[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth.   Posted by The Strange.Group: 0
The Strange
 GM, 20 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Tue 28 Jun 2016
at 18:27
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Labaryth, the gleaming city on the hill. While certainly not the center of the kingdom of Ancuan, it is certainly a beacon, and a place almost every visitor to the kingdom eventually visits, if it will have them.

The city itself sits atop a large hill, it's eighty-foot, iridescent blue-green walls reaching up in sparkling splendor, surrounding a clearly unnatural hill in a nearly perfect 20-mile diameter. Rising above the crest of the walls can be seen beautiful, seemingly organically-shaped architecture, buildings of stone that even from a distance appear more like an alien body than actual buildings. A massive pair of identical black towers rise from the apex of all of these.

Legend has it that the city appeared in the midst of this lush pasture land around five hundred years ago, growing out of the very earth itself. Wizardry, many assumed, perhaps demonic in origin, based on the heinous machines that populated it. Mankind, however, is made of stern stuff, and at the behest of King Aldous Reinhart, the city was conquered and populated two centuries back. Now, it serves the Amber Papacy as one of it's local knowledge centers, as well as the Kingdom itself as a source of commerce. Nearly two thousand souls call it home, and little is seen of the horrors that once populated it...

... or at least they say this so long as you stay above ground, dependant on whose idle tongue you're paying heed to.

The name of the city comes from the walls themselves. Four gates ring the city, one at each precise compass point, leading into twisting, constantly-changing corridors... a veritable labyrinth that takes even those locals who are familiar with the layout a full three days to safely navigate. This security in and of itself is a boon, since it means only those specifically trusted by the Order of Truth or the town Baron are able to freely come and go quickly (through means even the local citizenry aren't entirely certain of).
The Strange
 GM, 21 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Tue 28 Jun 2016
at 18:58
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
The summons came rather dramatically, all things considered. A flying creature of bonded metal and synth, a strange, simple creature crafted in the shape that would almost seem to be a bird, if such a thing came so small, and so streamlined.

The creature found each of you, perhaps two, three, or even more weeks ago -- however long it took you to make the trip here. It called out to you by name, and then provided the following message:

"The Order of Truth and the Barony of Labaryth in Ancuan seek your presence. There is a need for stalwart heroes, and the Order has seen you. Please, make haste to the city, and meet with us at your convenience in the House of Truth. You will be well compensated for your troubles, and you can rest in the knowledge that your efforts will aid mankind, deepen our knowledge of the Worlds Before, and gain the favor of the Pope himself. Please let our messenger know that you accept our call."

The creature waited, then, head cocked, until verbal agreement was received, and flew off. You each arrived around the same time, coincidentally... be it together, or separately, although not all by the same entry gate.

Now, after arriving at the city, and spending three days with a guide leading you between safe houses inside the walls, you are in the city proper. Upon entry, you were greeted individually by pages in bright, clean robes, with a summons and a detailed map of the city. Accommodations at an inn called "The Placent Arran" have been arranged for each of you, with room and board already paid for. A meeting at the House of Truth is set for the evening, just after sundown. It's currently mid-day, so you each have plenty of time to get settled.
The Strange
 GM, 22 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Tue 28 Jun 2016
at 19:15
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
The city itself is an impressive sprawl, a shining example of a city where mankind has really adapted to its surroundings. Farming occurs outside the walls, so the usual detrius one expects in a small city or hamlet, and the requisite animal life that comes with it, is missing here. The streets are clean of dirt or refuse, built instead of cobbled stone of the same iridescent material as the great walls. The walkways are wide and relatively clear unless one wanders into the commercial sections, and always well lit (although the source of light is not readily apparent, even in the occasional alleyway between buildings); there are oddly enough few if any straight roads, however -- all tend to meander and twist about the local buildings, as if an afterthought.

The buildings, too, are made of a similar material, although its colors are more muted, seeming to grow naturally in organic-seeming bubbles. There are very few sharp angles anywhere here, the surfaces instead flowing naturally.

Doorways are typically covered by little more than hanging cloth or hanging threaded beads; indeed, there don't appear to be any actual closed or locked doors in sight. Men, women, and children walk freely in the streets, the latter often unattended, yet surprisingly muted in even their play... but there is no aspect of fear prevalent. Instead, it's more of an affected reverence. Personal cleanliness is also a clear emphasis here -- only those arriving appear to be carrying the dust of travel on them.

From a quick glance, the denizens here all appear to be human; there is no ready evidence of abhuman, autmaton, or mutant presence in the city... at all.

[OOC]
To allow us some time to get comfortable with each other ICly, I've decided to start us off here. We're not formally in the great adventure yet, but since I'm not sure when Lofwyr gets back, I wanted to give us a chance to get things started while we wait. How you arrive, with whom, and all that is up to you. The travel through the walls was relatively uneventful -- your guides basically walked unerringly through the shifting maze as if they knew it by rote, and no matter when you got to a safehouse, stopped for the day, with instructions that no one was to be outside the safehouses at night. Inevitably, one person per group (most groups don't exceed 20 at a time) would ignore this, and their skeletal remains, complete with bite marks, would be found in the morning.

You are free to check out your accommodations, go shopping (with what limited shins you have), or whatever. When all are here, and we're ready to go, you'll all conveniently find yourselves in the same meeting at the House of Truth in the evening. :)

Please feel free to PM me if you need anything else hashed out from before this point.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:17, Tue 28 June 2016.

Jaeda Swiftsteel
 player, 5 posts
 Glaive
 Intense Training
Tue 28 Jun 2016
at 19:17
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Jaeda has never really worked for someone this high up the food chain before. And if she's a little suspicious of phrases like "your efforts will aid mankind," well, she's not suspicious enough to quell her curiosity.

And anyway, people who use phrases like that tend to pay well. Her funds were certainly getting a little bit low.

Then she'd headed down to the common room to sit back with a very mild drink, open her ears, and just listen. She wanted to hear what the locals were talking about. She wanted to see who else might arrive with their room and board already all nicely taken care of. It was a good time to get the lay of the land, so to speak, before being thrown into the fray. She'd already closely studied the map, attempting to memorize it so she wouldn't get too lost if she had to run for her life later. At least the lack of fear in the streets was a good sign.

Eventually, though, what she wanted was a bath. She hadn't found any in the weird rooms. She hadn't liked the way the doors were set up...there's space to protect her belongings, but what about her, from getting murdered in the night? The security measure on those hides were making her uneasy, and she hadn't seen any way to get bathed. Still, these people didn't reek so...

She went up to the closest inn worker, cleared her throat and asked quietly, "Hey, how do people get clean around here?"

This message was last edited by the player at 02:51, Wed 29 June 2016.

Taelan Faswell
 player, 3 posts
 Jack
 Fugitive
Wed 29 Jun 2016
at 02:05
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Taelan almost turned the bird away until he heard the words "gain the favor of the Pope himself." He wasn't sure he completely believed the idea and a part of him wondered if this was a trap, but the thought of having the protection of the Pope on his side was enough to make him at least give it a moment's thought. Besides, he was at that time more or less running blindly, putting as much distance between himself and where he'd come from as quickly as possible.

He stayed quiet and withdrawn throughout his travels through the city's outer walls, likely a bit more jumpy than he needed to be but being cautious had helped him in the past. Even as they entered the city proper he kept a weary eye on his surroundings, not a big fan of all the tight corners and narrow pathways. The generally peaceful demeanor did help a bit at calming his nerves but he kept his guard up until he reached the place he would be staying, giving the placard with the building's name a curious look as he entered.

Making his way up to his room a bit of his paranoia kicked in as he noticed there was no real door, just a simply and flimsy sheet of leathers and beads. There was no way he was going to be sleeping well tonight. Sighing at the how tired he would be in the morning, he slowly placed a hand on his weapon as he pulled open the barrier, looking around at his temporary sleeping quarters.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:57, Wed 29 June 2016.

The Strange
 GM, 23 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Wed 29 Jun 2016
at 02:18
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Description of the rooms:

While relatively spartan, the rooms are at least comfortable and roomy. It would appear a larger common 'bubble' has been modified with the use of abundant synth walls to create multiple small living spaces. Unlike the outside, these contain more modern feel, with a bit more of a boxy design, although the definitely have avoided adding obvious corners anywhere within.

Like all of the buildings, there are doorways, but no actual doors, although the beaded cover on the outside is supplemented by a single stretch of soft beasthide, which can be pulled across to offer additional privacy.

