Chapter 6: Out of the Black.   Posted by Raellus.Group: 0
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 494 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 7 May 2018
at 14:33
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"You find hill dwarves in the strangest of places," Corros says with a huge smile.  Relief floods through the half-elf at the return of their friend.  Coincides be damned, he'll take the help. Even if the dwarf's sense of humor runs towards leaving a lizard dump on a prisoner's forehead. Corros thinks briefly about making a jest about the short lived joy of married life, then reconsiders the joke in front of Jenna.

"Welcome to the fun, my friend.  If standing under only-the-gods-know-how-much rock is your idea of fun.  Amaldaris is a recent addition to our marry band.  He was just telling us how this Drow here is far from home and how that's not good, yeah?"
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 3 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Mon 7 May 2018
at 18:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Well..." Ulfgar said in response to Corros' "standing under only-the-gods-know-how-much rock is your idea of fun.'"commend.  "I've been living down here for a bit.  There's a fascinating ecosystem centered around phosphorescent fungi in a nearby cavern that I now tend.  I mean, I tend it most days.  Since Evra and I came back, I've been commuting back and forth half-time." The last sentence was delivered with something of a sigh at the end, suggesting there was something more to the story.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 531 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 7 May 2018
at 19:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
When Amaldaris flung the brooch aside Jenna bent down, picked it up, drawn to it by idle curiosity, spent a moment examining the symbol of the false god, turning it around in her fingers. She was still looking at it when the lizard scuttled forward and then began to grow before her eyes, taking a form that was most familiar.

"Ulfgar!" Thrusting the brooch into a pouch the Priestess stepped forward, put her arms around the dwarf in a completely spontaneous hug. "It's so good to see you!" Then, perhaps remembering that she was one of the Chosen of Arma and hugging dwarves in underground caverns was  behaviour likely to be frowned upon by the Elders in the Cloisters she moved back, her cheeks colouring slightly. "It's really good to see you Ulfgar."

And then a random thought crossed her mind. "I mean...you are Ulfgar? Yes?" Her eyes flicked to Corros first, then Nicolai.

+1 Drow Brooch to inventory
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 4 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Tue 8 May 2018
at 08:48
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Ulfgar returned Jenna's hug briefly before also stepping back.  He quickly glanced around to see if any other fauna might be near by, as he wasn't entirely sure that Evra wasn't using the occasional animal friendship/animal messenger spell to keep tabs on him.

"Aye, it's me.  Would a fake Ulfgar be able to do this?" Frostbeard said before producing the tree of life totem he'd carried before.  He spoke a series of magical druidic words and cupped his hands before him.

"Aeron da i bawb ac i gyd ar gyfer aeron da!"

Suddenly 20 small berries appeared in his hands.

"If'n you're injured or hungry, please take some," he offered.
Gronk
 Party NPC, 137 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Wed 9 May 2018
at 05:39
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The lizard excretes on the drow's forehead.

Gronk expels a few low, grunting laughs.

The lizard grows into an oddly familiar dwarf.

"The fuck?" the Half-orc exclaims.

Ulfgar offers the wounded some goodberries.

Still struggling with a lingering sense of disbelief, Gronk accepts a few of the magical healing fruits, muttering a slightly stunned, "Thanks," as he takes them from the druid's outstretched hand. He pops one in his mouth- sense memory confirms its provenance. Smile slowly spreading across his homely face, he adds, "It's good to see you again, Ulfgar."

