2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness.   Posted by The GM.Group: 0
Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 66 posts
Sun 19 May 2019
at 14:18
2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
"You should be kinder to yourself, Zalen. You do a huge amount for the people around you. I'll do what I can to help; I promise."

Doriah accompanied the guards and was pleased when Capshaw joined her. She nodded quickly, knowing it would be helpful if he could tell her more about what was going on and the role of House Jorasco in the city. "I'd be grateful for whatever you can tell me."

She was going to ask some questions as Tremor caught up before they could leave.

"The party in two days?" she asked him, remembering her deal with Tremor. There was a lot going on, but it was true she would need something to wear and time to prepare. She'd had very little time to think about it yet and to plan. She needed to know who else would be there, especially among her friends and figure out their goals and what to do.

"Thank you for your recommendation and your help - and for reminding me. I'll go there on the way back," she promised Tremor. "If I'm not back today, then it might be tomorrow. I should be, though."

After that, they were on their way.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:22, Sun 19 May.

The GM
 GM, 496 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sun 19 May 2019
at 21:17
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Capshaw the Crier
Capshaw kept up with Doriah with a skipping step that did nothing to dispel the notion that the Halfling was a child. That might have also helped the Crier keep a low profile while he distributed his fliers. The guards might be amenable to bribery, but they seemed like they tended towards bullying, and any scofflaw might easily find himself on the wrong end of a guard's sword if they were caught flagrantly flaunting their authority. "Well. In all of Khorvaire, you can take your wounded to the Healing Houses of Jorasco. In exchange for gold, your health can be secured. And everyone needs some health care every once in a while. 'If you don't have your health, you don't have anything.' If you have enough money you can even bring a loved one back from the dead, with Resurrection." He stretched his arms over his head.

"But Stormreach is different. The new Houses don't have their way, and they don't have any sway. And there are older things and older ways here. Alhaura d’Jorasco is a powerful healer, and the Jorasco Enclave brought in a Resurrection Stone, specifically to cement their position as a needed and necessary part of this city's trade in expeditions. Exploiting the Tulita, by the way, was a very common way of building one's fortunes, and so much the better if you could heal unfortunates in indentured servitude to keep them useful and working." His eyes seemed darker when he said this.

"No doubt it came as a tremendous surprise when the resurrection stone failed so completely. Nine times out of ten the injured party came back to life with a completely different personality. Perhaps even a different soul. The Traveler's Curse is not just on the land; it's on those who live here. And the Traveler, blessed be He, works in mysterious ways." He looked up at Doriah.

"All of us from Khorvaire think we know; because we study magic and understand the science of it. Well the Houses do. We build airships and warforged and speaking stones and lightning rails, and we say that we understand everything. But we don't, not really. I've heard theories about the Dragonmarks, but none that were proven. That mark you bear, on your skin, maybe you know how to use it; but you can't tell me you understand it. That's the arrogance of the Houses. And in Xen'drik, arrogance gets punished. That's what happened to the Giants, and why the Tulita lived here when the first sailors came."

He shrugged. "Anyhow, Alhaura thought she would come here and make a bundle for House Jorasco; but if she's not got a reliable Ressurection then there' other, cheaper, places to go to for simple healings. The Sovereign Host, the Silver Flame, even the Blood of Vol and the Dark Six can patch up wounded bearers that the jungle spits back out. And why not give the tithes to organizations that are welcomed by the Stormlords? It's a point of pride that the Houses are kept at arm's length."

"Anyhow, to bring it back to Alhaura d’Jorasco. As far as the Stormlords and her bosses are concerned she's a failure. She can't represent her House if she can't provide their hallmark service. So she's reduced to beating down the competition. Her tenure here is nearly at its end."

Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 68 posts
Sun 26 May 2019
at 21:33
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Doriah slowed down every so often as it easier for her to forge ahead. She had a larger gait than Capshaw and what's more, they weren't in an extreme hurry. Just a bit of one.

"I've heard of the healing houses there before. They have quite the reputation," Doriah said, remembering the times her fellow soldiers had spoken of them. Healing spells weren't all that uncommon, but there was a difference between patching yourself up in the field and the level of professional healing some of the Dragonmarked houses offered. Some were terrible people beneath it all but the same could be said for any segment of society.

"I've never failed to be impressed by resurrections," Doriah replied. "Creeped out somewhat, yes, though it's nice to have a backup plan." She wasn't joking.

"I hadn't realised just how much the Tulita had been through until today. I mean, don't get me wrong, I knew they'd had a rough time of it and that they were exploited, but today has opened my eyes nonetheless."

Her eyes widened as Capshaw explained the resurrection stone's 'errors'. "Oh my, that's a terrible mistake.. or whatever it is, to make. I can't see that making life any easier for House Jorasco."
My heart bleeds.

"I would say magic goes beyond science. It's an art, even to those whose dragonmarks give them their power - like me. I believe there are levels of understanding. You can understand and yet not understand everything, and sometimes that can make a very big difference. However, it's not always reason not to act using what knowledge you have or what you feel you know at a given time. Sometimes that's all you have to work with, and you can do nothing or move forward."

She considered Capshaw's words and explanations. "So do you think if the resurrection stone worked as advertised, she'd be easier to deal with?" There was the small complication that that would be helping House Jorasco, but the people resurrected - if they could do so correctly - would be the ones benefiting from it most of all. Maybe there was a way to convince Alhaura to be more pleasant to those who were helping people too.

OOC: What kind of relationship do House Jorasco and House Deneith have? Do you need me to roll some dice on that?
The GM
 GM, 503 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Fri 31 May 2019
at 05:04
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
OOC: no dice needed unless you think you need to.

Doriah knew how the Houses worked. Dragonmarked Houses were tied to the families that possessed the Dragonmarks. The magical markings that enables some a particular knack with a particular kind of magic. With an innate advantage to their domain, it had been fairly easy for the Houses to establish, over time, a de facto monopoly in their areas. Deneith had the mark of Sentinel: protection. It seemed only right that they should take over such mercenary duties as security, bodyguarding and so forth. Jorasco's healers were the best, on whole, and the fact that the gods, for whatever reason, chose to imbue their priesthood with a semblance of the House's proficiency, did not detract from this. But while many powerful people needed security, everyone needed some health care, from time to time. And that meant huge profit for Jorasco. On the continent, Jorasco was one of the most powerful of houses. No one wanted to see what would happen if their family was barred from healing services indefinitely.

One thing the Houses agreed upon (with only a few dissenters) was that together they were stronger, and so even if Orien and Lyrandar went back and forth about whether airships were an infringement over the transportation of people and goods, overall there was a gradual improvement in the status quo--and most importantly the Houses all got rich.