Inside the room is a single bed, large enough to handle an average-sized human comfortably, made of clean straw and beasthide covers. A small table with a single chair, and a complementary major glowglobe is affixed to the table with a simple, extendable chain, and can be set to hover anywhere in the room. A chest near the bed, with a simple tumbler lock (and key to boot), is offered to store ones valuables.

Perhaps the most odd thing about the room, however, is a vestibule in a corner out of sight of the main entry. Cordoned off by a thin sheet of synthcloth attached to a thin cable reaching from one wall to another, it consists of two circular discs, one above the other, spaced around seven feet apart. The have a rough diameter of about four feet, and are connected by a single thin strand of what appears to be copper wire, although this is enough to keep the upper disc afloat. Next to this is a water basin set into the wall and a pitcher, both empty.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:21, Wed 29 June 2016.

The Strange
 GM, 24 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Wed 29 Jun 2016
at 02:35
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Description of the common area:

Set just aside from the main entrance 'bubble', the common area is very much what one would expect from a decent inn. The walls, like in the rooms, have been filled in, although more work has been done that makes it obvious that the owners have altered and built on to the existing structures, as if altering them to fit their needs. As such, there are clear areas where walls between the various bubbles have been taken down and filled in, to the point that the ceiling itself is an uneven bob. Glowglobes hover silently overhead, their yellow-blue glow playing out pleasantly.

A large, open firepit stands in the center of the room, unlit until the supper meal is announced. However, a collection of wooden loungers covered and cusioned in beasthide and fur give some level of comfort. Tables sit next to each, to allow easy access to food and drink, and they are cleverly arranged in such a way that one could easily gather with many, have a more intimate conversation, or even enjoy a modicum of solitude.

No hard drinks are offered on the menu, and much of the food sounds tasty, but very little is daring. The mood here is also as subdued as the streets, although that may just be n aspect of the time of day.
Jaeda Swiftsteel
 player, 6 posts
 Glaive
 Intense Training
Wed 29 Jun 2016
at 02:37
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
In reply to The Strange (msg # 6):

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:40, Wed 29 June 2016.

Jaeda Swiftsteel
 player, 7 posts
 Glaive
 Intense Training
Wed 29 Jun 2016
at 02:42
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
In reply to Jaeda Swiftsteel (msg # 8):
Daesa Lightspire
 player, 3 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Wed 29 Jun 2016
at 04:04
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
It is not everyday that a strange bird comes to you saying that there is a grand adventure waiting for you!  It took little more than hearing that favor will be gained with the Pope for her to pack her things and make an immediate departure.

Her arrival was a quiet one, but once she starts making her way to the city, her excitement grows.  She has never seen buildings like this!  However the lack of privacy and doors with locks are a little worrying .  However she promised to open herself to new experiences.

So she's lingering in the main common area, after having secured herself a light dinner.  There is much time before she has to go to the House of Truth, and she is doing her best to pass that time before she drives herself mad with anticipation.
Dexil Guilan
 player, 3 posts
 Jack
 School of Hard Knocks
Wed 29 Jun 2016
at 09:01
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Dexil had barely spoken to his guide on the three days through the wall. He hadn't spoken to anyone for any great length of time. He followed the instructions and on those night when someone had lingered outside of a safehouse he'd wondered about their remains the morning after upon seeing them.

The city itself, on arriving, suited his psyche. It seemed calm and introverted to a degree. No hustle and bustle like some of the other Steadfast cities and towns he'd visited. The Placent Arran was architecturally interesting and remarkably similar to his upbringing. The lack of security and privacy didn't even occur to him; neither were things he overly worried about nor expected.

He decided that, needing information and with time until the meeting, that the common room would be an adequate location to reference his materials in researching the city and its history as well as to meet any locals who might also possess useful knowledge.
Taelan Faswell
 player, 4 posts
 Jack
 Fugitive
Thu 30 Jun 2016
at 03:41
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Satisfied that there was nothing unpleasant waiting for him in his room he stepped fully into the room, pulling the pathetic curtain closed behind him. His hand left his weapon to reach up and remove his hat for a moment, taking in the simply decorations. He smiled softly, thankful for the fact he had a bed again. Sleeping outside for the last couple weeks had not been fun and while the safe houses had been a lot more secure than out in the open, having his own "private" space was a very welcome concept.

He set his hat down on the small table and reached out for the glowglobe, inspecting it for a moment before holding it up about a foot from the ceiling, activating it in a spot that would give off the most light possible. He eyed the chest for a minute before looking down at the small pack at this side. He didn't have that much on him as it was and it seemed unlikely that he would need to keep anything secure that he wasn't planning on carrying around with him anyway.

With that he stepped through the synthcloth into the room with the two disks and the water basin, not initially sure what to make of it. He reach out and touched the upper disk first, watching to see if it reacted in any way before doing the same to the bottom. He would study it for a moment, trying to see if he could make sense of what this could be for.

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:02, Thu 30 June 2016.

The Strange
 GM, 25 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 01:42
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
In the Common Room

[For Jaeda]
You are the first to arrive, and while getting your room and getting squared away goes well enough, clearly there was much to be understood, and perhaps lost. Although weak libations and general mid-day offerings are provided at no cost, but indeed, no one seems inclined to help you initially with your predicament, although the slightly upturned noses at the state of your clothing, even the fresher pair, and body behind false smiles suggest that something extra might have been expected.

As such, when the question is asked, the servant so unfortunate as to be chosen states for a moment, blinking, a look of confusion on her face. “They tol' us, put 'em in the Wave rooms. There's only, like, a couple handfuls at mos', an' those go for the highest... so...” A pause, and then a grin, one that's almost bordering on impolite. “You don' know the Wave, do ya? Betram found a whole knock o' em last harvest, he sez, but I think he pinched 'em off a Jack or somethin'. Crazy things. Just step in, an' pow. Clean. Clothes, wounds, 'n all! Feels like the devil itself inside yer drawers for a mo', but you'll never feel fresher after. Costs me 3 shins a use, an' they jus' gives it to yer for free. An' here you is askin' me how. Ha!”

Chuckling to herself, she forgets all manners and starts to walk away, head shaking back and forth.

[For Daesa]

Once back down in the common area, you see two people already congregating there, although another figure passes by you on the stairs going up, his face and sense of urgent paranoia both obvious and weirdly familiar. It's hard to place him, however, other than the oddly-shaped hat and strange, rectangular dagger strapped to his side.

The two in the common area are a study in contrasts. The first somehow manages to look both hardened and rough while exhibiting a wild-eyed innocence just beneath the surface, his eyes flitting over everything both in seeming attention to detail as well as drinking in strange, new sights, whenever they can arrest themselves from whatever tome he is currently reading. The other, a flamboyantly-dressed warrior, seems to grow more in consternation as a conversation between her and a local servant seem to amuse the servant to no end.

[For Dexil]
When you initially entered, there was a glimpse of a woman climbing up the same stairs you would later climb yourself, leading to your accommodations. When you returned to the common room, it was apparently as the first to retire down here to wait. Your book doesn't give much on the city – at its time of writing little was still known, aside from its being tamed by the Order of Truth, the setup of a benevolent Duchy, and rumors of mechanical menaces that protected the walls but never harassed the people living inside.

When the flamboyant fighter first came down the stairs to find a worker, her discomfit was obvious, written all over her frame. The what of it, of course, was unclear. However, the subject clearly caused conflict with the worker she spoke to... which then translated somehow into slight laughter.

About that time, another figure began to descend the stairs.

Upstairs

[For Taelan]
The device is odd, that's for certain. Dry, metallic at places, a strange, milky syth at others. There is symmetry, however. Reaching out, your fingers touch along the top rim of the upper disc, to feel the slightest of hums, vibration against the hand. It is the same with the lower half, although, with a slight inspiration, you don't pull your hand back with the initial sensation. [Difficulty 3 Intelligence roll, succeeded.]

Leaving it there provides an alarming surprise. A field of translucent, slightly opaque energy engulfs the portion of the hand between the two discs. It's not complete – there are starts, stutters, and stops throughout the short process. The feeling on your skin is not entirely present... a feeling of warm, fuzzy … something, wrapping around, and painlessly burrowing through the skin, leaving comfort and a pleasant afterimage of sensation after it.

