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  #121  
Old Mar 10th, 2024, 07:01 PM
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Dustavin
"It truly is beautiful." Dustavin agreed, turning around when he heard Chizzich speaking to him. "I suppose I haven't been here long enough to miss the sun. Before I was taken-" on the last word, a muscle in his cheek twitched, and his eyes went hard as he glanced to the tentacled abomination accompanying the goblin... but through force of will he drew the smile back on- "I was in some kind of swamp, I think. Memory's a little fuzzy, but it was much, much different from this." He stopped short of agreeing on the annoyance of bright sunlight, though he couldn't help but wonder what it must be like for those who had been here all along- living under eternal night. There were plenty of creatures that would thrive here, he knew. But as appealing as it seemed first glance, the people had to be suffering. And where would pleasure and joy be found without thriving human populations?

Speaking of human populations, he had no idea where the closest one might be. He glanced out the window again, then pointed to the stairs, while giving the squidface the weight of his smile. "I don't suppose there's a better vantage point up that way? As eager as I am to get going, I thought I saw something moving outside, and I'd really like a better look. Won't be of use to anyone if we get eaten five steps outside the ship. And even if my eyes were tricked by some shadow, it would be helpful to orient ourselves to the landscape before setting out."



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Last edited by Humble Athena; Mar 25th, 2024 at 11:17 PM.
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  #122  
Old Mar 20th, 2024, 12:04 AM
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The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon
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The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon froze for a moment, stunned by the thoughts she perceived from Vorryn. She had never mind-fasted with a being that had the desire for their existence to end. This was unknown among the People. While there were occasionally those among the People who felt their out-self could no longer contain their in-self and desired to release the light of their in-self to join the stars, this was usually accompanied by a sense of acceptance and comfort. But the thought-feelings that came from Vorryn were filled with despair-hopelessness. Because of the nature of the mind-fast, Khyyra-zvon did not merely sense these thoughts as a detached observer; she shared in these thoughts and for a moment they became her own. She felt herself awash in despair-hopelessness and felt the desire to see her own existence come to an end.

It terrified her.

The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon withdrew from her connection to wriggle-face Vorryn, just as one might recoil from placing one’s hand on a hot stove. Once the connection was broken, the horror did not immediately subside, but it did begin to mix with a sense of guilt-shame. Though she had just met wriggle-face Vorryn, she was overwhelmed with sorrow-compassion for the poor creature. She desperately wanted to give to him the feelings of comfort-support, to share with him the sense of interconnectedness and belonging that the People knew. But she was too terrified to reach out to him again for fear of losing herself in the despair-hopelessness.

There were also the imminent feelings of fear-concern for friend-Chizzich and not-yet-friend-Dustavin-Gallo, who encouraged the use of the shortened epithet Dusty (she still had many questions about this as well: was this shortened epithet intended for those familiar enough with not-yet-friend-Dustavin-Gallo that they did not require the repetition of a full introduction – though this did not seem to fit with not-yet-friend-Dustavin-Gallo’s assertion that they had not yet shared enough experience – or was it intended to maintain distance between those who had not yet earned the right to not-yet-friend-Dustavin-Gallo’s full epithet) but these questions would have to wait for another time.

She had just seen in wriggle-face Vorryn’s thoughts that wriggle-face Dreadavex had devour-consumed the inselfs of many goblins. The emissary of the People was not yet entirely familiar with the concept of “goblin,” but she recognized that her new friend-Chizzich self-identified as a goblin. Even though she continued to feel sympathy for wriggle-face Vorryn, it seemed his desire to see an end to his existence was neither active nor immediate, and the direct threat to new-friend Chizzich must take priority.

But how was she to alert him of this danger? The think-speak of the wriggle-faces was sticky-slow, but she could not be certain that their comprehension was equally slow. If she tried to think-speak a warning to Chizzich, the curious little creatures might intercept the message; that would only increase the danger. But to use mouth-speak would be no better. On top of its imprescission, a mouth-speak warning would definitely be heard by all.

