2.0 Even Death May Die.   Posted by The GM.Group: 0
The GM
 GM, 521 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Wed 3 Jul 2019
at 11:58
2.0 Even Death May Die
"Well, as far as I could tell what happened was this: four ... students, I suppose, perhaps they are interns at Morgrave were assisting me at the laboratory. I'd chosen that lab as it had access to one of the disabled forges. The university doesn't let that get about, but the kind of power I needed made tapping that forge a necessity." He shrugged, sipped his wine, a dark Karrn vintage. "Of course once the connection was made they were forbidden to go down, but youth and exuberance will out. There was a time when I did things that were forbidden as well."

He set down the glass. "Are you sure you're comfortable? I can get you another pillow... No? At any rate I left the senior researcher Tashavti Kraal in charge of the interns. I suspect it was he that first suggested they go down to see what they could learn from the old forge. The two other young men were both Cannith scions; I know they must have felt a right to the forge, or at least the knowledge. It's very hard to be so close to understanding and then have all the access to answers closed off by bureaucrats who desire no knowledge beyond their limited spheres. Oh, let me help you." He handed her her glass, half-full of the same dark wine he'd poured himself.

"One was named Giliwan d'Cannith, the other Arklon d'Vorles, and then there was the young lady Seyel... I forget her surname. They must have spent some time prying and tinkering. The Forges are quite dormant now. All the magical power was being redirected to my work; I think they thought it was safe because of that. It must have seemed to, at any rate. Better? Good." He refilled his own and sipped again. "Something did go wrong though. I think there was something half formed within the forge. They didn't notice it until it attacked. A partially made warforged, perhaps? Something else? It's not my specialty; I only deal in real people. Warforged make me uncomfortable." He cleared his throat.

"As I was saying, it attacked, and not being completely incompetent--I would never have incompetents working in my lab-- they subdued the thing. But the poor girl had sustained a terrible injury."

At this she raised her head "Like me?"

"Yes, almost precisely: a perforated spleen. Now if they had managed to get her to a Jorasco in time it would have been nothing at all to repair. Why if it had been a lesser wound I suspect you or I could have mended it, well I could have. But they were concerned over appearances. I think she was very close to dying. That is when Kraal decided to use my lab to effect a similar procedure. My lab! My equipment!" He seethed.

"I have spent years, and what could have been several fortunes. It's very specialized-- not meant for that! And what's more Kraal had no idea what he was doing! He could have ruined everything! Needless to say I made sure that those students would never work as even a mop-hand at Morgrave. The University may have even pressed charges."

"And the girl?"

"Oh. She died. Quite, quite dead. And the Soul Engine does not leave enough for the ressurectionists to work with at all. No. Sad, actually. Some would have considered her quite beautiful. And I understand she was engaged to be married. It's a tragic tale."

"But what does any of this have to do with me?" she asked sleepily.

"Nothing at all. Absolutely nothing at all. Good night, Lenore. Let me know if you have any nightmares tonight. We'll be arriving in Stormreach soon, and then we can see about your own fiance."

This message was last updated by the GM at 11:59, Wed 03 July 2019.

Somewhere on the Thunder Sea
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 07:30
Even Death May Die
Kraal had left Giliwan and Arklon little choice in the matter. They'd all been discovered by Harkonner, but Kraal had managed to leverage his position even as the situation spun out of control. The two friends had hid for thirty-six hours, but when Krall had returned to them they found he' betrayed them. Kraal actually seemed to blame them for his being cast out. But even though Kraal's frame was a fit for the Cannith scions, he had something else in mind. Harkonner had fled to Stormreach, with his precious Soul Engine, and that was what Krall had his greedy mind set on.

Krall had contacts in the criminal underworld (and perhaps other underworlds as well) and managed to get the two of them smuggled aboard the Stormship Balinor's Breath, though all they ever ended up seeing was a dark hold uncomfortably close to the roar of the elemental as it churned them though the rough seas.

A Dragoon by the name of Lieutenant Reed was the one who'd gotten them aboard, along with a city-born half-orc named Hujger. Reed warned them all that their fates were spliced together on the ship; discovery of one would ruin all their chances. Reed said they'd be put off the ship if that happened. He did not say the ship would stop.

This message was last edited by the GM at 07:35, Wed 10 Apr 2019.

Hujger
 player, 3 posts
Wed 10 Apr 2019
at 16:31
Even Death May Die
Hujger had a complicated relationship with rats.

They weren't terribly nutritious or tasty, but you could always count on them being there. Hunger was something you dealt with; a part of reality you couldn't change, like the rising of the sun. And when you were hungry, when there wasn't nothing else, there were rats. They could survive, even thrive, when you'd swear there wasn't anything for them to thrive on. Like good friends they had always been there when he'd needed them.

He didn't quite admire them for that talent; after all, they were simply surviving. But neither did he fail to see how similar they were to the other denizens of Lower Dura. Simply surviving. Living off of scraps fallen from the towers above. Wading through the refuse of the wealthy whose hired thugs - sorry officers, I mean to say City Watch - tried to make sure both the rats and the Durans stayed down where they belonged. Both the Durans and the rats accepted the reality of their lives and made do, sometimes getting caught in a trap sprung by exterminators.

But rats couldn't see the bigger picture, focused as they were on their own small miserable existence. Durans could.

Even if they didn't.

And that's where things got complicated. The best way to hunt rats was to have them grow accustomed to you. They had great senses of smell, so you had to acclimate their noses to your odor. They had to learn that you weren't a predator. And once they learned that lesson you could begin. Not by killing the first, no. That would teach them a different lesson. Nor by killing or capturing a whole bag full of them -- they'd attack each other trying to get out, ruining your haul, and again: different lesson. No, you killed the stragglers. The rats the others wouldn't miss. The rats who had to wait until all the others had fed before they could eat what was left, if anything. That rat they'd not miss. Kill that rat, and no lesson was learned.

After the first few days of not retching his guts out in the storm that's what Hujger set himself to doing: making sure the rats down in the ship's hold - there were always rats in ships' holds - grew accustomed to him. He couldn't steal from the ship's stores, that'd get noticed. He couldn't rely on Zeddie, the bos'uns mate and his brother in law (well, not offically, but you know what I mean) because his duties kept him away from his hidey-hole. But who'd notice fewer rats? Or think to complain about it if they did? So you bait the rats with a morsel of the stores, and you've got them.

There was one spot in the hold Hujger particularly liked. It was atop a stack of crates on the port side, away from the lanterns near the companionway, and overlooking access to the scuppers where they kept their nest. The small bolts for his hand-held crossbow were just the right size. "Ya's fancy a rat-onna-stick?" he'd offered to the fancy stowaways who looked at the meal with naked disgust. "Cost you tenpence. Hah!" Nevertheless, he half wanted the rats to get wise to the scheme. To understand that he was their enemy, the one providing the scraps. He was feasting on them even as they thought him a boon. Because if rats can figure it out... maybe someday the poor sods in Dura could stop clapping their hands and cheering like idiots for the scummy nobs that paraded their wealth and status like they'd done something besides steal it.

But they never did. So Hujger was fed.

Got to be that he spent more and more of his time in the hold, rather than in the cramped space Leiutenant Reed had secured for them. In the hold at least he could hear the crew playing tunes in their hammocks of the orlop deck above him; he even started to bring his pennywhistle along to learn the fingerings of thier songs. Maybe a dozen sea chanteys, maybe two dozen, always about getting drunk, or fighting, or fornicating, or getting drunk after a particularly fraught fornication. And in those lyrics he learned the lay of Xen'drik. Why you didn't want to carouse with drow or it'd fall off after turning black; the relative magnitudes of the Storm Lords' endowments, with reference to preferred applications; and a particularly amusing one about how sorry Stormreachers were to have profiteered by selling to both sides of the Last War. How gosh darn sorry. You wanted to learn the lay of a culture? You listend to their songs. So that's what Hujger did.

And that's what he was doing when, Oh, brezza! he found his reverie in the usual spot interrupted by the sounds of Leiutenant Reed, Midshipman Eccles, and that portly rententive purser, Mr. Absoms, clomp down the companionway. Absoms was complaining about the speed with which the Breath had set off from port and never having had the opportunity to take precise stock of their cargo which he would want when he arrived in Stormreach to pay the harbormaster fees.

Karking viggas! Ain't now way out but through them, and that mincing nob Reed can't help me when there are witnesses...

He'd gotten karking complacent. Accustomed to his surroundings. Secure. Relaxed. Hujger looked down at the rats fleeing into the scuppers at the oncoming lights, down at his hand crossbow, and at the oncoming officers.

Well, chum. Ya's fancy a Hujger-onna-stick?

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 16:34, Wed 10 Apr 2019.

Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 3 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Thu 11 Apr 2019
at 17:06
Even Death May Die
Arklon wasn't nearly as put off at the thought of eating rats as Huj expected him to be. In fact, the half-orc often seemed so focused on his own expectations of a reaction that he barely noticed reality at all.

