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Mortify
Feb 4, 2005




Arka | PDF

With the final blow struck and the Saints dispersed, the need for more violence bleeds away, but the huntress remains unseen. After Gladys's form resolves to normalcy, still, she lurks nearby... shaking with hysterical anger. With miserable finality. She takes several moments to peel apart her emotions in silence, to pick at the part of her that wants to pincushion the godflesh with more arrows and laugh, deep in her belly.

When she steps from between sudden moonlight she is composed and calm again, an unruffled owl ready for another hunt. She quietly unstrings her bow and checks her ammunition with ritual ease, joining Sevit and the others in their journey back to her world, her Toril. Returning to the shrine, the smells of simple camp food kindle a spark in her from eons gone, a time when she was but a farmer's daughter and the tides of the dead were an unhappy future she had yet to face. Before Lae, Renn, and gentle Syl died for her failures. Her throat fills with wool, her eyes with tears burning to fall, and she rushes away from the shrine to be alone with her faith.

---

Kneeling on a rock a short walk from the Shrine to Ao, she looks to the heavens - to the moon - gazing upon her, ever watchful, "My Lady," she begins, "thank you for your aid this day. As you already know, we prevailed again... it is your place to know," Arka smiles as if in a delightful joke, but it fades quickly, "I... I came because my heart is troubled. Though we succeeded here, it was not without cost. And we have more to do... the Nightsinger, the Mad God..." she stalls, letting forth a sigh with the weight of eternity behind it, "My Lady, I have tried to lead good lives, just lives... for those who cannot stand against the darkness. But none have been like this life. I have put to rest more nightmares than I can remember, but for the first time in... I cannot even remember... I am afraid. I am... afraid," her eyes fall to the rock beneath her knees.

"If we fail, then this world I love... these people that I love, those yet to be born, will die. Will never live," her chest fills with air, the appearance of feathers ruffled, as she looks back to the sky with fire in her gaze, "You charged me to watch the cycle. You charged me to protect these people at any cost and I have never shirked that duty. I need your help. I need you guidance, White Lady. I cannot let Toril down." Seven stars shine brighter around the face of moon for a moment, like eyes in the darkness watching. Strands of moonlight turn solid atop her rock, a pair of conjoined crescents, milky blue and glowing even in the darkness. A moonbow.

You need only ask, Daughter, and I shall show you the way. The words are not spoken, are not heard; they merely exist inside Arka's heart.

---

Returning to the shrine is a different woman, wearing Arka's body and face. She saunters in like she's headed to the Harvest festival dance, the step lighter and unburdened. Though she is late, she scoops up a plate of duck and potatoes to wash down her double serving of ale, settling in at the table with joy in her breast, elbowing and laughing in equal parts at the fanciful ups and downs of Marcus's story.

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Wol
Dec 15, 2012

See you in the
UNDERDARK


Sevit Axalethris, Duchess of Kethendi, Admiral of the Adamant Fleet, Breaker of Ulash-Nar
(PDF) (Orokos)

Sevit finds Bane's fall incredibly satisfying. She takes a moment to gloat - mostly internally, though there's a couple verbal jabs fired at the god's corpse - before getting back to business. With the deed done, she thinks about seeking Tiamat out once more before leaving. She knows, though, it wouldn't be beyond the dragon goddess to try and seek swift vengeance if she went on her own. As a dragonborn, the impulse is not alien to Sevit, and she knows well where it comes from. Along with her eagerness to leave the weighty atmosphere of Banehold, it's enough to make her stay with her allies and just plane shift right out.

--------
--------

After a good bit of revelry, Sevit steps outside for some fresh air. She may love a good party, but Torm drinks voraciously, to the point where there's no way even she can keep up. She'd given it a good shot, but much more and she fears she'll find herself in the territory of regret. Besides, the drink's brought a pensive mood bubbling up from the undercurrent of her mind. Over the years, she's done a lot of things, but killing a god hasn't been one of them up until now. The deed done, she finds herself with questions. And so, she finds herself sitting atop a sheer mountain edge, gazing up at the stars, when Silenna makes her exit.
"Silenna," Sevit calls out, not taking her gaze off the sky. "Had enough of the party?"

"I am not prone to revelry or boastful tales, even in the light of victory," she mentions curtly, as Artheon slides off her shoulders and disappears into the local underbrush to find some more filling meal than slivers of duck meat. "Nor am I fond of ale and wine." The Warden stretches out, some of her joints popping with the movement. "Though you certainly seemed to be."

"I am. Some parts of us never change, I guess, from when we were young and unremarkable." She laughs. "Come, sit for a minute. There's something on my mind."

Silenna looks back at the forest for a moment, hesitating, but joins Sevit after a moment, kneeling beside her. "Having doubts, Admiral?"