… Unless … perhaps the very imprecision of mouth-speak could be used to her advantage here. Perhaps she could relay only the general nature of her warning, while leaving the reasons for this warning unspoken. If she chose her mouth-speak carefully, then friend-Chizzich and the wriggle-faces could be left to draw their own conclusions … perhaps they could even draw separate conclusions!

The one who had come to be known as Khyyra-zvon shuddered at the thought. Not only was she unsure if she could accomplish it, but the very nature of this act felt unclean to her.
Was this how those who made use of the mouth-speak were able to speak of the thing that was not what it was?

The conflicted Emissary of the People was abruptly shaken from her reverie as she heard the words of not-yet-friend-Dustavin-Gallo as he pointed deeper into the interior of the ship. Was he stalling? Was he trying to extend their stay in this place of danger?!?

The swirling motes of light that floated within her form suddenly flared a deep shade of vermillion, as those around her were struck with a sudden surge of panic-fear that emanated from Khyyra unbidden before she managed to regain control of herself. It was not unlike the may one who made use of the mouth-speak might reflexively blurt out a gasp or an exclamation before clamping their mouth shut. She glanced about self-consciously, wondering how the others would perceive this involuntary intrusion on their awareness.

”Apologies, not-yet-friend-Dustavin-Gallo-who-encourages-the-use-of-the-shortened-epithet-Dusty” she spoke quickly, recognizing that there was no more time to wait and ruminate, ”I have the feeling that staying in this place may be the way of danger-uncertainty.” (This part was true, at least, even if she left out the fact that she saw wriggle-face Dredavex as the source of the danger.) ”The one who is called Dredavex has expressed the feelings of concern for the missing psi-crybystals. The absence of these psi-crybystals seems to prevent this place from the supporting of life.” (This was also true, even if it was less related to the cause of Khyyyra’s fear-anxiety over the danger-uncertainty). ”The staying in this place longer than needed may increase the danger-uncertainty for us.” (Once again, this statement was true on its own, though it was not as directly related to the preceding statement as their juxtaposition might lead one to believe).

Was this how those who made use of the mouth-speak were able to say things that did not match their intent? Did they select details to lead others to a false understanding? She felt herself swimming with a dizzying mix of emotions: pride at having accomplished this previously incomprehensible feat … mixed with feelings of shame and disgust.


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  #123  
Old Mar 20th, 2024, 12:48 AM
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Dustavin
The surge of intruding foreign emotion left Dustavin stunned for a moment, but the starwoman's sheepish glance betrayed her as the likely source. Heh. Perhaps some things truly are universal. But if that fear was hers, it went deeper than her words would suggest. He strode closer quickly, though he stopped with a (he hoped) reasonable buffer of personal space, and offered his hand. "It's alright, Miss Khyyra. We'll be out of here soon enough. I just want to make sure we're not jumping out of the cooking pot into the fire, is all. Er... jumping from a known danger to an unknown, possibly greater, danger." He amended quickly, recalling her difficulty understanding Chizzich's turns of phrase earlier. "There's some lands you can just wander through without direction and end up somewhere, but the terrain I spy out that window is far less forgiving. We'll need a plan, and proper supplies, or we'll... not make it very far." he shook his head, not wanting to cause her more reason to fear. "I'm sure if we take a moment to plan properly, however, that we'll be just fine."




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  #124  
Old Mar 27th, 2024, 05:14 PM
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In the Downed NautiloidChizzich, when you ask your questions about his magic, Dredavax points to the ceiling. "It has a spebelljabammer hebelm," he says. "A magic chabair. You sibit in it, and trabavel the plabanes." His tone is condescending and brusque, as if you haven't heard of Spelljammers before. As if you haven't heard of Illithid before! Wait, what do you know of Spelljammers? Before he ascends the next set of stairs with Dusty, the illithid sends you down the stairs to try out the gun in the cargo deck. This time he communicates straight into your mind, his mental voice deeper and more casual, less interrupted by tentacle interference. "Go ahead and take some shots at the damn golem if you want a live target. Keeps him lively. And helps with the training." They haven't sent scouts out, and don't have a map. At the bottom of the stairs, you find is Khyyra-zvon, still and shocked, and here is Vorryn, returning to his work, but the flesh golem sits cross-legged and hopeful and the squidlings squirm around your feet.