He looked at Huj with annoyance, "I thought you said nobody ever comes down here...?" His nostrils flared and jaws clenched as potential solutions to the problem came forward in his mind, then concentration washed over his face to replace all emotion. He pulled the satchel at his waist to rest in front of his right leg instead, and kneeled onto that knee as he opened the flap. He reached a hand inside and withdrew a stone covered in a gray-green moss, scraping a tiny amount of it onto the back of each of his thumbnails before tucking it away once more. He looked toward the intruders and drew swirling lines near his ear with his left hand. Clicking sounds burst out of the area near Mr. Absom's head. (cast Minor Illusion to create the sounds of large spiders walking, and mandibles clicking)

He lifted the signet ring on his right hand up to his mouth then and whispered into it, "You intrude into our lands...We now return the favor." (cast Message) Arklon's left hand brushed the guard rail next him, collecting the left over strands of an abandoned spider's web he had been studying when the three men entered. He kept his voice low and airy as he spoke words of arcane power and picked apart the strands of web in his hands, then flared out all ten of his fingers toward the companionway.

A mass of thick, sticky webbing burst out across the room, in front of the three men and filling a large portion of the hold as well, blocking off passageways and sight throughout the room. (cast Web) He then repeated the casting of his first spell, this time signaling with this right hand instead of his left. A hissing voice boomed near them, "Feed, children!" and the spider sounds amplified in both sound and intensity. (cast Minor Illusion again, as described)

The strength of the webbing pulling against some of the boxes that it had been anchored to, caused some of the cargo to topple and fall toward the companionway where he had centered the spell. The sounds of crashing crates added to the spider sounds and gave unexpected credibility to the whole thing. Arklon saw the contents of one of the crates that had fallen. Broken pieces of pottery littered the inside of the busted crate, and the floor around it. Sitting among the broken pottery was a short metallic tube sealed with the mark of House Sivis.

This message was last edited by the player at 18:07, Thu 11 Apr 2019.

Giliwan d'Cannith
 player, 2 posts
 Build your dreams
 And keep on smiling
Sat 13 Apr 2019
at 04:46
Even Death May Die
Giliwan was deep in the throes of melancholy and depressed anger for a time. Things had gone so horribly, terribly wrong! And Syele! Poor Syele. The mere thought of her saddened Gil and made it feel like there was a cruel hard fist squeezing his heart, crushing it for his uselessness and inability to save her. It took a long time for him to stop agonizing over it, playing it over and over in his mind again.

Being on a ship, traveling to a new and dangerous location would normally put him in high spirits. Even that wasn't uplifting, however, as he was stuck in a dark hold and not allowed on deck to see anything. He could feel the heaving of the ship, back and forth, wrenching this way and that. His stomach was trouble, gurgling and bubbling. He kept having to use his Prestidigitation cantrip to clean up the sick he left (and that of the others as well as needed). The smell and sight of it would have otherwise caused him to throw up again very quickly. Plus he didn't want any of the ship's crew to smell it and come looking. and he and Arklon took turns keeping watch so they could cast a Minor Illusion to cover the opening to their hiding place behind a crate so no one would look there.

He occasionally had to take a few things out of the bag at his side, and then later put at least one thing back in every day. He'd been too shell-shocked to really pay attention for the first day or three, and the bag had gotten irritated with him, shuffling so he couldn't reach it. He had to maneuver around and...pet it...several times before 'feeding' it a few coins to placate it.

He also had his tiny friend with him, Aranea, the spider familiar that was usually hiding somewhere on his person. But while in the hold, he would ask her to climb up to the ceiling and find a perch to keep watch in case anyone was going to come upon them. Plus, she had an interesting viewpoint, both physically and on life itself, to converse with sometimes. Gil would even cast his sense out to see through her keen, if a bit confusing, eyes.

Then, however, Arklon began to make spiders and sounds and webbing after grabbing some of Aranea's webbing! Gil was afraid Aranea would get killed so he quickly dismissed her for the moment, ready to bring her back later once it was safe. "what are you doing?? you're going to get us killed!" he very quietly hissed at Arklon.

The message tube was clearly a problem. Had it been in there by mistake? Or purposefully hidden there? Gil wanted nothing to do with it! He also wanted to see what it was, what it said, and who it was addressed to - but that would be wrong! But leaving it out in the open could be worse, especially if it was being smuggled and the captain didn't know about it. He twisted his signet ring around on the finger, and a spectral, floating hand appeared to snatch up the message tube and bring it over to Giliwan.

Mr. Absoms was so startled by the chaos Arklon was crafting that he flailed and tripped on a crate, accidentally smashing the lantern he had been holding onto Midshipman Eccles. It promptly broke and partially lit the poor crewman on fire! Eccles let out a startled oath and turned to run back above deck so as to not catch the hold on fire as well.
Hujger
 player, 6 posts
Mon 15 Apr 2019
at 03:25
Even Death May Die
The horror at fire belowdecks on a ship mingled with astonishment at his companions' ... unorthodox... decision making. Karkers... don't need more of the crew down 'ere.

Responding to Arklon, "Yeah, well, there usually ain't! Get Gilly and go 'round them so we can get back in the hidey-hole. I'll keep their eyes on not you two."

Hujger leans on his back foot a bit before springing in front of the three ships' officers, taking his tunic off and covering the fire on Mr. Eccles' head and back. "There, there sir; lucky I heard the commotion and was heading down here when I sees you went and dropped a bit of fire. I'm usually soundly dozing through this part of the watch." Looking straight at Lieutenant Reed as he told his lies, Hujger kept Eccles' eyes obscured as he guided him to the companionway. "That's ok, sir, up you go, but keep that shirt covering your head so's embers don't catch again."

Having seen Eccles to the companionway, Hujger darts behind Mr. Absoms, helping him up and steadying the big fellow, and keeping out of sight behind him. "Yessir, it's usually the middle watch this sorta thing happens; but don't feel too bad about seeing or hearing things what aren't there. They say ships have souls, you know. I mean, beside them spirits the binder keeps a'workin. Yup. Sometimes they play tricks. Why, time was fifteen years ago I was crewing the Hound's Tooth when every mother's son aboard swore 'fore and aft they'd heard a harmonica playin duet with a pipe organ. A pipe organ! Can you beleive that?! Woulda been a nice evening's entertainment if G-sharp hadn't been flat as a miklestane. A nice cuppa and a soft hammock will do you good, it will. Up the companionway you go, sir."

     21:52, Today: Secret Roll: Hujger rolled 25 using 1d20+5 with rolls of 20.  Deception: acting like part of the crew.

Feeling the scrutinizing eyes of Reed on him, Hujger could only manage a sheepish grin as he held his hands out to the side.

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:40, Tue 16 Apr 2019.

The GM
 GM, 471 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Tue 16 Apr 2019
at 21:53
Even Death May Die
Lt. Commander Trey Perrin
The hand landed with authority on Hujger's shoulder. He looked. It was the Captain of the ship. The Lieutenant Commander of the Dragoons of Stormreach.

It took an enormous effort to remain calm.

An eternity passed.


"Well done!" Captain Perrin gestured at the still-smoking, but otherwise unharmed Eccles, who would be taken up to the sawbones. "It would have been an unfortunate day indeed, if you'd not thought quickly. What's your name, sailor?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:30, Wed 17 Apr 2019.

Hujger
 player, 7 posts
Tue 16 Apr 2019
at 22:27
Even Death May Die
An iron rod metaphorically appeared inserted into Hujger's backside as he stood up straight, and had a lump of coal been there instead, diamonds would have appeared. He found himself imitating the behavior of able seamen he'd seen since he was a boy, but he had difficulty staring vacantly into the middle distance at a point two inches over the Captain's left shoulder if only because his eyes were level with the Captain's armpit.

"Thank you, Captain, sir. Hujger mac Dura, Captain, sir!" He smartly knuckled his forehead and quickly returned his hands to his side.
Giliwan d'Cannith
 player, 4 posts
 Build your dreams
 And keep on smiling
Wed 17 Apr 2019
at 03:44
Even Death May Die
Giliwan's lip curled upwards in astonishment, perhaps confusion. "Gilly?" His eyes narrowed and he sounded like he was trying to figure out what the meant. "Gilly?" Then it dawned on him. The man was shortening his name in an extremely familiar way. A tiny bit of anger at the effrontery crept in to him. They weren't friends. This sailor didn't know him. They were only thrust together by happenstance and circumstance, certainly not friendship or familial bonds.

