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StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa Rahe
HP: 22/22 Luck: 11/11 Armor: 0 Souls: 0 Flask: 5/5

My vessel is a tin canteen, round with a flat bottom, clean but not shining. Past the stopper, it's filled with a glowing silver-bright fluid, like burning starlight cooled down into warm syrup. If this is the raw medium that gods, stars, and souls are made of, drinking it could practically invigorate the dead.

~

The wax-eyed woman is terribly interesting, and I have so many questions for her. But she isn't so talkative, and she has apparently decided to fill us in by sending us on a quest rather than talking. This is some mythological spirit vision poo poo, but like, for real. That's fine. Nobody in any of the legends learned about the world by sitting around and demanding answers from their Oracles. I can't help but feel a thrill.

The wax-eyed woman tells us that we've outpaced death itself. Drowning was the most horrifying and painful experience of my life, and here I stand. My leg was pulverized what feels like hours ago, and now it's fine and healthy as ever. My instincts cry against it, but how could I not believe her?

Alarai's token is in my hand, the skin-warm nickel bar etched with his constellation. That is, three stars in a perfect line. Alarai himself, the brightest, sits in the middle, and remains as the one fixed point in the night sky. His two attendants spin around him as the seasons turn, but always remain in a straight line. The closer one, Barra, always counsels to be brave, to offer others trust and the benefit of the doubt, to seek paths other than conflict, and to travel in groups. The furthest and dimmest, Nasar the Cynic, counsels for skepticism, caution, putting one's own needs first, and traveling alone. I ask for Alarai's guidance by tilting the bar to catch the Nexus's torch light, and Barra's star catches the light first. Trust and courage. I jump.

This death is mercifully quick, compared to drowning with a broken leg. My body collapses into the ground, through my legs, but it happens so quick I can barely feel the pain through the shock. My rebirth is much like waking from a 'falling dream' after hitting the ground. I'm suddenly alive, and totally fine, but sitting bolt upright with a pounding heart. Like any startled awakening, I've lost my sense of time and place, and have to be reminded who and where I am. In this case, still me, and not much time has passed at all. Is my body still down there?

The soldier, Agerios, suggested that we not do that. After coming back to life, stretching my limbs, examining my new body and seeing it in as fine a shape as ever, I say to him, "I think we may all need to re-examine what we believed we knew about life and death. This is incredible."

~

Later, in the Crypt, motes of white light hover near old bodies, and I feel drawn to them as I was to the mist. That's very weird and compelling, and I'm very curious. I'll approach one, perhaps the one that Agerios unveiled, and touch the mote of light.

"What in the world are these?"

quote:

Odessa
Cleric
Human, kind eyes, strange hair, common garb, thin body.
STR: 9 (0) CON: 12 (0)
DEX: 8 (-1) INT: 15 (+1)
WIS: 16 (+2) CHA: 13 (+1)

HP: 22
Armor: 1
Damage: d6
Luck: 11/11
Level: 1
Souls: 0

Good
Endanger yourself to heal another.

Deity: Alarai, the North Star, god of travel and travelers, traders and messengers, shepherd to the lost, keeper of lighthouses, ports, and waystations.
✴Knowledge and Hidden Things
✴Your religion has important sacrificial rites, add Petition: Offering. Keep no more than you can carry.

Divine Guidance
When you petition your deity according to the precept of your religion, you are granted some useful knowledge or boon related to your deity’s domain. The GM will tell you what.

Turn Undead
When you hold your holy symbol aloft and call on your deity for protection, roll+Wis.
✴ On a 7+, so long as you continue to pray and brandish your holy symbol, no undead may come within reach of you.
✴ On a 10+, you also momentarily daze intelligent undead and cause mindless undead to flee. Aggression breaks the effects and they are able to act as normal. Intelligent undead may still find ways to harry you from afar. They’re clever like that.

Commune
When you Recover, you:
-Lose any spells already granted to you.
-Are granted new spells of your choice whose total levels don’t exceed your own level+1, and none of which is a higher level than your own level.
-Prepare all of your rotes, which never count against your limit.

Cast a Spell
When you unleash a spell granted to you by your deity, roll+Wis.
✴ On a 10+, the spell is successfully cast and your deity does not revoke the spell, so you may cast it again.
✴ On a 7–9, the spell is cast, but choose one:
-You draw unwelcome attention or put yourself in a spot. The GM will tell you how.
-Your casting distances you from your deity—take -1 ongoing to cast a spell until the next time you Recover.
-After you cast it, the spell is revoked by your deity. You cannot cast the spell again until you Recover and have it granted to you.