"Maybe. This whole god-killing business is new to me. The others all find certainty in their gods - well, Marcus does things for whatever reason he does things, I guess - but I've never found that in the words of any god. You and I both serve the greater balance, instead, one way or another. It's something I believe in - hard not to when I can feel it coursing around me - but it doesn't offer much in the way of comfort." She finally takes her eyes from the stars and turns toward Silenna. "Bane had to die, of course. And Fzoul Chembryl was no loss to the cosmic balance. But did I only kill Loviatar because I was outraged? Did I only spare Tiamat because I felt her in my blood?"

"I cannot say." If Sevit had hoped to find a comforting expression on Silenna's face, she might be disappointed. "If I would have had my way, she would have died, as it was with Asmodeus when we ventured into the Hells. But I have learned now that while personal beliefs may stand in the way of what I feel is right, as long as we accomplish our goals, then the balance is restored." A pause, as she gestures, searching for the right words. "Marcus or master Elminster are better informed about such matters, but I understand that in the past, gods have died, and others have taken their place. So it will be for Bane and his lackeys, and so it will be for the others we may kill on our quest. Your decision to spare Tiamat or kill Loviatar, I feel, has no large impact on the grand picture, nor would the opposite have been."

"That's how I justified it with Loviatar, too. Another will rise - there's a shadow giant I need to talk to if we have a day to spare, actually. But, sparing Asmodeus?" Sevit gets a curious twinkle in her eye. "I have a hard time seeing you doing that. Or Merritt. Or Arka, really. I assume Gladys talked you into it?"

She shrugs. "There were...circumstances. But yes. We had words over it later." Her face is neutral, but there doesn't seem to be a lingering grudge over it. "All the same. The tablets come first. Which of our enemies must live or die is irrelevant, as long as they cannot strike back when we leave."

"How very cryptic of you. But I guess I should have seen that coming." Sevit grins and shakes her head. "Thanks for talking, though. You have a good view on things."

"Merely practical. With the stakes as they are, we cannot delay decisions by doubt or disagreement. Afterwards, yes, there is time to argue; but never in the heat of battle." She stands up again. "But you are welcome. Now, if you'll excuse me - I must hunt and nourish myself, before we leave tomorrow." If the admiral doesn't stop her, the Warden walks a few steps away before turning into her serpentine form and sliding into the forest.

"There's one last thing I'm curious about, Silenna." Sevit looks her up and down with a discerning eye. "It's a bit of a change of topic, but: What do you enjoy?"

She stops, turning back with a confused expression. "What do you mean?"

"Just curious. I feel like I know a lot about what you don't like."

Silenna blinks. "I..." She pauses. "Forgive me. You seem to have caught me off guard." She allows a small smile. "I enjoy... nature, I suppose. You must have seen many wondrous things, in your travels, but have you ever truly allowed your senses to take in all there is on the Material Plane? Have you walked in a forest and smelled the flowers, seen the coat of a young wolf rippling as it hunts, heard the infinite variety of birdsong? Have you submerged yourself in a stream or a lake, allowed yourself to float with the sunlight reflecting off a myriad of colored scales of fish and reptiles? Have you ever stood in the rain, in awe of the sheer might of a thunderstorm?" She pauses, and her eyes take on a distant look as she continues.
"This, and more, are things that can be found in nature, if you truly open yourself to it. This, and more, are the things that the civilized have forgotten. The builders and soldiers and magistrates have made many a mighty feat in this realm's history, but it is nature from which it all came, to which they owe their sustenance and their lives. And it is nature, in the end, that will reclaim all that history forsakes." Her eyes focus again. "Ah - I apologize. I did not mean to preach the words of my old teacher. But yes. I enjoy nature."

"A couple of those, yeah. I always liked the rivers and lakes when I was a child, especially the hard-to-reach ones up the mountain with no one around and a clear view of the sky." Sevit closes her eyes briefly, awash in the memory. "The miasmic swamps of the Shadowfell and the capricious currents of the Plane of Air might draw more ears to a tale, but you're right. The Prime's beauty is unique in its own way, and very real." Smiling over her shoulder, she gives the Warden a little wave. "But I won't keep you too long. Have a nice hunt, Silenna."

Look Around You
Jan 19, 2009

You're just lucky my jaw is broken!


Torm accepts Gladys' hug, awkwardly at first before warming up to it. He spends all night with the Marcus and Merritt in half (or more) drunken revelry. Sune likewise stays with Gladys, discussing the trip through Banehold, and particularly the party's encounter with Loviatar. "I hear you ran into the Lady of Pain herself," she says. "You know... there's some place for what she does under my purview... but... not in the way she goes about it. Forcing things like that on people isn't the way it should be done." She stares up at the stars for a moment in contemplation before confiding in Gladys, "You know... I'm not sure how I feel about killing other deities. I know that's the fate they want for us but... it's hard for me to reconcile with what we are to believe in..." She lets her words linger for a moment, possibly waiting for a response.

---

The dawn after the nightlong celebration seems more somber. Elminster walks out of his tent to speak to the party--and gods--gathered around the campsite, "So, we have found where Cyric went after his battle with you the other day, Torm. It appears he has retreated to Amn, here on Toril. Beyond this, we know that Lolth has made her way to the Underdark from the Demonweb Pits, while Shar's location is unknown."