He shook his head and restrained a sigh or any other noises he might have made following that. He turned and headed back to the hidey hole, which he hadn't wanted to be out of in the first place. Well, he did want to be out of it, of course, but only if it meant getting out of the hold or off the ship entirely.
Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 5 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Wed 17 Apr 2019
at 04:15
Even Death May Die
Arklon made his way back to the hole along with Gillwan, letting Hujger handle things diplomatically. Surprise and fear hadn't worked, and aggression was likely the wrong answer, so it was good that Hujger had a silver tongue. At least, it seemed like it was good...
The GM
 GM, 473 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Fri 19 Apr 2019
at 02:11
Re: Even Death May Die
Lt. Commander Trey Perrin
"A new recruit, and from Sharn, no less." Captain Perrin dismissed Lt. Reed, who saluted, and then looked meaningfully at Hujger before ascending the steps. "You've not had your shift topdeck yet, sailor? Is it the sun or the sea that grieves ye?" He stooped to examine some stray webs that yet remained. "Or is there just too much to clean? Are you on your own down here?"

Hujger
 player, 8 posts
Fri 19 Apr 2019
at 03:22
Re: Even Death May Die
Keeping his eyes squarely in the middle distance of the Captain's armpit, Hujger responds, "Beggin' the Captain's pardon, sir, but I wasn'a recruited as such."

Trying to swallow what little moisture remained in his mouth, and the affectation of military bearing falling away, Hujger decided a Captain's leniency and a Lieutenant's ire - however unlikely earned - was a better bet than the certainty of the reverse. "I's been Cliffside much 'o me life. On and off ships here and there. Wet navy, mind. I ... I heard too many a story of what fire below decks can do to a ship. How it spreads. ... What it does in the magazine... To the crew as canna' swim... I ...

"... When the crate tumbled and I saw the fire I knew a scrumpin' stowaway like me was done for tiggers or toggers, so's I put my hopes on spinnin' yarn and yer officers not recognizin a half-greenie yard-crawler before scootin back bilge-wise, if ye take my meanin', sir. A fine bully-decker like yours has plenty corners fer someone what doesn't mind being cramped a week or two.

"I'd offer my service to ye's captain - nor sun nor sea grieves me, and I mind nay heights - but it's not for nothin' the Stormreach Dragoons have their reputation 'o crisp discipline. And law and order."
Digging out lyrics from one of the popular dockside marching tunes, Hujger sang:

They were all dressed out like gentlemen's sons
Their fine shining sabres and their carbine wands
Their silver mounted buckles, she observed them full soon
Because she loved her a Stormreach Dragoon...


"If it's not too much a kindness for a burr to ask, I'd be obliged if it was a hangin' on dry land that done me in. It'd do me mum a power of sadness for me to wind up a crab's nosh."

This message was last edited by the player at 03:28, Fri 19 Apr 2019.

The GM
 GM, 477 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Fri 19 Apr 2019
at 06:25
Re: Even Death May Die
Lt. Commander Trey Perrin
"Well, you weren't to know we had strict orders against recruiting. I've seen some funny things. Stowaways are a thing one understands. A body will want to get to, or or more often away from a thing. I can't say as even the navigator might be one. Can't say. But I've a larger concern. There seemed to be a mighty wind prevailing against me for this voyage. I wasn't given my choice of crew, and neither was I to bring onboard any new recruits. And this being a flagship and all" Captain Perrin looked meaningfully at Hujger. "So why do y'suppose that might be, sailor?" His use of the word put a different lean on what Hujger felt his position might be. "I tell you what. You get to sail with me. Keep your eyes open. If I live, well then so d'you. If I die... you find the son-of-a-snake what did me in, an you make 'im pay!" He spat on his palm and offered it to the half-orc.

Hujger
 player, 10 posts
Fri 19 Apr 2019
at 17:14
Re: Even Death May Die


Hujger looked down in astonishment at the offered be-spatted hand, then for the first time up at the Captain's eyes. The blank look gave way to a grin as he spat in his own palm and shook the Captain's vigorously. "Too right you are, Cap'n sir! I'm ye's mikkah. Viddies and cobs staying on ye's back keepin safe and sound. Won't even know I'm there. No need to speak of it, but fella what does you wrong will wake up to biscuits and garrote, mark me, sir."

Slightly bouncing on the balls of his bare feet and swinging his arms across his chest as if warming up for a bout, Hujger's eyes narrowed in thought... "Officers need minding, too? Or just the ratings for'd below the fo'c'sle? Whatever hands brung this crate down 'ere didn't secure it - or unsecured it after; I don't know a navy hold where ballast isn't knotted down tight as an Obarran quiddle."
Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 6 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Tue 23 Apr 2019
at 13:42
Re: Even Death May Die
Arklon listened to the exchange from his hiding place.
The GM
 GM, 483 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sun 28 Apr 2019
at 06:40
Re: Even Death May Die
Lt. Commander Trey Perrin
The Commander looked about the hold. "So... no one else? Must drive you mad with solitude." He shrugged  "No matter, thought Reed would want to get more grift for the space. I'll watch the officers, but I can't keep an eye on all the crew. I'll make sure you can draw from the galley. Rat flesh palls after a while. Stay below. I'll get you a list of the men to keep an eye on. If ... if I am wrong, get word to Roland Lawrence. The major is honorable. Give him the list, and he'll ... well he'll see what's what."
Hujger
 player, 13 posts
Mon 29 Apr 2019
at 03:24
Re: Even Death May Die
"Ah, well... maybe I ain't all on me lonesome down here. You understand a fella not squealin' when it looks like he's been pinched... hard habit to break, eh? And you know your officers for true. There's two a them twinkle-finger folks what put a "d" in front of their name.

"Awright, Arks, Gilly. Jig's up. Cap'n here don't seem the type to keel-haul a body just fer creative embarcation."

Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 8 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Mon 29 Apr 2019
at 14:51
Re: Even Death May Die
Arklon looked at Giliwan and shrugged, "Seems our time is up." He paused for a moment considering his options, then shook his head and stepped out from the hiding spot.
Giliwan d'Cannith
 player, 5 posts
 Build your dreams
 And keep on smiling
Sat 4 May 2019
at 00:59
Re: Even Death May Die
Giliwan pulled himself back out of the hiding place and stood up. He pointed a figure at the half-orc, "If you keep mispronouncing my name, you are going to have an issue, sir." He began brushing himself off as he moved forward to better see and be seen.

"My name is, Eyes shifted to stare the tiniest bit of venom at Hujger, "Giliwan. I suppose given the circumstances, and that you aren't keelhauling us or something nasty, it's a pleasure to meet you!" He flashed a wide, friendly smile, and gave a little bow.
Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 9 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Sat 4 May 2019
at 18:02
Re: Even Death May Die
"Which naturally makes me Arklon, Captain."
Hujger
 player, 14 posts
Sun 5 May 2019
at 05:39
Re: Even Death May Die
Hujger steals a quick glance at the Captain to see he's looking at the nobles before raising his eyebrow and offering a humorous smirk at the affronted noble.
The GM
 GM, 486 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sun 5 May 2019
at 06:04
Re: Even Death May Die
Lt. Commander Trey Perrin
"Well, better late than never. Hujger, when you come up for rations, I'll ask the cook to grant you triple portions. I'll play along with the ruse you suggested; that you are new hires from Sharn. You three stay below. If Reed is an honest crook, then you should be safe. Stay hidden if anyone else comes below. If Reed is up to something, then he won't be telling anyone else that he compromised their plan by bringing stowaways aboard for coin. We can take advantage of that. He'll be questioning you, I am sure, but you are prepared now." He looked over the two dragonmarked. "Remember, the House can't protect you in Stormreach. All you have is what you've brought with you... and each other." He looked like he wanted to say more, but all he said was "Good to meet you, Giliwan, Arklon. Safe voyage."

Hulger was visited by Lt. Reed, as expected, and he was filled with questions about what the Captain had discovered, asked, and said. None of the questions were beyond the scope of concern that an officer might have, if he was smuggling stowaways on a military vessel.

The trip continued, swift, and noisy. Arklon and Giliwan occasionally debated what Kraal wanted. Harkonner's equipment had figured prominently in Krall's speculations. The Soul Engine in particular. But what was so frustrating to the two academics was how little they knew about these things. Harkonner's interests had been secretive, almost paranoiac, but he had on more than one occasion quoted Saggan Necrooman, the famous necromancer/artist/lunatic. Necrooman's works were banned on the mainland. Perhaps that was the reason Harkonner had set out for Xend'rik. It had been the reason that Necrooman himself had traveled to the dark continent, when the Five Kingdoms had agreed on the absolute eradication of Saggan Necrooman and all his works.

The only other person that seemed to hold Harkonner's attention was the Necromancer Karl Kaminarr. Both the scions had made special effort to attend Kaminaar's seminar on necropsychology. Their status had only managed them seats near the back. It had been difficult to see, but the wizard's voice had been amplified by the Sivis mediator. While the necromancer had been speculating on the nature of the intelligence that animated the Karrnathi skeletons, a late arrival moved past them. It was Harkonner, his hood pulled low over his features, but the Cannith had been working as assistants for weeks, and he had a very distinctive gait. Harkonner left before the Q&A, brushing past the pair again on his way out.