Book of Miracles
You have mastered several spells and inscribed them in your book. You start out with three first level spells as well as the rotes. Whenever you gain a level, you add a new spell of your level or lower to your book. The book is 1 weight.
Charm Person, Contact Spirits, Invisibility


Gear (0/10)
Divine Symbol - A small bar of meteoric nickel, etched with Alarai's constellation
Canteen (5/5)

Bonds
Agerios thinks I'm weak and useless, a thing to be protected. Strength takes more forms than skill at arms, and I will prove to him that I have it.
Ser Dominik reminds me of all the stories I heard about my father. I know it's stupid, and probably unhealthy, but I find myself craving his approval.
Mikaela terrifies me, though I try not to show it. I need to tread carefully as I figure out the nature of her connection to the gods. And mine. Are we of a kind, or should I revere her alongside Alarai?

StringOfLetters fucked around with this message at Jan 25, 2016 around 15:53

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StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 22/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 0/2 Souls: 0 Flask: 5/5

"What in the world..."

Oblivious to the niches full of traps, I'm going to mess around with mystical forces beyond my current comprehension. How else does one begin to master them?

I push the armor to the back of my mind. And then try to recall it again. And then push it away again. I ask the other spectre-folk around me, "Am I beholden to some personal illusion, or can you all see a suit of armor appearing on me? If I'm understanding this right, um, I think I've just inherited some of a dead man's memories. And equipment."

I practice willing them in and out of existence a few more times, if I'm able to. I can't imagine standing around in this heap of metal around all day, but if practiced, and I could get the hang of manifesting it around me as a reflex to danger, that could be incredibly useful.

If anybody else takes an interest in the dead man's spear, I'd happily hand it off. Maybe they'd be able to take it, or maybe it'd poof out of existence as soon as it left my grasp. I'd try bringing it out- and back- to mind again, to see if I'm able to conjure up many phantom spears, or if there's only one that's bound to me, or if it's exchangeable.

StringOfLetters fucked around with this message at Jan 25, 2016 around 15:53

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 22/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 0/2 Souls: 0 Flask: 5/5

I say, "Oh! You recognize their make? It's, er, difficult to explain how I'm doing this. I believe," and I speak slowly, still figuring out the concept as I give words to it, "That these balls of light represent memories of belongings. When I focus on the memory of this 'hoplon,' I can recall somebody else wearing it, standing in a sun-baked field along a line of soldiers. I remember that they stood something like this, shoulder to shoulder," and I adopt a stance that Agerios will surely be able to find a flaw or twenty in.

"It's a very disconcerting sensation, but I can also release the memories. Like this." I turn the spear into a small glowing icon on the ground. I add, "Troubles me to think that I might someday be parted from my own memories so easily. Or that I might have already. Here, try touching that little spear, see if you can do the same with it."

Unless someone asks nicely for it, I'm going to keep the armor bound to me. And I'm going to walk a few steps around and touch the next closest mote of light, trying not to look giddy at how cool this is, robbing graves of memories and making them real again.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 22/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 0/2 Souls: 0 Flask: 5/5

I blink at Ser Dominik. "Oh. Goodness. I'm afraid I didn't notice."

I start towards him, then catch myself and halt. I say, "Er, I would love to, but is it safe for me to step over there and hand it to you..? Should I try, um, throwing it to you? Or, does it look like you can duck under the arrows? I feel I should warn you, while we may have passed beyond death, the hard landing after that jump did hurt. Rather intensely."

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 22/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 0/2 Souls: 0 Flask: 5/5

To Mikaela's question, I probably looked sheepish. I said, "I thought I was a fairly ordinary person, earlier today. Whatever I am now.. I think maybe we all are, too. Touch a thing of light, see if you can do it, too."

I flinch at the thwap sound of bolts firing. A rock falls, wobbles, and threatens to tip.

When the Clerics of old looked to the sky, or consulted one of Alarai's guide-stones, to see which of his two attendants they should listen to on whatever matter, they often forgot the simple fact of nature that no dilemma has only two answers. Even a flipped coin can land on its edge. I shout, "Push it! Up high, both of you! Steady it!"

Aid Mikaela: 2d6+1 8
o/| |\o

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 22/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 5/5

"Certainly, of course." drat, I was hoping he wouldn't ask. I will the armor out of existence, separate myself from its memory, and reduce it to an icon for Agerios to retrieve. The damaged bronze shield, I try to poof back to memories, and then back to my arm, to see if I can reconstitute it in good condition again.

Then I look over the corpse-nooks to find what might be my own desiccated body, and retrieve her belongings. That brings a weird, heavy feeling to my gut. Seeing my own corpse is far beyond what I ever expected to have to emotionally process. I feel like it should be profound somehow, but I'm mostly just uncomfortable. My skin crawls, but I can't look away from 'her.'

I say, "A fine question. To add to it, gods, how long have we been dead? Years at the least. If time has passed without being able to mark it, maybe decades or more. We're not going to be able to go... I mean, there might not be anything left of our homes by now."