Dusty, have you still got it? After all this time marinating in a pink murky liquid, can you still tilt your head just so, and drop your voice, and use those eyebrows? Maybe the stasis pod pickled your skin, but has it dulled your charm? Has it sapped your wit? Can you still charm the tentacles off a mini-illithid in dire purple straits? Yes, it appears you can. You make your polite request, and Dredavax turns to face you. His tentacles wobble in uncertainty just for a second, and then he says, "Webell, alribight." He beckons you to follow him up the stairs to the top level of this craft. And it is a craft. Grounded, and broken, but still a ship: oblong outside, abbreviated inside, made for travel. You climb into the top level.



Suspended from the ceiling of this high-domed chamber is a complex lattice of bioluminescent jellyfish that use the glowing tips of their tendrils to form constellations. A high-backed chair with short armrests capped with sparkly blue crystal orbs tilts up toward the display. A panel on the starboard wall lies open, exposing a pulsing tendril of flesh embedded with crystal shards. From the ceiling you hear a voice, guttural and low, gurgle a few ugly syllables. You feel a light touch in your mind, and then you hear, in a passive, pretty voice in flawless common with a delicate Cormyr accent, "Hello, Dustavin. I am Id Ascendant. Welcome to the Bridge." Dredavax takes you to the window and you look out. There's definitely something moving out there -- Dredavax explains that they had two carrion crawlers in captivity while they were traveling, and after the crash they set them free, unable to pacify or feed them. "There's also a bubulebette out there somewhere," he muses. The ship has landed at the base of a mountain range. To the southeast, mountains. To the northwest, dark plains.

Khyyra-zvon, as you have come to be called. Vorryn immediately accepts the sundering of your mental connection and doesn't try to resume communication-feelings. He raises a purple hand-part, sorry-surrenders. He didn't mean to frighten you. The two remaining squidlings make their little chirp-bubbles: Eat! Jump! Swim! And the tattered creature sewed together from other creatures has half a wolf mind, the other half fragmented and worn. All he is thinking is: wait. There's no real in-self there. Vorryn pushes a crate solemnly into a stack. The squidlings are so uncomplicated. They are open-revealed; they give freely and hold nothing in. This is how it should be?

You lie to Dusty. Or, you say truths but conceal your feelings. A layer is pulled over your meaning. What is a layer but a lie? One axis of morality has "hidden" at one end and "exposed" on the other. How "hidden" is adjacent to "private" and "exposed" is adjacent to "public." Have you wondered, before the way your mind was frozen in the stasis pod, if isolation-death was even possible for one of the People? That you could be cut off from your connnection-life to the others? It swarms around you now, distant but warm, open. You can put your secrets there, even as you decide to guard your meanings with these not-quite-friends you have found. You can put the guilt-shame and the unspeakable complexity of the fear-sorrow all into the drifting expanse of awareness: The People. Nothing is rejected. All is understood. From the moment you regained your in-self-sense in the pod, the stream was there to accept you. Knowing everything. They are with you because they are you. But they are also there-far and you are also here-alone. So this was a lesson in privacy.

Chizzich, down in the Cargo Deck there is an easy target in a pile of crushed crates. You won't miss, Vorryn assures you. There's a button to squeeze on the handle, and then a satisfying PEW sound as a bright jet of light emerges from the nozzle, crashing into the trash and spewing it every which way. If you wanted to hit a more delicate target, you might need to practice, but this is definitely a powerful and magical weapon. It's loud, and the radiant explosion excites the flesh golem, who rises from his sitting position to gambol around, scooping up the squidlings for a frantic caper about.

OOCDragoon, roll History, with advantage if you RP memories of learning about Spelljammers.

rhaiber, I'm not sure where Khyyra is in the ship. We can either say that she had that exchange with Dusty when he was in the Cargo Deck, or that she went up to the Battle Deck and was talking to him there. Either way is fine.