Eventually, presence of mind allows you to pull the hand back out... a hand now completely free of drit, dust,or even the signs thereof. Indeed, even the clear evidence of little microabrasions are gone.
Jaeda Swiftsteel
 player, 8 posts
 Glaive
 Intense Training
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 02:00
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Just...step in?

Jaeda looks skeptical. She doesn't try to stop the woman who is already leaving. She figures she'd probably have to pay 3 shiv to get a fuller explanation. Instead, she turns to head back to her room. If anyone seems to be sneering at her she just gives them a self-depreciating smile. Yep, I'm foreign and dumbass but I can laugh at myself, too, see?

It was a tactic that had worked for her before, laughing at herself, and really, what did it matter if people thought she was an over-privileged idiot worthy of disdain? She thought their doors were a joke, she really did. She wasn't going to get a lick of sleep, but...maybe she'd be BAM clean just like that while...demons roared in her pants. Apparently.

She actually clenched her fists as a wave of fear and anxiety washed over her. Everything she'd been taught said, yes, well, exactly. Demons WOULD be roaring through her pants.

Everything she'd learned since leaving the Black City said that was hogwash, but the fear still churned in her gut. Still, she wouldn't be able to do what she did if she couldn't face fear. She closed her eyes and made herself step inside the Wave.
Taelan Faswell
 player, 5 posts
 Jack
 Fugitive
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 18:34
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Taelan almost pulled his hand back instinctively as the machine started but he was glad that he didn't. He stared at his hand curiously as he the energies coming from the device enveloped his hand. An eyebrow raised suspiciously at the strange feeling of what felt like a tiny, friendly warm crawling around inside his skin. It was admittedly a little uncomfortable, but the end result seemed to make it more worth the momentary unpleasantness.

Seeing the work was done, he looked down at his gloved hand, surprised at the level of cleanliness that had suddenly been achieved in stark contrast to the rest of his clothes. Curiosity struck again as he peeled off the glove on his right hand, a frowning for a moment as he realized that not all marks would get cleaned. He was impressed however that it had somehow even cleaned the dirt from under his fingernails.

Now confident that the machine wasn't going to main or disfigure him he thought for a moment. Walking back into the main area of his room he picked up his hat and put it back on, stepping fully into the device this time, glad that this was likely going to be the cleanest he would be in quite a while.
Daesa Lightspire
 player, 4 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Mon 4 Jul 2016
at 00:43
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Daesa almost pauses on the stairs as she passes by the hat wearing stranger.  Something strikes her about him that she just cannot place.  She almost follows him, but realizes that he probably isn't the sort who enjoys strange women invading his personal space.  Not that it's all that private.

Either way she lands in the common area, looking over the group that is gathered and decides for now to get her own table.  With one patron in a book and the other looking slightly horrified, she figures it is best to observe them for a few moments longer.

Besides, her eyes are on the stairs to see if Hat Man returns.
Dexil Guilan
 player, 4 posts
 Jack
 School of Hard Knocks
Mon 4 Jul 2016
at 09:36
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Noting that the establishment appeared to be busier than he expected and his research turning up little information, Dexil closed his book and rested his hands on top of it.

He watched each patron as they entered, of left, in quite obvious fashion. He stared, not intently or impolitely, just ... oddly. It wasn't the invasive scrutiny of a cut-purse or attacker; more the passive observation an animal or machine.

His mind tallied the patrons; there was little commonality bar their outward species. He'd seen the same arrangement back home when the automata assembled for specific causes. The thought rolled around his head for a moment before he decided on a logical plan to ascertain if they were here for the same reason he was;

He spoke clearly and at sufficient volume for anyone in the common room and nearby to hear; "The Order of Truth and the Barony of Labaryth in Ancuan seek your presence. There is a need for stalwart heroes, and the Order has seen you."

The words were ingrained in his mind from the messenger automata that had spoken them too him. Whilst it had found and checked it's recipient that impersonal nature of the message seemed ... rote. He'd thought there would be more when the automata went on to explain that multiple individuals were required....
The Strange
 GM, 26 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Mon 4 Jul 2016
at 19:51
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
[In the common room]

Shortly before Dexil makes his statement, Jaeda, too, makes her way upstairs, the shifting look on her face clear as she brushes past Daesa to do so. As such, Daesa is the only one to hear Dexil state, quite clearly, and in a tone very reminiscent of the bird's automaton voice, the original summons.

[In the various rooms]

The Wave, as it was revealed to be called, is silent when not in use. However, the moment a foot touches it, bare or booted, a hum begins, as well as a strange, cycling sound. Once the body is completely on the lower disc, the energy buildup begins anew. From inside the field, it is clear that it is throughout... visually almost a liquid, wrapping about the body.

For Taelin, the feeling is like what he felt with his hand, but this time magnified to envelop his entire body.

For Jaeda, the feeling of the energy as it enters her body cannot be psychically pleasant... indeed, it is the physical equivalent of every scary story she grew up with. Demons of air, clearly, power this device... pushing through, invading the body in to every inch. Warmth. Unnatural pleasure. Fuzzy tendrils wrapping about, permeating every aspect of your very being. This is the sort of thing you were taught is how possession by these demons would feel.

It may feel like it lasts only a second. Perhaps it feels like hours. In reality, the process lasts all of 30 seconds before the machine shuts down. In the end, the slightest amount of steam escapes the skin, although all is dry.

The skin itself is clean, perhaps cleaner than it's ever been naturally – all drit, dust, stains, etcetera are gone. Hides and leather are as if brand new. Metal is shined to the nth degree. Cybernetics gleam. There is no sign of rust or obvious age anywhere. Natural scars, of course, remain... no cracks, dents, or the like are impacted, but even they seem well-kept now. The cleanliness is perfect.

As to after-effects, there seem to be none directly apparent.
Jaeda Swiftsteel
 player, 9 posts
 Glaive
 Intense Training
Mon 4 Jul 2016
at 20:26
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
In reply to The Strange (msg # 18):

She staggers back, gasping. She puts her hand on her chest for a few moments, trying to calm her racing heart.

"Cleaning. It just cleaned me," Jaeda whispered,cover and over, until she could get the twisting sensation out of her gut.

Only when she was composed did she make her way back to the common room, intent on her original plan. Listen, learn, and look for others who might have been summoned, as she had. Though if all the Wave rooms were in the same section...she paused in the hallway, looking up and down, thoughtfully.
Taelan Faswell
 player, 6 posts
 Jack
 Fugitive
Mon 4 Jul 2016
at 23:52
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Taelan's eyes widened a bit at the odd sensation. He had initially thought that putting his hand in first would prepare him for stepping all the way in. It most definately did not. A shiver ran down his spine as he felt the little fuzzy worms flow through him, the feeling of them slithering through his lungs and stomach more than a little unpleasant. Still, he stood there until it seemed to be finished, surprised by how refreshed he felt.

He stepped into the more open area of him room and looked down at himself with a smile. How long had it been since he was this clean? He reached up and touched his chin, admittedly curious if the device had given him a clean shave too. Realizing it hadn't he chuckled regardless. His smile faded as a thought crossed him and he turned to look at his weapon, worried the machine may have dne something harmful to it. His grin returned as, after a few moments inspection, he realized it was fine.

With a soft sigh he looked back at the pathetic leather that was serving as a door to his room. He had planned to secluded himself in his room until called for but without a proper door there was no point in doing so. Better to find a spot in the common room where he could watched the whole room. With that he stepped out into the hall and looked around, spotting the woman with the colorful outfit. At first he only afforded her a short glance before he noted a hint of familiarity. He looked back to her again and stopped in his tracks, his expression a mix of surprise and confusion. "...Jaeda?"
Lofwyr Hawkesong
 player, 1 post
 Nano
 Ports and Plugs
Tue 5 Jul 2016
at 03:02
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
"Isn't that just the wizzest of things you've ever /seen/." Comes a voice from up near the glowglobes of the ceiling. Its a cheerful voice, familiar enough to some. It comes from a rather odd looking figure. Wrapped in scavenger's robes, in good repair and clean. An off-white color, but with odd electric panels glowing blue and green making designs across the chest and back of the outfit.

More lines of the glowing material twine down the sleeves and matching pants. Tucked into serviceable boots of black leather. His head is covered by a hood, but long strands of unruly black hair peek out here and there. A pair of multi-lense goggles sit on his head, atop a grinning face and a pair of brilliant almost-too-bright electric blue eyes. Angular features, a bright smile and just the hint of smile lines starting to form at the corners of his eyes gives a hint to his usual demeanor.

