instance of musing aloud, ”I do not perceive Chizzich to have the legs that are shaky. … Does Chizzich have the heightened senses that allow Chizzich to perceive the things which others do not? Or is Chizzich’s mouth-speak intended to be the met-a-phor? If this is so, can Chizzich give to me the understanding of its intent? I have the feelings of curiosity for mouth-speak met-a-phors. The think-speak of the People is forever joined to the intent, so we cannot think-speak of the thing which is not what it is.”


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  #111  
Old Jan 26th, 2024, 12:49 AM
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On the Nautiloid
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Khyyra-zvon, you feel the one who is in mouth-speak called Vorryn speaking in your mind, but making a thing that isn't language. It's like bubbles popping, or what some out-selves do when something is stuck in their breathing passages. This Vorryn is making the laughter, but inside your mind. The laughter. The humor. The unexpected. Slow-thinkers can be surprised by communication. It comes in drips and drops. I am sticky-slow, he think-speaks, once again crafting his jagged words with sticky-slowness. Then the bubbles popping again, but kind-sweet, with protection feelings. He presses again without language, trying not to tangle and drag. He has joy-relief that the pod-place broke open. He shows you joy-relief when you reach out to the one called Chizzich to do rituals of friendship. He wants you to get away from Dredavax.

Dusty, the first answer to your very reasonable query is both rude and inaccurate: an ear-piercing shriek from the tentacle-face monster. "Sibilence, insebect!" burbles Dredavax, and shoots a short beam of light from the device in his hand, right toward you! "You wibill be sibilent while your subperiobors decide your fabate!" PEW-PEW! Ugh, imagine having to dodge magic when you've just finished an exhausting spasm of retching, hacking up this liquid breath, well, you dodge it. The bald purple creature frowns angrily as the shot bounces off the wall and sizzles into the broken pieces of the stasis orb you just broke out of. Hmm, silent? Hmm, superiors? Hmm, where is your... everything?

But the other little purple guy putters forward, his tentacles interfering with his adorable attempt at common speech in a slightly more guttural way. "Hegere, dry ogoff," he says. He hands you a towel. A tolerable weave. He pulls a crate out of a pile of crates, with the assistance of the smaller purple creatures that levitate helpfully under corners. Prying the lid off the crate he croaks: "Gah. Your pogosessions. Quigite sagafe." He shows you that inside are all your things: Pack, cloak, camp kit, and... there she is, wrapped in fabric: Luce. All the belongings of the starry girl appear to be stuck in here too. But here is Luce. Luce. The deck is canted; it's not your brain. The slime can be removed with the towel. You take in more: the chitinous walls and floor. The panting flesh golem sitting obediently criss-cross applesauce in a pool of spilled pink liquid.

Chizzich, Dredavax whines and fusses at Vorryn. For helping the "subjects." For giving up this stash of their belongings. For commandeering the squidlings incorrectly. But he does concede that if your mission to secure a psi crystal is to be a success, then you will need allies. And if you need allies, then your allies must be properly equipped and capable of surviving in this dangerous land. "Ah but you see, our chabampion, these sububjects are troububle. If you rebeally want to tabake them with you, you must abarm yourself. Allabow me to show you my labasers. Wibill you follow me upstabairs? Let us withdrabaw from this dibisastrous storage roboom and retrebeat to the sabanctuary of the commaband deck."

He assures you that yes, of course, the transporter can be sent back to you, of course, immediately, most "assuburedly." If you send him a psi crystal using the little chamber? He would of course send it right back for whatever other purpose you wanted it. He seems to need you, and he speaks to you respectfully, but abundans cautela non nocet, eh what?

He wants to show you something upstairs. Will you go?

OOC
Dragoon, please roll Insight for Chizzich, and Perception for Mr. Bojangles (who has advantage as a weasel.)
Athena and rhaiber, all the possessions you had with you when you were kidnapped will be in the crate, and you can take them.
Any or all of you can go with Dredavax up the stairs, and roll whatever you like, or stay downstairs and do something else.
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  #112  
Old Jan 26th, 2024, 05:30 PM
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Dustavin
The unnaturally eloquent goblin was a pleasant surprise. If it had been just the two of them, Dustavin might have let his guard down at the friendly overture. But there was so much more going on. The creature that came out of the other pod was, by far, not only the strangest in the small space, but that he had ever seen at all! And when it... she? began to speak, he became almost convinced that someone had slipped him some mind-altering substance. And yet, everything seemed far too real.

