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Old Dec 29th, 2020, 01:08 PM
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Slouching Toward Vallaki

She hears a voice behind her, calling her name.

"Sylvi!"

And somehow, blessedly, by Kelemvor's pure untainted power, it's Ismark.

"Sylvi, are you okay? We didn't know what to think when the wolves came back. I was at the tavern, and we heard them, and they'd broken in here at my place, and there was a body. He's a kid from Vallaki, but from the looks of him he'd been partying with the Vistani and started this way, and the wolves chased him... no, that doesn't make sense. But you're all right?

And the others? Ireena and her... friend? They're all okay?"





Takuya the dromedary toad is the talk of the Vallaki camp as the party pulls out.

Later in the day, Arquiztex remembers that there are sacred places similar to these fanes in the swamps back home. Each is the... home? ...shrine? Anyway, there's always some sacred being associated with the place, usually a fey. Wonder if it works that way in Barovia?

Herr Doktor Wens is also pondering, on things like where he would hide a sacred runestone if he were an all-powerful centuries-old vampire--much less three stones. And he's speculating that just having a way to purify fanes wouldn't count for much unless somebody somewhere knew how to do it. That person might still be around, or there might be a record somewhere.

Or something.

He passes on the raven's information, and Mercy explains it. And then she explains her new theology of the Night Mother. She explains this at great length, to anyone who will listen.

Brown Horse carries Primble with great care. He makes it his business that she not fall off, or otherwise injure herself. Humans are prone to do themselves a damage at the slightest excuse, and Primble... well, her mind seems to wander. But Brown Horse is determined that she will not fall.

And she has a very good question, or so Brown Horse thinks. Why should they not just kick this leech to smithereens and be done with it? The human wearing the glass blinkers has a theory on this, but it makes no sense to Brown Horse. He is a big believer in his own ability to kick just about anything senseless, and he knows Widowmaker is even better. Even if the bipeds can't deal with this leech, perhaps the horses can. Or perhaps they should just stay out of the water and keep the leeches from getting on them in the first place. Of course, the bipeds have the final say.

Sometimes Brown Horse wonders if it is wise to let them have it, but nevertheless, they do.

So, what will this party of bipeds do now?
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Old Dec 29th, 2020, 03:10 PM
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Some Questions as They Approach Vallaki
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Some time after Mercy had retreated to her vardo's interior, some concerns occurred to Herr Doktor Wens.

"Primble, what do you plan to do with your skeleton acolytes in town? Leave them outside? Hide them? I am not sure they will be welcome within the city walls."

Once this has been discussed, and as they edge closer toward the city, he says, "Liebchen, so much has happened these past days that, in all honesty, I have not though much ahead to what we shall do in Vallaki. You said the name of the church is St. Andral's, yes? Do you know the priest there? Will he welcome you and Mercy, and offer you both protection? Is there space for the rest of us to set up camp on the grounds? Anything else you think we all should know before we arrive at the city?"

 
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Old Dec 29th, 2020, 04:00 PM
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Arquiztex
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”Arquiztex Thurkar” by @ThePsysquatch


"It OK. You can just call me Arquiztex," says Arquiztex as she trots between Wens and Ireena. "Though 'Liebchen' very nice. Anyway ... forgot to tell you and others. Vistani say important holy object at St. Andral's protects church. I think: 'Maybe if we take object, it help us fight Exploding Weenus guy.' But if Ireena hide at church, then holy object need stay there to protect her."

With that, Arquiztex falls back a bit to give Ireena and Wens their privacy and continues to think about Mercy's and Primble's skeletons—practical things, and given how Barovia changes magic, they probably won't stand out too much? And she thinks about Sylvi. Surely the paladin should be catching up to them by now.


 



Arquiztex stats and character sheet link
 






So far beyond the sky
Not knowing how or why
You realize this feeling is forever
And though another day
May steal your dreams away
You and the song will always stay together...


 


Last edited by bananabadger; Dec 29th, 2020 at 05:32 PM.
  #4  
Old Dec 29th, 2020, 04:20 PM
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I only have four, Primble says modestly. The rest are Mercy’s. And I may explode one. In case they find me something special.

They are obedient and very slim and still. They can stack like cordwood in a Vardo. They won’t mind, because you are correct, they have no souls. These bones are just bones. Like rocks are rocks or dirt is dirt. In a few more decades, they will be dirt.