Doriah had yet to see her portion of these riches, of course, but she had been assured, many times, that it would come. In time.

But here, things were not so clear. The Houses were not on stable ground, and if they could not perform as advertised, then they might as well be selling snake-oil. Dragonmarked herself she should be accorded some respect. It would be an opening. And she was not considering making any requests of Jorasco, which might put her into their debt; rather her idea was to allieviate an obstacle that Jorasco was hampered by. It would have the reverse effect--putting the healers into her debt. If she could do it without implying that these same healers were sub-par at their business. It was a thin line of distinction, and, while she did not consider herself a diplomat, she'd walked that line before.
Capshaw the Crier
"Do you know how to fix the resurrection stone? I mean, yes! That's a great idea! If Alhaura  owes you, then you could ask her to lay off Trafalgar. The only other way I could think is to somehow make the House so weak they didn't have the pull that they do over the powers in Stormreach."  He scratched the top of his head. "The Tulita chose the city after the giants had fallen. They aren't like the other drow tribes, but they all have suffered for thousands of years. I wouldn't have cast my lot with the other tribes, though. The Vulkoor with their scorpions..." He shuddered.

Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 69 posts
Wed 5 Jun 2019
at 22:10
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Doriah could see the potential issues if negotiations with House Jorasco went badly. Perhaps it would help that she was from House Deneith, because just as everyone needed healing, so too did everyone need protecting from time to time - even if they were so caught up in their own difficulties that they didn't notice it.

It would really be better if they had a diplomat for this job and not a soldier, she reasoned.
Doriah could be a blunt instrument at times, but she cared about the people who needed help, and perhaps that put her in the best position to have this negotiation. Usually actually caring won out over some qualifications that were probably relevant.

"Not yet," Doriah answered with a smile. "It really depends on a lot of things, whether I can.. or we can. I'm not going to pretend to hold all the answers if I don't, but I am willing to lend them a hand if they aren't asses about it too much. I'm not saying they are or would be, by the way. I'm saying you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and I'll have to see where things stand. I want to help out the people here so I'll do what I can?"

Doriah winced at mention of scorpions.
The GM
 GM, 507 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Mon 10 Jun 2019
at 15:54
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Even from a distance, Respite has the look of wealth. Capshaw confirmed that sages believed this was the original seat of power for ancient giant lords; the wealthiest seat of power of the ancient city. The past glories onlyh exist now in the monuments, graves and tombs, some of which floated overhead in a display of grandeur that seemed incongruous. The dead were lofted above, while the living toiled below. The House Jorasco Enclave seemed recently renovated, as though a fresh coat of paint might cover over any turmoil within. It stood on the district's highest hill, surrounded with an attractive, fragrant garden. Flags suggesting serenity and calm flapped from poles, and inviting benches set under floral-vine bedecked trellises offered protection from the tropical sun.

There were no beggars to be seen, no-one in rags, and though she'd seen no guards to turn away such riff-raff, Doriah wondered how the poor of Stormreach were kept at bay. The huge pale doors swung open before the had reached the top of the steps, an a refreshing cool breeze met them inside. Lit by a warm, soothing light that was a combination of natural light and scented candles. A tall columned hall met them, constructed of imported marbles of three colors. A semicircular greeting desk stood in the middle of the foyer with a white-garbed halfling perched on a high stool waiting to greet visitors.

Beyond, two sweeping staircases led up to an overhanging balcony, and Doriah's mind was brought back to a similarly constructed foyer from long ago, which was filled with only death and horror.

There were a handful of halflings above, looking down, and Doriah recognized the telltales of the Dragonmark upon them. They seemed curious, but unwilling to do more than look. There was no sense of danger, and Doriah trusted her instincts; that was her House's domain. What she did not see was an expected number of patients. The Enclave was restful, peaceful, and calm, and totally devoid of purpose.


Capshaw the Crier
Capshaw, no stranger to shouting was as affected by the calm and quiet of the room, only whispered, "Where the heck is everyone?" He looked about at the vacant foyer.

Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 70 posts
Fri 14 Jun 2019
at 09:16
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
On an ordinary day, Doriah might've called Respite a lovely place, but the circumstances belied that. Even though House Jorasco was not her own house, there were certain elements that brought back memories of home, at least in terms of her upbringing. There were also darker memories that summoned thoughts of undead.. and that in particular she would like to forget.

The thoughts fell within her control, so she chose to exorcise them.. in this case by shifting her focus to those visually-appealing elements she saw. It wasn't all that difficult. Capshaw was right though. There weren't that many people, all things considered. She wondered if House Jorasco had simply scared them off, but perhaps interfering with the church was a last ditch effort for another reason. It seemed callous considering the people in need.

"I'm honestly not sure," Doriah replied. "Come on, maybe we'll find out."

She approached the halfling at the greeting desk, allowing Capshaw to catch up. "Hi. I would like to speak with the main healer please. It relates to a legal matter, rather than a healing one. I'm Doriah d'Hevian of House Deneith."

This message was last edited by the player at 21:43, Thu 27 June.

The GM
 GM, 512 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Tue 18 Jun 2019
at 23:00
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Llynea d'Jorasco
The young woman brightened immediately when Doriah explained her presence. "House Deneith! Oh yes. I'll take you to see Alhaura d'Jorasco right away." She hopped off her stool and practically ran around the desk. "Everything's so big...I'm Llynea!" She pumped Doriah's hand in greeting, and then gave Capshaw the same; he looked at his fingers wonderingly when she was through. "She's been furiously busy, of course, but she'll want to see you as soon as possible. This way, please!" And with the same speed that she'd been moving she was away down the hall.
Capshaw the Crier
"She seems chipper." he said.

One of the other halflings, a male, also in robes whispered a question. Doriah heard Llynea whisper back "Deneith!" somewhat louder.

Capshaw started following her as she led the way to an archway over some stone stairs that led down. Lights were spaced along the way, and there was s brass safety rail placed slightly lower than a human might be used to grasping.
Capshaw the Crier
"Ah, Llynea, do you mind telling me where we're going?" he said.
Llynea d'Jorasco
"Alhaura is down in the catacombs, but I'm certain she will want to speak with you immediately. Praise Olladra! I'm sure everything will be straightened out in no time, and we can all get back to things as they were.". She continued on down the steps.
Capshaw the Crier
Capshaw looked back at Doriah, and shrugged his shoulders. "Well?" he asked.

Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 71 posts
Thu 27 Jun 2019
at 21:55
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Doriah was surprised to receive the warm greeting from Llynea that she did. Somehow she'd feared the worst and expected strict formality or outright hostility, but she was caught off guard by its opposite. She wasn't even capable of being that cheery on a good day.