A shot from the tentaclemouth's strange weapon had him twisting to the side, fury briefly passing over his face before reason took hold. Unarmed and alone, ignorant of his current location, he had to play the scene right if he wanted to come out on top. The squid didn't want to hurt him so much as keep him in line, it seemed. And the squid showed respect for the goblin! for some reason. And the goblin seemed friendlier than most of his kind. Then the other squid offered a towel, and he exhaled with relief. "Thank you." he told the kinder creature, accepting the towel and doing his best between it and a touch of magic to make himself presentable again, working goo out of what should have been fine red silk and blue crushed velvet- shirt, vest, pantaloons. Leather calf-boots worked back to a shine. When his belongings were revealed, he released a sigh of relief as he hurried forward to take Luce into his hands, running fingers respectfully over the silver strings, drawing forth the faintest of vibrations. Seeing that she was safe, he set her aside gently, and began sorting out the rest of his belongings, and putting them back where they belonged.

While doing so, he looked between the goblin and the night-sky-woman. "Dustavin Gallo, wandering minstrel, at your service. I'll take anything over being pickled in a jar. I must warn you, however, that while I am quite fond of Discovery, I leave Adventure to those with more of a spirit for it. My place is two steps behind those who adventure, so that I may record their stories and glories for posterity. In any case, well met, Chizzich, Bojangles, and... Khyyra-zvon, strange as it may be."




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  #113  
Old Feb 1st, 2024, 08:30 PM
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In which an abnormal goblin agrees to become an unlikely champion
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The situation he found himself in was getting more and more interesting by the second. Chizzich beamed at the newly released specimens while Bojangles regarded them in a more reserved manner from the relative safety of the goblin's shoulder. The fact that he even came out at all spoke volumes about the strangers; he hadn't wanted anything to do with the Squidlings or their masters. But, their device did save their collective hides so how bad could these betentacled researchers be? He wasn't entirely convinced they were the dread terrors of the deep dark known as Mindflayers. Then again, it was his raison d'etre to prove how not everyone was wholly as they appeared.

The one who called herself Khyyra-Zvon seemed friendly and perhaps even eager to learn, two qualities that he thought would be indispensable in an adventurer. She moved with a swift, fluid grace and held out her hand. Chizzich took it and, not being sure of the proper etiquette, decided to administer a shake rather than a polite kiss. "You may certainly call me friend. I'm afraid my kind don't typically live long enough to have the luxury of being slow to trust or cultivate slow-burning relationships." He found the light in her eyes and mouth particularly fascinating and equally distracting, it would take some getting used to.

"Oh, my apologies, Ms. Zvon, I do tend to utilize metaphor quite often. Some call the beginning of a journey the 'first leg' and 'shaky legs' can mean the feeling of anxiety or nervousness, as if one may stumble. Well, stumble I did, and nearly paid for it with my life. In fact I wouldn't be standing here at all had I not found the marvelous device that transported me here. My voyage of discovery has been fraught with obstacles, to say the least."

When the elegant man introduced himself Chizzich's smile widened, exposing his pointed teeth. "Ah, how delightful Mr. Gallo! We've more in common than most would believe then. I too perform but it is my sword that does the singing and recording daring tales of heroic deeds is the very reason I crawled from my cave to seek adventure. It is my great hope that such a book might inspire more goblins, or anyone really, to rise above expectations and defy traditions." He nodded to the white weasel in the folds of his cloak, "This one likes to stay well away from any sort of action himself. I think he'll enjoy your company."

After introductions were made and his new companions were gathering their gear, Chizzich chuckled softly at Dredavex's statement. "I'd hardly call myself unarmed but, I can't deny my curiosity." He Insight: 11looked at the Mind Flayer again, remembering the horrors he'd read about Illithids sucking out the brains of helpless victims. But this was for science! "I'd very much love to see your command deck and lasers. This is all beyond what I'm accustomed to in regards to learning." With a shrug, Chizzich followed Dredavex up the stairs under the violet light. Bojangles burrowed deeper into his woolen robes Perception: 17with a soft chittering sound.