I do not bother souls. That kind of magic---it is very bad. I did it once, and now I am this way, and my once-time-sister Sylvi and nice Rolen find me vile, and books are ashes, and my fire lives in goo. Why do you think I call the dead now? I am like them. I keep moving. I have jobs to do, and they as well. I will preach the way of the ascetic, and abjure pleasure, and endure, until I am permitted to die properly.


She looks at the following clot of cloaked, hatted, painted ramblers.

No souls are in those bones, but the souls that once were in those bodies are not at rest. Never think that. They have not gone to Kelemvor, or to my mother, or to anyone. They are here, trapped. In the mists. They can never get out. The only way to let those souls out, and to get out myself, the only way to save them, is to cleanse the thingies and get the stuffs and kill the dead man.

As for the acolytes, I say we stack them in a Vardo until I can shop in Vallaki, and sew, and their costumes are complete. Then they will have much work to do.



Primble Thorn Actions
Saving throws:
Free Action:
Move:
Action:
Reaction:
Bonus Action:
Condition:
Concentrating:

 

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Last edited by Fillyjonk; Dec 29th, 2020 at 04:35 PM.
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Old Dec 29th, 2020, 11:26 PM
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Something rattling behind
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As they rode on towards Vallaki, Rolen listened to Mercy speak of her newfound treatises and theologies. We was apprehensive, nervous, and kept looking over his shoulder at the road behind. But Mercy's voice was somewhat calming. She didn't seem tainted or corrupted by the darkness that was strangling this land or otherwise compelled by the DeadMan. Would they really know if she was? He thought remembering Zilgim.

Besides, recently she's been the happiest he's seen her since they met. And Primble, well it's hard to tell with her but, she seems more or less normal too. "Puppets. Just bone puppets." Rolen told himself as he looked back over his shoulder again. "We make tools from bone, is it that different?" The ranger shuddered atop Widowmaker who raised a questioning whinny.

Rolen rubbed the stallion's neck. "It's ok friend. I'm ok." Well, he would be. These were his friends. No, his new tribe. They were bonded. He would trust Mercy and Primble. He does trust them. If the cursed land is seeping into them he will do whatever he can to help them fight it. All the more reason to press on and find the relics to break the curse and kill the DeadMan. Once more the Wood Elf looked back. Sylvi is probably dispatching the skeletons even now.

Actions & Stats
 


 

Widowmaker, Stallion supreme
 
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Old Dec 30th, 2020, 06:42 AM
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Day one: Barovia Village[]

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Old Dec 30th, 2020, 10:23 AM
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Mercy Petreva, Human Light ClericMercy finishes painting in the vardo and I think no one was driving there for a minute -- woops! Heh. Good horse.climbs back up on the driver's seat.

"I want to address something that Dr. Wens has mentioned several times now," she says, to any of the party who will listen. "I understand that there are risks you take on by traveling with me and Ireena, and I accept that you may be unwilling to carry those risks. You don't want to attract the master's attention. We have both been bitten, it's true."

"Dr. Wens," she says. "I especially understand your desire to keep Ireena safe, and if she wants to stay on holy ground, she should. But I won't be staying with her in Vallaki. After everything that's happened, I won't put myself on a shelf while the rest of you go off looking for swords and fighting evil. Of course, I won't force myself on you either. If you do feel that you would be more effective without the risk of associating with me, then I will separate from you, willingly, and we'll leave on good terms. But I won't promise I'll stay in Vallaki. And I will do my best to take Primble away with me. Perhaps we can investigate this 'third piece of the soul' thread, or we could go where Sune and Mother Night direct us."

She appeals to Arquiztex and Rolen. "Do you also think I should stay in Vallaki, when you all leave, as Dr. Wens has so fervently and audibly hoped I will have the good sense to do?" And to Primble: "Primble, if they believe it is too dangerous to travel together, will you come with me?"
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Old Dec 30th, 2020, 11:33 AM
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Arquiztex
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”Arquiztex Thurkar” by @ThePsysquatch


"If I hunt two prey, I want them in same den. Easier to catch and bite. I think if Wens lover stay in church, then you should stay in next safe spot—with all of us. Or you stay in church and woman who make Wens scream stay with us. Of course my original plan best of all, but this second best plan."
 