They had heard there was some trouble with Karl Kaminarr shortly afterwards, and the necromancer was forced to flee, following the path of Necrooman to Xend'rik.

Hujger had never heard of Harkonner, Kraal, or Kaminarr, but he had heard of Saggan Necrooman. He had created devices and spells for the war that had wreaked havoc among the enemy. Infamous for his theories, his books, and his affairs, all of which were so notoriously wild that despite the advantages the 'Mad Necromancer' brought to the war, he became persona non-grata to use the old Galifar tongue, in all civilized nations. As his poems, writings, books, inventions, devices, songs and person were decreed to be put to the torch upon discovery, he fled south. And those who wished for news of the death of Saggan Necrooman for one sort of violation or another had to be content with the word that he'd entirely vanished into the jungles, and merely presumed dead.

The one fugitive to Xend'rik that Huljger was keen to know was 'Agnot the Butcher', an orc warlord who had gone to Stormreach to found a new clan. He was rumored to be ruthless, but fair; and Hujger had every expectation of being well received. After all, if the Butcher was founding a clan, well he couldn't turn away capable fighters.

Then one day a group of men slowly assembled in the stern, all coming in but one at a time, and speaking in hushed voices.
Hujger
 player, 15 posts
Mon 6 May 2019
at 19:30
Re: Even Death May Die


"Oi, fellas, hush up a minute... there's summat afoot. I'll see what I can snoop out but we may have ourselves that fracas yet." Hujger stuffs his whistle into the folds of the sash around his waist and creeps towards the stern alert for whispers of mutiny.

OOC: Would you describe the internals of the ship? How many decks underneath the weatherdeck, that sort of thing.
The GM
 GM, 488 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Wed 8 May 2019
at 01:38
Re: Even Death May Die
OOC: I'm not going to nail down the details of a Stormship. But the underdecks of the stormship was an easy place to hide in, what with all the cargo, and infrastructure. Let me know what you are trying to do, and in all likelihood you will succeed: especially if you advance the story, or expend resources.
Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 10 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Wed 8 May 2019
at 05:43
Re: Even Death May Die
Arklon watched the group of men, reading their expressions and body language for some sign of their intentions. Otherwise, he let Huj be Huj for the time being. There were things to think about and things to do, and these minor annoyances were starting to wear on his patience.
Giliwan d'Cannith
 player, 6 posts
 Build your dreams
 And keep on smiling
Thu 9 May 2019
at 05:08
Re: Even Death May Die
Giliwan raised an eyebrow at the Lt. Commander but gave a nod of his head. He listened and didn't speak, as he didn't want to give away any ignorance in the workings of a ship. This was his first voyage, not just on a stormship, but on pretty any ship really. He hadn't gotten out much - or rather, hadn't been allowed out much.

He had hidden away whenever necessary, and taken whatever opportunities there were to stretch his legs, as it were, and be a bit more comfortable. However, when men began to slowly gather, the hairs stood up on the back of his neck. Was this to be what he'd read about in books - a mutiny? That would be both dire and exciting on his first voyage.

He stayed still but tried to listen in.
Hujger
 player, 16 posts
Thu 9 May 2019
at 19:57
Re: Even Death May Die
quote:
Let me know what you are trying to do, and in all likelihood you will succeed: especially if you advance the story, or expend resources.


Hujger is going to creep up to where the crew are massing and check to see who's organizing this rabble - see if they're on the Captain's list. He'll have his hand crossbow loaded.

15:51, Today: Hujger rolled 15 using 1d20+6 with rolls of 9.  Stealth my way near crew
15:52, Today: Hujger rolled 14 using 1d20+8 with rolls of 6.  as close as I need to Perception them
15:52, Today: Hujger rolled 18 using 1d20+5 with rolls of 13. and if that means being in sight, then Deceiving them as one of the crew
15:55, Today: Hujger rolled 20 using 1d20+6 with rolls of 14.  with my hand crossbow as Slight of Handed as possible.

The GM
 GM, 490 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Fri 10 May 2019
at 02:14
Re: Even Death May Die
Of necessity, the trio did not know all of the identities of the sailors. They knew Lt. Reed, but they had not met the other sailors. There was a burly ginger with a Lhazaar accent; a short dwarf with dark hair and a bulbous pink nose, a dark-skinned woman who sprinkled Q'barra curses in with her speech, and a tall Brelander who frequently scratched himself. The sailors were too concerned with what they needed to discuss to notice the three stowaways creeping up on their meeting.

Reed said: "There's  a storm coming up, and it might be our chance."

The woman added "It's got to look like an accident."

The Brelander said "It's got to be done is what... D'y know what they threatened me with?"

The dwarf asked "Did they say they'd pull yer brains out of your nostrils?" At the other's nod he continued "Yeah, they will do that."

The ginger said "There's plenty things that could go badly, if I am not wrong. The Captain will have his hands full no doubt. Let us take the shifts that put us on deck."

"Awright. Keep an eye open fer an opportunity. If yer see one, just take it." said Reed.

The woman said ominously "The ring won't tolerate failures... "

At that the meeting abruptly adjourned.

OOC: could I please have stealth rolls from Giliwan and Arklon? I have one already from Hujger.
Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 11 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Fri 10 May 2019
at 04:57
Re: Even Death May Die
23:00, Today: Arklon d'Vorles rolled 14 using 1d20+1.  Stealth.

Never one to be overly skilled at staying quiet or to sit still for long periods of time, Arklon did as Hujger asked and stayed right where he was, observing the the crew as they entered.

Arklon's interest was piqued when they mentioned brains being sucked out of their noses.
23:04, Today: Arklon d'Vorles rolled 17 using 1d20+7.  Arcana. To see if my character knows what my player suspects.

The things they said made it fairly clear that they were going to kill someone, and they hoped to use the sounds of the storm to cover their tracks. Was there an illithid on board? Was that their target, or was it the one who was forcing them to do the killing? And "the ring"? There were several rings to choose from in this world, but which ring were they referring to here?
23:47, Today: Arklon d'Vorles rolled 18 using 1d20+5.  Insight.

Arklon raised his hand toward his mouth and spoke quietly into the signet ring.
Hujger
 player, 17 posts
Sun 12 May 2019
at 21:06
Re: Even Death May Die
Hujger heard Arklon whispering in his hear, and turned a surprised look to see him across the cargo bay. Recovering himself, he shook his head and shrugged his shoulders in response... but then a look of inspiration and mischeif came over his face. A broad grin reached from ear to ear as he gave the hand signal for watch this!

Hujger stood up and stepped into the dim light as the group was breaking up. "Well allo allo allo, mateys. A fine night fer tipsy-toesing it is, and no doubt. I reckon the best place for that sorta thing is where ain't nobody else is... unless you wants others to know you's meeting. So the one of you's who knew this place was, ah, occupied, is doing me a great favor by telling me I'm trusted. That trust is well-placed, I'll warrant." Holding his hands open in a sign of peace he walked forward amidst the group.

"And that person what trusts me has just told me that he trusts all 'o you's, elsewise he'd not be slinking about being all secret-like in yer company.

"Now I'm the honest open and broad-minded fella what thinks friends of friends is friends, so I'll start: my name's Hujger mac Dura. I'm in insurance."
He walks up to the dark-skinned Q'barran and offers a hand to shake. "What all's the skivvy, and how's can I help?"

This message was last edited by the player at 23:42, Sun 12 May 2019.

Giliwan d'Cannith
 player, 7 posts
 Build your dreams
 And keep on smiling
Thu 16 May 2019
at 02:32
Re: Even Death May Die
Giliwan was doing his best not to be bored out of his mind. He really wanted to just go up on deck and see the SKY, the sun or the moon, it didn't matter. The cramped quarters certainly weren't helping anything either.'

He began to hear voices nearby. Despite what had happened last time, his curiosity still got the better of him. He wanted to move closer to better hear what was going on, perhaps catch a glimpse of the people talking.

And then he knocked over one of the crates as he fell into two of the crates. "oof!"

OOC: Le sigh. Et tu, dice roller?
20:27, Today: Giliwan d'Cannith rolled 3 using 1d20+2 with rolls of 1.  Stealth.

The GM
 GM, 495 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sat 18 May 2019
at 20:02
Re: Even Death May Die
Arklon considered what he'd heard in conjunction with the whispered complaints of the conspiritors. There was nothing that came to mind that matched up precisely. There was, of course the rumors of the semi-mythical race of aberrant brain-eaters, but even if the race existed, they would hardly have thought of these sailors as anything but light snacks, not trusted help. And the 'through the nostrils' detail made the notion seem preposterous. There were ancient techniques of preserving bodies for life after death that Arklon had studied. The process by which certain Karrnathi undead were prepared involved just such an extraction of the brain through the nose by means of a slender hook. It was said these techniques were adapted from the techniques of the Deathless' Undying Court, but these notions were from very unreliable sources.  One other source could be a cult of the Dragon Below, but their activities were so varied that they could be attributed almost any aberrant behavior, from hurling frogs, or painting themselves blue, to capering naked beneath the moons on every other night.