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  #114  
Old Feb 6th, 2024, 05:41 AM
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The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon
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“Congeniality!” the swirling lights within the indigo void flared somewhat brighter as the one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon looked toward Dusty, “It gives to me the feelings of great pleasure to have already completed the ritual exchange of the mouth-speak names with Dustavin-Gallo. It is indeed ’well that we have met’. I have the feelings of hope-anticipation that one day Dustavin-Gallo will also give consent for me to mouth-speak of Dustavin-Gallo as ’Friend-Dustavin-Gallo’, but I do not have the expectation-belief that Dustavin-Gallo will give this consent yet since I have not yet had the privilege of experiencing the mind-fast with Dustavin-Gallo, but perhaps it would give to Dustavin-Gallo the feelings of pleasure to experience the ritual of contact between our out-selves?”

She extended her other hand toward Dusty in a manner that was just as awkward as the first hand that still hung in front of Chizzich, perhaps even moreso since she did not appear to make any distinction between the use of her right or left hand, oblivious to the importance that many cultures placed on such choices. When Chizzich did take one of those hands in his own and spoke, the constellations of light dancing within Khyyra-zvon shifted to a warm, golden hue and moved about with an almost giddy excitement.

“Exuberance! I did not expect Friend-Chizzich to consent to the mouth-speak label of ​Friend-Chizzich so soon. Friend-Chizzich is truly a trustworthy companion.” She paused suddenly, the light within her dimming ever so slightly as her eyes narrowed and her face inexplicably took on a sense of deep consternation, one that was somehow conveyed to those around her despite the difficulty in discerning any features on the shadows in the form of a young girl

“I must confess the feelings of confusion again. I do not have the understanding of how a relationship can burn. Perhaps this is an example of the met-a-phor again. I have the understanding of ‘burning’ as ’destruction-consumption by fire.’ I do not have the desire for our relationship to burn at any speed.”

The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon followed close behind Chizzich as he ascended the stairs, gliding effortlessly above the surface of the ship’s deck. She paused for a moment before ascending herself, glancing over her shoulder and locking eyes with the wriggle-face that thought of himself as Vorryn. In an instant, she reached out her think-speak toward Vorryn. For his convenience, she tried her best to frame her think-speak in the manner of mouth-speak. Though it was sticky-slow, perhaps it would make it easier for the novice at think-speak to understand.

First came a wave of pure emotion: gratitude-appreciation that her out-self was no longer contained within the pod-place. This was followed by a mental image of herself and Chizzich along with a feeling of confirmation-acceptance: she would follow Vorryn’s suggestion that she go with Chizzich. But this brought with it some amount of confusion: she would go with Chizzich, but Chizzich was going with Dredavex, and Vorryn had expressed feelings of fear regarding Dredavex. Finally, there was a warm pulse of compassion-empathy: was Voryyn afraid of Dredavex for himself as well? Did Voryyn need to escape from Dredavex?


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  #115  
Old Feb 6th, 2024, 01:06 PM
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Dustavin
The bard's lavender-hued eyes glittered with amusement as the goblin spoke. "Excellent! If you don't mind my saying, you are already challenging my notions of what your kind are capable of. If there are, or were to be, more like yourself, our peoples might come to know some kind of peace between us." He frowned for a moment, looking around the strange location. "Though, to be completely honest, I'm not sure if we're anywhere near my people, or yours, for that matter." He frowned, suddenly. "I'm not sure how far we are from where I was kidnapped..." The question of why remained, as well.

Some of his mirth returned as the strange being known as Khyrra-zvon spoke again. "My, you are an eager one, aren't you?" He bowed in her direction, then took her offered handshape, clasped in both of his for a brief moment. "In my experience, true friendship is built upon mutual experience. While we share this-" he spun a finger around to indicate the strange room that they found themselves in. "-I at least, was not a willing participant. Still, it's a start. In that light, I offer to you that you need not use my full name. In the past, my companions have preferred a shortened epithet- 'Dusty'. You have my permission- nay, encouragement- to do the same."

As first Chizzick, then Khyyra-zvon followed the first tentacle-face up to the next level, Dustavin followed at a slower pace, glancing back to the second on occasion. He still didn't know quite what to make of the whole situation, but it seemed that progress was being made to approach something akin to normal.