Athena, the image I included is oriented looking toward the Nautiloid, so Dusty would be in it, looking back in this direction to see the two carrion crawlers.

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  #125  
Old Apr 7th, 2024, 11:20 AM
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Dustavin
Dustavin is pleased by Dredavax's acquiescence, though he doesn't allow himself a moment to gloat. Though the creature responded well to a reasonable request, it is still unpredictable. He does offer Khyyra a reassuring smile and nod, before heading up after the small illithid.

Arriving at the higher floor, the bard is taken back by the strange beauty of the alien structure. He is even more so taken by surprise at the touch on his mind, and the voice addressing him in his native accent, by his name. He was not a stranger to mind magic, though still novice, and he didn't like the feeling of being in over his head. How many around him could just reach in and take his secrets? Worse, what would they do with them? But the uncertainty did not change his method of coping with the strange situation. He looks up, nodding towards the source of the voice. "Greetings, Ascendant. You are the helmsman? Or... are you, the ship itself? If so, you are quite the impressive sight." Alas, no time to get to know the architecture. He is beckoned towards the view he requested to see. Looking out the window, he blanches slightly at the sight of the monsters, and dregs his memory for information to help in navigating the situation. Only trickles come to mind, and he blames the effects of being suspended in liquid for that. Speaking of...

Settling his face, he nods at the illithid's information. "Quite a menagerie you'd collected." he comments, trying to read the eyes for clues. "I can only wonder why you would have picked up someone as unexceptional as myself. Or perhaps it was a mistake?" He was tempted to try his magic, but would need a distraction to successfully cast without risking upsetting the diminutive creature, who clearly had some capability to do harm, or it would never have succeeded in filling the ship with kidnapped beings. There was just too much he needed to know to take any drastic action.



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Last edited by Humble Athena; Apr 8th, 2024 at 04:25 AM.
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  #126  
Old Apr 18th, 2024, 11:25 PM
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To shoot from the hip
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"A spelljammer helm," the words came as a near reverant whisper. Of course Chizzich knew about spelljammers. Macreadus had a book about the astral sea complete with illustrations of flying galleons and stranger ships shaped more like insects or marine life. It was Chizzich's favorite chapter. These vessels could not only travel the planes, they could sail past corpses of long-dead Gods in the astral sea to countless other spheres containing entire worlds. Not all that long ago all of this sounded like supposition and theory at best. He'd wanted it to be true and suddenly Toril wasn't feeling as big as it used to.

"I'd very much like to see it, the helm, when we return with psi crystals." How could he not want the chance to examine something like that? Out of all the worlds, how did this one come down here and would it even be able to leave? So many questions.

He was lost in his thoughts now and, as Chizzich made his way back down the canted stairs to try out the laser he wondered if there was a world where goblins were the most proficient with magic. Or maybe one where they're respected doctors or artists. Why not? The thought was both comforting and amusing.

Chizzich showed off the laser to the squidlings before he blasted it at the scattered debris. It was simple enough, just point and shoot like a wand and the sound was particularly pleasing. Not exactly covert though. Still, effective, and spells are limited. He aimed at the lumbering golem but, despite knowing it was a not-exactly living creature made out of several dead creatures held together with magic and oblivious to pain, he just couldn't shoot at it. He remembered what it was like to be target practice because he had the scars to remind him underneath his shock of coal-black hair. The golem bore Chizzich no threat and he'd never been a cruel goblin. Instead, he turned and fired at one of the crates he hid behind upon his arrival.

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  #127  
Old Apr 22nd, 2024, 04:38 PM
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In the Downed NautiloidChizzich, the flesh golem is familiar with the weapon you hold. You can see it in the way he flinches when you point it at him. And you are familiar with that kind of flinch. Before the philosophy of Coach's "Be a Better Goblin" regime took hold among some (regrettably not all) of your comrades, those flinches were the most familiar posture at Karkolok, because there's always a bigger goblin, a more frightening kick, but not for you. From the subjucation of "goblin four" to the harsh domination of Macreadus, you now stand in a spelljammer ship. Will it be, for you Chizzich, ad astra per aspera?