I manifest my over-sized chain mail shirt and coif, and my spiked iron rod, just to make sure they're in good shape. I originally found all of my equipment by 'robbing' the dead (a sentimental and antiquated notion, but it's not worth getting into with Dominik) and I suppose that cycle continues.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 22/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 5/5

I peek in the holes to see if they're filled with bolts like the last ones, or if this trap might fire something different at me.

If it's quite the same, and I can tell their lines of fire from the last one being triggered, can't I just duck under their predictable path and crawl away?

Defy Danger: Wisdom: Stand between the things that hurt, don't flinch: 2d6+2 6

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 9/22 -> 20/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0(10) Flask: 4/5

The last time I was shot, I would've been about fifteen. I was being hunted by a couple of men from a rival gang, they were shouting, taunting, and cat-calling me. I acted like they had gotten to me and shouted back, trying to lure them into a pit trap I set up - a hole to a collapsed basement, covered by a big rug, nails and knives and jagged things at the bottom. I still feel like an idiot for not noticing that one man had a bow. I was very lucky to only be hit in the shoulder-blade running away, since he used a splintering arrowhead. Got a gnarly scar from it.

This hurts worse. If I didn't scream, it's because I'm stunned, not stoic. "Ow."

I bristle at 'little one,' but it wouldn't be right to speak out at someone who means to be kind. Once I'm sure that I can still breathe, ... actually, do I even need to breathe, or is that now just an old habit? I get off the floor and say, "I'll live."

Then I realize the irony of saying that after discovering my ancient corpse, and put my face into my hand for a little chuckle/sob. "I mean, I'll be okay. This hurts like you wouldn't believe, but look - no blood!"

I grab an arrow and yank it out with a strangled yelp, past whatever passes for my flesh and a few broken links of chain. Were I alive, that would call for some careful cutting and tugging to not exacerbate the wound, but I'm freaking out a little about the nature of our new trans-mortal existence, and the presumed loss of everyone and everything I knew.

"Not a drop! Ha! What the hell are we!?"

Having come this far, I'm not about to stop trusting mystical compulsions now. I take a gulp from the canteen.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 20/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0(10) Flask: 4/5 Spice: 2/2

The mystical vessel is a long, thin, silver pipe, loaded with a very fine clot-red powder that smells the way an electric shock feels. Mother always warned me about those things, though everything worth smoking was consumed in a frenzy in the days shortly after the mist rolled in. Things that heighten the senses and open one's mind to new realms of possibility, but the spirits within claim ownership of one's heart and soul in the process. I always assumed that, in the hands of a strong-willed individual smoking it for a purpose rather than for an escape, with the sense to use it in moderation, it could be far more of a boon than a bane.

I'm certainly intrigued.

To Mikaela, I say, "I'll certainly try, though I'm not sure what you have in mind for me to tie anything to. I have some, um, here..." I close my eyes and rub my forehead for a second, juggling around memories of all the crap I brought in my skiff when I went into the mist. I manifest a coil of good rope (-1 adventuring supply) and poof my chainmail back to the corners of my mind, so as to be lighter. "What has the grace of god shown you? Point the way, please."

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 20/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0(10) Flask: 4/5 Spice: 2/2

To Ser Dominik, I mentioned, "Our belongings, I think, were tied to our bodies. We arrived as spirits. Bringing them here couldn't have been easy... if I didn't mention it, I drowned in the open ocean. As for our purpose in being here, there's nothing I'd like to know more." I paused, and added, "But I suppose that's always been the case."

First, I make some noises like 'ack,' and 'whoa,' cling to the rope to keep from 'falling,' and spend a few heartbeats dealing with a sudden dizziness. I announce, "Good news - we also can't vomit."

If the ceiling isn't too much of a drop, I'll ask Mikaela to lower - raise? - me to the ceiling and walk around up there, keeping the rope around me to give everyone else a way up, if it soon seems like a good idea. When the light begins dissolving stone, I start to worry, and say to Ser Dominik, "I like that idea. The way we came."

And I'll run off to the spiral-sword's twin on the ceiling, trailing a rope. If we arrived there, maybe we can propel ourselves back through some similar mystical shenanigans. Whatever spirits guided us to seize the vessels, hopefully, won't leave us hanging on that account. If I reach the spiral-sword, and no urges come to mind, and poking at it or tugging it doesn't do anything, I will resort to prayer.

StringOfLetters fucked around with this message at Jan 27, 2016 around 21:45

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 20/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0(10) Flask: 4/5 Spice: 2/2

I breathe a sigh of relief, and don't spare another thought for my lost rope. I have more, anyways. I say, "Well! That was exciting. And not even the strangest thing to happen to us today. Do you suppose that consuming light would have hurt?"

I greet the Pessimist, introducing myself, calling him 'sir,' asking who he is and where he's from, the niceties. For a few moments, I'm tempted to think that he's the worldly avatar of Nasar the Cynic. I soon realize that he's just a bitter, tired man, and does't want for much conversation. I thank him for the words of advice and leave him to his drink.