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  #116  
Old Feb 7th, 2024, 12:45 AM
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On the Nautiloid
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Dusty, Dredavax is no longer aiming his gun at you. But he is tapping an impatient booted toe as you all, the newly released prisoners and the teleported arrival, make introductions, and as soon as attention is returned to him, he whisks his robes around, and briskly ascends the tilted stairs. A railing would be nice, in this situation, but there is none. The purple stairs underfoot are not only canted firmly to one side but slippery and oddly textured. They lead up to a room with an open cowl at one end, at the front of the ship, where a ballista is mounted, forward-facing. Dials, knobs, and levers festoon the gunner’s station, and small plaques are covered in groups of tiny raised dots. Beyond the ballista is an open window to the howling cold, and the night. Here is your first view of the Dale, shrouded in Auril's Rime. Bleak, snowy. The wind is freezing. From here you can see hills, mist, something large and slow moving about outside the ship. You can also see down to the deck below, where another ballista is mounted. There's another set of stairs leading up to a third level.

Chizzich, Dredavax clicks for you to follow, and opens a door that leads to the back of the ship on this level. Here, crystals protrude from the chitinous ceiling of an oddly shaped room. Some of the crystals are lit, and others are flickering or burned out. Plates of chitin have been pried loose from the walls in places, exposing cavities filled with tangled masses of black tubes. Scattered across the floor are unusual-looking tools. He fishes around in a couple of drawers in the wall, and from one produces a laser pistol like his, and a small black box. He holds out the laser pistol hesitantly toward you, and then takes it back and hands you the box instead. The black box is the psi crystal detector. It clicks when one is within five miles, and increases the rate of clicking when it gets closer.

"Ah, you sebee, this is where my wobork on the ship is fabailing," Dredavax mourns. "Our libife support is libimited, unless I can figubure out how to fibix it."

He shows you another room, round, through a second door, and explains: "Propubulsion." This room contains a five-foot-diameter sphere of shiny black metal with small, transparent, hexagonal windows. Sharp metal tines resembling grasping claws protrude from the nearby walls and ceiling, stretching toward the sphere but stopping short of it. Along the walls are low-mounted control stations studded with knobs and dials. The black sphere contains the charred remains of a fist-sized crystal that could propel the nautiloid through the air and across space. The crystal cracked and imploded during the crash, and must be replaced. "You are a wibizard. Could you take a lobook?"
You feel the feathery presence in your brain of Mr. Bojangles' telepathic communication. He reports indignantly that Vorryn has snuck a squidling into your pack. Now that you know this, you feel it in there, its breath bubbling, almost like a purr.

Khyyra-zvon, you reach-push into Vorryn's mind, and he makes way for your inquiries. When someone could put up a rejection-distance, but doesn't, that's being polite or weakness. When someone pretends a rejection-distance is there, when it isn't, that's being polite or mercy. Polite is a distance you can choose. Separation is a comfort or rejection. You have observed that obstacles to communication are requested, erected, even demanded among those who do not know the peace of being immersed in the thought stream of The People. So you have been polite. Vorryn makes way, though, and you receive a wash of thoughts. He has a little stream of memories hoarded and saved. He is in conflict between these memories and himself. He treasures them, but it isn't supposed to be this way. He has been consumed, but not all the way. This is what gnomes are like. They can be consumed, but not all the way. So they keep a memory stream, and the feeling love or protection or joy. Dredavax has lost more, but Dredavax has eaten the brains of many goblins. Vorryn has kept more, and has starved. His fear is not of Dredavax for himself. His fear is only for you. He is afraid for you of himself. He thinks the feeling sadness. He thinks that you should probably kill him.

OOCIf Chizzich or anyone else would like to try and help Dredavax make some progress with the life support, you can take a crack at it. The DC is pretty high but if you succeed, you could give them more time and Dredavax more patience. Roll Arcana to try.

There are stairs up to the command deck. Anyone could try to sneak up there without Dredavax noticing, as he has taken Chizzich into the maintenance and propulsion rooms. Roll Stealth if you'd like to try to get up there without a ceremorph monitor.