Atop the robes are dozens of pouches and small packs, all cunningly strapped down so they don't dangle as he floats in the air.

Because he is indeed floating.

"I mean I've had that done before but its just soo great! I mean you can't get that kind of clean with just a bath!" He waves one hand idily. Its a gleaming silver cybernetic, covered in ports and interface points. "That really get-down-in-there-and-get-it-all-grimed-out clean! Love it!"

A soft hup sound from the figure and he pushes off the ceiling to land on the floor. "I'm Lofwyr! You all can call me Lof. Or Loffy. Or That Guy. I've answered to 'STOP OR I'LL SHOOT' before but that is not one I try to have thrown at me that ofte--wait..." The chatter stops as he peers towards the newly refreshed group. Slowly he circles around behind Taelan, pacing round the group before stopping.

"Tee!" The exclamation comes with a finger point. "I knew I recognized the back of that head! I mean you look a lot better than when I last saw you! Your upright and everything! I mean I kinda had to put that bump on the back of your head but you survived and everything! Wizz. I mean really wizz!" He slowly nods before blinking. "Wait. Uh. Um." Now looking curiously towards the rest.

"...so...um...tell me you got out of your last line of work. Please?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:24, Tue 05 July 2016.

Jaeda Swiftsteel
 player, 10 posts
 Glaive
 Intense Training
Tue 5 Jul 2016
at 04:04
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
"T? I didn't expect to run into you here." Jaeda asks, eyes widening in surprise. But...even as she says that she seems to come to some conclusion.

Then, the appearance of the flamboyant fellow who just...bounced off the ceiling and who also appears to know T makes her blink a few times. Then she recovers herself. As the other two seem to know each other, she sweeps off her hat and bows as well. "Jaeda Swiftsteel," she replies.

She straightens and regards the two men. The Wave rooms had all been in the same section, then. "I take it the both of you received a mysterious summons similar to the one I received. Grand promises of favor and all that sort of thing?"

If they hadn't, she was honor-bound not to give up too many details, but...she really didn't think she was wrong here.
Daesa Lightspire
 player, 5 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Tue 5 Jul 2016
at 14:26
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Daesa was so wrapped up in waiting for Hat Man to return that she almost didn't hear Dexil read her invitation verbatim. It then occurs to her that she wasn't the only one to get such an invitation, so she gets to her feet again and approaches Dexil.

"You too? I hope that this isn't a trap.  I mean, the House of Truth would probably be truthful, so it probably isn't a trap but it's good to be prepared right?"  The young woman word vomits in her excitement. "Do you know the Man in the Hat?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:32, Tue 05 July 2016.

Dexil Guilan
 player, 5 posts
 Jack
 School of Hard Knocks
Tue 5 Jul 2016
at 15:00
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Dexil gestured for the young lady to sit;

"I know little of the Order bar the name and what I've gathered from the few Aeon Priests I've spoken too. I do hope this isn't a ploy to entrap us. That would be regrettable."

Looking around he raised an eyebrow; "I didn't see a man in a hat here. I've seen many people in hats before though I suspect your referencing a more recent and immediate event? There will be others I suspect. Two is not enough in any situation where heroes are required. I am not a hero, perhaps my inclusion is a mistake..."

The young mans words were odd, like there was too much thinking behind them, their structure awkward compared to most others of the 9th World.

"Assuming we're here in response to the same invite, whatever it is that hasn't been revealed yet, why do you think the Order invited you? Have you performed heroic deeds in this Steadfast?"
Taelan Faswell
 player, 7 posts
 Jack
 Fugitive
Wed 6 Jul 2016
at 00:30
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Taelan opened his mouth to respond to Jaeda when there was a sudden voice behind him. He turned to look at the source of the interruption, his widening again once again at yet another familiar face. He stared in disbelief as his eyes shot between the two of them, obviously more than a little stunned. He closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, centering himself a bit as he tipped his hat back, bringing his face a bit out of the shadow that would be formed by it.

"Yes, I remember you too... Though I didn't really expect to see you again. I... no I don't do that kind of work, thankfully. We'll, uh... talk about that later." A hand came up to absentmindedly rub the back of his neck, the sensation of something hard hitting him in the back of the head coming back a little bit. "I also remember hitting a little harder than I expected. Had a headache for a week..."

He shook his head softly before considering Jaeda a moment as she spoke of the reason for her being here. He chuckled to himself and crossed his arms over his chest. "Let me guess, little flying creature came up to you and started talking? The level of coincidence here is a little hard to believe." Despite his words, he was relieved to see here. A friendly face did make him feel a little better about this whole situation. Lofwyr was familiar to him as well, even though he had only met him the once. He raised an eyebrow as he looked back to the eccentric man in white robes. "I'm assuming you got summoned here by something similar?"

This message was last edited by the player at 02:59, Wed 06 July 2016.

Daesa Lightspire
 player, 6 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Wed 6 Jul 2016
at 02:41
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
"I trained with Aeon Priests in my youth, so I know a little but not enough to satisfy your curiosity."  Daesa runs her fingers through her ginger hair before she takes the offered seat.

"Well hopefully, I mean I am sure we both have our talents but two would not be enough for such a lofty invitation.  Maybe the Man in the Hat is part of the group as you suggest."  Though his musings on hats cause her eyes to glass over before she shakes her head.  "It was a specific one, I am sure he'll turn out."

"For me, I am sure some former teacher of mine perhaps sent my name along.  I can't recall anything that would label me as heroic.  I suppose all will be revealed in time."
Lofwyr Hawkesong
 player, 2 posts
 Nano
 Ports and Plugs
Wed 6 Jul 2016
at 02:55
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
"Oh wait wait! Formality!" Lofwyr grinned for a moment before he swept into a graceful bow. "Lofwyr Hawksong, at your service. Tinkerer, collector, salvage, and general man about town. At your service!"

He paused before offering her a wink. "Or something like that at least."

Then he turned towards Taelan with an equally wide grin coloring his features. "Sorry about that my friend! Sometimes I don't realise my own strength!" Again he flexed that cyberarm before his sharp eyes flickered between the pair.

"Indeed! A little bird gave me a message to be here. So here I am. I wanted so hard to capture that little bird to..." A pause. "...help it function better. Yeah. That is totally why. Anyway!  I didn't know there were this many people here! That is great though. I always like meeting new people!"
Jaeda Swiftsteel
 player, 11 posts
 Glaive
 Intense Training
Wed 6 Jul 2016
at 19:26
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
In reply to Lofwyr Hawkesong (msg # 27):

Jaeda's eyes twinkled in amusement at the tinkerer's antics, and she smiled at the wink. She returned her fancy hat to her head as she answered T's question. "A little bird for me as well," she says. "At least they're wining and dining us nicely."

She looks back and forth between them, clearly burning with curiosity. T might recognize the look she gets when she's just dying to ask questions. Still, she also chooses not to pry. She does have some control over that curiosity, when she wants to.

"Well, don't stand about the hall on my account," she says cheerfully. "I was just on my way back down. I only thought to stop because I thought perhaps others who had been contacted might be coming out of quote-Wave rooms-unquote too. And lo, they were."
Taelan Faswell
 player, 8 posts
 Jack
 Fugitive
Thu 7 Jul 2016
at 07:17
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Taelan watched Lofwyr for a moment with a slight smirk on his face, the man as loud and enthusiastic as he remembered him. He raised a hand out of his crossed arms for a brief second in an informal greeting. "It should be obvious at this point you both know who I am so pardon me if I don't twirl and bow too."

His eyes fixed on Jaeda for a moment, indeed recognizing the expression. He shook his head and met her gaze. "I'm guessing by that look on your face you're in the dark just as much of the two of us are when it comes to this. If we all received the same message from that bird, I doubt that any of us knows more than you do. Well..." He glanced back at the man with all the bits of machinery hanging off him. "Unless you know more?"