There's a few things you know about spelljammer helms. First, you know that mindflayer ships don't use them. Illithids not only have their own unique psionic power that drives their nautiloids across the planes, but they actively eschew the study of magic and would find spelljammer helms abhorrent. So, very curious. But, here are a few more data points you can recall. Nautiloids are irreplaceable, because the illithid have lost the magical knowledge used to create them. And also -- these illithid you're dealing with are not quite illithid. Normally when a tadpole takes over a host, it completely changes their bodies into the standard issue illithid shape and size. But these are not so. They're gnome ceremorphs.

Perhaps these strange pint-sized mindflayers can't use the psionic helms most nautiloids are powered by. Perhaps these strange pint-sized mindflayers, seen as failed ceremorphs, were given a lesser ship. Perhaps these strange pint-sized mindflayers, seen as superior ceremorphs, are out here trying out a new design, one that could help the illithid race survive even as their nautiloids eventually age and fail. Perhaps, perhaps. Either way, what you know for certain is that where nautiloids can usually only be piloted by mindflayer captains, biologically joined with the ship, if this one has a spelljammer helm it could potentially be piloted by anyone. Well, by any wizard.




Dusty, the smooth-toned, androgynous voice replies in a friendly lilt, as the jellyfish tendrils above you wave and pulse with light. "I am the liquefied consciousness of several illithid, decanted into a biological shell, animated by psionics, pureed with the brain matter of a human spellcaster, and living in union with the helm. Does that make me the ship itself? Why then I am the ship itself. Impressive? Well--" a low chuckle? "--I am that I am."

"Chabatty," Dredavax raises his eyebrows critically and waves his tentacles. Then, inside your mind, he continues his communication telepathically. No, your collection was not in error. It is the same reason we are here in Icewind Dale, and the reason we collected the starcloud girl. He opens his mouth again, and his tentacles resume their flapping, as he seems to gain several inches, levitating upward dramatically.

"IMMOBORTABALITY!" he thunders, a little nasally, and very wet. We were sent to find you after another research team consumed the brains of the captors who performed your original upgrades. Our superiors wish to study the results of their efforts over time. Pull out your blood. Try to make you die. You know. Science. We had hoped to collect another specimen, from the Netherese city of Ythryn, somewhere around here. Perhaps, if our ship is restored, we still can.

You get the sense that his understanding of these objectives may be a little vague, but he displays admirable enthusiasm about the project. A peppy little sort, this gnomish squid. Perhaps he wasn't one of the "superiors" but he's loyal, still trying to bash away at the mission while he sits here slurping on failing life support. As for the creatures, you vaguely recall that the bulette can burrow fast, and leap with annoying power. You've never seen or fought one but you know, storytellers pick up stories, along with admirers and the odd parasite. Carrion Crawlers are big but not particularly fast. Poison tentacles, though. As if you hadn't had enough of those things.

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  #128  
Old Apr 27th, 2024, 03:49 PM
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To shoot for the stars
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Chizzich liked the laser blaster, it produced effects similar enough to some cantrips that it was immediately familiar even if sufficiently advanced beyond magic. Something like this would be very useful in the unlikely event a wizard would find themself in an unexpected bubble of silence. No vocal components needed to point and activate a Pew! or two. However, he didn't much like how anxious it made Puddles feel so he tucked the laser into his sword belt and out of sight, smiled, and held up his empty hands.

This vessel was a wonder. A spelljammer helm! When he finds a psi-crystal or two, Chizzich will ask to try the helm. It's a big ask, true, but how could he not? The curiosity and regret would surely drive him mad. When would he ever see such a thing again?

If this vessel could break through the Rime...