Arklon watched from the shadows as Hujger stepped into the circle of sailors. The look of surprise on their faces seemed genuine.
Arklon was in a position to overhear their whispered conversation.

The Brelander covered his mouth and whispered "What if he's a watcher?" to Lt. Reed. Reed was just gawping. The dwarf whispered back "How would we know? I heard they're everywhere!"

Reed whispered back "No. No, impossible, I ... I'm sure he's not."

As the Q'barran woman stood and extended her hand towards Hujger, Giliwan slunk up to the other side. His perspective gave him a view of a curious scar on the woman's arm as she reached out to clasp Hujger's hand. The scar looked like a brand, but Giliwan had seen scarring from many different kinds of wounds. This was not from fire, or a brand, nor even a knife. It was in the shape of a circular ring, with puckered rings grouped inside. Giliwan thought he saw the edge of another scar on the dwarf's belly.

She clasped Hujger's hand with a firm grip, and said aloud "Only one way to tell for certain." She turned her arm, showing Hujger the ring of scarred flesh on the inside of her arm. "I've shown you mine..." her smile was full of a cruel lust. "Now, you show me yours."

Just then, Giliwan overextended himself upon the crate he was crouching behind, and came down with a 'thump'. The sailors all turned towards the sound. Giliwan pulled his legs behind the crate and tried to hide as best he could, but his head stuck out. He did see the circular scar clearly on the dwarf, and he also saw that the woman's left hand was on the hilt of a cruelly bladed dagger she wore on her belt.

Hujger and Arklon clearly saw the circular scar, and the uttered challenge. Hujger knew he had no such mark on his body. But even though all eyes were looking for the source of the 'thump', it was not clear how he could maintain any deception without one.
OOC: Giiwan, Arklon, you might be able to help Hujger with a subtle cantrip here; you've seen the scar.
Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 12 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Mon 20 May 2019
at 15:01
Re: Even Death May Die
Arklon whispered into his ring once more.  He then reached into his pouch and pinched off a small piece of black-green moss that he smashed in his fingers, waiting for Hujger to move before he released his will to release the spell's magic.

Then Gilly's little mishap took place and Arklon was certain that hiding in the belly of this ship was the worst idea they'd had, they were not suited to this life of staying out of sight and remaining unnoticed. Finding themselves in the service of the Lt. Commander was the best thing that could have happened for them. Now they just needed this bit of unrequested drama to be done so they could focus on things that actually mattered. Fighting with this lot was not ideal, and did nothing to help with their end goals, but if it came to that then at least he wouldn't have to be without guards any longer.

As far as he was aware, Arklon himself still remained undetected, so he lied in wait to provide Hujger with his mark but Gilly was on his own.
The GM
 GM, 498 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Wed 22 May 2019
at 02:13
Re: Even Death May Die
Hujger felt nothing; but the whispered voice seemed certain that 'the mark' would be there on his arm.

The Q'barran woman was slowly tightening her grip. "You were saying how 'trusted' you were. So who was it what trusted you, eh? T'warnt me."
Hujger
 player, 18 posts
Wed 22 May 2019
at 19:09
Re: Even Death May Die
Looking down at her hand on her dagger,

11:33, Mon 20 May: Hujger rolled 11 using 1d20+8 with rolls of 3.  Perception.

Hujger smiles and says, "Well, I think it's you's that trust me, what with that not being a sharp thing on yer neck."

11:34, Mon 20 May: Hujger rolled 25 using 1d20+6 with rolls of 19.  Sleight of Hand, pennywhistle.

From seemingly out of nowhere Hujger's whistle was in his hand and pressed against her throat. "But since you mention it, I's be told not to tell nobody, only show ye this." With a flourish of his arm towards Arklon, pausing a moment, he presents it to the woman. "Now how's about ye keep that pig-sticker in yer knickers and let me help ye bunch as I can. Reckon so, Mister Reed?"

15:05, Today: Hujger rolled 11 using 1d20+5 with rolls of 6.  Deception.

Well damn. Uh... circumstance bonus? Lol.

The GM
 GM, 499 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Thu 23 May 2019
at 20:46
Re: Even Death May Die
Woman from Q'Barra
She smiled, a thin cruel smile that said nothing that gave Hujger any comfort. She leaned forward just a fraction of an inch, and the sharpened end of the whistle drew a drop of blood. "That was good. You caught me off guard; I was not expecting that." Her eyes flickered to the scar Hujger presented, and she nodded, but she did not relinquish his hand.
 
Lt. Reed
"But, that's... impossible! He's a ... stowaway! We picked them up in Sharn!"
The Dwarf
"It sounds like you went against orders. I heard 'no pickups', Isn't that what you heard?"
The Ginger
"Oh, aye, 'no pickups, no recruits, no complications.' Seems like someone forgot who they was working for."
The Brelander
"Them's some pretty long friggin' tentacles on the Kraken, eh?"
Woman from Q'Barra
"Shut ... up!" Her whispered command twisted her smile into a grimace. "Reed..." she addressed the Lieutenant without looking around. "You had one job, one loyalty. And they saw your greed and knew your weakness, and went three moves ahead of you." Then she turned, and Hujger could not see the expression in her eyes.  "And now we are all suspect. If we fail in our mission, we will all fall. But ... you ... will fall first."

Hujger
 player, 19 posts
Thu 23 May 2019
at 22:31
Re: Even Death May Die
The faint sound of a doorstop spring could be heard as Hujger jumped up and backwards, using the power of his Ring of Jumping to aid him and focusing his mind to jump harder, attempting to pull his arm free from the woman from QBarra, before either handspringing backwards or landing on his back and somersaulting to his feet.

18:20, Today: Hujger rolled 20 using 1d20+6 with rolls of 14.  Dex(Acrobatics) to escape grapple.
18:05, Today: Hujger rolled 14 using 1d20+6 with rolls of 8.  Acrobatics, backflip, land on feet.
Step of the Wind: 1 ki point, double jump distance.
Ring of Jumping: cast Jump on self, triple jump distance.

Ive got a smartalec quip if I pull this off, but I figure Id wait for the outcome.

The GM
 GM, 500 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Fri 24 May 2019
at 02:28
Re: Even Death May Die
Woman from Q'Barra
Hujger bounced away from the woman, who glanced back at his acrobatic form. "Another surprise. Fine: we get it, you aren't happy with us. We weren't expecting you. Give us a chance to make it right.  Then we can all be friends." She dabbed at the scratch on her neck with her thumb.
 
Lt. Reed
"You aren't seriously believing this... this... jackrabbit over your Lieutenant?"
The Ginger
"On deck you're the Lieutenant. Down here you're just another flopping fish. Hujger gave the sign. But you, Reed, you played fast and loose with orders. Seems pretty clear to me what's what."
The Brelander
"Yeah, t'me too. And like she says, if we don't do what those orders says, then you'll be Lieutenant Dead Fish."

Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 13 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Fri 24 May 2019
at 18:32
Re: Even Death May Die
Arklon remained silent, observing what he could from where he was.
Hujger
 player, 20 posts
Fri 24 May 2019
at 22:10
Re: Even Death May Die
"Oh, full 'o surprises, that's me." Hujger grinned and waggled his eyebrows at the Q'Barran. "Could be I show you more when there's time fer it."

Becoming serious and turning to the rest of the crew, Hujger says, "Now that business is done with, how about you lot square up? All's I know is you ain't got things lined up sixes and sevens. What ye need that I can do ye for?"

Finally turning to Reed, in a cheerful voice, "These things have a way of workin themselves out, Loo-tenant. Don't blame yerself," then becoming serious, "...Plenty of others to do that for you."
The GM
 GM, 502 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Fri 31 May 2019
at 04:25
Re: Even Death May Die
Woman from Q'Barra
"Yes, 'Show me surprises' I'm sure you think you'd enjoy that.. As for what we need...."
 
Lt. Reed
"That's it! I've had enough, and I'm leaving!" Reed pushed past his fellow conspirators. "Nothing good will come of this, you mark my words!"
Woman from Q'Barra
"-- well. As for what we need. That's not really the way we work, as you well know. But the Commander seems suspicious. See if you can't get ahold of his ship's log. We'll know from that who he suspects and of what. Sound good?"
 
The Brelander
"Yeah, all o' us are too suspect to go fumblin around the Captain's cabin."
The Ginger
"Best if none o' those 'suspicions' survive 'im."

Hujger
 player, 21 posts
Sat 1 Jun 2019
at 03:18
Re: Even Death May Die
"Cap'n's log, aye, but I ain't know a Captain won't pucker up barcacle-tight over his log being out 'a place. Put a man on his guard, that will, and quick way to jimmy the pickle, if'n you ask me.

"I get in his cabin when he's topside standing a watch, I see what he log has to say about you lot. You ain't gotta tell me yer names, but ye gotta tell me the name's he'll know ye by.

