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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.