"Who is your navigator? Is it just the two of you crewing this ship?" He asked Vorryn with a spark of wonder in his eyes. He thought these spelljammers needed at least the same numbers as a traditional ship to crew effectively but that was based on old books and scrolls, perhaps some were different. "What brought you here specifically? Icewind Dale isn't exactly the bastion of research and innovation." Maybe they came for the solitude away from scrutinizing eyes or maybe they were victims of cruel fortune just like every other being frozen here in eternal night. But, if this ship could actually get out, well, that would be mighty heroic wouldn't it? They could ferry folks out and become truly heroic.

He needed to find some psi-crystals soon.

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  #129  
Old Apr 29th, 2024, 04:15 AM
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Dustavin
"Well, that is quite the recipe." The description of the Ascendant's components was intriguing, yet left Dustavin looking a touch paler and maybe a hint green. That was nothing compared to the conversation to come, however. It seemed now that the dominant squid had started talking, he had no compunctions about revealing anything!

"Immortality? My... upgrades? What?" Dustavin's brow furrowed, and he took a step back. "You mean to tell me that you came all the way from gods know where to hunt me, specifically? Because of the mad plans of mad cultists? How in the hells did you even find me?" Another step, and he raised a hand up as if to fend off a strike. "You meant to kill me?" Without having a conscious plan in mind, he found the fingers of one hand falling into old practice, while the other pulled the strap of his instrument into position. His fingers dashed a chord, and he pushed magic into his voice. "Ironic, then, that you're sending us out on your errand. It must seem to you like handing courier parcels over to stray cats."


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  #130  
Old Apr 29th, 2024, 09:47 PM
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Upstairs
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Oh you sly old thing. Whatever were you worried about. You've still got it.

"Stray cabats?" Dredavax asks. "Stray? Stray cabats? Oh my. Oh habahabahabahaahabababa! Because we--" he's choking "--pibicked you up from the strah--" he's falling to the ground "--I mean nobot the strebeets exabactly but like--" he's rolling around, tentacles flapping "--mebetaphoboricabally! CABATS! CABAAAAHAHAHAHAAHATS!"

You feel the presence of the cool, poised voice of the Id Ascendant press into your mind. "Apologies for the captain. He appears to be quite taken with your humor. I've never seen him quite so taken. On the average day your quaint consciousness might characterize him as a sour lemon." Dredavax gorgles and shakes on the ground.


DownstairsChizzich, the flesh golem can't betray too much emotion, stitched together as it is from multiple animal bodies. But it turns its wolf head at you, tilts its ears right, and makes a swiping motion with a reindeer hoof across its furry canine brow. Relieved.

"Jugust the two of us and the squigidlings," Vorryn tells you. "Just ugus and no ogothers. They managage. We are only a regesearch vegessel. We are a smagall crew." He continues to answer you inside your mind. We are collecting specimens to fuel our masters' research into life eternal. Inside the Reghed Glacier is a vast network of caves. Our hive, our hive... Vorryn seems distracted and a little confused. We serve the great everlasting hive mind, of the Northdark, most intelligent, most exalted. They have determined, they have dreamed darkly. In the fallen city of Ythryn, secrets they will use to pursue their own eternity. We were to collect them.



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  #131  
Old May 2nd, 2024, 05:56 PM
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Dustavin
"Oh, it's nothing to apologize for." Dustavin responded to the Ascendant's apology with a dark smile. "I much prefer him this way." His smile hardened as the presence pushed into his thoughts, but he visualized a thick stone wall. My mind is not a playground for anyone to just stroll in and amuse themselves.

He circled around the laughing aberration, feeling much better as he considered its physiology. So they were vulnerable to magic, after all. Still, time wasn't a luxury that he had. He chose his position and approached, drawing his sword and swinging it down towards the ugly oversized head. "I'm not about to give you the chance to imprison me again, once you've gotten what you needed."


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  #132  
Old May 4th, 2024, 08:46 PM
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It isn't much like the sound of science
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Seeing the relief in the lifeless eyes of Puddles made Chizzich feel for the construct, something most wizards would scoff at. He looked away and listened to Vorryn speak of the ship. It seemed like maybe the small Illithid was leaving something out. Possibly downplaying the role the squidlings play. "Ah, but a small crew can forge stronger bonds no? It's good that you involve the squidlings so much, apprenticeship is the first step toward mastery. After all, we all remember the times when simple prestidigitation was all we could muster."