"It's nice to meet you Llynea," she said in a pleasant and surprised tone of voice. "Thank you, that would be wonderful."

Once she was sure Capshaw was with her, Doriah hurried after her but not before she nodded at the halfling and replied. "She certainly is."

Doriah's mind could invent lots of reasons why, but she reined herself in. She was just grateful for the warm greeting.

They sure were paying a lot of attention to her house, but perhaps it wasn't that surprising. Then again, maybe it was a hint they sought her or her family's help.

Her first thought when she heard catacombs was 'please! Not another necromancer'. She had the good sense not to speak this aloud. She instinctively prepared herself for having to kill someone, really, genuinely hoping she wouldn't have to try. It would only lead to trouble; it always did.

"Resurrection would be my guess?" Doriah replied aloud, asking just loud enough that Llynea or the halfling stranger might hear her.
The GM
 GM, 520 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Wed 3 Jul 2019
at 06:39
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
The Catacomb Theme
Llynea d'Jorasco
"Resurrection? Ha-haha-haha-ha!" She laughed nervously. "Olladra no! though it would be nice to have some of the paying clients back...." She took up a light from the walls; a club shaped staff that emitted Continual Light from its rounded end. "Right this way, mind the stairs! I mean, of course you're safe; you're dragonmarked. There's no harm in being careful, right? Stay safe, watch your step! It's fine, we're fine." They started passing a few small tombs and sepulchres. "You, uhm, you can't save them all, right? These crypts go on for ages and ages."
Capshaw the Crier
Doriah had noticed Capshaw eying the other halfling as they walked by. She wondered if they knew one another. But the other halfling had just bowed in his white robe and walked away. They'd gone down several sets of carved stone steps when Capshaw spoke up. "What's all that white stuff?" he was looking at a white web-work on the moist walls of the stairway. Nothing dangerous, Doriah knew, as her dragonmark had always faithfully given her a 'head's up' when danger reared its head.
Llynea d'Jorasco
"Oh that's just nitre. I think it's pretty, you know in a sort of creepy way. Just stuff, underground stuff." She laughed again. Then when Capshaw exclaimed aloud at a face protruding from the wall she added quickly "Yeah! the stone heads are down here too! They must be everywhere! I have no idea how the giants must have carved them all. Or why!" She giggled. Doriah had seen the sculptured stone faces in the city above; remnants of a long ago past and carved by no-one knew. Down below the ground the appearance of such a feature was disconcerting, but she knew there was no harm.  "It's fine, we're fine."

'Not another necromancer!'

Doriah's unguarded thought brought an unwelcome recollection. Fort Bones was farther away than it had ever been in her life, but the thought of that... man, and what he'd done... brought it back in a rush.

Sgt. Sutherland
Sutherland had answered the call, her message, he'd responded like a hero and like a hero, he'd perished. He blocked the Karrnathi skeleton's blow. She was concentrating on the fight, and thrust, then twisted and wrenched her sword through the monster's spine; snapping it in half. She imagined that would be the end of things, but Harker had done something and vanished.

Kaminarr the necromancer spoke to her, but his words were barely audible over the thrilling feeling of danger that was coming from her dragonmark. Not even when the airships flew over the troops and mages flung fireballs from the upper decks had she felt such a caution. Around Sgt. Sutherland's head, body, and arms were circlets of blue, runes that were unreadable spinning around him. He  twitched unnaturally. The necromancer shouted: "You must shield yourself! I cannot save you now!" There was a flash and then Kaminarr the necromancer was gone as well.

Doriah had not needed the necromancer's prompt, though. Training and her own instinct snapped her dragonmark gift into place: the Sentinel's Shield, a magic gifted her by lineage, fate, or luck. The circlets that had begun to spin around Doriah shattered, but there was no shield for Sutherland.

He'd twitched again, as though in thrall of a fit, or perhaps dancing with an invisible partner to a cacophonous tune. He was screaming, tearing off his helmet and breastplate in agony. She saw his face, encircled with an eldritch energy. He choked, screamed, lurched, and then his body split open in spray of blood as Sutherland's own skeleton wrenched itself free of his meaty body.

That scarlet gore-covered skeleton had attacked her, and it was the first that she slew on that march through hell that was her escape. The blood covered the floors of the halls, and the walls. She chopped and hewed through bone and sinew as one and then another of these crimson covered horrors assaulted her. Her blade was chipped, her armor gouged by the time that she'd killed the last of the scarlet skeletons; the last of her platoon, her own command. Bespattered by blood, head to foot crimson-bedecked in gore herself, tasting the blood, smelling it; she staggered through the gate of Fort Bones into the burning sun.

Capshaw the Crier
Capshaw nudged her arm. Nothing dangerous, said her dragonmark. Her memory was of a different time, a different place. She remembered the strange machine the necromancer had built; the shape and color of that crystal that had come off of it. And she remembered that she was safely away from all of that. "Want some?" He offered her a bottle. "They keep wine down here with all the dead people. Médoc? It's from Aundair, and it's pretty good."
Llynea d'Jorasco
"... And we can't be more pleased that you've come. Some of us not me, though, I never lost faith, thought you weren't coming. As though the Houses would ever, you know, not stick together. And then there's the shark epidemic... can you call it an epidemic? I mean you can't catch shark bite, but you can catch a shark, so ... Anyways we've been so swamped with that. Ha! 'Swamped with sharks!' And then things not working right..." She laughed almost constantly now. "It's fine, we're fine, we're fine. I mean no, we still can't resurrect. It's not working right. Alhaura did contact an expert about that, and so she's been consulting with him. They'll get it sorted out in no time! But there's such a lack of security; we need protection! Anyhow, here she is! Alhaura! This is Doriah d'Hevian of House Deneith! See?" she gestured effusively at Doriah. "And...."
Alhaura d'Jorasco
"...And Capshaw the Crier. Well!" despite her quick response Alhaura seemed a bit surprised. She was standing before a large pedestal that had a large smooth stone upon it. A large dragonshard was mounted at the head and foot of the stone. The resurrection stone, Doriah realized it must be. There were a few others at the far end of the room, huddled over a work table. She stepped briskly to Doriah and took her hand in greeting. "Llynea, why don't you make sure that Capshaw gets a good dozen of those healing draghts we prepare--for his Tulita friends." She dropped her voice to a whisper as the two halflings moved away. "I don't want the others to hear us. I did contact House Deneith. They were most emphatic in their refusal to help us. They made it perfectly clear that they would send no-one. Morale is bad enough. Llyn is always halfway... I couldn't. But... you aren't here for the reason LLynea thinks you are, at least not in that capacity.

Why are you here?"


OOC: apologies for the wall o text; feel free to interact, and I'll back fill as needed.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:37, Fri 05 July.

Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 72 posts
Sat 6 Jul 2019
at 17:16
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
That's a very strange.. not to mention strained laugh, Doriah thought at Llynea's response. She had to lean in closer to hear the part about paying clients, and it explained why it was all so quiet here. The family would have clients other than those seeking resurrection, but perhaps word traveled effectively enough and enough confidence had been lost that more than one kind of business had diminished. House Jorasco mustn't be taking that well.

She couldn't resist staring a little at Llynea when she urged Doriah to stay safe. Doriah wondered if something might've happened before that made Llynea more cautious. It might even have happened here.
"I don't sense any danger around right now," she told the young woman reassuringly, "not that I would expect to. I'll walk carefully," she said with a meaningful glance at Capshaw.

Doriah nodded at the part about not being able to save them all. "Indeed. I'm a soldier so I have a fairly pragmatic view of such things. The aim is to fill crypts with your enemies, not your comrades. These are of course somewhat different crypts though."
Realising how intimidating this might sound, Doriah sought to give Llynea a reassuring smile. It may or may not have been successful.

"The white web-work is rather pretty," she commented, and paused to study the stone head. "I doubt a giant would've been able to get down here to carve it, so someone must've brought it down here after?"
Unless it wasn't the giants who carved it. It didn't really make a lot of sense, but there might've been more to the story. Maybe someone turned creatures to stone and chopped off their heads...




Doriah grimaced as she remembered the events at Fort Bones. She was sure they'd stay with her forever, and at inopportune times or at those later hours of the evening when her mind wandered, they'd find their way out to haunt her again. Sgt. Sutherland; he'd died a hero, and Doriah made sure his family and his own men knew it. It was the least she could do when there was so little else.

She'd fought for life that day. Fought the undead, fought everything that was wrong and evil there, and kept on going. She wasn't sure she could make it out of that place alive, but she had, and she owed it to loyal men and women who sacrificed everything, and the dragonmark that had saved her. Maybe destiny or fate had a role to play too; she didn't know. She just knew she had more to do.




Doriah shook her head at Capshaw's offer. It was all just too fresh in her mind; the blood, the gore and sinew as she hacked through it. The way it pooled on the floor; stained the walls, covered her uniform and that of her men. Just like red wine, only it wasn't.

"No thanks, I'm good," she said with a smile that was a little too forced. She also didn't want to dull her reflexes, not that a little wine would do that. Zalen was counting on her, and she had to figure out what was going on. Llynea's explanation made her wonder what dealings House Jorasco had had with House Deneith over this already. Something wasn't adding up.

Then she met Alhaura d'Jorasco. It had to be her. Doriah took her hand, already sensing the woman was warmer and friendlier than what she'd earlier expected after seeing the letters at the lodge. She couldn't have been more surprised about the healing draughts. She was expecting something else but Alhaura's explanation clarified a lot of information for her.

Doriah was sure someone more diplomatic could phrase things better, but she was at her heart a soldier, and straightforward in most matters. She didn't see any reason not to explain, though she whispered just as Alhaura had.
"I wasn't aware that you'd already contacted House Deneith. They didn't send me on their behalf; I came here on other matters. After I finished my last tour of duty, I've been living in the city and a friend recently arrived. I credit Zalen Trafalgar with helping me at a time when I needed it most. While I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a follower of the Silver Flame, I respect them and their beliefs and came here on Zalen's behalf. I know their heart's in the right place, and in this world, that's a very good thing.

There are people who need the lodge's help, and after the last priest disappeared, Zalen came to return the lodge to a usable condition. There's some kind legal document saying that magical healing isn't allowed and that only House Jorasco can heal the people magically. I just know people are suffering and Zalen genuinely wants to help them. He doesn't want to break any laws or cross anyone. Is there anything they can do to set things right?"


Doriah wasn't sure how to better explain it. She didn't know the full picture, but she knew enough to realise it was complex.
"What help are you looking for from House Deneith and what grounds did they give for their refusal? I haven't been in contact with my people for some time, but I heard in the city that there was an issue with the resurrection stone."
She knew there wasn't much point agreeing to help unless there was a genuine chance of success, and she'd already agreed to help others; but if this could save people's lives - for a modest fee - and so the problem was corrected, then she sensed she should probably try to do it.
The GM
 GM, 525 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sun 7 Jul 2019
at 07:13
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Alhaura d'Jorasco
She made a disgusted sound under her breath.  "Oh for Olladra' s sake. Iriakan, I'll wager. Iriakan's our Viceroy here in Stormreach. I told him to do what he could, But i did not expect... Of course your friend can practice healing as he sees fit; that's all I want too: to make a difference in people's lives and help where we can. The resurrection stone was Jorasco's big draw--now that there's so much doubt cast upon that the... people are beginning to think we can do nothing. Now all we get are the truly desperate, and they... can't pay enough to cover our expenses. We don't turn them away, of course. And so we are hemorrhaging gold. How in the dark corridors of Khyber do so many people arrange to get bitten by sharks at one time anyhow? Anyways, I'll speak to Iriakan; he'll drop the suit, and there's an end to that." She passed a hand over her face.

"You heard right; there is an 'issue' with the resurrection stone." She stepped towards the pedestal, and almost caressed the Sybaris stone near the head. "Our treasure. We've brought so many back. Explorers, mostly. Adventurer's venturing into the great unknown, and coming back laden with treasures and gold, and ancient knowledge. And one or two dead. We'd bring them back, and send them on their way, all to everyone's profit. And the Stormreach nobility would come to see the newly revivified walk around the grounds and ask for their headache cures and prophylactics. No-one comes now." She gingerly moved her hands away from the stone. "The last attempt cost us the life of a young apprentice. Poor Javin. And Llynea was standing right beside him when it happened. She's still very uncomfortable coming down here. We cast Augury, of course, but we can't be sure of the future all of the time. The Traveler's will will not be thwarted. And so Javin is gone, and Llynea has nightmares. The explorers no longer feel safe, and so there's fewer excursions...."

"And then we had a stroke of luck. A passing scholar who was curious about the rumors of our misfortune offered assistance. And lest you think me a gull, he accepted only room and board in exchange for this work. He was investigating these occurrences in any case, he said. He is... unnerving to some, well... most of the enclave. But I do have confidence that he is onto the source of the disturbance."

She cleared her throat as Llynea and Capshaw returned. The Crier looked well pleased with a basket of nearly a dozen potions of fortification in his hands.
Capshaw the Crier
"Very nice, very nice." he said. "So what dangerous deed of derring do has House Jorasco got in mind for you Doriah?."
Alhaura d'Jorasco
"Derring-do? Hardly. The morale here in the enclave is near the breaking point. Out consultant needs to do his work down here, where... where such tragedy is still fresh in our minds.