The idea of returning home to find everyone I knew long dead is more than I want to face. The place meant nothing to me. I'm a little curious to see what might have come of the place... but not eager. Also, I'm not remotely optimistic about sailing out to face that drowned woman and her waves again. I'd hate to waste this group's time. ...Even though it seems we have plenty of time to waste now.

"If I might make a suggestion, I'm intensely curious to see Lady Mikaela's homeland. Above else, I want answers about why any of this has happened. Being closest to the heavens, I imagine we may find some sort of insight there."

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 20/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0(10) Flask: 4/5 Spice: 2/2

My heart drops ever so slightly as Mikaela describes her homeland. I was willing to embrace the idea that she was actually of the Divine, whatever its true nature, because of her actual, literal wings. If she and her people had to seriously contend with mundane tribes of men, then maybe she's not so far elevated above the rest of us. I say, "That's unfortunate to hear. Later, then, I'd still love to see it."

I visibly perk up when Agerios mentions another library. The once-legendary library of Rajayat was sacked when I was an infant, and over the years I combed through all that was left of it. I say, "I have no objection - to Polis, then!"

Agerios is concerned for me. How kind of him. Ugh. I was actually about to suggest a short break, but I can't let his opinion of me solidify as someone who needs coddling. I stretch my arms and crack my knuckles - if they can even still crack - and say, "No, ser, I'm ready and quite eager to visit a world outside this place now."

And then, to the gravestone of the Polis, and to *~adventure~*!

StringOfLetters fucked around with this message at Jan 29, 2016 around 17:03

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 20/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0(10) Flask: 4/5 Spice: 2/2

I make a gagging sound. Ick. I turn to Agerios to say something sarcastic about the smells of home, but when I see the look on his face, I feel like a prick and realize that this is certainly not how he remembers it. I frown, with a horrified curl on my upper lip, and say, "Gods... is this what the mist leaves in its wake?"

I'm most taken with the ghoulish tree, shaped like a man in agony. My assumption is that this was actually a man, and something horrible happened to him. Carefully, I'm going to approach it, examine it's face, see if there's any life left in his eyes. Or, indeed, if he has eyes. And what unholy fruit would this man-tree bear?

Discern Reality: Tree!?: 2d6+2 5 ...
What did I just step in?

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 20/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0(10) Flask: 4/5 Spice: 2/2

I stagger back from the tree and its grim vision. I think I whimper a little. As Ser Dominik approaches the tree, I put a hand in front of his chest. "Wait. No. Gods, no.. Ser Lapheusix, be glad you weren't there with him. He died..." I trail off, realizing that I probably sound nuts.

I lick my lips and resume, "That is, it seems that in our new state, we have some ability to review the last living moments of fellow dead. This, um, blood-stain. You see it too, right? I touched it and I felt what happened to this man, Philkronos by name. I strongly recommend not doing it yourself. He died slowly, beset by a horde of goat-legged men, and winged bitches, crippled and tormented until he begged the gods to end his pain. And it seems they did.. by turning him into a tree. Which was also intensely painful. Gods, I feel like it happened to me."

Aid: Ser Dom: Hopefully by warning him what's in store, he can either avoid the bloodstain, or brace himself for its trauma.
2d6+1 5
Or I can flip out and shove his face into it, screaming, "DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE?"

Edit: Whups too late.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 4/5 Spice: 2/2

"Ow!" I try to rub the corrosive gunk off on my clothes. Gotta keep my mace in the other hand. I shout, "gently caress you!" at the fly.

I brought a mosquito net along in the skiff when I sailed off to die, but I don't think it'll hold up to these things.

I say, "Good thinking, Ser," to Dominik, and manifest a torch of my own, (-1 adventuring supply) light its oil with a strike of flint, and keep it held in my wounded hand. If fire works that well, let's see if any dare swoop in for a taste of more blood.

"Agerios, please lead the way. To the pillars on the hill, I guess? I think we ought to stay close together and keep moving."

I'll put my back to whoever's closest, and stay ready to swat at anything that gets close.

Defend: Rear Guard: Flyswatter Formation: 2d6 5

Also, I think the running soul bank count hasn't included the first 10 from my initial failure in the crypt, getting filled full of trap arrows.

StringOfLetters fucked around with this message at Jan 30, 2016 around 19:46

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 13/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 4/5 Spice: 2/2

I'm going to take Agerios's cue and make haste towards the temple. I will not stop flailing, thrashing, or slapping at the biting things around me.

Ser Dominik starts putting forth a more well-considered, more skilled, dare I admit it, better retaliation than my own. I'll lend my mace and my furious fists - okay, I'm no warrior, but I can at least beat a goddamned dire mosquito in a one-on-one brawl - to Ser Dominik's efforts, perhaps using myself as bait to draw them to where he can strike.