"Could be this is the slow way, but it's the way that gets it done. Tell me, and I'll get the goods you need. You first, carrot-top. What's your handle topside?"

The GM
 GM, 506 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Mon 3 Jun 2019
at 06:07
Re: Even Death May Die
The Brelander
"I'm Verden.."
Woman from Q'Barra
"No names! Just look for anything out of the ordinary. I'll decide what's important. Now, we'd better get back to it. This has taken too much time as it it. And I feel like one of us needs to watch Reed now as well."  She stomped up the steps to the deck above.
 
The Brelander
The Brelander, now cowed, left as well.
The Ginger
"Keep an eye out for anything about a Killian, Eh?." Said the ginger as he followed them away

Hujger
 player, 23 posts
Tue 4 Jun 2019
at 17:33
Re: Even Death May Die
As Killian followed the conspirators up the companionway to the orlop, Hujger unclenched and walked over towards Giliwan. He offered his hand to help the noble up, and winking a mischevious eye and a grin headed towards Arklon.

"That was some quick thinkin, there Arks. Pulled my feet out of a fire and no mistake. Next pint's on me." He looked at the "scar" on his arm. "You know what this is supposed to be? Wha'd they call it, karken, or summat?"

From within his sash he pulls out the list the Commander had handed him: "'Verden' and 'Killian', eh? And I reckon the Q'Barran and the dwarf should be easy enough describe... So whatcha think, fellas? How do we tip off the Commander all subtle-like? And clock's tick-tockin, with that storm they's say is a comin."
Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 14 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Thu 6 Jun 2019
at 02:51
Re: Even Death May Die
"Yes it is, and it won't be a pint of the cheap stuff either." Arklon moved out from where he'd been and over into more open space, "Kraken, I believe it was. A giant creature of the sea, tentacled arms larger than an entire ship. Those tentacles are that which you see on the symbol of House Lyrandar. As for this mark, specifically..."

Any relevant rolls we can make for more details?

"I can recreate their likeness easily enough with illusions, like the one I used to give you the mark. They won't be perfect, I didn't get a good look at them all, but it will give some idea if we show it to one who knows the crew."
The GM
 GM, 508 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Wed 12 Jun 2019
at 04:47
Re: Even Death May Die
The scar was circular, ugly; and even the facsimile seemed to harbor some ill intent. Arklon looked at the illusion intently, as the originals were not at hand. The replication was very good, but as it was illusory, any contact would break the spell. The conspirators had said 'kraken' to be sure, and the kraken was the sigil of house Lyrandar. In fact, there was a particular scion of House Lyrandar whose nickname was 'The Kraken'; he'd been cruelly effective against his enemies during the Last War. But Dragonmarked houses did not brand their associates with a mark from their totem animal. Not that Arklon was aware, anyway. Stormreach was a long way from the civilized world, though and in Xen'drik perhaps such things were so.

It did look like a scar left from a tentacle's suction cups, though. It was not carved by blade, nor was it a burned brand. The flesh had been sucked away; torn from the body. Whether it was from an actual kraken, or instead from some lesser aquatic beast with tentacles was unclear. It was the size of a man's hand, and if that was the diameter of one sucker, then the tentacle itself would be very large.

From a scholar's perspective it seemed unfeasible. They would have to have a live kraken penned up somewhere, or even less likely summonable for any initiation ceremony. The kraken would need to be docile enough to command, yet still able to inflict an injury. It seemed an inordinate amount of trouble to go through, just for a badge of service.

Giliwan, meanwhile, through completely innocent examination of the Sivis tube, had accidentally opened it. He'd wanted nothing to do with it, of course, but the mechanical operation of the package was fascinating to him, from a purely professional standpoint. Where they stood, Hujger and Arklon could both see the message that Giliwan unrolled; holding it so the light from the hatchway was strongest. There was an image, and what might have been words.

 [Language unknown:  Oreoretin. Etss-ckpa. Hotebe isseas ssreut onetiorut inethoeve. Pllanaosme motear. ]The words were scrambled; unreadable, and when one looked away, it seemed as though the glyphs changed. The illustration was clear though, even if the import was not.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:15, Fri 14 June 2019.

Hujger
 player, 24 posts
Fri 14 Jun 2019
at 16:14
Re: Even Death May Die
"A krakey's tentacles, eh? ... Look, there's a lot 'o stories go round the chip-fire down in the Lower Dump, particular about bits of the Cogs... 'an places below that what's not so tidy and well kept, if ye take my meanin." Hujger's voice got lower and the smile drained from his face. "Yeah, we gots story-tellers, too right, 'an plenty of scarf gets himmied around sworn for true, but wasn't nothin but poppy-dreams.

"But some 'o them ring 'o truth what nobody wants fer to be true. Pools 'o blood what grab ye's leg as ye walk by ... caves with sharp rocks that ain't rocks but teeth, and swalla's ye mates whole who wanders in ... floatin toothy eyes with more eyes on that blast yer soul afore eating ye ... We grow up and pretend not to believe 'em." Hujger shudders, looking at the illusion on his arm.

"Look, I ain't no gumpin tourie come to Sharn fer the pretty lights and would buy a bridge at the mention. But sailors and Durans got one story they's like fer to tell when the knippers won't mind their pa. Down below they's the skin-man. Gots long lobster-leg fingers. Black eyes. Wet-slick skin. He don't walk - he swims through the air on webbed feet. An he eats... he eats yer fear. He eats yer panic as ye look into the dead black pools of eyes while... while his chest bursts open an, an tentacles hold ye's fast. Suckin yer guts out so's he can crawl inside ye. Wear ye like clothes."

Hujger looks back and forth between Giliwan and Arklon. "Don't take me for serious if ye's like. Maybe I wouldn't if'n I was you's. But the Boromar Clan took them stories serious enough ta send folks down Cogs'way an keeps they's blinkers peeled. Some of 'em even came back." He sighed, gave a short laugh, and looked back at his arm. "I dunno about Lyrandar and you's tatooed Housey-types. But I believe in the skin man an his tentacles."
Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 15 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Wed 19 Jun 2019
at 13:06
Re: Even Death May Die


Arklon listened to Hujger's tale as best he could, "Huj, half the time I don't have a clue what you're saying, and the other half I'm not entirely sure I understand even what I do manage to hear." He smiled and shook his head. "I can't say that I've ever heard of this skin man of your's, but there's plenty of things I don't know. I wouldn't be out wandering the world otherwise."

The smile faded from his face then, and he spoke as if in a whisper, "Of course, that's not got a thing to do with why I'm actually here..." He seemed to have some rather dark thoughts as he sat there brooding for a moment.

Gilliwan's fiddling with the container drew his attention, snapping out of it, and Arklon looked over at the message. "I know a ritual that will let me read it. Perhaps. If it's a real Sivis note, even that might not be enough."
The GM
 GM, 513 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sat 22 Jun 2019
at 15:48
Re: Even Death May Die
Above decks, the cook's bell rung. Hujger realized it would be an opportunity to get a look at the crew, and to find out if the ship's cook was as garrulous as he'd been led to believe they were. Plus, there would be food to eat that was not rat.

Arklon set about preparing for his ritual, and Giliwan, agreeing to the idea, went  with Arklon away from where prying eyes could easily see what hey were up to. The meeting area where the conspirators had met was suitable, as long as there were no other stowaways below deck.
Hujger
 player, 25 posts
Mon 24 Jun 2019
at 19:58
Re: Even Death May Die
Leaving the nobs to do their thing, Hujger headed to the galley to pull grub.
The GM
 GM, 517 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Wed 3 Jul 2019
at 00:19
Re: Even Death May Die
Looking about the Jorasco enclave, some three days later (was it more?) Arklon wondered at the series of mishaps that had brought him here. He studied the scroll that had been Giliwan's downfall. Comprehend Languages had pulled the meaning from the scroll, but not the mystery: it was written in Zil.
Dear Cousin,
This is Tremor Enkau Valevine, and he is very dear to us. It would set our minds at ease very much if you would look in on him, and ensure that he does not fall afoul of any negative influences. He is stubborn, so it would be best if you worked discreetly. I am confident that this is something that you will be able to do for me.
The Bear.



Too many eyes had been on Hujger for him to look about much, and some of those eyes were conspiratorial. The cook, instead of being helpful, was put off at the sudden addition of meals needed, and the rest of the crew in line were likewise displeased.

The storm had broken just as they'd finished their meal. Buffeted about, the trio had all they could do to keep from knocking into stowed cargo, Giliwan in particular had a hard time keeping himself safe, and collided hard with a wooden support. Thereafter, Giliwan needed additional looking after. After the storm, the scuttlebut had been that Captain Perrin had been washed overboard by a freak wave. One of the Tulita sailors dove in after him. There was a cry of 'Shark!'. When they hauled Lt. Commander Trey Perrin and Akamai aboard, Hujger estimated there would be cheer in some quarters, but in others, disappointment. Some passengers who were skilled in the healing arts took care of them.