The Reghed Glacier, the fallen city of Ythryn. Chizzich thought back to his time with Maccreadus and scoured his memory for anything about these locations. Had he read any legend or lore naming them sacred or cursed? "This fallen city, is it near? Or the Glacier, perhaps?" They're out hunting for the secrets of immortality, how original. Who really wants to live forever? Eternity seems more of a curse than a boon for Puddles. And all that energy the powerful will waste on such endeavors, imagine the real and lasting change they could work upon the realm and her people! Now that would be true immortality. If you change the world, everyone will remember your name.

His musings were disrupted by some loud sounds coming from above, where Dusty and Dredavex were still speaking. "Was that screaming?" Chizzich asked. "No, laughing?" Whatever it was, most decidedly did not sound like research or any sort of scholarly effort. It sounded even more bizarre echoing down the oddly chitinous stairs. "Seems they're getting along swimmingly, that Dusty sure has a presence, no? It's amazing how charismatic one can be when not bottled in a jar of red mucous. But just the two of you fly this thing? That is truly impressive. Does it respond to your thoughts? Forgive my curiosity it's just that I've never seen such a vessel outside a book."

The laughing persisted. Chizzich raised an eyebrow but, this bleak landscape frozen in eternal night did affect people differently. "He didn't strike me much as the jovial type, is Dredavex prone to bouts of levity?" He wondered if he should go back up and check on them.

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  #133  
Old May 7th, 2024, 02:10 AM
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On the Id Ascendant
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Dusty, no, you will not let some spaceship into the inner sanctum of your mind. Stay curious, spaceship. You swing your sword and carve through Dredavax's robe and into his body, erasing all doubt of what you are thinking. You're thinking that chopping up this illithid monster who captured you is a fine idea. And you're doing it. You chop him right up. As your sword bites deep, Dredavax's laughter turns to choking, and then his tentacles begin to bubble with rage. He slams his clawed hands into the sides of his head, opens his mouth. No sound comes out, but his tentacles are wriggling wildly. You feel it inside your head, a ripping pain that threatens to take away your vision, your thoughts, your snappy comebacks. Through this internal noise, you hear the voice of the spaceship, and the room turns red.

Chizzich, you know exactly where the Reghed glacier is. It's at the east end of Icewind Dale, a massive wasteland north of the Spine of the World mountains. Here only the barbarians who take their name from the glacier know the way to safely navigate, between ice chasms and across wind-blasted expanses. You know there are tales of vast caverns beneath the glacier. In one such place, in one exciting tale, Wulfgar the hero slew the dragon Icingdeath, in the dragon's lair, a hot spring called Evermelt. As for Ythryn itself, like the other famous Netherese cities, it floated above the ground on a massive disk, powered by a mythallar. What a place it must have been, where magic reigned supreme, and wizards were kings. Before it fell, of course, it was ruled by an enclave of arcanists. Would you say enclave? or cabal? They were called the Wizards of the Ebon Star. There were eight of them, and their studies concentrated on retrieving artifacts and information from the lost civilization of giants, Ostoria.

The room goes red. A voice enters your mind, and from the panicked look of the flesh golem, the purple frown of Vorryn, and the squidlings capering, you can assume they hear it too. Combat detected, the smooth, mechanical voice says. The crew is under attack. Self-destruct sequence of the Id Ascendant has been initiated. To halt self-destruct sequence, please confirm all enemies have been eliminated.

"Dagammit," Vorryn grumbles, heading for the stairs. "Your friend mugust have put Dredavax on edge, and he snapped. The shigip self-destrugucts, if it faballs to enegemy hands, and we'll all be degead. We just need to get to the brigidge, link with the ship, and disable it. I can do it. You cagan't, if that helps you decigide whether you want to take this oppogortugunigity to try and kigill me."

