Post by kynigoskerata on Sept 1, 2020 19:55:38 GMT -5
Castor covered his ears in vain as he heard it again. The pale crescent moon hung overhead and a shallow burbling giggle ringed. He took a deep breath. Then two. Rocking back and forth on his knees, he centered himself, excluding the outside world. The small town was quiet. Solitary. The people were... kind, in that unknowing way. Castor had taken great pains to keep any unnecessary interactions. 'FREEDOM!' The mirthful voice gurgled betwixt his ears. The oil and alcohol flowed to the floor, splashing and lapping at her feet. A flash of violet light entered his brain, giving him access to knowledge and power. Quickly, he pulled up paper and ink, quill gliding along its edge in his fingers. Copying the memory that was not his own. Veins beneath his skin twitched and wiggled, like tentacles of some undersea beast.
All too quickly, the memory faded, but the gift was there. In fresh in, in a language that was half secret half dead. Castor grabbed the leather-clad journal, a repository for the knowledge he was granted access to.
'ROOKROOST' It cried, like the sound of glass breaking. Fine dining sets being smashed to the floor as a fire raged about the house.
Clutching his journal, Castor staggered to the table, a small glass of watered whiskey. He shot it down in one gulp. Taking a look out the window, he realized it was only a few more hours until dawn. Had it been so long already? He had only arrived in town last morning.
Between here, this miserable, peaceful squat of land were few settlements. A dwarven hold. A bandit town. None seemed particularly appropriate. Castor had become very adapted to passing under the shadow of others. Not unheard, or unseen. Unnoticed would be better put.
'RESOLUTE' It would not be denied. The faintest cries of strength in disaster. Chaos reigning while men and women work together best they can. A few hours, Castor promised himself. A few hours to rest and he would leave before dawn breaks. A few moments. Castor pours himself another finger of whiskey to settle.
He would strike out to the Dwarven settlement first. Hopefully he could rest quietly there, for a day or two.
Post by kynigoskerata on Sept 8, 2020 21:48:18 GMT -5
Castor looked down upon the body on the floor. He had only known Starlin for a few weeks, but the man was kind. He knelt down, and began to search the dwarves pockets. While he did so, he chanted half-remembered dwarvish burial rites for a warrior fallen in battle. Considering the nature of the death traps, he hoped Starlin's gods would approve and forgive the butchering of their religious words. Still, the small man had no use for anything in his pockets, and Castor pocketed half his gold, sharing the other half. As he slipped the gold into his pouch, Castor wandered over to pick up the possible spellbook of the tower's wizard.
He wondered if the trade off would be worth it. A rare friend, vs the possibility of gaining arcane knowledge. Castor wondered if he was a bad man for thinking it may be worth it. He wondered if he cared.
As he grabbed the book, death still clung to him. A voiced, babbling madness, spoke secrets in his mind. His eyes! Daggers, flame, and acid, all at once. Castor squeezed his eyes shut while the pain faded into a dull ache. Opening them caused pain, as wven the relatively dim lights of the tower and torches caused incredible pain. He covered his eyes with his hand, slowly letting light in as his eyes acclimated. Looking around, Castor saw in slightly sharper details and colors. Again the forces had screwed with his mind and body, changing it at their whims. Instinctive knowledge on how to read magic was at his fingertips. Who knows what else they have done to him.
There’s a boy in my pond! A man, even! It’s been so long since I’ve seen one, when one came to take away my older sister, I had almost forgotten how they look! This one is handsome, and different looking... his clothes are colorful and now lay in a pile on the bank as he wades in past his waist.
I remain in bird form, watching as he leans back and floats with his head tipped back. He looks happy, content to just close his eyes and float. He cleans himself up, and then starts making his way back to shore. I float over, kicking my feet to propel myself quickly towards him. He stands ankle deep, and looks at me with a grin.
“Hello there, goose! Where are your friends?”
Ah, them... I followed a group of geese that looked like they might be friends like me. Followed them for miles and miles over a span of days. It was too late by the time I realized they were not Swanmay, but actual wild geese. Turns out I really am one of the only ones like me.
I drop goose form, and stand up in the water. The boy... man, startles, and his hands fly to between his legs to cover up. A stream of curses leave his lips, and he scrambles to his belongings.
“You’re not a goose?!”
“Sorry to scare you. I am, but I’m also human. My name is Hilda, what’s yours?”
He stares at me for a good long moment, trying to avert his eyes as he blushes. Ah, right, I guess nudity isn’t as acceptable among normal human populations.
“Nikolaj,” he says. “What are you? A Druid?”
“Swanmay,” I laugh. “But I’m a goose. Long story.”
“Ah. Right. Well... are you alone?”
“Yes. I followed a group of geese here. Turns out they were migrating and not very friendly to me.”
And so Nikolaj becomes my first friend. We travel to Rookroost, a town which unfortunately is suffering from a plague. I attempt to make friends with the raven population, but am immediately chased off by guards with brooms. This place is full of people, and not all of them nice. I have a lot to learn about getting on with normal humans and humanoids, so joining in an adventure with my new handsome friend Nikolaj seems to be the way to do it! I just hope we don’t get sick.