Below decks, a lack of anything else to do prompted Hujger and Arklon to look again at the message scroll and the container. Under scrutiny, it was determined that it had been trapped. A fine ring of hair-like needles were set to deliver a toxin. Giliwan's wrist bore a fine circle of tell-tale red marks showing where he'd been struck. The two of them watched the slow decline of the third, unable to do anything to stop the progress of the poison.


As the ship finally pulled into port, Zeddie was sent by Captain Perrin, and delivered into Arklon's hand the list of names.
Perrin's List:
  • Lt. Pibul Reed
  • Killian 'Red" Dain
  • Verden Chalmer
  • Syn (no second name)

When they came off the ship, Hujger helped the pair of Cannith scions to the Jorasco Enclave. The two dragonmarked looked like profitable targets, but Hujger, with some conversation and some fistwork, persuaded the pair of assailants to find other prospects. Hujger said that he would see if he could exchange some manual labor for a bed at the 'Leaky Dinghy,' whatever that might be, and bade the two farewell. When Giliwan was admitted to the Enclave the attendants had the strange idea that he was a shark-bite victim, and Arklon had to assure them several times that it was indeed some kind of poison. They seemed strangely relieved at this, but it crossed Arklon's mind that perhaps the renowned efficacy of the Jorasco Healing House had failed to entirely make it across the Thunder Sea.


Arklon looked down at the still figure on the Jorasco bed, he still needed looking after. Once inside the Enclave it felt for the first time in a perilously long while like Arklon was in a place where 'normalcy' would have domain. Unfortunately, there seemed to be precious few of the Jorasco marked about to assist. Eventually they got poor Giliwan to a bed, and slowed the poison's progress. It was a kind of degenerative poison that sapped ones mobility and dexterity. "A few more days without treatment and your friend would not be with us." but she did not give an opportunity for Arklon to respond, hastening away.


There was food; trays were brought. Not Ghallanda, but also not rat. No-one seemed to know much of what was going on. The attendees seemed lower-level than a Cannith dragonmarked would warrant. Arklon took his ease on an adjacent bed; it was the softest thing he'd felt in what seemed an eternity.
Old Man
When he woke, a man was lookin over the Jorasco notes on Giliwan. "Looks like Sagastone's Solution. Never a good idea to mess with Sivis. He'll be right as rain... eventually. Unless he does something else stupid." The man tapped the scroll and handed it back. "I've seen that one around. Been meaning to keep a closer eye on 'im. I guess I'd better do. Anyhow, sorry t' bother ya. I heard Deneith was here, but they musta got mixed up when they told me your room. I'll be seeing ya." And with that, he stepped out of the room.


GM EDIT: I neglected to include the text of the decoded scroll, which is now at the top of the post. Also the mention of shark bite upon arrival at the Enclave. Sorry.

This message was last edited by the GM at 11:38, Wed 03 July 2019.

Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 17 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Sun 7 Jul 2019
at 00:33
Re: Even Death May Die
Arklon let the man walk away. Deneith were up to the same old tricks on this side of the pond, it seems.

With so many things happening over the last few days, Arklon took a moment to sit down and actually think about all the things in greater detail. Now that they had landed, he no longer had to worry about being discovered as a stowaway, he knew the faces of some of his enemies, at least, Hujger was already finding new work elsewhere, and Gilliwan was well on his way to being dead but now he had a chance.

It was a list of distractions.

Harkonner and Kraal - those were the objectives. And the woman. The woman was a mystery that needed to be solved, but...later, perhaps.

There was nothing he could do about being sent to Xendrik, that was already over and done with. Now he had to focus on maximizing his own potential. Xendrik may be a dangerous place, but it was also one of secrets and wonder, lost treasures and forgotten spells. It was a punishment that could very well give him the tools he needed.

Arklon stood and went to have a look at Giliwan. "You must serve the family one way or another, Giliwan. You are worth more to us alive than you are dead, so beat this poison and let's get back to it." He stood for a minute longer, speaking words to himself but not aloud, "We'll settle for dead, if we must."

Now he needed information, and the locals would be the only ones capable of providing it. He left Gil to the healers and set out into the town. Merchants selling local goods might have rumors, taverns would serve as a melting pot of gossip. He would start there.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:36, Sun 07 July 2019.

The GM
 GM, 526 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Mon 8 Jul 2019
at 00:35
Re: Even Death May Die
And so Arklon walked out of the Jorasco Enclave, never knowing that a key person in the Harkonner mystery was then just three hundred meters below his feet. It was the closest he would get to any answers he truly desired for a long while.

Theme Music
He searched the merchants, the inns, the taverns, and sought rumors and clues. Along the streets he saw destitute drow, many obviously intoxicated, and ragamuffin children. The guards looked seedy, and disrespectful, all but a squad of the so-called Iron Watch: a pristine trio of warforges who looked military grade and cared-for lovingly by whomever owned them. A dishevelled beggar offers to sell Arklon a map to the treasure horde of someone named Garr Bloodbane. In a tavern near the Red Ring Arklon heard the sad tale of a band of adventurers who lost their leader to a battle with a great sea monster. Their spirits broken, they still eke out a living in Stormreach. One of them, a half-orc named Belok Telorg fights weekly in the Red Ring.

Arklon notices that where his 'mark once gained him respectful treatment, now it is only the clothes and the coin the people pay attention to. At a marketplace he overhears some discussion of the government of the city: a man is patiently explaining that while the Stormlords are the 'government' there's really only one person who's 'in charge' and that man's name is Hargrove. Another whisper Arklon hears as he passes by a hair salon is that the notorious pirate Falken Drango was apprehended by the courageous commandant of the city Dragoons, Gregory Bonedeuce. Drango apparently shaved all the hair off his head and tried to sneak into Bonedeuce's offices to assassinate him. And all this after Drango killed and ate all of his pirate crew. Another customer added that it's just like that McFarrows character who ate his whole family.

Bits and pieces came to Arklon, from almost every quarter. The drow were called 'Tulita'. There was a new priest of the Silver Flame, but instead of going to the big cathedral he went and reopened the ramshackle lodge in the bad part of town. Expeditions weren't going into the jungle nearly as often as they use to. Someone tried to sell Arklon something called 'dragonsmoke' but it smelled terrible, and if the looks of the seller were any indication, Arklon doubted that it was a healthy habit to start.

OOC: Roll Investigation for me, and also let me know if you followed up on any of the above.

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:32, Thu 11 July 2019.

Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 18 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Tue 9 Jul 2019
at 15:04
Re: Even Death May Die
21:55, Today: Arklon d'Vorles rolled 17 using 1d20+4.  Investigation.

Many things, there were, in this new land he'd been sent off to. As he came across the beggar and his map, he said to the man, "Give me the map for free, and if I find anything I'll give you a your share." If the man agreed, he took the map, and if not he left without another word. Hearing word of Belok Telorg, he decided to go have a chat with the man to see if perhaps he could find out more information about why people had stopped going out as often. Danger seemed the most likely, but if that was it then he needed to be prepared for the source of that danger.
The GM
 GM, 528 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Wed 10 Jul 2019
at 06:41
Re: Even Death May Die
The beggar with the map shook his head, at first. Then looked wild-eyed at Arklon. He nodded, and thrust the map at the Cannith scion. But when Arklon's fingers gripped the map, the old man's fingers wrapped around his wrist.

"By the Traveler, we make a deal; by the Traveler a fate is sealed. Know that when your fortune is made, know that then debts are paid." He laughed then through broken teeth, and let the map slip into Arklon's hand. He kept laughing and laughing even as Arklon left.

The Red Ring was not red, on the outside; a circular building surrounding a brutal-looking gladiatorial arena The arena was red, though. Some of the stains on the sand still glistened, as the fluid coagulated, and dried. There were tables, mostly occupied, and bartending waiters moved about taking orders and delivering drinks. One indicated where Arklon might catch a glimpse of Belok "the Breaker" Telorg. And indeed, for a moment it seemed that a glimpse would be all he would get. And then he overheard the words of a wild-haired gnome bragging to a couple of lovelies.
Philipin Velespar Coulderknee
"Ahh, no-no-no, me sweets ye got it wrong, ye got it wrong. 'E's famous 'caus'a me!  'Caus'a me! Philipin is th' brains, Belok 's just the body. I taught 'im everything 'e knows; ev'ry move 'e makes; it's  'caus'a me!"

Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 19 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 13:58
Re: Even Death May Die
Arklon listened to the crazy beggar's words and waited for him to walk away before he softly replied, "I always pay my debts, old man." He tucked the map away for now, and would look at it again later.