Giving Lofwyr a moment to respond he nodded in agreement towards Jaeda's idea of moving back downstairs. "That sounds fair. I was planning on sitting alone for a time but I would be willing to join you. I wasn't even planning on using the... Wave, did you call it? It was mostly my own curiosity that helped me figure out that device. And seeing as they somehow don't feel the need for proper doors I would very happily leave this area. Ladies first." He gestures for Jaeda to lead the way, giving her a look as if mildly teasing her as he did so.
Lofwyr Hawkesong
 player, 3 posts
 Nano
 Ports and Plugs
Fri 8 Jul 2016
at 18:25
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
"Down it is then! And on to finding out just what all this is about!" A pause. "And I'm sure you twirl and bow quite well Tee. I'll trust you, so you don't have to demonstrate!" The wide smile on Lofwyr's face is genuine enough, eyes crinkled just slightly with laughter before he lightly stepped towards the stairs.

"Nope! Don't know a thing. Which always bothers me to no end, but at least we'll find out soon enough I'm sure. I mean you don't call an meeting with multiple people without some kind of plan behind it!" A pause again. "Unless your mad. I mean I suppose the sender could be mad. As in crazy mad, not angry mad, but then the birds would have been...I don't know. Flying biting skull monsters or something. Who knows."


"And sitting alone is never as much fun as sitting with company! That is a science /fact/."
The Strange
 GM, 28 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Sat 9 Jul 2016
at 03:32
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Between showers, room explorations, and talking, time has definitely passed. Already outside, the light has begun to fade, announcing the coming of dusk. As such, it's perhaps fortuitous that those upstairs chose to come down at this time.

As Taelan leads the group down the stairs, it likely is with a bit of shock that he sees yet another familiar face in Dexil, at the moment in conversation with a woman he wouldn't recognize. However, there isn't really much time to react, as two men choose this moment to walk through the main doors, their very presence demanding attention.

The two are not dressed identically, although it is clear they are of the same order... Aeon Priests.

One stands at an easy seven feet tall, a mountain of a man, in golden, pleated robes that nearly touch the floor. Three scarlet scarves, with golden inlaid patterns running throughout them, wrapped in separated  layers around the neck. A golden cowl covers most of his head, held in place by a scarlet rope across his brow. Half of his face is obscured by what appears to be a second skin, thick and reptilian in appearance, with three segmented eyes where one of his natural eyes is covered. This skin of this protuberance, despite appearing scaled, also gives off the appearance of movement.

The other stands at a far more reasonable five and a half feet, dwarfed by her companion, but at the same time far more regal. She, too, wears robes, although they somehow give off the impression of being both flexible and metallic simultaneously. Gold patterns course through the surface of her robes, constantly shifting and changing. Her cowl is almost a helm, dropping back into a spike that ends between her shoulders. Her own face is clear of odd objects, although her eyes have clearly been replaced, the golden orbs almost glowing.

The female Priest is the one to speak, her voice oddly mechanical and echoing. “Children of Order, I seek those invited to join us at the House of Truth this eve. Please, announce yourself if you are here, so we can take you to the Baron and Cardinal.”
Jaeda Swiftsteel
 player, 12 posts
 Glaive
 Intense Training
Sat 9 Jul 2016
at 03:41
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
In reply to The Strange (msg # 31):

If ever anyone looked like a demon, the scaled, seven foot tall four-eyed man is it.

If ever anyone sounded like a demon, the Aeon Priestess is it. Jaeda has trouble looking at either of them, and a little color drains from her face. For just one moment, it looks as though she's having second thoughts.

But then she thinks about the trek here. The safehouses. The dwindling store of shivs in her pockets. And the fact that she's been all over the world, far from the provincial views of the home she left.

It brings her little comfort, but it allows her to simply say, "Jaeda Swiftsteel. Present." She glances uneasily at her companions to see their reactions. She's pretty sure they'll just take it in stride. Everyone in the lands outside the Black City seems to take everything in stride.

Just what manner of job will this be?
Daesa Lightspire
 player, 7 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Mon 11 Jul 2016
at 02:58
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
So many things are happening at once that Daesa head nearly starts to spin.  First the Hat Man comes down the stairs, which is very exciting.  She turns to Dexil and politely gestures in Taelan's direction.  "/That/ is the hat man!"

However more guests arrive, and Daesa's face light up as she recognizes that they are Aeon Priests.  She quickly stands and approaches them, giving a short bow of reverence she addresses the shorter one.

"Daesa Lightspire, here and accounted for."  Though she turns to look at Jaeda as she introduces herself, and tilts her head as the color runs out of her face.
Lofwyr Hawkesong
 player, 4 posts
 Nano
 Ports and Plugs
Tue 12 Jul 2016
at 22:28
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Aeon Priests.

Most people would be respectful.

Some people would be terrified.

"I want to poke his face." Lofwyr's voice is low, but his eyes are bright. "I mean is it some kind of biomechanical mask? Is it really awesome cyberware? Did he remove it from something else and then put it on? Does she have some kind of voice modulation system installed? Is it...."

He paused.

"Take a breath." The obviously insane salvager muttered under his breath as he followed his own advice. Even if he /did/ still want to poke at the giants face and see what the lady priest was hiding under her robes.

"Er." A longer pause. "Lofwyr here. Yeah. Definitely here. Definitely not up to anything." Like planning on analyzing their obvious adaptions.
Taelan Faswell
 player, 9 posts
 Jack
 Fugitive
Wed 13 Jul 2016
at 04:53
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Taelan stayed respectfully silent in regards to Lofwyr's comment about sitting with company being better than sitting alone. He wasn't entirely sure he completely agreed with the sentiment, but he wasn't in right frame of mind to start down that particular mental rabbit hole.

Turning to follow Jaeda down the stairs he adjusted the hat back to it's normal lowered position, covering his face in shadow once more. Reaching the bottom of the stairs he glanced around long enough to notice a woman gesture his way and refer to him as 'the hat man'. He raised a confused eyebrow for a moment before glancing to her companion at the table. He eyes go wide for the third time in several minutes, momentarily in shock at seeing another person he recognizes. "Oh, for the love of..."

He barely has time to glance at the woman Dexil is sitting with, mildly curious if he knows her too and just doesn't recognize her right away, when the odd couple walks in.

A hand snaps reflexively towards his belt as the larger and more imposing figure enters the room, not sure want to think of him. Taelan had met a few gentle giants in his days and he wasn't confident this was one of them. Next his gaze fell upon the woman that seemed to be wearing an outfit themed around the word flashy. A scowl crossed his lips for the briefest second at the upper class appearance of her clothes, though his face quickly went back to guardedly neutral. He studies the pair for a moment before his eyes meet Jaeda's, noticing that she seemed to be unnerved by the pair as well, though for seemingly different reasons.

He chanced a glance over at the technophile as he seemed to drool over the pair. This caused him to suddenly become aware of himself as his gloved hand left the grip of his weapon. He took a deep breath and looked at the priest who had spoken, his face pointed obscured by the shadow to hide the still light glare that was being sent the woman's way. He stood straight and stated flatly that his name was simply, "Taelan..."
Dexil Guilan
 player, 8 posts
 Jack
 School of Hard Knocks
Wed 13 Jul 2016
at 08:42
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Dexil had been about to respond, but the excitable woman was off before he could as the common room became suddenly busy.

Doing what he knew best and how he was taught, he quickly assessed those present. Dexil recognized T but none of the others. There were evidently commonalities between them and they were far from complete strangers...

... unlike the Aeon Priests. An odd pair, possibly more active in dabbling with the numenera than their more academic brethren, but they were the real strangers. Remaining seated Dexil waved and spoke his name, more interested in observing the other assembled 9th Worlders.
The Strange
 GM, 32 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Thu 14 Jul 2016
at 04:22
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
A smile crosses the lips of both priests as each individual introduce themselves. Apparently, they are well-accustomed to such disparate responses. The larger man looks first to Daesa, his grin widening, and then actual joy crosses his entire face as Lofwyr mutters what he must have thought was unheard. A slight nod is tipped the man's way, but the giant says nothing.

A moment of silence passes, and then the woman speaks again, “We have arranged transport for you outside. Please, follow me. Any items left here will be perfectly safe. Once you are done with the meeting, we will return you here.” With that, she turns, the giant behind her following silently.

Outside, a large vehicle awaits, easily large enough to hold the full party of seven with even a few more. The large, luxurious vehicle is pulled by a massive beast, large enough that alone it almost takes the entire width of the road. Common enough beasts, the aneen are often used for transport, for heavy labor, and even as a primary source of meat for many communities, although they are not commonly seen this far south. Its digigrade legs alone are at least ten feet long, the body itself adding another five feet to that. A massive head, easily large enough to take an entire human in its jaws alone. The turtle-like head doesn't look like it would normally be aimed at such, however. It is clearly an herbivore.