-

This message was last edited by the player at 14:05, Wed 09 May 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 668 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Wed 9 May 2018
at 10:41
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai blinks, looks at his hand as if surprised to find a dagger in it, and slides the weapon back into his sleeve.  "Look at it this way, Jenna," he says.  "If a fake Ulfgar can find us here, take on his face, and duplicate his magic, we're probably fucked regardless of what we do.  So I think it's fair to assume it's him."  He shoots the dwarf a grin and accepts a couple of berries.
Raellus
 GM, 820 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 11 May 2018
at 21:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The prisoner begins to come to. Amaldaris crouches beside the drow, asks him a question. The dark elf responds, sneeringly. The pale-skinned elf continues to probe, his patient veneer pulled thin, almost transparent. Amaldaris is apparently upset, although at what, it is difficult to say. The drow laughs derisively at his interrogator's poorly concealed discomfiture. Amaldaris, barely keeping his voice even, persists with the interrogation. The drow smirks, practically spits a reply. Literally in the blink of an eye, the elvish monk strikes the prisoner in the throat with the blade of his right hand. The drow flinches backwards, a split-second too late, begins gaspsing for breath. Despite his increasingly desperate efforts, the prisoner fails to draw enough oxygen into its rapidly-starving lungs. He flops on his side, legs kicking in the dark dust, as he chokes to death. In a few seconds, he lays still, milky-white eyes wide, staring at the cave roof above his killer, seeing nothing.

The only explanation the high-elf volunteers: "He knew nothing, spoke only curses."


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:15, Fri 11 May 2018.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 6 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sun 13 May 2018
at 19:23
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Well that's one way to do that," Ulfgar said, looking a bit skeptically at the High-Elf 'iron-hand' disciple.  Frostbeard's instincts were telling him that the whole 'never trust an elf' inclination is spot on.  The dwarf snapped his finger's, locked eyes with Corros, then he raised a bushy eyebrow.

'Where'd you get this guy?  He seems pretty sketch,' Ulfgar thought to himself, trying to dump the musing into the Graelor's special mind-speak channel.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:26, Sun 13 May 2018.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 533 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 13 May 2018
at 20:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna looked on, aghast, as Amaldaris administered what the Priestess could only think of as a summary execution. This was not how prisoners were to be treated, went totally against Arma's tenets, was a blasphemy against all that Jenna held holy. A Priest of Arma shows mercy to a defeated opponent. Only those who had turned to the Reaver were to be slain wherever they were found and the Drow was clearly not one of them.

And besides, there was something about Amaldaris' demeanour that suggested to Jenna that the elf was being untruthful. Perhaps rational thought might have been to say nothing, to let the matter go. After all, they were far below ground, needed each other. But not for the first time in her life, Jenna was not thinking rationally.

"I do not believe you." she said to Amaldaris, still shaking with anger at what she had just witnessed.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 495 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 14 May 2018
at 00:39
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
He was a prisoner in a digging gang," Corros sends back at Ulgar.  Corros' eyes are fixed on the dust their former prisoner had been kicking around in.  Seemed okay, although that was sudden-

Jenna's blunt words rock the half-elf back into the moment.  Between the set of her shoulders and the deadly calm of her voice, Corros knows that violence is not far away.  Her pupils are probably already turning a deadly shade of black.

With no time to spare, Corros disengages from Ulfgar and reaches out at the mind of the elf who just showed his cards, his own thoughts tinged with reasonableness and a request for cooperation.  You had best explain yourself quickly, Amaldaris, and do so without moving.  She may be my love, but I cannot hold her back. And she has decided you are not what you say.  Runes slip through the warlock's mind, drawing power ready to be unleashed.


Corros
Will cast Hold Person on Amaldaris (Save DC:16) if he so much as twitches

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 671 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 14 May 2018
at 02:01
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
This time, Nicolai is unsurprised to find his dagger back in his hand.  "That," he remarks casually, "was unprofessional."  He plays back the last few seconds in his mind, consciously parses the set of Jenna's shoulders and the forces swirling in her eyes, and sidesteps to cut off Amaldaris' line of retreat.

Nicolai
Will give Amaldaris a good feinting and stabbing if the Hold Person doesn't take

Raellus
 GM, 822 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 14 May 2018
at 02:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

For a couple of heartbeats, Amaldaris' body- a living weapon- is tensed. Then he relaxes, closes his eyes, and inhales deeply. The tension melts away, the monk's almost preternatural calm returns.