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She is filled with a sweet sadness
As she follows her princess home
As if to land only to fly away
Out of sight
Lost forever


 

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Old Dec 30th, 2020, 11:51 AM
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You have to stay out of the church and cleanse the things and get the objects and kill the deadman. But of course I shall stay with you. We have to bring hope, Mercy. In Primble's head nothing is more hopeful than an exploded weenus. We bring religious hope, and then we fulfill it, when the goddess helps us explode all the other parts of the dead man and release everyone from the mists.

She rounds up the acolytes and orders them into the vardo that Mercy is driving. Her four anyway; Mercy’s only listen to Merccy, but she will help them stack if Mercy orders. She takes the hats off and hangs them on pegs in the vardo, to keep them nice. They are very slim and stack nicely. In their cloaks, all swaddled, they look like a heap of spiny laundry.

BE STILL AND QUIET NO ONE LIKES YOU STOP TOUCHING MY HAIR, CLICKY.

She has named them: Clicky and Clacky and Bones and Frappe.

Just to differentiate. In case they need different orders instead of group orders.

She gets back on Brown Horse, in her head making a shopping list for Vallaki. Paper. Colored inks. Quills. Gloves. More paint. Sheer silk in festive colors.

Hans, does the Polis Stick COPY things for you? How? Explain? Is there a way for copying smart words over and over? The stick or a girl?

She has never heard of or seen a printing press, but this is what she is asking for.

Perhaps she should have borrowed that rescued girl, as Hans did...and then she remembers all the pale hands waiting in the Vardo. Most have plenty of their finger-bones remaining. Perhaps they can be trained. If not to write, to COPY.


Primble Thorn Actions
Saving throws:
Free Action:
Move:
Action:
Reaction:
Bonus Action:
Condition:
Concentrating:

 

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Last edited by Fillyjonk; Dec 30th, 2020 at 11:55 AM.
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Old Dec 30th, 2020, 01:09 PM
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The Old Svalich Road meanders into a valley watched over by dark, brooding mountains to the north and south. The woods recede, revealing a sullen mountain township surrounded by a wooden palisade. Thick fog presses up against this wall as though looking for a way inside, as if hoping to catch the town aslumber.

The dirt road ends at a set of sturdy iron gates with a pair of shadowy figures standing behind them. Planted in the ground and flanking the road outside the gates are a half-dozen pikes with wolves' heads impaled on them.

At this point, with the village in sight and the guards peering out at you, although probably far enough away that they can't hear you, the party discusses what to do about Mercy and Ireena. Mercy says what she wants to do, Arquiztex suggests another plan, less extreme than her previous one. Ireena had asked Wens for a short while to think, and it appears that she's done so.

"If there's a tactical reason for me to stay at the church, a way that my doing so leads to "Sucky" getting dead... well, deader than he is now... I'll do it, but I don't like the idea. Right now it looks like you're a little light in the front-line combat department. My preference, for now, is to find some decent armor and a sword and stand beside you. Tatyana didn't give in to... her suitor, and neither will I. Give me a chance, and I'll have his head off and rolling around the floor of his silly castle.

Of course, you've said that his destruction may not be all that's required to resolve matters. I'll stand with you for the whole affair, and be proud to do my part to turn Barovia into a safe place to bring up a family."


And then she looks at Wens and looks away quickly, blushing furiously.

Primble seems to have plans of her own...



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Last edited by Exfilia; Dec 30th, 2020 at 07:23 PM.
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Old Dec 30th, 2020, 02:43 PM
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Day One: Barovia Village[]



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Last edited by DaniLore; Jan 14th, 2021 at 03:31 AM.
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Old Dec 30th, 2020, 04:24 PM
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Arquiztex
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”Arquiztex Thurkar” by @ThePsysquatch


"Well, they aren't going to let a camel-riding lizard into the city ... because you know what happens when you do that," giggles Arquiztex, apparently the only one in the party who recognizes this as the punchline of a very old Rak'ta joke. Except the Rak'ta don't really have jokes.

"—Knock-knock!
—Who's there?
—Lizard!
—Lizard who?
—No! Lizard on a camel!"

Arquiztex adds, looking around at the group as if telling the joke in this format would explain everything. For her it does. She can hardly control her laughter, and says the next words through tears.

"But seriously. I must deliver letter and gold. Took 50 gold. Have letter. Need human to go with me. Or humanoid with flesh," she adds looking at Primble and Rolen.


Arquiztex actions and stat bloc
 


 






I hear them talk about Kingdom Come
I hear them discuss Armageddon...
They say the hour is getting late
But I can still hear someone say
That is not the way...