The two quickly board the vehicle, waiting for the others to join.

[OOC: +1 XP to Lofwyr for making the GM literally LOL at work with that last one. These sort of arbitrary XP awards aren't going to be common, but that stayed with me for more than one day, so... rewarded!]

[OOC: Everyone, please roll Initiative. This will be your Speed base + 1d20. Include your result in your response.]
Dexil Guilan
 player, 9 posts
 Jack
 School of Hard Knocks
Thu 14 Jul 2016
at 12:29
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Dexil followed, content enough in the Priests to take them at face value, and boarded the vehicle. Aneen were a common enough sight that he barely paid it any notice aside from giving it a wide berth just in case it kicked out as they were sometimes known to do if frightened.

"Is the journey far?"

Dexil had his satchel and books with him, though he travels lightly his tomes rarely leave his side....

[OOC: 15!]
Jaeda Swiftsteel
 player, 13 posts
 Glaive
 Intense Training
Thu 14 Jul 2016
at 15:10
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Oh good. Animal-drawn transportation. Jaeda let out a sigh of relief. This was something nice and normal. Transportation as it was meant to be done.

She'd done a double take at Lofwyr's comment. And she'd curiously examined her companions. It was a somewhat smaller group then for some reason she'd been envisioning. She straightens her hat on her head and boards the vehicle, settling in.

[[OOC: 32]]
Daesa Lightspire
 player, 8 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Fri 15 Jul 2016
at 01:37
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Daesa looks toward the large fellow who catches her eyes.  For a moment she tilts her head, than she gets a very excited look on her face and starts nodding quickly.  However she says nothing at all and soon breaks eye contact with the large man and happily walks out of the room toward the carriage.


[[OOC: 16]]
Taelan Faswell
 player, 10 posts
 Jack
 Fugitive
Fri 15 Jul 2016
at 07:38
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Taelan's appeared to relax a little at the apparent jovial nature of the large man, though the regal looking woman was still receiving a bit of his ire. The intensity of the glare lessened a bit as the rest of the group filed out of the building into the awaiting carriages. He paid the animals pulling the vehicle little mind as he instead was glancing around at the group of familiar faces, spending an extra moment on the one he didn't recognize. This woman had introduced herself as Daesa and as far as he knew she was the only one that had been summoned he hadn't met before. Was there some unknown meaning behind this or was this purely coincidence? He sighed heavily as he climbed into his seat, obviously a little on edge from the strange circumstance.

[[OOC: Natural 1, adding up to 13. Oh joy...]]
Lofwyr Hawkesong
 player, 5 posts
 Nano
 Ports and Plugs
Sat 16 Jul 2016
at 16:52
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Lofwyr lagged behind the rest, blinking slowing as if processing something. Something definitely caused him to stop his incessant chatter. Which is a small miracle in and of itself. The man ambled on though, after a few moments of processing, outside of the building to find himself staring at the transport.

He always liked creatures.

As he went though, he waited until the robed woman looked away before he slowly gave the big giant a thumbs up.

Scavengers are a odd bunch.

She shook himself out of all this to look towards the other two member of the little group, and then there is that grin again. "Hi! Looks like we are gonna be traveling together for awhile now! I'm Lofwyr!" The introduction given as he clambered up into the transport. Seemingly entirely comfortable traveling somewhere with a group of relative strangers.

[OOC: 14]

This message was last edited by the player at 16:58, Sat 16 July 2016.

The Strange
 GM, 33 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Sun 17 Jul 2016
at 16:30
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
The ride, despite the size of the beast of burden, is surprisingly comfortable for a non-powered method. People move out of the way in deference, and some even call out to the priests with familiar, joyful voices. When asked about the city, the two don't speak much, especially the giant, although a few questions are answered.

The lack of doors? “None would dare breach a barrier that isn't welcome to them. Those who do are always caught, and the penalty is five nights within the walls without escort. You can imagine the end results.”

The cleanliness? “You can't see them... but apparently those who built the city were obsessed with it. Numenera scour the streets and walls all day, removing clutter and debris. All of us took to this example, and do our best to keep things as they are.”

As to the history of the city, other than what's currently known about its discovery and founding within the past few centuries, there's very little. Apparently the primary purpose of the city is rumored to be hidden under it, but few are brave enough to risk its depths.

Perhaps half an hour's ride later, the carriage pulls up to the massive pair of obsidian towers seen even from a distance when approaching the city. The first is the one they lead you do as you disembark, and by the trappings it's clear it's the one dedicated to the Barony; paintings of previous Barons and their families line the walls..

Within, you are led immediately to the center of the tower, and up a black staircase. Glowglobes light the path up, with very little in the way to decorate the stairs. They lead up to several levels, each circular, with 17 featureless doors, and then another set of stairs. Thirty-five levels in all, until you reach what is likely the top.

This is a single room, far brighter and more ostentatious than anything else you've seen here. Open flames, burning endlessly from multiple braziers, are suspended from the ceiling with no visible anchoring Weapon displays line the walls, with all matter of weaponry, from the basic to the more esoteric. A large desk, made of the same material as the tower, almost seemingly grown from it, sits in the center, bare at the moment. An elaborately carved thrown sits behind that, also seemingly grown from the tower itself.
The Strange
 GM, 34 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Sun 17 Jul 2016
at 16:43
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
On it sits... an odd man. Small in stature... unusually so. No more than four and a half feet tall. His body is perfectly proportioned for his size, however, rather than showing the common signs of dwarfism. An elaborate mechanical device wraps about his scalp like a crown, moving parts shifting and whirring constantly, metal tendrils reaching down into his hair and beyond, under his collar. When his hands show, these same metal tendrils show to come out of his cuffs, to wrap sinuously around each finger. Every movement is punctuated with a soft, purring whir.

One either side of him, two... creatures stand at attention. Visitants, most call them – humanoids known not to be human, yet not abhuman or mutant. For many, they are the things of rumors and legend, not a reality. On his left side, the visitant is a creature covered not with skin, but with green, fleshy bark that occasionally sprouts with shoots that flower, wither, and die while you watch it. A single, large, bulbous eye sits in its conical head, with no other facial features visible. It wears no armor, although in the place where we would expect to see clothing, a thicker, browned, In one three-taloned hand, a glass staff is held; small, pink, phosphorescent creatures can be seen swimming within it. A black, natural bark shield is growing from it's left arm.

The second, might be even stranger. Standing nearly as tall as the giant, a beast with skin a dark violet-red hue, a head that can only be described as fish-like, small, yellow-slit eyes, and a tall, thin crest atop it's head. It is thin, and sinewy, almost no body fat to be seen. A metallic weave serves as its armor, almost a body suit that leaves no mystery to its musculature. This armor is its thickest around the chest region, where another plate appears to be crafted on to the bodysuit. Wrist-mounted blades appear to be its primary weapon.

Behind the throne, another priest stands: The Cardinal. That much is clear by the medallion hanging from his neck, bearing the eye of truth. His robes are simple, compared to some... crimson cloth without the intricacies of the others, a hood pulled over his head, and a mask covering his face: a simple, featureless, white bit of synth.
Jaeda Swiftsteel
 player, 14 posts
 Glaive
 Intense Training
Sun 17 Jul 2016
at 17:06
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
In reply to The Strange (msg # 44):

Really, it's at moments like these that Jaeda understands the fears of the city she's abandoned.

But she has to admit. Cleaning demons are pretty cool.

And it's nice to know she won't have to rig up elaborate traps just to sleep at night.

Meanwhile, she does her best not to gape at the vistants. These, she'd never seen before. Truly, she had begun to think of herself as rather sophisticated and worldly these days, but she now feels like a bumpkin once more, and quite out of her league.

Still, she sweeps off her hat and bows to the assemblage, figuring that's what's appropriate when meeting with cardinals and the like. It never hurts to flatter a client. She doesn't get too ostentatious or ridiculous about it, plopping the hat back on her head and straightening after only a moment longer than she took to bow when introducing herself earlier.

Surreptitiously, she checks the reactions of the other members of her party, curious as to what their reactions to all of this might be.
The Strange
 GM, 35 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Sun 17 Jul 2016
at 17:18
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
The small man speaks with a voice that is shockingly low for one of his stature, calling each of you by name with a smile. “Thank you, each of you, for taking the time to meet with me.” He makes a gesture, and five 'chairs' begin to grow out of the onyx floor, one for each of you. “I know this must seem a bit much... but we are needing help, and reaching out as far as we can to get. That includes soliciting the help of people such as yourself.” He grins, and a moment later servants, human this time, bring water, serving it to everyone.