We just need to feel safe. It's literally no more than guard duty.

Some of our people. Well the consultant needs some assistance, and he's ... unnerved a few. We--"
She stopped, and gathered herself. "He's not the kind of person we are used to, and the work is not the kind of work we are used to. And we are in the catecombs, and there have been--"
Llynea d'Jorasco
"--Tragedies." Llynea finished. She gulped. "Honestly everyone will feel so much better just knowing you are here. In case...."
Capshaw the Crier
"But, ahh, you have this unnerving consultant." he said. "He have two heads or something?"
Alhaura d'Jorasco
One of the people at the back of the cavern had come away from the work tables and was striding towards Alhaura and her guests. Something about him seemed familiar to Doriah, though in the gloom id was impossible to say immediately. There was still no sense of danger, though. "No, of course not. My word! But here he comes now; I'll introduce you. Doriah d'"hevian, Capshaw the Crier, may I present...
Karl Kaminarr
The man walking towards them was carrying a basket of pastries in one hand and what appeared to be a small skull in the other. He was speaking distractedly to Alhaura. "I know zee instructions called for dog skulls, but I zink thees rat skulls are going to be just as effective. Anyvay, I bought zome extra pastries; zey schmelled zo good! But I cannot possibly eat all ov these. Oh!" he said recognizing the presence of others. "I beg your pardon. I am Karl Kaminarr, pleasure to make your aquaint-- Vait a moment. Have ve met?"

His eyes met Doriah's. He was older, hair darkened, and the moustache was new, but she knew that face. She would never forget the smug confidence of the Necromancer of Fort Bones. As much as she would never forget the dead she fought her way through, or the smell of blood, she would know this man anywhere; he lived in her nightmares.

He held the basket out towards Doriah.
"I ... did not think to zee you again. Vould you like a honey-bun? "

The GM
 GM, 527 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Mon 8 Jul 2019
at 00:59
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Doriah spoke a word that had no sound, and made a gesture as though flicking sand into the man's face. Karl's eyes rolled up into his head and he made a sound in the back of his throat. As he collapsed, Capshaw, thinking quickly, rescued the basket of pastries before they spilled on the dirt floor.
Capshaw the Crier
"I'm sure Doriah had a very good reason for doing that." he said. "You do have a good reason for doing that, right? Because knocking out her 'expert consultant' does not seem like the way to help Zalen into her good graces. Do you think the honey buns are poisoned?" He was still chewing.


Karl Kaminarr began to snore loudly where he lay.
Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 74 posts
Thu 11 Jul 2019
at 19:25
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Doriah was pleased that Zalen should be able to heal people again without the threat of arrest hanging over his head.

"If you could send word to the Guard about that, it would be very much appreciated. They're not aware yet that Zalen should be able to continue healing those who need it," she said.

She committed that name to memory. Iriakan. She had some unpleasant thoughts about the man already. His name sounded familiar somehow. She'd think about it - see if she recalled why, but Alhaura was still speaking, so she listened.

Her eyebrows rose at mention of the sharks. Maybe someone was luring them into the waters. Maybe it had something to do with the mysterious whalebone. Or maybe they were swimming by and those people in the water didn't expect to run into the business end of very large fish.

Her attention shifted to the Resurrection Stone when Alhaura spoke of it, though the truth was she hadn't fully taken her attention off it since she'd arrived.
"I'm sorry to hear of your loss," Doriah replied, considering what had happened. She wondered how Javin had managed to die when the resurrection stone was a tool of rebirth.

Her eyebrow rose slightly when the Healer spoke of the passing scholar. It sounded a little too convenient, but at the same time, it was a fascinating subject that would no doubt draw attention.

"I'm always one for derring-do," she told Capshaw with a smile.

It seemed odd that the scholar or consultant should unnerve so many. Doriah wondered if he or she was someone they'd want touching their resurrection stone.

And then he strode toward them, and Doriah recognised him.. and she remembered.
And she cussed under her breath, because she didn't want to encounter a necromancer today, especially down here in the catacombs. What were the chances? Maybe they gravitated toward catacombs and powerful magical objects like glue.

Her eyes widened when he recognised her, and he offered her a honey-bun.

The GM:
Doriah spoke a word that had no sound, and made a gesture as though flicking sand into the man's face. Karl's eyes rolled up into his head and he made a sound in the back of his throat. As he collapsed, Capshaw, thinking quickly, rescued the basket of pastries before they spilled on the dirt floor.
Capshaw the Crier
"I'm sure Doriah had a very good reason for doing that." he said. "You do have a good reason for doing that, right? Because knocking out her 'expert consultant' does not seem like the way to help Zalen into her good graces. Do you think the honey buns are poisoned?" He was still chewing.


Karl Kaminarr began to snore loudly where he lay.


"Of course I have a good reason," Doriah said. "I'm also glad that worked. I'm sorry to tell you this, but your consultant's a necromancer. I encountered him when my platoon and I battled undead at a stronghold south of Fort Bones. Many didn't make it out alive."

Quickly she considered Capshaw's question. "I don't think the honey buns are poisoned."

Turning back to Alhaura, she asked, "Are you certain he couldn't have tampered with the resurrection stone in order to gain access to it?"
The GM
 GM, 535 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Fri 12 Jul 2019
at 18:24
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Alhaura d'Jorasco
Alhaura had a firm hand on her emotions, but looked somewhat angry. Doria still felt that there was nothing dangerous. This woman was not prepared to cross House Deneith. "His name is Karl Kaminarr. And yes, he's a necromancer. He has two of those creepy Kaarnathi skeletons over there by the table. They are assisting us. They are all assisting us." She shook her index finger slightly at Doriah. "Most people don't think about it, but resurrection is necromancy. We're bringing back people from the dead, if we can. And this man is an expert. Have you read his On the Makings of the Undead Mind? Of course not. The chapters on the transformations the soul undergoes in Dolurrh were insightful, and very useful to us when we were still able to ... bring people back." She shook her head.

"He approached us. He wanted to let us know there was a ghoul infestation in Delera's Watch." She pointed overhead. "Delera's Watch is the cemetary right up there. He helped a couple who were visiting the graves to escape. He didn't know there was any issue with our resurrection stone until I told him about it. He's staying in one of our rooms; food and board are all he requested for payment. I guess because as a necromancer, who fought in the Last War, he gets treated badly. But we all did things in the Last War that we're not proud of."

She stopped trying to persuade Doriah then. "I'll not wake him. I just want to make sure he didn't hurt his head when he fell." And she knelt to examine his head.
Capshaw the Crier
He handed the basket to Llynea. "These are very tasty" he said. "I'll not wake him either."