Some truths are better left unspoken, he replies telepathically, then he speaks aloud, so that all can hear,

"The Drow seek an artifact of great power- that much I already suspected, for my mission is to confirm rumors to that effect. The prisoner confessed his house's purpose. Then he accused me of seeking this same 'Dark Heart' for my own people, and called upon his spider queen to make me one of them- a Drow. You must understand, there is no greater curse." Locking eyes with Jenna, he continues, "Would you allow an acolyte of the Reaver to call upon his god of murder to baptize you into his fold with blood of innocents?"

This time, Amaldaris seems truthful, almost desperately so.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:20, Mon 14 May 2018.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 534 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 14 May 2018
at 15:04
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna’s eyes were unblinking. For a moment dark clouds drifted across her irises but the storm that they hinted at was not unleashed as some of the tension eases out of the air. ”No.” the Priestess allowed after a moment, in answer to Amaldaris’ question, continuing in a tone that was even, measured. ”I would not. But nor would I lie to my friends about my actions.”

She held the Elven monk’s gaze for a moment longer then turned away, her back to him, stepped in Corros’ direction. She was still visibly shaken, although she knew not whether it was from the act that she had just bore witness to or Amaldaris’ invocation of the Raver’s name, the comparisons that he had drawn.

”So, what do we do now?” she asked, the question addressed to all of them.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 672 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 15 May 2018
at 22:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"We regret not having had the chance to ask him about the people we're trying to find down here," Nicolai says mildly, answering Jenna's question but addressing Amaldaris.  "Zima and Kerek.  You may remember us mentioning them around the time we met."  He doesn't bother to recount the circumstances of that meeting; if the elf can't remember a day ago, it's not worth the breath for the argument.  "Did he say anything at all about prisoners or other surface-dwellers they'd slain or encountered?"

This message was last edited by the player at 22:41, Tue 15 May 2018.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 60 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Wed 16 May 2018
at 00:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"I beg your pardon," Amaldaris says, addressing the whole of the party. "I acted rashly." A pause. He then addresses Nicolai's questions. "The Drow didn't say anything about prisoners..." Because I summarily executed him before I thought to ask, one could be forgiven for thinking. "That was a slaving party. They were pursuing the minotaur. If we retrace their footsteps, we will undoubtedly find more of them- and, perhaps, your friends." Another pause, "But, if you'd prefer to part company, I will understand."

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:07, Wed 16 May 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 496 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 16 May 2018
at 14:12
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros tries to give Jenna one of his award winning "don't worry, it's going to be all right," smiles, but he's pretty sure he can't do the effect justice.  He draws the priestesses mind into a mental hug. Not a good sign, love, but for now I think he's what we've got even if his choices are...not good.

"We go after the slavers,"
Corros says out loud.  "That's what we've always planned to do.  For now Amaldaris, I think you stay with us.  But we will revisit that arrangement should you choose to, uh... interrogate a prisoner and shade the exchange in the future, yeah?  I spent my life being told I was less than elves like you.  I'm not seeing it."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 535 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Wed 16 May 2018
at 21:28
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna had moved to stand next to Corros, turned her eyes to him as she felt his mind gently caress hers. Once she would have found it disconcerting to allow another to be so...intimate...with her, but now she welcomed it, closed her eyes for a moment, her chest rising and falling as she breathed deeply, let her lover's mind soothe her, a thought coming unbidden as she heard the words he spoke aloud. Never, ever think that you are less than him. Or anyone.
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 7 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Thu 24 May 2018
at 11:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Mind if I tag along?  I'm interested in getting to the bottom of these drow raids.  Perhaps bring some order back to the ecosystem down here," Ulfgar asked.  "Uh.. and yeah, I'm more than happy to take the rear," he added, strongly preferring to have the elf in front of him and not behind him.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 673 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 26 May 2018
at 23:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai smirks at Ulfgar, acknowledging both the dwarf's words and his subtext.  "That would be great.  If we have any trouble, you can put on that giant spider skin again."