“I will answer your questions shortly, of which I'm sure there are plenty, but in the interest of time, I ask you to bear with me as I lay out the most basic points of what we wish to hire you for. After that, w can elaborate on the fine points.”

“Three months ago, about four days ride south of our city, on the border with Milave along the Kelen river, a large... artifact city revealed itself, where previously grazing hills once stood. A massive pyramid, floating over a ruined city we've never seen before, stands there now. We've already got troops staked out at every entrance to the city, and now need adventurers such as yourself to help us map it out, gather any usable tech, and hopefully grant us access to the pyramid proper.”

The Cardinal then speaks, her voice not muffled by her mask, “The Truth: we are following standard protocols. Initial investigation of a newly-discovered ruin requires the utilization of less... well known heroes. Those with a likelihood of success without being such high-profile adventurers that their deaths will cause as much distress among the populace, until we know the level of threat.”

The Baron's eyes narrow a bit, but he nods, rather than contradict the other, “This is true. This is also why your job will be simple. You're not expected to be the legendary heroes here. We've solicited the help of three groups so far, each small groups like your own here, and sent them over. The other three  are already there, and having some success. We wish to hedge our bets. If you run into anything too difficult to handle, you are welcome to document what you can as you flee, and report it back to us as well. All information you provide us will be useful.”

He smiles, “You will be provided provisions, and can resupply with our troops at any time while you are there. You will be given means to send back details of what you encounter, as well as any minutia you can't carry yourselves but you know will be useful to us or others. For each of those you send back to us, your group payment will be 3 shins, to split as you see fit. On top of that, for each day you spend in exploration, you will be paid 5 shins apiece. If you are the first to find us confirmed entry to the pyramid, we will add an additional 20 shins each.”

He leans back, then, interlacing his fingers, “So... questions? Are you interested?”

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:20, Sun 17 July 2016.

Dexil Guilan
 player, 10 posts
 Jack
 School of Hard Knocks
Mon 18 Jul 2016
at 10:03
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Dexil had remained largely quiet for the journey, content to let the others fill any silence with their queries of the city, instead keeping an eye out for any automata he may get the chance to observe.

The discussion, on arrival and ascent of the tower, had piqued his curiosity. Aside from automata such grand mysteries always drew him in. An entire city appeared with a floating pyramid above it? Before he'd research this new location of the 9th World he had questions itching to be asked;

"Baron, many questions, I don't know where to start. Is anyone already living in the city at all? What have the other teams found so far? Have the Order identified the city, it's origin or populace at all? Why the focused interest in the pyramid? Does the Order know what it contains?" ... he stopped himself as he became aware he was firing questions faster than they could likely be dealt with.

Dexils words came fast, it was rare to hear him speak so much, but when the floodgates are opened....
Daesa Lightspire
 player, 9 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Wed 20 Jul 2016
at 16:42
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Daesa spent the journey to the baron in quiet awe.  She appears to be trying to take in all the sights that she could in short time it takes them to get there.  She twists and turns in her chair as they ride and occasionally asks questions about the city in general.

Walking up to the office was almost an ordeal.  She hasn't had to climb a spire this hight but she doesn't vocalize any complaints.  Once their task is explained she looks ready to ask questions but Dexil beats her to it. She looks rather excited that someone else word vomits as much as she does.

"I think he asked the best questions." She says brightly as she waits for the answers.
Taelan Faswell
 player, 11 posts
 Jack
 Fugitive
Thu 21 Jul 2016
at 07:23
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Pulling up to the large obsidian towers, the scowl that had been slowly fading from Taelan's expression started to return. He usually did not enjoy getting involved with people this obviously rich and powerful, the but the idea of what he could potentially gain from this interaction was enough to help him keep his opinion to himself. He did mutter quietly under his breath as they reached the massive staircase, "Of course it's on the top floor. The better to look down on the city." He shook his head, wondering what exactly he had gotten himself into as he started to climb.

Finally reaching their destination he gives the pair of hulking body guards a wary glance, not moving immediately as seats are offered. He does eventually relax enough to sit down, though it takes a moment before his eyes leave the two visitants to finally listen to what the Baron has to say.

Taelan's hands unconsciously grip the glass of water he's holding as the Cardinal basically describes them all as expendable nobodies. He lowers his head a moment, the brim of his hat blocking his face as he mutters curses under his breath, obviously not very appreciative of the sentiment. He takes a deep breath to calm himself as the topic of payment comes up, reminding himself why he accepted this invitation in the first place.

He listens as Dexil asks his questions, covering most of the topics he was curious about when it came to the job in one fell swoop. There was one thing that had been nagging him since the small bird came to him and he felt he desperately needed at least that question answered. He straightened himself in his chair and looked at the Baron directly. "I do have one more question. I can't speak for everyone here, but I have spent the last few years making a point of not making too big of an impression. I don't like drawing a lot of attention to myself. I guess I'm asking... How did you hear about us? How did you know where to find us? You said you've sent other groups in there already, but why us?"
Lofwyr Hawkesong
 player, 6 posts
 Nano
 Ports and Plugs
Sat 23 Jul 2016
at 01:51
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
"Right. So. Expendable people no one knows about. Guess that makes sense. Guess we are also cheaper sells than any big named heroes." Lofwyr has always muttered outloud when thinking things through.

The whole ride the salvager had been delighted with the various things. The city and its staff. The vehicle. The giant's bio-friend-mask-thing. It was all he could do to prevent himself from running at one of the constructs and trying to see if its bio-mechanical or just created like that.

So much data its almost overwhelming. That might be a reason for the muttering.

The questions Dexil put to the group were good ones, ones that he happened to be curious about himself. At least when he tore himself away from attempting to dissect the guardian creatures with his eyes alone.
The Strange
 GM, 36 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Sat 23 Jul 2016
at 21:06
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
With a sigh, the Baron closes his eyes for a brief moment. However, before he can immediately respond, the Cardinal speaks in unaccented Truth, a language understood by all here except Jaeda, “(All legendary heroes begin as no one.)” She then slips back into common before continuing, “As I stated, this is standard procedure. It is simply the most equitable way to do this sort of business. You get a chance to make names for yourself, as well as do work for the Order, expand our knowledge and trove of artifacts, line your own pockets, and yes, we save the shins.”

The Baron clears his throat then, and looks to Dexil, lifting a single digit, “No humans appear to live there, although we have not ruled out the possibility of an abhuman presence, and there are definitely some automata and creatures who have either moved in, or were there before it appeared to us. The area of the city is expansive, and we've not had much in the way of reports back from the teams there. Yet. They will likely know more, if and when you get there yourselves,” He then lifts a second finger, “As to what this city is, why it suddenly appeared there, or what it is called? No. Neither our records, the records of the Order, or any information we've uncovered here in Labaryth, gives us a clue as to its origin or purpose. Such is the standard in our world, however. Those who came from the Before left these mysteries for us.”

The Cardinal then speaks up again, as the Baron looks to her. “The form of a Pyramid, per our studies, should have some significance in and of itself. It is a form that seems to repeat itself consistently throughout the detritus of all the prior Worlds. As such, it will obviously contain within it some sort of discovery that will either deepen the Mysteries, or reveal more Truth. Thus, we wish access to it.”

Lastly, she looks to Taelan, “Ancuan and the Order have no interest in the petty revenges of a minor noble from Malvich. Their reach does not exceed their Kingdom, and Yorvich in Neverlost would never let a minor squabble upset the peace and cross his borders. He has enough to deal with in the Bandit King, and the Order's assistance there also grants you safe passage, so long as you work for us.”

She pauses, hands “As to why we know you, and asked for you... this is more involved there than can be easily explained. Daesa and Lofwyr can explain more about the Datasphere to you all as time permits, at a later time, I am sure. When we attempted to query the Datasphere about the new city, there was very little we could get, other than scattered references to a glyph we believe to represent mothers, motherhood, or something similar. When we pressed on that, we got you. Specifically, thirty-seven of you, although to date, only twenty-two have answered the summons. We were given your faces, your names, your location, and another glyph: Father. The Datasphere knows us all, we breathe it in and live it... so it can find us, when it wants to.”