Arklon listened in on the gnome's conversation with some interest. He didn't care who had taught what, to who. If he knew things, then Arklon may need to speak with him, but until then he was just a short little man trying to capitalize on another man's fame. Arklon himself was content to sit and wait for a while to see if Belok showed up, and if not then he would start to ask around for where to find him.
The GM
 GM, 534 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 21:40
Re: Even Death May Die
There was an ongoing bout in the Red Ring; three prison convicts were battling a single minotaur named 'Slav'. Slav brandished a two handed axe that looked as tall as the shortest convict. Bets were being placed loudly and with frantic abandon, and it was some time before Arklon could be heard over the din. He was finally directed towards the north side of the establishment. He could see a roped-off area where several large, dangerous-looking people drank and spoke to one another while watching the fight. The crowd cheered as the minotaur decapitated one of the convicts.

Arklon noted that one half-orc sat drinking his ale, completely unmoved by the spectacle.

"Oh, yeah," said the waitress he'd asked. "That's Belok Telorg over there, in the 'Champion's Circle'. But you can't go talk to him. Ask his manager, Philipin Coulderknee, that shifty-looking gnome over there." and she pointed at the gnome who was still capitalizing on Belok's fame. "He'll get you your autograph!"
Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 20 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Sun 14 Jul 2019
at 21:10
Re: Even Death May Die
Arklon nodded his thanks and waited for a time to see if the gnome's companions would depart and save him the hassle of interrupting. When that proved to not be the case, he decided to approach the gnome anyway, "Philipin Coulderknee? I'd like to speak with Belok about his former adventures. I've been told you're the man that can make that happen."
The GM
 GM, 542 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Tue 16 Jul 2019
at 21:30
Re: Even Death May Die
Philipin Velespar Coulderknee
Philipin looked d'Vorles up and down taking in his clothes and manner, then broke into a wide grin. "Oh yeah! I'm the man, I'm the ma-aa-aa-ann! And I can ma-a-aake that happen! But no, Belok doesn't talk to people. But I do-oo-oo! So axe me yer quest'ns, an I'll tell you a-a-all about the brave, courageous and above all strong... Belok Telorg.

You know he was with the Wave Riders? Such a band-such a band! They faced death without question, without pause! They looked evil death in the eye, and nary a blink! People ferget, people ferget. The Waveriders was awesome! Belok is awesome! Ask me, ask me anything! Whaddaya wanna know?"

Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 21 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Wed 17 Jul 2019
at 02:43
Re: Even Death May Die
To see if I know anything about the Waveriders, and to gauge his words.
21:40, Today: Arklon d'Vorles rolled 23 using 1d20+5.  Insight.
21:40, Today: Arklon d'Vorles rolled 14 using 1d20+7.  History.


"I want to know about his adventures. What he saw, what he did, where he went. I want to know what enemies he faced out there. And above all, I'd like to know why he quit. There is danger here, danger there, why did he trade one deadly trade for another? Why are people not going out as often now as they had before?"
The GM
 GM, 546 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Fri 19 Jul 2019
at 23:09
Re: Even Death May Die
Philipin Velespar Coulderknee
"Okay, okay, I'll give you the last one for free! They say all the easy pickings are gone-gone-gone! The nearest ruins are weeks into the jungle, with giants and grues, just waiting to jump you, and crunch yer bones! Nom-nom-nom. More things crowd around Stormreach not looking for an expedition to come an feed them lunchies! Plus, Jorasco's gone kerplunkt! Their resurrection stone is on the fritz, and so none o' the rich explorer-types wanna go bumbling around looking fer things as ain't there. I heere of gangs and such going out just to gather fruit. In-and-out, and they still end up with a half-dozen dead. No bang fer yer buck! Now, Blackwheel, they'll take you, if you knows where to goes. Shipping out on an airship, sounds nice! Server you tea and biscuits, rub yer feet!  But they'll also take half yer take! Or more! The perfessionals, they know, they could getcher out there, but you got's to have the cash-cash-cash!"

He wiped his mouth.

"I kin answer more o' yer questions, but uh, my mouth is gotten kinda dry right now. Parched. Can't speak."

Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 22 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Mon 22 Jul 2019
at 14:18
Re: Even Death May Die
"I'm no Jorasco, but even I know the cure for that. Let's see if we can find us a 'healer', eh?" Arklon looked around for a server to place an order for drinks. He didn't want their cheapest, but he didn't have coin to throw around recklessly, so hopefully they had something on the low end of modest.

So people were scared and life was tough. Either the people on this cursed island were softer than he'd been lead to believe, or the dangers were worse. That was certainly food for thought, and something he needed to learn more about.
The GM
 GM, 556 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 23:56
Re: Even Death May Die
Philipin Velespar Coulderknee
After more drinks than Arklon had expected, and more cost, the gnome relented and began once again to answer his questions.

"Belok sailed with the Wave Riders, like I said. They went toe to toe, or was it bow to bow, with so-so-so many pirates, brigands and cutthroats that I can't even remember all-o-their names! They even teamed up with Captain Razor and the Lady Razor, now she's the Widow Razor, and fought the Pirate King's forces. They didn't take out Garr Bloodbane though, that was the commandant of the dragoons what done that. The last voyage of the Wave Riders was against a tremendous sea monster that was wreaking havoc-havoc I say, on the shipping lanes. The big ocean beastie rose up and caught the intrepid crew unawares!"

Here he mimicked a sailing ship with one hand and with the other, fingers a wriggling, suddenly snatched his 'ship' hand with the other. "The leader of the 'Riders was Solomon Trafalgar, and he'd forged the team into a single spirit. But when Trafalgar went down in the clutches o' th' beastie, so went their spirit. Belok was strong enough to help the others to shore, but he's done lost his taste for adventures and such. He can still knock heads in the Red Ring. This is where the condemned get one last chance at life. Belok makes sure they stay down."
The waitress set another pint down in front of Philipin, and said "Yeah, but without as much enthusiasm as he used to. Been a while since he was the favorite."
Philipin Velespar Coulderknee
"Now you hush your mouth, hush your mouth. He's just building up 'is strength, and refinin' new tactics. It's a new crowd, and they fight diff'rently-- 'es gotta adapt!"

Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 24 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Sat 3 Aug 2019
at 19:45
Re: Even Death May Die
Captain Razor, Lady Razor, Widow Razor, Pirate King, Garr Bloodbane, Solomon Tragalgar. So many names he knew nothing about. But it was a start.

"Forged them into a single spirit? What do you mean by that?"

OOC: been one heck of a week, and still busy, but I didn't want to leave it sitting here doing nothing.
The GM
 GM, 566 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Wed 7 Aug 2019
at 04:55
Re: Even Death May Die
Philipin Velespar Coulderknee
"Well... Y'know... He had a way... with words. He could get the crowds off their seats. And the Waveriders were one hell of a crowd. He was their leader. They believed in him. They followed him to the edge of the abyss, but when he was dragged down, it was too much for their morale."

Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 25 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Fri 9 Aug 2019
at 04:50
Re: Even Death May Die
"I see. Well, then...any advice for someone looking to start going back out there? And 'don't' is not the kind of advice I'm talking about."
The GM
 GM, 573 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sun 18 Aug 2019
at 01:08
Re: Even Death May Die
Philipin Velespar Coulderknee
"Don't? I'd never-never-never say don't.. If it's the expeditions to the jungle you want, then have a word with Thom. Thrifty Thom, they calls him. He's the owner of the Thrifty Traveler. Sometimes he comes in to watch the fights." He glanced around. "Don't see him right now. You'll need some others too, a guide-guide so's you don't get turned around."

"If it's the sea expedition you want, well you will need someone with a boat, who's down-down on their luck. Someone hungry. Or someone thirsty. 'Shakes' Montgomery. And you'll want a guide to the waters. I've seen sahuagin around town who will take you places. You'll need to front money in either case. Use to be a man could equip a team with just promises of the shares, but nowadays no-one will go out looking for Garr Bloodbane's gold without some of yours in their pockety first."

"What are ye looking for?"

Arklon d'Vorles
 player, 26 posts
 HP 30/30, AC 11 (14)
 Service even in death
Tue 20 Aug 2019
at 17:40
Re: Even Death May Die
"Revenge, but it'll have to wait until I can get off this island with enough strength to claim it." Arklon cleared his throat when he realized he'd said it out loud.

"Anyway, I don't trust the sea, so Thrifty Thom it is. Any recommendations on a guide that knows their way around?" 12:39, Today: Arklon d'Vorles rolled 11 using 1d20+5.  Insight, in case he's setting me up with someone.
The GM
 GM, 582 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sat 7 Sep 2019
at 03:16
Re: Even Death May Die
Arklon was observing Phillipin as he was talking and noted the glance he made. Following his line of sight he saw an above-average looking man, weather-beaten, with salt-and-pepper hair and a wide smile.



The man looked familiar with the place as he entered and waved to the waitress as he took a table; he had a good view of the ring from there.

Arklon surmised that the salt-and-pepper man was Thrifty Thom, and that Philipin intended to eke a few more pints out of Arklon's purse before suddenly noticing Thom, and only then introducing him.

Arklon also noticed that Belok Telorg was staring at them. Arklon was not sure if he looked angry, or if he just ... always looked angry.