He deftly disarmed the necromancer, handing the crystal-skull-topped rod to Llynea. She looked at the magical focus with a kind of horror. Then with a few quick motions the Crier wrapped the necromancer's wrists and ankles with a thin rope. Satisfied with his knots the halfling stood, and brushed his hands before retrieving the basket and the rod from Llynea. He put a honey-bun into her empty hands.  "Go on, they're tasty."
Llynea d'Jorasco
"Did he... Did he kill people?" She looked ad the fallen necromancer. "He was always so polite...."
Alhaura d'Jorasco
"He didn't look as though he was going to kill you." She looked at Doriah. "Some of the terms he was using are not familiar to me, but his theory is that there's some kind of life/death fluctuation interfering with the 'stone. He wanted to construct some detectors so we could trace the origin. It's coming from deep in the catacombs, we think. It's the first lead we've had. That's my concern."

The GM
 GM, 537 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sat 13 Jul 2019
at 05:38
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Doriah considered the nature of Kaminarr's crimes. He was on the 'Wanted of Thronehold' list; she'd practically put him there.

996 was the Treaty of Thronehold, which contained all of the concessions, grants and immunities, and constituted the actual (legal) end of the Last War. The start of the end of the was was the destruction of Cyre and the emergence of the Mournland (Olarune 994 YK, the Day of Mourning). There were no end to the atrocities that were committed during the Last War (a civil war, lasting a hundred years, so there was plenty of bad blood and justified vengeance too).

A war crime was considered to be the use of forbidden magics, the execution of civilians or prisoners of war, and a variety of things the countries negotiated, as they were all kingdoms, not beholden to their subjects, nor prone to influences.

It could have been just political, or economic, or unjustified. Or it could have been for crimes they committed under the cover of the war.

At the signing of the Treaty of Thronehold a number of names came up; known thereafter as 'The Wanted of Thronhold.' Each signatory kingdom added to the list the names of those whom they each thought was a criminal of import. After this, there was a period of negotiation, wherein some countries agreed to remove a name, or two, in exchange for another country to remove a name, or two. Once all of the negotiations were complete, there was a comprehensive list of war criminals that the Sentinel Marshals to pursue.

Only one name was placed by their own nation. Karl Kaminarr was put down for 'evil magics above the call and conduct of warfare.' The testimony of Doriah d'Hevian was presented in evidence.  Not one of the other nations protested.

But the jurisdiction of the Sentinel Marshals does not extend to Xend'rik, or Stormreach. And the legal standing of the Houses is always in flux. Llyrandar only just recently got permission to build the Falconer's Spire, and dock airships there. Every House vies for the attention of the Stormlords, trying to get just a tiny bit of influence.  Deneith has very little influence here, because right now airships are the new hotness..

In short; in Khorvaire he could be arrested for war crimes. In Stormreach, he's not guilty of anything. House Deneith would sure like to bring him in, but they dare not be connected with an overt power move. It would be a feather in your cap if you  apprehended Karl, somehow managed to get him back to Khorvaire, and then ... kept your name out of it entirely.

But as to the crimes he's accused of. When Doriah recalls that final dreadful event, she remembers that Kaminarr did a lot of shouting, and not a lot of spellcasting. And the skeletons attacked only after 'Captain' Harker had made the first move. Harker did something to the machine; Harker stole the dragonshard that powered it; and Harker's name was never mentioned in the evidence produced. Nor was the 'Soul Engine' which Kaminarr was said to have 'perfected' and that Harker claimed that he had 'formulated' those techniques.   And there too was the fact that Harker also seemed to have his escape pre-planned.

What Kaminarr had done was warn Doriah to shield herself. An unnecessary caution, true, but he need not have done so. And then she thought of what happened after. The Curse of the Scarlet Skeleton, they'd called it. It did not sound horrible enough.

Kaarnathi makes a practice of necromancy, so it in itself is not a war crime. They are one of the five kingdoms, and they quite like the undead. Necromancy is just a tool as any school of magic is a tool. Once one gets past the large number of bones involved. Deneith has no position on the legitimacy of necromancy. Other people have a variety of opinions. That said, some people rail against resurrection, calling it a twisting of the natural order of things.

But... if Doriah did not attempt to bring him in on charges... and the House found out... some members might consider that a failing of the highest order, despite the fact that she is not a Sentinel Marshal, and not on Treaty territory. Then, she thought, if she did bring him in it would also be considered to be a failure to follow the rule of law. Kidnapping.
Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 77 posts
Thu 18 Jul 2019
at 22:26
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Doriah studied the unconscious man. Karl Kaminarr - that was his name, alright. Somehow she'd missed the skeletons assisting by the table. Was she so accustomed to their presence now that she hardly noticed them at all?

"Look on the bright side. I could've done a lot worse than knock him out. I wanted an opportunity to explain this to you, rather than anything occurring that was more permanent."

She hadn't thought of resurrection as necromancy, but she supposed it was. Still, she was shocked that House Jorasco was so openly working with this necromancer.
"He's on the Wanted of Thronehold list but the jurisdiction of the Sentinel Marshals doesn't extend here. In Stormreach, he's a free man, so he's not guilty of anything here - unless there's something I'm unaware of."
It was probably for the best she didn't kill him.

"I didn't see him kill anyone directly," she told Llynea, "but there were risen skeletons and zombies in the facility that did."
Doriah had seen a lot of good people die that day. Under different circumstances she might've reconsidered Karl Kaminarr's responsibility, but not after what she'd seen. And as far as she was concerned, no one should have been working on a soul engine and with those abominations.

"Will House Jorasco take responsibility for him while he's under your roof? By that I mean controlling him and ensuring he doesn't use his magic to hurt people?"
She had no legal authority to ask that of Alhaura; she was just worried and wanted to be sure he wouldn't prove a threat.

She had an idea too that might solve the problem with the resurrection stone, but she decided to wait until they'd finished debating the unconscious necromancer.
The GM
 GM, 547 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sat 20 Jul 2019
at 05:23
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Alhaura d'Jorasco
"Well that all depends." She was intent. I'll take responsibility for the necromancer, if you agree to help us out; if you don't, I think I might be too busy here to go and tell Iriakan to lay off your friend Zalen. May I have your permission to wake him? I'd like to hear his side of the story. Maybe you would too? He's done nothing untoward so far. And, despite our reaching out for help from other avenues, he's been the only one to show any interest in helping our situation. We just want to heal people. And while we were doing that--something attacked us."
Llynea d'Jorasco
"Olladra protect us and guide us." She looked like she was going to begin to cry. "We're all going to die.... Like Javin."