(OOC: More coming)
The Strange
 GM, 37 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Sat 23 Jul 2016
at 22:04
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Once the Cardinal completes the last explanation, the Baron gestures to one of the servants standing near the door. A moment later, ten servants walk in, each carrying a small box, which they place in a row on the desk. A cypher is seen in each one, kept apart from the others by the borders of the box. “To sweeten the offer, then. You may each choose from these as you wish, and if you've reached your personal limit, we will definitely find use for any you choose to replace.”

He then smiles, “So again I'll ask: Interested?”


[OOC]

Our initiative roll will now determine the order in which each of you may choose to take a cypher from the table and replace one of your own with it.

The order is as follows:
  • Jaeda: 32
  • Daesa: 16
  • Dexil: 15
  • Lofwyr: 14
  • Taelan: 13

You will not have time during this part of the encounter to identify it (usually takes about an hour per attempt), but there will be sufficient time during the trip to the pyramid for us to assume an automatic success on the identify roll later, so once we are done, I will give you each the details of the cypher chosen. You do not HAVE to trade a cypher should you choose to hold on to the ones you have. If you do choose one, or more, to swap, please provide in the OOC comments which number you are going for. In your IC post, describe the cypher you are replacing it with. I will update the list below accordingly.

Taelan: For your Critical Failure, the intrusion being forced upon you is you need to roll 1d10 (this will not mirror the order below. I have set an alternative order for you). Due to being the last to make a decision, you are somewhat impulsive in one of your choices, and will grab the item in the slot filled at that time, be it from this list, or one that one of your compatriots have chosen. You may also swap your other cypher should you choose, but you MUST relinquish one of your cyphers for a blind swap in this exercise.

The objects on display:

  1. A thin strip of orange synth, with a nearly-clear stripe running lengthwise through the center. It appears to be designed to wear over the eyes.
  2. A rusted metal ring with unfamiliar symbols etched across the entire surface. Meant to be worn on a finger. Taken by Jaeda
    • A small vial filled with moving, shifting metal shavings.

  3. A single glass lens, surrounded with what looks like a golden border just the right size to be placed over one eye. The outer surface is covered in small bumps.
  4. A leather strap with a complex-looking launching device, looks to be wrist-mounted. Taken by Lofwyr
    • A canister full of liquid with a Large, bulbous eye within. The eye ends in a six-inch stalk.

  5. A small, insectoid clasp of metal design, with movable 'claws' that look like they could be attached to the pommel of a weapon. Taken by Taelan
    • A triangular, black stone.

  6. An ornate, jeweled locket, somewhat over-sized.
  7. A brittle-looking, white synth wrist strap. A flat, green gem is attached to the center.
  8. A thin, black synth belt that buckles in the center with a complex latch system.
  9. A metal tube about the length of a forearm, and about 3 inches in diameter. Appears hollow.
  10. Black, synth gloves. The palms pulse with mild traces of green light in obscure but ordered patterns. Taken by Daesa
    • A glass cube, with swirling grey mist inside orbiting a glowing core.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:13, Tue 02 Aug 2016.

Jaeda Swiftsteel
 player, 15 posts
 Glaive
 Intense Training
Sat 23 Jul 2016
at 23:21
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Jaeda had been listening intently. But she nods.

"Yes," she says simply. "I'll do it."

Mysteries, after all, call her as nothing else does. And the money's not terrible either.

She steps up to the table, glancing up at their employers, then back at the team, before she looks down at the items on display. The ring calls to her. She picks it up, sort of looks up at them with it, then replaces it with the vial of creepy crawly liquid. She knew very well it made armor, but...she also knew she wasn't sure she could bear to let such things crawl all over her flesh.

She also had a personal and practical thing about one use items...if there was a chance she could carry around something a bit less creepy and a bit more long-term practical here, well, then she was going to take it.

Then she stepped back to let the others have their pick.
Dexil Guilan
 player, 11 posts
 Jack
 School of Hard Knocks
Mon 25 Jul 2016
at 09:27
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
To the answers of the Baron and Cardinal Dexil nodded in acknowledgment of the information. It made sense, though it was curious as to why they'd been chosen; it was the will of the spirits from the prior ages and not through choice of the Order per se.

Dexil glanced at the offered Cyphers, all curious, but chose none. His mind was busy contemplating the mysterious city and the automata mentioned to be found within. Native or similarly exploring from elsewhere ....

"Thank you Baron, and Cardinal, I'm most interested. When can we begin?"
Daesa Lightspire
 player, 10 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Thu 28 Jul 2016
at 01:45
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
While it does indeed sound as if they are expendable, this at least sounds better than what her original plan was going to be for the rest of her life.  Daesa figures that if she dies out there in search of knowledge, someone will at least consider her heroic and that'll just have to be enough.

Hearing that Lofwyr also knows about the datasphere, she looks a bit excited, but doesn't word vomit at curious man.  Instead she nods her head to the Baron and the Cardinal.

"I will do ask you have asked, and I hope I do not disappoint."  She says brightly.

However it takes her a second to figure out which cypher she wants, and lingers over several of them before she finally settles on the Black Gloves.  In place of it she leaves a glass cube before she walks away and waits for everyone else to have their turn.
Lofwyr Hawkesong
 player, 7 posts
 Nano
 Ports and Plugs
Sat 30 Jul 2016
at 05:16
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
"Of course I accept!" The scavanger repliee with a grin. "I mean you can't keep me away from this sort of place with a stick! Its full of things I havn't seen or looked at or dismantled or..." The man pausee a long moment. "...er. Yes. Accepted. Your grace. Your magnificence. Sir. Boss...guy...guys..."

He rambled on to a stop slowly as the Cyphers were trotted out for inspection.

His full concentration fell on those pretty little items as they glittered before him, one hand itching to snatch them all up at once. He resisted however, instead fishing something out of one of his own robes first.

"Can't have too many of a good thing now can you?" His words came with a bright grin as he set on the table a little cylinder with what...looked like an eyestalk in it.

"I call him Bob." His reply serious. "But looks like he'll have to stay here if I want...this."

His hand moved quick as a snake towards the little wrist launcher. Its techy and awesome you know.

"So." A silence filled the air after his words as he became slightly distracted with his new toy. "...when do we leave?"
Taelan Faswell
 player, 12 posts
 Jack
 Fugitive
Sat 30 Jul 2016
at 16:25
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
Taelan looks between the Cardinal and the Baron, still not entirely sure how he feels about the whole situation. He seemed pleased at the promise of safe passage, even if it meant being tied solely to The Order for a while. But the selection process bothered him a bit. By the description there was something more to it than just random selection. While on the surface it seemed like they were just expendable nothings, they had been selected for a very specific reason. The main problem was nobody seemed to know what that reason was.

He was a little distracted as the items were presented, his mind wandering as he pondered this little mind puzzle for a moment. A small part of him wanted to turn down the offer, but his curiosity coupled with what he could seek to gain from this job outweighed his doubts.

He stood slowly and nodded, walking towards the cyphers. "It seems I would be foolish to decline at this point. I'm in." He quickly glanced through the offered items and walked to the first one that caught his eye. Reaching inside one of his coat's many pockets he pulls out a small, black stone in the shape of a pyramid. He looks at it for a second before tossing it lightly in the air and catching it again, nodding again before grabbing the small insectoid clasp, setting the black stone in it's place.

He glances between the members of the newly assembled team before turning back to their benefactors. "So, what do we do from here?"
The Strange
 GM, 38 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Tue 2 Aug 2016
at 23:17
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
At each agreement, the Baron's tiny smile widens. After Taelan's choice, he nods again to the servants, to take the remaining cyphers away, as he continues. "Very good. You must be tired. You are welcome to take your leave, and rest up before your journey. You have four days on the road ahead of you, and while we have arranged easy transit for you, I would suggest you take the time to recover and ready yourselves. Our captain of the guard will meet you at the city once you arrive, to further brief you about the state of things."

And with that, the five of you are dismissed. The original priests walk you out of the tower, back to the transport, which is still there waiting for you. Once back at the inn, food and drink is provided, as it entertainment by means of a rather gifted group of musicians.

<Fade>
The Strange
 GM, 40 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Tue 2 Aug 2016
at 23:31
[IC] Episode 001: Entering Labaryth
[OOC: This episode is complete. Everyone gets 1 XP. Check for new threads!]