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  #117  
Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 09:20 PM
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A small giggle escaped Chizzich in reaction to Khyyra-Zvon's misunderstanding of his common. "I'll have to remember to choose my words more carefully, friend. I do not wish for our friendship to be consumed by flames either, perhaps slow-growing or slowly nurtured would've been more suitable and understandable. The point I was trying to arrive at, in my own oft rambling way, is that goblins don't tend to live very long so we've no time to waste on normal conventions."

He smiled his pointy smile at Dustavin, "Then I am already achieving my goals! Thank you for the kind words but, unfortunately, my kind are mostly nothing like me at all. That's why I travel alone." Bojangles began a tirade of chastising chitters from his shoulder at that. "Okay, okay, not alone but hmm, unfettered? Goblin society doesn't much reward free thinking and anything different is often enthusiastically pounded back into place. There are a few others who wish for peace and cooperation between all sentient beings but we have much work to do in convincing the rest of our kin and kith. I do imagine you're quite some distance from wherever you call home, and trapped in the Rime like the rest of us. As for my people, it'd be fair to say I'm not missed."




Up the odd and canted stairs, Chizzich entered a fascinating new world of crystals, tubes, buttons, and tools. He found himself looking this way and that at all the things he'd never before seen, of which there was plenty. The lower level had seemed so alien and advanced but this area made that look as primitive as the cave he'd been holed up in with his pilfered books. What he truly wanted was to spend ten minutes on a ritual that would allow him to see the magic workings in and on this place.

Instead, he cast a skeptical eye over the zapper bottle device and little black box that Dredavex had retrieved. It looked like he was weighing the two internally before he presented Chizzich with the small box and named it a psi crystal detector. Rate of clicking accelerates relative to the proximity of crystals. Simple enough. He wondered if it detected a specific kind of energy or element or, perhaps a certain type of magic.

Before Chizzich could get too wrapped up in his thoughts, Dredavex confided the reason they were stranded in the Dale. Again, what he saw was unlike anything even remotely familiar. His mouth hung open as twinkling eyes greedily drank it all in. "This is what keeps your vessel aloft? And it's fueled by magic, incredible..." The goblin realized he was trailing off but the prospect of taking a closer look and maybe touching the black sphere or its accompanying metal rods pulled him back to the present.

"I am a wizard and will certainly take a look." He tried not to sound too overenthusiastic. Now, Chizzich understood that some magic items could take a new charge if they were fed a supply of magic. He applied this theory to the sphere by pouring out enough energy and intent for a trivial cantrip. If, after that, nothing somehow went wrong he pumped in enough for a Spending a first-level spell slotslightly more powerful spell. He watched and listened intently for any kind of reaction when Bojangles told him about the stowaway squidling.

Chizzich could indeed feel the small shift in the weight of his pack as well as the creature's breathing. He replied with a feeling of amusement and a, Make sure they don't eat, break, or steal anything. Maybe we'll keep them. Surely these Mind Flayers would have the means for a better way of tracking him, there must be something else at play here.

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  #118  
Old Feb 26th, 2024, 12:58 AM
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Chizzich, it's all a bit dizzying, going across these slant floors, and through this and that oddly shaped doorway, with whizzers and knobs and dials and doodads that would have made even old Macreadus look twice. There is absolutely no way you have a frame of referencce for this alien technology. Macreadus' books seemed to break everything down to mechanics, but this is horrifyingly biological. While you are eager, you are stymied. Dredavax, desperate, leaves you to twiddle and poke as he shifts nervously from tentacle to tentacle, gripping his little gun. And then, Chizzich, nunc intellegis. These are magical pieces and parts, and you are a wizard. If the problem is magic, the answer is probably magic. Tweaking those black tubes like you know what you're doing, you pump some magic across this connection. The purple crystals flicker.

"Go obon!" says Dredavax. "You can sabave us!"

You push more magic into the tubes, behind the walls, and into the crystals that glow with more intensity. Dredavax surges into your head with a message: Thank you. You have given us more time. We can work with this. Your efforts are appreciated. You are trusted. Without the encumbrance of the intruding tentacles, his voice sounds more pleasant, almost bearing overtones of the gnome tinker Macreadus worked with: Copper Knobberknocker. There's not much more you can do here, but the illithid is very grateful, and thrusts the laser gun into your hands, shows you how to use it.