Torm nods, speaking up, "As as word of warning, should you decide to pursue Cyric... he is responsible for my injury, though I think I gave him a bit of a nick as well." He continues, "He ambushed me as I was walking towards Neverwinter, just as he ambushed and killed Oghma on his way to Candlekeep. Be very careful if you are to confront him. He will be at home in Amn, as he is openly worshiped there. If I were to guess, he is likely planning attacks on other gods as we speak.

"Lolth... heavens knows what she is up to in the Underdark, though it's certainly can't be good... the Drow there obviously would do anything for her. It's very possible that she is attempting to form an army to attack the surface...

"And Shar no doubt seeks to slay Selune and shroud the world in eternal darkness. She is likely seeking to deceive Selune's followers again. If you are to pursue her, I would start with any leads about Selune's location."

Wol
Dec 15, 2012

See you in the
UNDERDARK


Sevit Axalethris, Duchess of Kethendi, Admiral of the Adamant Fleet, Breaker of Ulash-Nar
(PDF) (Orokos)

“I’d vote for going after the active threat first.” Sevit replies after taking a brief moment to consider. “The Auspice should limit Cyric’s means of attack on the way, if we do go after him. He’ll see us coming, but we’ll see him coming, too. With how Cyric works, I think that’s to our advantage. And she can take a real beating, so don’t worry about that. If anyone has anything on Lolth or Shar, though, I could be convinced.”

Wahad
May 19, 2011



Everything by design.



Silenna

"The Lord of Three Crowns is a duplicitous foe," Silenna adds, "and one would venture a guess that the sooner he is eliminated from this play, the sooner other gods may have less fear of an assassination." She spares a glance towards Arka. "But our previous foe was one of personal interest. The next one may be so as well. Do you agree with our quarry, huntress, or does your faith call you to find Shar instead?" There is no judgment in the Warden's voice, but rather concern. Faith may not be in her purview, but she recognized that for those that had it, there would be more at stake than simply the world.

Melchiresa
Jun 21, 2006

Nice guy.
Tries hard.
Loves hot dogs The Game.



PDF -- Orokos

Merritt casts a sidelong glance at Torm and back to the party. "I, for one, would like to pursue Cyric. If we can take down the orchestrator of these attacks, perhaps it will allow us time to reach the other gods."

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!


Arch-Bard Marcus's PDF
Arch-Bard Marcus's Orokos sheet

"It's regrettable to give Lolth and Shar more time to plot," Marcus says. "But that's the nature of hero-ing, isn't it, friends? Now is our chance to get that bastard Cyric. I don't know what I would do if we lost another of the gods to him."

His voice is as upbeat as usual, though every so often a dark shadow crosses his face. Partying with a god has made him acutely aware of what's at stake, and not even spending the night with Gladys could shake the melancholy.

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Doomykins
Jun 28, 2008

Didn't you mean to ask about flowers?



Saint Gladys - PDF - Reference

"It is not my place to dictate the fates of the divines but rather to do what must be done to secure the tablets." Gladys offers the impeccably neutral and honorable response to Sune to start, then shares a coy smile with her deity. "I suppose the morality would originate from tenets of self-defense.. that we've no obligation to allow a predator to feast simply for the sake of their survival above our own. Likewise passion is not permitted to run wild for its mere existence. It has become rather malicious what the thieves of the tablet have done. Although I cannot rule whether it is right to cast down pillars of corruption.. I know that they hold no honorable claims and their fates will be natural. So too will be their absence.. or their replacement. And if hey wish to accept chastisement, I would offer it. It was fortunate that Tiamat possessed five heads to think in place of one."

Gladys hums and thinks a bit on her philosophy. ".. Letting passion run wild for the sake of passion.. that would explain the distasteful behavior of Loviatar." She chuckles. "Permit me to say that no matter how extreme the state.. such desperation is very unattractive!"

---

At dawn Gladys offers her opinion and assessment. "I agree that Cyric has been most forthcoming and deserves three knocks on the head for it. We are pressed for time.." She cups her chin and opines from a position of curiosity: ".. but this has been suspicious since we confronted Asmodeus. It seems unlikely that any of the five involved in the plot would allow the others to maintain equal presence with them, with one tablet guarding against any one other tablet, in a general sense. If Cyric is trying to crest that gap through deicide it puts him ahead of the rest. Of course, it seems likely Lolth and Shar would plot for the same. It is a shame we cannot launch three strikes simultaneously."

She sighs. ".. And then I wonder if perhaps their vanities are so great that this really was all a spur of the moment plot, a chance to act out their grudges? I suspect that something, some plot is afoot greater than what we see.. or perhaps even someone unseen. Or maybe they'll even consider working together in a true spirit of cooperation.. but in such a tenuous situation we may as well accept the lead offered." Gladys smiles to Marcus and offers him her hand to hold. "Our last three foes are great schemers. Let us box Cyric's ears and stay a step ahead of them all, hmm?"

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