Aid: Ser Dom: Fly Fights:

I can only pray that I am more of a help than a hindrance to him.

2d6+1 4

I'd hate to embarrass myself further, or draw even more attention to the group.

4

Must make a good early impression, after all. We may have quite a lot longer in each others' company.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 13/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 4/5 Spice: 2/2

Mikaela just saved our asses quite thoroughly. I'll take the time to express proper gratitude later, when our lives are in less danger.

The ecosystem, such as it is, of this horrible place is becoming more clear. Whatever falls is marked for death by the dire beetles. I wonder, can they smell life at a distance, or do they just run towards anything heavy?

I manifest that crappy, ruined shield, which was originally Agerios's, made of bronze (primitive) now filled with arrows, and chuck it off into the distance, somewhere behind that other beetle that's in Agerios's business. Hopefully it runs off towards the heavy shield. If not, we'll have learned something.

Defy Danger: Int: It Is A Plan: 2d6+0 5

Or perhaps I'll just make a fool of myself. I can already imagine Agerios's confused, frustrated look - 'Why did you do that? What are you even trying to do? Just... just get out of the way and let me handle this.'

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 13/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 4/5 Spice: 2/2

A what? "Yes!"

I see him move to strike at the bug thing - I'm not sure if he expects his spear to pierce that living pot, or if he has something else planned - but I've got to help! I've already struck it with a very noisy shield, and it didn't seem to care. Since that didn't work, I'm certain that I can distract it with something alive. I stomp and splash in the olive mush, drawing its attention away from Agerios towards me, hopefully giving him a clean window to spear it.

Aid: Agerios: By Distracting His Target: 2d6+1 5

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 0->8->19/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 4->3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Invisibility

With a poof and a deep, horrified gasp for breath, I'm bolt upright and alive again. (Death count: 3) I remember being airy and adrift, somewhere, but those memories escape me like a dream upon waking. I know Agerios - an entity that felt like Agerios - pulled me back here. And, oh, poo poo, I was crushed by one of those horrible kettle beasts. I could feel my 'flesh,' such as it is, being ground to a pulp under its hard, jagged bug parts. I shudder, look around, and see that it's dead now. Good.

I run a hand through my hair, and give myself a once-over to ensure my body is all back. Yup. Good. I say, "Thank you, ser. Truly," to Agerios. "It seems, again, that the wax-eye'd woman didn't lead us wrong. I would sincerely not recommend following my example, however. That hurt."

I say, "Looks like I wasn't gone long," and take a swig of my soulstuff-filled canteen. (+11 HP) I feel alive again, again. "The things we received at the Temple... er, Nexus. If you haven't sampled yours yet, you should now. Mine, at least, revitalizes without any ill effect I can discern. Though I'm not sure how you would, um, take one of those coins."

While I'm holding the story stick - and stop me if I overstep - I don't think it's much of a leap to assume Mikaela will notice she's alone, usher the group to catch up to her, and briefly fill everybody in on what she's noticed about the trees.

I say, "Can anyone think of a reason not to put that horrible grove to the torch?"


"I don't want to learn what awful creatures will find us if we linger. Onward to the pillars, then? If I am to serve as bait for our next encounter, as with this one, I suppose I shall take point. And where's Mikaela?"

StringOfLetters fucked around with this message at Feb 4, 2016 around 16:58

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 19/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Invisibility

I give Ser Dominik the faintest of curtsies, smile back and say, "Thank you. Good to be back, if not " Then I think for a moment about what has happened to 'my' shield. I explain, "I think we can recall equipment that we've been separated from, as when I threw the 'discus,' but not separate things bound to it, as with those arrows, and perhaps with that sticky... is that its blood? Do check and see if I'm wrong."

I recognize those bird bitches. I say, "Ser Dominik. You saw the same vision I did. You know what those winged fiends are capable of. We can't let them separate or surround us."

I manifest my mace as I sprint over to Mikaela's side. If she has a knife and knows how to throw it, great - I'll smack and harry any one of them that dares swoop at us.

Stand in Defense: Bitches gonna dive us: 2d6 11
Holding three.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 19/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

"NUH-uh!" I expected some trickery, and I'm keen to their feint. Even so, I can only react so fast. I interpose my iron rod between Agerios and the harpy, and I throw myself into my strike with a fearlessness I could not have mustered before experiencing death three times.
-1 hold, redirecting an attack towards me
-2 hold, deal my damage to the harp


It Hurts This Much: 1d6 5

I wonder if their bones are more like humans' or birds'. Hopefully the latter.

When I finally notice that the trees have started walking, I will say, "gently caress everything about this land." How, uh, dry does the wood appear to be?

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 19/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

It unsettles me to know that beings can be so intelligent, and still so completely devoid of empathy or morality. Even the worst men I met back home killed out of rage or perceived necessity - never fun.