"Webell then," Dredavax burbles, resuming audible Common speech. "Will you be goboing? So libittle time, so mabay psi crybystals to fibind! Off you gobo into the woborld."

He seems to be shuffling you off, back down the stairs. With levels unseen, rooms unexplored. Sure, the illithid are urgent about their broken ship, their waning life support. But when are you ever going to get back onto a Nautiloid? Or hold such treasures in your hands? The squidling purrs in your pack, and Mr. Bojangles, while perhaps skeptical, may at least be appreciative of the small tentacled thing's ability to radiate some heat. You may leave back down the stairs, or press Dredavax for more... time? items? knowledge? Up to you.

OOCI like the solution of pumping magic into it! The DC for the Arcana check was not met, but that was a creative idea. Take Inspiration. Also take a laser pistol. You can add this item to your inventory in D&D Beyond. The gun comes with a cell that allows 30 shots. If you expend 10 shots on practice (in a safe place, not the damaged Propulsion room, Dredavax would warn you) you can shoot it with proficiency. You will acquire proficiency after ten shots either way.

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  #119  
Old Feb 28th, 2024, 05:02 PM
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Dustavin
When Dustavin finally reached the higher floor, and the window opens vision to the land beyond the strange twisted intestines of the ship, he can't help but step forward, and stare. Cormyr received plenty of snow, but there was an intrinsic harmony to it. Sure, life would be cold and hard and a little hungry for a few months, but there were always little echoes of life, promises of the blossoming to come. Most other places he had travelled had been the same, or warmer.

This was something else. A stark, frozen beauty that reeked of ancient, timeless death. He was appalled. He was fascinated. He wondered just where the hell he actually was. The Rime, he remembered the goblin calling it. A suitably poetic name. He moved forward as much as he could, trying to get a better look. Was there anything alive out there? What was that, moving about? He glanced towards the stairs, wondering if there was a better vantage up there. He's sorely tempted, but also reluctant to simply wander off. Not only did the creature in charge seem to have a short wick, he couldn't be sure the goblin wouldn't lose patience and leave him behind.

He'd never have expected that his fate would lie in the clawed hands of a goblin, certainly, but he preferred that option to wandering out alone into such a strange, hostile-looking locale. Worst come, he could feed on the creature, though he really hoped it wouldn't come to that, for multiple reasons. So he waited, listening for the return of Chizzich and the tentacled one, watching the vast somber expanse.



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Old Mar 9th, 2024, 10:45 PM
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Chizzich looked at the strange object Dredavax handed him and recognized it as the thing that blasted the construct Puddles. He slipped it into his belt. "I'm glad that I could help, after all, your transporter quite literally saved my chartreuse skin." The goblin smiled, "Forgive me as I stare but everywhere I look there is some fascinating new thing. You can move this whole thing with magic, through the sky? Is it rituals and incantations? Just the two of you? I'll admit I can hardly conceive..."

He realized he was rambling now, getting lost in his own thoughts as Dredavax was eager to see him off on his new journey. "Maybe when I return, I could see some more, and we could talk about how it all works together then. It's all so exciting." Chizzich took one more longing look at the black sphere with its halo of metal rods before he relented to taking the stairs down where he found his newly uncasked travel companions/soon-to-be friends.

Dustavin, the tallest and palest out of the whole pack, looked out at the frozen dale. "It can be strangely beautiful out there in the dark. There was sun too, once. I always preferred the reflection of moonlight on the snow and ice rather than the sun, too bright. Only now, well, a bit of that light would be welcome." Chizzich shrugged, "The lights that accompany Auril across the sky as she locks us in the night are pretty, at least."

"Dredavax, have your scouts mapped the area?" Chizzich asked, "It might help me figure out just where we are." He assumed the others would be eager to leave the place where they were kept in a pod because who wouldn't? He knows these little mind flayers are most likely evil but can't help feeling lucky. And a fair bit of survivor's guilt about Felty and Oar. Eventually, he'll find a way to stop that dragon and make sure it all wasn't in vain. "Oh, and can I try this thing out on one of the broken crates downstairs?" He patted the handle of the gun at his waist, "Never used one of these but it looked similar to a wand, and those, I can work."

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