There was something. The twinge of sensation, of an unheard sound, an unsmelt odor, an unseen glimpse. Doriah's sense never failed her. A glance told her that the necromancer was still out cold, and tied to boot; the danger did not come from him. Nor from the girl Llynea; she was merely distraught. Nor still from the skeleton servitors at the back of the cavern. Nor did it come from Capshaw, brushing the crumbs of the last of the pastries from his vest.

There, out there, past the table where the acolytes were studiously working to build whatever things it was that Karl Kaminarr had requested. Things of bone and wood. Past the yawning tunnel that led beyond into the caverns and catacombs. Something else was coming--this Doriah knew as well as she knew water was wet, and the catacombs were dark. And that something held malice in mind.
Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 78 posts
Wed 24 Jul 2019
at 17:04
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Doriah's eyebrow rose ever-so-slightly at Alhaura's response. Too busy indeed. She was tempted to decline out of principle (House Deneith were proud), but then she remembered who she was talking to and the influence they could have on Zalen and his people. If she truly cared about the people he would be helping, she'd likely never have spoken those words, unless she felt she had no choice.

No choice but to coerce me, and she actually thought that would work? Doriah hadn't made up her mind yet whether she'd let it work, but she didn't want Alhaura to think she could manipulate her so easily.

She eventually decided there was little to gain by being bull-headed about it, and Zalen had asked for her help. If she declined Alhaura's offer now, it was possible no one could convince her otherwise, though as a healer, Doriah would assume that she'd want to help people.

"I was going to help you anyway," Doriah said. It was the truth, though she hadn't forgotten other responsibilities and promises that must still be honoured. "That hasn't changed."
She glanced down at the Necromancer, who was still asleep. "You can wake him, of course. I'll listen if he's prepared to talk and doesn't attack anyone."

The last might not sit well with Alhaura, but it was a reminder that the necromancer they were dealing with wasn't a fluffy kitten.

Doriah glanced at Llynea and gave her a comforting pat on the shoulder. "We're going to die, but not today. It'll be alright. The opposite is simply not an alternative."

She turned back to Alhaura, though her gaze took in all of them there in the room. "I'm not taking that back, but something is coming. Those of my House can sense these things. It's out there," she said, pointing past the tunnel where the acolytes were working. "What I sense isn't coming from any of us; not even from the skeletons. It's down past the tunnel and it has malice in mind. I don't know why I didn't sense it before. It's possible it's because it's got closer or awakened."

Doriah wondered if Llynea might be safer or better off upstairs, but it wasn't her place to order her away or even really suggest it.
The GM
 GM, 560 posts
 Fair Winds and
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Fri 2 Aug 2019
at 16:22
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Alhaura d'Jorasco
"Malice? That's just ... great. Llynea, would you be so good as to awaken out consultant, dear. No worries, he's bound and I'm sure he'll be cooperative." Then to the others at the back of the room, she called, "Come here please, immediately-- we have a situation." The Jorasco responded, but she had no sway over the two Karrnathi skeletons. "I really hope that you're trying to put one over on me..." she said quietly to Doriah.
Llynea d'Jorasco
"Mr. Kaminarr?" She patted the necromancer's face "Ser, please wake up." It seemed as long as she had something to do, Llynea could hold herself together.
Karl Kaminarr
"Unnnn. I ... suppose I should haff expected zat." He attempted to move and noted his restraints."Und zis."
Capshaw the Crier
Capshaw was examining the small contraption that Karl had carried. 'Rat-skulls' he'd said, and it looked like it. The skull was atop some metal rods and wires, and was able to bob up and down, and freely turn side to side. It rocked, and then went motionless when he held it up. "You have some peculiar hobbies," he said.
Llynea d'Jorasco
"Just take it easy, you were Sleeping." She looked at his eyes, and checked his pulse. "The, um, the Lady from House Deneith said that you were a Wanted of Thronehold" She pursed her lips. "A war criminal."
Karl Kaminarr
"Vell, dat's true. I am Vanted. But I did not do those things I am vanted for. I understand why zis voman might think I had, though. I vas present when her platoon vas killed. But zat vas not my doing. It vas that fool Harkonner." He wrestled with his anger. "But Harkonner is here, now! He's gathered enough minions to become a formidable force. "
Alhaura d'Jorasco
"I put up some wards after the last time, but I really do not know how well they'll hold... She addressed the bound necromancer.  "We need you to promise not to attack anyone here." She rolled her eyes.  "Apparently this is how Deneith keeps the peace."
Capshaw the Crier
"Hey, is it supposed to do that?" The skull had turned towards the opening in the far wall of the cavern and was bobbing on its own. "I'm not doing that."
Karl Kaminarr
He nodded at the bobbing rat skull. "Harkonner has been collecting from the graves and tombs in Delera's Watch, above. I know he has ghouls. You vill vant my help; release me!"
Capshaw the Crier
"But those knots are so good!" Capshaw looked at Doriah for instruction. "It's your call..."

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:21, Sat 03 Aug.

Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 81 posts
Fri 9 Aug 2019
at 02:50
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
"I regret I'm not joking," Doriah confirmed, though she was sure Alhaura realised that already. If she hadn't sensed danger, she wouldn't have said it.

Doriah gave Karl the merest of shrugs when he said he should've expected the sleep spell. As Doriah saw it, he wasn't wrong. She knew she'd never fully trust a necromancer, not after all she'd seen. Some images never went away. Some damage was too ingrained. She thought of the souls of the dead every day.

It's true, Karl was on the Wanted of Thronehold list and of course, she'd put him there. He didn't need to know that, though he already might. She listened to his claims, which might well have been true, but she could only base her assessments on what she saw and what had happened. That may have been to his detriment, but she was willing to let him prove her wrong. Maybe he'd do a good deed in the process.

"You're sure it's Harkonner?" she asked, her brows creasing. 'The Betrayer' - that's how she saw him now. One of her military superiors who'd steeped himself in the dark arts and betrayed his own. She welcomed another meeting and a chance to do what must be done. Her heart ached a little; the part that had turned from killing, but she didn't see it as an evil act as much as she wanted to. She saw it as righting a grave wrong.

"What manner of minions does he have aside from ghouls?" Doriah asked. "And how many?"

When Alhaura spoke of wards, it registered with her. The healer's snippiness no longer did. There were larger concerns at play now. "We may need more help, especially from those who can strengthen the wards."