It would be right and proper to put those awful trees to the torch. But, I remember starting fires with nothing but sticks and string, rubbing for hours with numbed fingers. Even dry wood doesn't catch that easily - I don't believe I have the means to burn them down unless they stayed perfectly still for an hour or more. We'll need another plan.

"Sirs; stand together and hold this formation, but draw back. Let us see if we can draw those trees out, and circle around them. You keep an eye on the birds, I'll mind our footing."

And, if the mighty warriors beside me will consent to my guidance, I'll lead us backwards while maintaining a pace and distance from the approaching trees. Hopefully, being wooden, they'll be dumb, and let us lure them out to make an opening in the grove that we can run for in a few minutes.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 19/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

Fight our way to the temple? Through that unholy mesh? Keeping in mind that the harpies will swoop down again the moment we're entangled? Gods that's a bad idea. But, I hesitate, and bite my tongue. I can't appear a coward before Agerios.

Yesterday - that is, my yesterday, when I was last alive, possibly hundreds of years by another reckoning - I'd have left him to die bravely and alone. But I'm bound to him, somehow, and anyways it seems I've more than one life to lose to foolish bravery. I say, "Fine. I've got your back."

I pull the small nickel bar that is my holy symbol from my pocket, tilt it so that its polished surface shines toward Agerios, and say, "And if it be his will, so does Alarai."

Cast Spell: Bless: 2d6+1 5
Maybe it be not.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 19/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

I have never before felt so strongly that I want to take a torch and trowel and destroy a whole landscape. I always thought that if I found myself in a forest, it would be enchanting and wonderful. Nope. This whole place is wrong.

Wrong... it's so wrong. I know the Chosen Souls of old stories could ward off evil spirits, particularly the undead. I feel an unspoken confidence - much like with the mystic vessels - that I could do the same, in the right situation. These trees are uprooted, dry as sand, and leafless, yet still animated. Are these... undead plants? I have little hope of tearing myself free, without any blade to cut at these roots. It's about all I can do to keep my balance, forget about taking a step.

How much could it hurt to try? I turn the bar of Alarai's constellation towards the approaching tree-phalanx, and their grasping roots. It reflects back at them, perhaps, more light than falls upon it directly. I try very hard to sound confident as I say, "Stay back, foul things! Be barred from this path!"

Turn Undead: Undead Wood?:

Odessa posted:

How much could it hurt to try?
2d6+1 4

DOUBLE OR NOTHING. (this is a luck roll): 2d6 7

StringOfLetters fucked around with this message at Feb 11, 2016 around 00:43

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

OW That's not what I expected to happen at all! Nice one, Alarai! Better than I prayed for! Ow, though!

It seems the cost of inflicting pain is suffering it, too. All of my remaining instincts urge me to drop it like it's hot. I force myself to remember my body being restored earlier. I can't help but imagine my hands being blackened and blistered and ruined, then I force myself to recall the sensation of drinking the curative elixir which is not even half empty. My burning hand threatens to spasm, so I clamp it shut under my opposite armpit, grit my teeth, and hold that holy sucker as tightly as I can.

This will pass. OW. This will pass. OW. This will pass. This will pass. This will hurt, and that's okay.
Defy Danger: Will: Hold On To A Hot Thing: 2d6+1 9

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

I'm really hoping for any excuse to let go of this blessed thing. I want to say, We can handle this, but then I see what one of the trees does to Ser Dominik, ouch, and it's definitely worse. Besides, maybe this is a trial or something in which I can prove my devotion and worth, to Alarai and to my companions. I'm really just mentally spitballing, here, to distract myself from the pain.

I hold tight to the holy flame, shout, "Gather around me!" and walk onwards to make us a path through the vile woods. I doubt I have the presence of mind to look behind us, or above us - it's on you guys to screen from harpies.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 11/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

Wha? Who? When did she get here? OW. drat it, this was my chance to be impressive, I can't get shown up by an actual wizard now. Also, that's a stupid line of thought, and you have more immediate concerns.

Through gritted teeth, I shout, "Agerios! Through, now! Can't hold this for long!" Ser Dominik is a tough man, and anyways, he can be reconstituted if he's torn apart or left behind, as I was. If anyone else makes it through, too, all the better. I expect things will be worse if our fully-corporeal host falls. Hopefully he'll see and agree with my reasoning.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

Yes! I press through the gap, and try to hold the fire until our new... two(!) companions have made it through. Once they're past, or else they decide to dawdle, I release the effect, whimper a lot, and cradle my jacked up hand.

I want to help Ser Dominik. I really, truly do. But... eh. I profoundly mislike my odds of being more than bird food. He'll be fine, after he dies, right? Probably?

I slow my pace when I reach Agerios and the steps. I'd scarcely had a chance to admire the skyline earlier, but this is... "Very unsettling."