 

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Old Dec 30th, 2020, 05:01 PM
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Primble laughs at the lizard’s joke. With no facial expression. She is like her skeletons, in some ways. Her jaw hinges open. Noises come out. The face is the same.

She does not often get jokes. She did certainly did not get this one. But she loves Arquiztex, who has said words in a shape she recognizes as the word shape of a joke. When a joke is said, one laughs. She checks that box.

I will help you deliver, if you like. Then I have to shop.

She rides Brown Horse over to the gate. Or rather, Brown Horse ambles amiably to the gate and Primble clings and says GO TO THE GATE BROWN HORSE which effects his speed and direction not at all. He just knows what a gate is, and what a stable is, and what hay is, and the second two are often found inside the first, in his experience.

May we come in? Primble asks the guard figures. I have important shopping to shop. And messages to deliver. Also, is there an inn you would recommend?

She has told Clicky and Clacky and Bones and Frappe to be very quiet and still and just be laundry. They are stacked like cloak-logs in the vardo. No one wants them now. Soon. But not now.


Primble Thorn Actions
Saving throws:
Free Action:
Move:
Action:
Reaction:
Bonus Action:
Condition:
Concentrating:

 




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Last edited by Fillyjonk; Dec 30th, 2020 at 05:03 PM.
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Old Dec 30th, 2020, 10:52 PM
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Approaching Vallaki's Gates
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Herr Doktor Wens listened to Mercy and Ireena's objections to secluding themselves in St. Andral's or, presumably, the Abbey of St. Markovia, as well as Primble and Arquiztex's considerations.

(He was moved, too, by Ireena's comment about raising a family yet did not allow himself a visible response in front of everyone. He also was moved by Primble's bleak assessment of her future but found himself stumped on how to appropriately respond.)

"While I will always argue for what I think is the best strategy and appeal to your reason and sympathy, in the end, you both must do as you see best. We are all equals. Besides, I am not so sure that Madam Eva is entirely correct that holy ground is a panacea. As a temporary retreat from Sucky, a place of relative safety? Yes. But can he not send in agents to overwhelm any defense? Can he not lay siege as surely as to any castle?

"Arquiztex does make an excellent point about both of you not being in the same place, but I am not sure we can always avoid it. Besides, if there is a third, she is not with us, so that is good. Can we agree to at least seek refuge for the night at the church rather than an inn, then see what tomorrow brings and what more we learn? We have business enough in the city.

"Regardless, Liebchen — Ireena, I mean,"
he says with a nod to Arquiztex, "whether you are traveling with us or in refuge, I would see you better armed and armored."

A moment later, he said, "Mercy, Primble, a thought occurs to me: Would our vardos be considered homes? Could the Old Tick enter without permission or not? Is there, perhaps, a ceremony you two could perform that gives them some kind of sanctity? Then they would be a retreat for all of us at need, and especially you two who are more vulnerable to His charms."

When they arrive at the city gates, Primble asks direction to an inn, and he follows with a request for directions to St. Andral's.

 
OOC@lostcheerio, @Fillyjonk, Wens is deferring to their religious expertise about the vardos, but consider him an informed participant in any conversation, i.e, offering Help to let ya'll roll Religion at Advantage (though you could also Help each other).
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Last edited by Oakie; Dec 30th, 2020 at 10:56 PM.
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Old Dec 30th, 2020, 11:06 PM
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Mercy Petreva, Human Light Cleric
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As Primble and Arquiztex approach the gates of Vallaki and engage with the guards, Mercy hangs back, holding gently to the reins on Nevergravy and keeping him quiet in the harness, but within 30 feet of her friends. She watches and listens to the guards as they respond, Insight check: natural 20! +7 +3 from Guidance = 30trying to get a read on their willingness to, for example, tolerate a lizard folk woman among them, to accept two Tatyana clones and a coppery elf. Are they raising eyebrows at the two Vistani vehicles and the great clopping hooves of the horses? Who are these people and should the party be entering these gates?

"Sune, guide me. Let your eyes be my eyes."


Mercy’s Actions
OOC:
Move:
Action:Insight check on the guards that answer Primble and Arquiztex.
Dice Insight Check:
d20+7 (20)+7 Total = 27

Dice Guidance:
1d4 3

Bonus Action:
Reaction: Use Improved Warding Flare to impose disadvantage on attacks on self or others within 30 feet. (4/4)
Concentrating:

 

Last edited by lostcheerio; Dec 30th, 2020 at 11:09 PM.
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