He turns to Gronk.  "How are you feeling?  Is the poison out of your system?"
Gronk
 Party NPC, 138 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sat 26 May 2018
at 23:41
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Yeah, I'm good to go," Gronk reports. Between the urban ranger's poultice and the druid's goodberries, the gladiator was feeling much better. The poison must have been fast-acting but not persistent.

+13HP (poultice)
+10HP (Goodberries)


-

This message was last edited by the player at 23:54, Sat 26 May 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 674 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 26 May 2018
at 23:46
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Glad to hear it."  Nicolai offers his towering accomplice a fist-bump.  "Okay.  Everyone ready to go get our people back and find someone who can tell us more about this 'Dark Heart'?"
Raellus
 GM, 823 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 27 May 2018
at 20:36
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The septet retraces its steps- again- returning to the site of its most recent battle. There's something odd about the Drow bodies. They seem to have partially melted into the floor. Most of the flesh is gone, falling off the bones; what's left appears to have been liquefied, although it remains fairly viscous. The bones peeking out from the pooling soft tissue look somewhat warped, as if soft like a newborn's, subjected to pressure for a long period of time. The Drows' armor, however, appears in relatively good shape- there's no sign of corrosion or other damage, save that taken during their last use. None among the seven companions have seen anything like this, except for Deepdelver,

"This reminds me a bit of what a black dragon's breath does to flesh and bone, but it's not quite the same. This looks more melted, as opposed to dissolved. Besides, we would have heard something if such a beast was about."

OOC: If you want to more actively investigate this phenomenon, feel free. Passive perception reveals nothing. If you have any specific lines of inquiry, however, let me know and I'll make any prerequisite rolls. There's no obligation to do so, however- I just don't want you guys to feel like I'm pushing things ahead too quickly.

The party continues past the strange phenomenon, moving deeper into the underground (bearing roughly west). Smaller tunnels periodically branch off to the left and the right, but Ulfgar and Deepdelver both agree that they go nowhere (although how they can tell this remains a mystery to the non-dwarves amongst the party). The main tunnel corkscrews downward, the path getting progressively steeper. The sound of moving water emerges from a crack in the north wall. It appears to be coming from somewhere down below. Instead of growing cooler, the temperature rises as the party moves lower. A faint light appears at the bottom of the corkscrew. Backlight, two Drow guards stand watch there. They don't seem to notice the party point man.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:37, Sun 27 May 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 497 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Thu 31 May 2018
at 19:44
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros kneels near the puddle that used to be one of their Drow enemies.  "Well, that's gross, yeah?" he deadpans, rocking back on his heels.  He peers at the partially liquefied and warped flesh, looking for signs of anything...well...anything more unusual than this.  Signs of specific magic involved or the reek of corruption.  Something the Library may recognize.  "Ever heard of the Reaver's followers doing something like this after meeting a bad end?" he asks Jenna.

OOC: Investigate and Arcana rolls
--

"Well there's the Drow," Corros says at the report of guards.  "Sneaky-sneak or full frontal?"
Raellus
 GM, 825 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 2 Jun 2018
at 18:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros examines the remains, determining that the strange, melting effect doesn't result from any spells that he's familiar with or aware of.

Jenna does not believe that the phenomenon has anything to do with Reaver-worship. In fact, nothing in her past studies speaks to what she's looking at.

-
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 8 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sun 3 Jun 2018
at 19:08
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I've got something that can help with stealth, though perhaps just directly dispatching as many of these evil-elves would be better for the environment down here," Ulfgar said.  For the former, he'd cast Pass without Trace on the group.  For the latter, he'd probably go with Entangle, and let the pokers, slicers, and bashers move into melee with the hopefully trapped Drow.  Frostbeard wondered if 'throat-puncher elf' could pull the same stunt against someone in combat as he did with the prisoner.   Elf-on-elf violence was the best kind of violence in Ulfgar's book.