And that wizard! She straight-up vaporized a harpy mid-flight. Gods, I wish I could do that. (Er, not that I'm ungrateful for my current set of powers.) I say to her, "Nice one. I don't suppose you can do that again?"

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

Holy poo poo, Dom made it! I am both relieved, and, evidently, a callous coward who would leave a friend to die. I can't bring myself to apologize and draw attention to my shame. I hug him, and help clear away a few scraps of wrecked armor from around his knees.

I'm wracking my mind trying to think of a clever way through this next gauntlet of lightning. The tallest buildings back home were all topped with beautiful iron sculptures, which served their first purpose as lightning rods. Is there something we do to lay our armor down and draw it away from us..? That's probably stupid, and I snap out of thought and back to worldly attention when I hear 'way around.'

I say, "Brilliant! Yes, I think we ought to explore the deadly trap after all other options."

I'll take point along the hidden footpath Venner pointed out, being mindful for any tingling sensations. While we're walking, I'll continue to ruminate about a way around the trap, and say, "If it's too big to dismantle, perhaps there's a way to fake it out? Redirect its energy to a decoy? Or maybe that foreign script includes some sort of riddle about how to pass."

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

"You know, viewed with the right sort of detachment, this horrible place is almost... not 'beautiful,' exactly, but... evocative."

Who's really in control here?
What here is not what it appears to be?
What here is useful or valuable to me?

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

"That's... terribly difficult to imagine. You know, I've never actually tasted or smelt honey. I've just heard all the metaphors for it; honeyed words, et-cetera."

I'll point out my observations from the vista to the others, if it seems like they haven't given it much thought. I'll say, "See how they're taking those scraps of armor? They're certainly not using it. Do you suppose they serve a master, or they stockpile it for another reason? If we had means to get up there - or, maybe, to upend whatever they're stashing their treasures in - they might have gathered stuff of value.

"And those blackened craters; that suggests that whatever guides the force of lightning on the steps is not limited to the steps. And, perhaps, that it has intelligence to aim for living things. The harpies learned to fear it, clearly. But it hasn't struck us - yet, anyways. I wonder what exactly draws its attention."

I pause for a moment, pondering. I say, "I'll ask."

I'll walk down the hill a bit, to a blasted skeleton in its crater. If I am able to find a skull without being incinerated (in which case, we would learn something!) I'll kneel down in the black dirt, pick it up, and address the symbol in my burnt hand, "Alarai, I seek wisdom from the next place, please guide this soul back for an audience."

Cast Spell: Speak wit Dead: 2d6+1 8
The spell is revoked

When (if?) the spirit arrives back to its bones, I will greet it with a simple, "Hello," for I doubt that any departed soul will care to be introduced to a foreign mortal for such a brief exchange, so long after its passing, and neither will I insult his valuable time by laboring an apology for the interruption, and I want to give this group the impression that I am cool and know what I'm doing. My first question will be, "Who or what killed you?"

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

To Agerios, I said, "Now that you mention it, no. I've had lean times before, but now that belly ache is absent."

And, oh! It's a harpy! I try to hide my surprise. The skull looked human. That's eerie, eugh. And probably less useful than a dead human who knew the lore of the land could've been Hm...

I feel that if Agerios's political leaders had been masters of lightning in his age, he would have mentioned that. I know it's a stretch that the harpy might know, but question two will be, "How did the king gain power over lightning?"

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

Interesting! I look over my shoulder at the others. Are you hearing this? One more question, hm... it seems that (some of, at least) these beings are smarter than first impressions indicated. Are they naked, savage predators by incontrovertible nature, or just by circumstance?

"What can I do to mark myself as a friend to your kind?"

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

So they can be reasoned with! Lovely! I nod, and say, "Yes." And if she bothers to stick around for a moment longer, I'll add, "Thank you for your time, may you rest in peace."

I set the skull back down, and look around the crater, wondering, should I bury it now? But, no. Nobody's got time for that. I walk back up the hill to the others, and ask, "Did you hear all of that?" Then fill them in if they hadn't.

I'll add a few more cents and say, "That the lightning comes from a mechanism, and not from the magic of some storm-god, means we can almost certainly find a way to bypass it on the steps. I am doubtful that we can form a lasting friendship with the harpies, but I mislike our odds of fighting them off for the whole span of that horrid gulch, and I can think of no other way to reach their cloud nests than to be invited. We'd just need to find something probably shiny and complicated looking."

But I'm looking perhaps too many steps ahead. "That 'stew,' by the way, is a giant armored beetle's partially-eaten remains - I haven't tried it. We have a torch-lit cave and something breathing loudly to contend with. Recent experiences suggest it's likely something horrible. Would somebody very quiet, or else somebody very heavily armed, care to please step in first?"