Then there was the matter of Karl Kaminarr. "Release him," Doriah said. Let's hope he doesn't cross us. I can only be prepared if he does. Personally I wouldn't be surprised if he's working with Harkonner, but they seemed to be enemies who knew each other well.
The GM
 GM, 572 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Sat 17 Aug 2019
at 08:00
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Karl Kaminarr
"Sure? It vass only the description of vat happened to Javin zat convinced me. Zutch an atrocity. Very much like vat happened to your men."
Capshaw the Crier
Capshaw produced a knife and quickly sliced the bond he'd so recently made. "Oh well. A knot can always be re-tied."
Karl Kaminarr
"Thank you." he said, without any sarcasm. He stood, rubbing his wrists. "I do not know his strength. Skeletons and zombies are obvious. Iff he has mastered vat he said he vas studying... then wights vould be my main concern. He muzt vant the resurrection stone for his own purposes. Knowing his fascination for Necrooman's work... I vould say that is his goal. Necrooman spoke of an anti-life equation. The stone could well be a part of the materials needed."
Alhaura d'Jorasco
There were several flashes of light from deep within the tunnel. "Well, that's the wards going. Something's gotten past."
Karl Kaminarr
"Observe what forces we face. That vill tell us if zis is an assault, or merely a reconnaissance." He shouted to the two Karrnathi skeletons to guard the far entrance. Drawing twin scimitars, they assumed positions in the shadows of the far wall one to each side of the dark opening that Doriah sensed the danger from.
The three other clerics, baffled by the summons joined Alhaura, and she bade them stand behind. The room was sixty feet in radius, and the resurrection stone a ten foot long slab in the center. Two tunnels led out, one was now guarded by the Karrnathi undead, and the other led to the stairs up. Alhaura and  Doriah stood before the stone. Llynea, Capshaw and the others stood behind it.
Alhaura d'Jorasco
"Be ready with light, Llynea, when I ask."
There was a sudden commotion; no words or cries, but a scuffle at the far tunnel mouth as unseen enemies were engaged by the two Karrnathi.
"Now, Llynea."

Her chant lifted the gloom and Doriah saw at least ten ghouls battling Kaminarr's guards, the beast-headed undead cavorting and leaping and trying to avoid the whirling swords.


OOC: Roll initiative (d20+Dex Mod + your Dragonmarked bonus.)
Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 83 posts
Sun 25 Aug 2019
at 21:54
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Doriah's hand twitched when Karl spoke of her men. She was tolerating him, distrustfully, but she would have to think of them later. Harkonner was coming... and she couldn't wait.

"We will have to stop him then," she said matter of factly. Permanently, she hoped.

"He must want the stone for some purpose or to deny it to House Jorasco."

As it seemed the fight was beginning, Doriah prepared herself and fell into stance. Doriah had an idea but it was too late for that.. if she could see them, then they could probably see her and the others in the room. Her thoughts switched between magic and her sword. Magic first, she decided.

This message was last edited by the player at 21:55, Sun 25 Aug.

The GM
 GM, 587 posts
 Fair Winds and
 Following Seas
Tue 24 Sep 2019
at 16:14
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Karl Kaminarr
Karl was watching the fight at the far end of the room. The light from Llynea's hands was bright enough to show the fight. Karl's hands were clenched, and he watched the fight with an intensity that Doriah recognised from the fist-fights that would occasionally break out among the troops, when she had troops. Two men would have had a disagreement; about money, or a girl... and they would decide to settle it with their fists. Inevitably, a crowd would form about the combatants, Their fists would be clenched, and their heads bobbing and jerking. The audience was part of the fight; a sympathetic martial dance.
"You see Adelbar, there? He favors the 'Stance of the Dragon', two swords stabbing down, the Bite of the Dragon. See there?  See?!! Bertram goes windmill; both swords at once in a flurry--right-left-right. Their fighting styles... we don't even know where they come from. Their personalities bubble up from the same dark domain as their un-life force. It has an elegance, a grace that even the most skilled Karrn soldiers do not possess. But it's a foregone conclusion; the ghoul's strongest advantage is their 'chilling touch', the paralyzing touch that freezes living flesh. But it doesn't work on Adelbar and Bertram, you see? The chill of the grave holds no sway over the undead. My men have this. If there are no more enemy than this, then we are safe. Even if they are fortunate enough to get past Adelbar or Bertram, Alhaura's clerics would turn them all back. Now, if they had a some kind of leader, a ghast, or even someone directing them... it would be different."
Doriah could see what he was talking about. The skeletons were methodical, and one, the one Karl had called Adelbar, would start work on one ghoul, and Bertram would follow suit, striking again and again at the same target. She'd seen this on the field too. The Karrnathi forces that House Deneith had been tasked to fight had been horrific in their efficiency. Doriah recalled the horde of enemy soldiers marching down a hillside toward her position, twin scimitars flashing and spinning in just that way.
Capshaw the Crier
"Adelbar? Seriously?"
Alhaura d'Jorasco
"They are too far to turn. We... We can hold them here." Doriah knew that the center of the cavern was indefensible though. If the ghouls got this far they would become surrounded, and while Kaminarr's minions were immune to the ghoul's touch, none of the rest of them were. Doriah knew that, tactically, they would not be able to hold them here. The doorway they had come though down the long stairs were a natural choke point, though. They could control the numbers they faced, and perhaps there would be a way to block them. Retreat was never Doriah's first choice, but it was always a card she could play.
Llynea d'Jorasco
"They... are horrible!" She whispered. "I see more coming." She was right; more shadows were gathering in the gloom beyond her magical light. The skeletons were silent, any of their hoarse whispered words too far away to be heard. The whoops, grunts and snarls of the ghouls carried, though. Doriah's sense of danger increased. Sometimes she fancied it sounded like a scream; it had no real sound, of course, but it felt like she heard that cry growing louder.
Capshaw the Crier
"What's that?" Capshaw was pointing; he'd noticed something glowing in the distance. The Karnnathi Skeletons were illuminated with crackling lines of power. The pair were shuddering and jerking under the force of the attack.

Doriah d'Hevian
 player, 87 posts
Mon 30 Sep 2019
at 01:46
Re: 2. Brief Respite From the Looming Darkness
Doriah glanced Karl's way as he watched the fight and explained the fighting prowess of his skeletons. She'd noticed before that skeletons fought differently, but she hadn't considered why. She'd always assumed it had something to do with the magic or who had trained them. It wasn't important; killing them was. Now, she found herself wondering things, and trying not to be distracted by them. She knew it was best to keep away from the ghouls, so perhaps she could work at a distance.

"We could retreat, but I would much rather drive them out. I would call my friends for backup, but they won't get here quickly enough. Is there anyone else we could call on closeby to help us here, if we need it?"

Capshaw directed her attention to glowing lines of power. "I think that could be someone or something more powerful. Perhaps the man himself," she said.

It occurred to Doriah that the thing Harkonner wanted most was the stone. In that moment, she would very much have liked a way to deny it to him.

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This message was last edited by the player at 01:49, Mon 30 Sept.