The flesh golem is on its feet, tense, crouched, obviously deeply considering taking the opportunity to kill Vorryn. It raises what passes for an eyebrow, the upper jaw of a wolf, at you, and you perceive if you were to need to defend yourself, it would come to your aid. The squidlings turn somersaults in the air, levitating in bounces and whirls as the red light blinks and the ship's message repeats, adding a countdown to its self-destruct failsafe. 59, 58, 57, 56, 55. It's definitely a script, and yet, you feel like you could maybe... talk to the ship?



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  #134  
Old May 7th, 2024, 06:37 PM
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Dustavin
Dustavin expected a scream when the illithid's tentacles parted, but what came instead was so much worse. He was familiar with spells that weaponized sound itself, but when he was hit with pain that bypassed his ears entirely, he recoiled, struggling against the invasive power. Raising his hands up to his temples with a grimace, he took a metaphorical pummeling before ducking down behind his mental wall. He blinked, and opened his eyes up to red. For a half-second he worried that his vision had been damaged, but then he realized that no, it was just the ship. Which was now issuing a count-down. Damn. This was going to be harder than anticipated. He raised an eyebrow, tilting his head up slightly and canting it. "Is that really necessary?" He asked. You don't even know how this is going to turn out- unless you have so little faith in your Captain's abilities, to capitulate so easily. Even so, self-destruction? Did your creation allow no sense of self-preservation? He pushed his thoughts pointedly towards the ships thought-force, before returning attention to the unrepentant thing in front of him. The countdown was a nuisance, but he couldn't exactly stop and apologize now. Nor did he want to.

Though he did not indulge in combat often, there was a thrill in feeling flesh give way beneath his blade. Almost as much as feeling it part under his teeth. He flourished his sword again to cut open the abominable flesh, and wondered at the strange blood that flowed out. It was a shame he wouldn't have time for a drink, but perhaps he could taste.



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Last edited by Humble Athena; May 8th, 2024 at 07:28 AM.
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Old May 11th, 2024, 09:31 PM
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A race to the top
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Chizzich felt like things were going well; he was learning more about these odd Illithids. There were more of them inside a frozen place only barbarians find hospitable and habitable. There might even still be one member of that very tribe locked away in Sunblight Fortress unless his final distraction and Vellyne Harpell's spellbook helped her bust the other prisoners out. She, and the Brothers Arcane, also had an interest in this Fallen City where the Ebon Star once ruled. Perhaps he should too. Not for the secrets to life eternal, mind you, but if therein was an artifact which could end the Rime...

Before he could spare much hopeful thought on that, everything went red. Not with rage, blood, or anything so vulgar, but the lighting itself immediately shifted from violet to crimson. A voice, presumably the ship, announced the detection of combat and an imminent self-destruction. Judging from the reactions of all beings present, with the exception of the squidlings, this was no drill.

Voryyn thought it was Dusty and Dredavax fighting and that would account for the strange noises coming from above. Voryyn also warned Chizzich off killing him claiming only one of the crew could stop the countdown that was now broadcast into their minds. "That seems like a flawed design, no? A misunderstanding between the crew could turn into a scuffle and destroy everyone aboard! Well, I'd rather not perish today so you'd best go stop it. I'll follow in case it's something serious."

Chizzich wasn't entirely convinced Voryyn or Dredavax were the only ones who could command the ship, as far as he knew any wizard could pilot through a Spelljammer helm, but he kept that to himself. After all, Voryyn had been hiding something about the rest of the crew. He reached out with thought, toward the voice of Id Ascendant who must be the ship itself, I am not an enemy. It was I who charged your, was it a core? There must be some mistake as my colleagues and I are working to repair this vessel.

His eyes met the dead eyes of Puddles who looked poised to pounce on Voryyn. Who could blame him? But, if what the little Mind Flayer said about the self-destruct was true, that would be bad for everyone. Chizzich shook his head briskly and motioned for the construct to follow before he ran up the tilted stairs as fast as his short legs would carry him.

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