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

"Heh. What does a wizard eat? Anyways, I can't imagine how something could generate lightning without the use of magic. If you can draw its power out and redirect it without killing any or all of us, then please do. And let me know if I can help."

I listen to Agerios recite the script, and hem over it for a moment. I probably ask him to repeat a few words. I say, "Interesting. The words of your philosopher-kings? I would hazard a guess that these words were here before the lightning trap. It sounds like... maybe, a meditation on trying to figure out proper conduct. If the 'strong beast' is a metaphor for humanity, this would be a description of how primitive societies can form crude, mostly functional, but barbaric and morally bankrupt rules to live by. Such as controlling somebody else through fear and threats of violence - it works, in the short term at least, and might give the impression of consent, but is awful."

I ponder for a bit longer. Maybe it's a message meant for the harpies? I say, "My people had the gods deliver us wisdom, guide us to sensible and prosperous rules of conduct, and appointed rulers who they knew would be fair and just. Whoever wrote this would have been either isolated from the gods, or chose to ignore them... 'hasn't realized and can't explain,' or else was thoughtful and terribly arrogant about it."

And then Agerios man-handles the hillside. I wince at the gears, and then spear, being crushed beneath the rolling stone.

In a hushed voice, I add, "Or perhaps it was referring more literally to that beast and its handler. Oh dear. Um. Dogs are friendly, right? Maybe we can ply it with some, er, beetle stew?"

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3/5 Spice: 2/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

I practically hold my own breath while Venner creeps down the hall. And, when the beast rises, I flinch on his behalf.

I want to help, truly, but I don't think getting within reach of that snake-head tail (how many brains does that thing have?) is going to be very constructive. I can always ~pray~!

I hold my divine symbol aloft, let it catch the light of the spiral sword and reflect it back toward Venner. I mutter, "Alarai preserve him."

Spell: Bless: Venner: 2d6+1 8
Edit: Revoked.

StringOfLetters fucked around with this message at Feb 28, 2016 around 04:45

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18->7->18/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 3->2/5 Spice: 2->1/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

Such ferocity! Such valor! I am profoundly blessed, not only in being Alarai's chosen, but in finding myself alongside such brave and competent warriors. I'm certainly not going to shoulder my way past both of them, and lava-spit, only to probably distract them. Not unless I'm certain I see an opportunity to aid somebody.

I take a puff of the spirit spice in its pipe. Without putting a flame to it, it still grows hot and parts with a trickle of smoke when I suck air through it, as if there's an ember that never extinguishes. Before I release a breath, I can feel the spice working. My senses sharpen, the haze of normality lifts from my mind, my pupils dilate, and the world feels more real and present around me. When I exhale, something more than air and smoke leaves my lungs. (-11hp, +spells)

Then I shout, "Yeah! Way to go!" down the hall, and take a sip from my canteen of soul juice. (+11hp)

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 18/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 2/5 Spice: 1/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

I shout something like, "Eep!" and then hope nobody was paying attention to me. Where is all this molten stuff coming from? This monster shouldn't be physically possible! I suppose that's why it's a monster. I've a mind to chase after the slithering head and squish it, but it dies on its own soon enough. Good.

Lacking any means to outwit a flow of lava, I try to leap up-hill and over it.

Defy Danger: Dex: 2d6-1 5

I'm certain I can find a way to hurt myself in the act.

StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 15/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 2/5 Spice: 1/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA/FOOT | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

I whimper, sit down on the stone floor, and take a moment to admire the horror of my ruined feet. They're in worse shape than my burned hand, now. I de-manifest what remains of my boots (originally peeled off another dead woman) to give myself room to swell, and then practice shuffling around on my swollen-stumped ankles. Ouch, to say the least. I'll be keeping that to a minimum.

Then, I turn my attention to the wounded beast and try to parse what's happening with its ebbing life and the spiral-sword's light. I speculate aloud, "Its soul is split into parts? And, um, part of it is bound to the spiral? What in the world..."

What in the world, indeed. I realize I'm being too mindful of the literal, of the physical, where I'm far out of my depth as a weak, hobbled, burnt girl. I turn the bar of Alarai's constellation to catch the reddish light of the bonfire, and beseech it for guidance, "My lord, where would you guide this beast's life?"

Cast Spell: Guidance Rote: 2d6+1 8
Revoked

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StringOfLetters
Apr 2, 2007
What?

Odessa
HP: 15/22 Luck 10/11 Armor: 1 Souls: 0 Flask: 2/5 Spice: 1/2 | -1 INT/WIS/CHA/FOOT | Rotes, Bless, Speak with Dead

I do so love it when divine omens are so straightforward. Pity to those whose divine patrons are less bright and clear than great Alarai.

I'll say, "Please, stay your hands. I think we'll be better served keeping this beast, and its fire, alive. You've soundly beaten the fight out of it, and I think it is ready to submit."

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