Post by kynigoskerata on Sept 16, 2020 16:04:50 GMT -5
Well, we got jumped. Not an unusual experience for me I'll be the first to admit, but at least there weren't any pitchforks this time. Those always sting. I must admit I'm growing fond of my new companions... friends.... compatriots. My new compatriots. It's much too early to even think friend. It has been an exciting week. A strange group of people, with differing backgrounds and races coming together. This only happens in the fairytales and legends.
Also, I haven't been this well off in... ever. A pouch bulges in my hand as I stuff it in the easiest place I could find to hide. Money like this attracts attention. I don't like attention.
Post by kynigoskerata on Sept 23, 2020 16:23:03 GMT -5
There will be other opportunities to gain hold of such precious assets, Castor thinks, as he hands over the metal shirt sized for a being half his weight and height. A pretty penny it would have sold for, but money is not so large an issue now as it was only scant few weeks ago. Meeting this group of... individuals Castor has been feeling his luck turning around. The chance to expand his magical knowledge base without giving up more of his sanity or soul was one he would always take, and the new spells would prove useful in many situations this new entourage finds themselves in.
Castor looks over the temple as they begin their ascent to the entranceway.
Post by kynigoskerata on Sept 30, 2020 15:40:31 GMT -5
Well, that went... not horribly wrong. Not right either, but at least we are still alive and were able to walk out of town rather than needing to crawl through the sewers. Not a fun time. This new town, Castor thinks to himself, is beyond picturesque. Rolling hills and quaint houses that make up a city trying its best to appear some overgrown cul-de-sac. Of course, then it goes on to have its own menacing parts. For one reason or another, the town is disturbing. Like a cork on dangerous chemicals, the pressure feels building. Whether that's us, the town or any number of other pressures that exist in this reality or the next one over, it is going to pop. Violently.
Post by kynigoskerata on Oct 3, 2020 21:22:04 GMT -5
'It was nice to get out of the woods,' Castor thought as he was carried off by his new companions. Blood seeped from his wounds, his hands raw with unspent magical energies. 'We'll have to do it again sometime soon.' Castor shook pushed himself out of Runt's arms, falling to the ground, before struggling to get upright again. Those dogs had done a great number on him, and their speed meant he couldn't even get sleep off, to keep their numbers down. Looking down at himself, Castor sniffed his shirt. The telltale smell of the Armor Spell was missing. Just another thing to worry about, and another thing to go on the list. First, medical care and booze. And his new pipe. Would it be entirely safe to smoke while still riddled with holes? Probably, and if it wasn't, well, that's what healers were there to help with. He should do some thing nice for her. Maybe a fruit basket.
Post by kynigoskerata on Oct 12, 2020 7:21:10 GMT -5
New spells time! I feel the burgeoning power swell and flow within me, as my knowledge of the current magicks I control reach the arbitrary level the eldritch beasts have decided on. I push down the feeling, knowing where I am makes it easy. For this, I will need to commune with the contract holder, and work out what is best for continuing on this path. Considering some of the... peculiarities of this ritual, it's best if I can get a few hours alone to do it. Perhaps I can volunteer for watch? I mean, its not like a second bear will come out, swinging... ugh... must repress.
In returning to my friends after getting lost for hours swimming in the park pond, I find them having been nearly killed by dogs. Oh, and the city has the plague now. While they rest back at the inn I take a fly around the city and try to see the situation. Looks like outsiders are feared and hated, so we shouldn’t stay long. Luckily one guy throws some bread at me, so my night isn’t wasted.
We head into the wilderness in a couple days after doing some camping outside the city walls, and have quite an adventure. One night we are assaulted by a bear. I will never look at a bear the same after that.
Eventually we come to a clearing with a strange tree, and Tara ends up in a snare trap hanging from the air. Along comes the centaur we ran into in town, acting all suspicious about the tree I’m trying to climb into.
“Is that your goose? Get it out of there, there’s nothing in there!”
He proceeds to warn us that some duke or lord person is being waylaid by bad guys, and we must come with him if we want to save him. Too bad this centaur is suspicious as hell, and he runs of galloping when Daksilfur joins me in the tree. Sure enough we find poison bottles in it!
We head out immediately to find the nobleman, and find him we do. He’s dying from poison as his cohorts are trapped in vines! Tara brings him back to some form of health, and he tells us to save his men who went up ahead. The dwarf and I spare no second and proceed onward. The men are getting shot by a sniper! Luckily I spot the guy just as he kills another man, and turn into my goose form. I fly right at him just as he shoots another guy!
He reloads, and I panic. I can’t stop him! And then I risk it, and grab the bolt as it leaves the crossbow, right in my beak!
“Well done!” Says the man with a smirk.
He turns into a crow! I honk at him and fly off after him. We fly for miles and miles, and he just won’t give up the chase. His small crow body can handle flying faster for longer, and soon I know I have to go back, but first I figure out where he is going. I reluctantly turn around and fly back.
I turn back into human form in the street, and suddenly one of the men is pouncing on me with a hug.
“Thank you! Thank you!” He kisses me on my cheek. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize you’re naked!”
“I can’t have feathers all the time, sir!”
I get dressed and the noble guy thanks us profusely. Apparently he can help the plague, too! Back to the city we go with him, and over a period of days he manages to cure many of the plague. What a guy!
We are knighted, too! We are officially knights of the realm, complete with cool swords and outfits, and not a lot of real power. We have feasts, and luckily no goose is served. We are finally heroes!
Post by kynigoskerata on Oct 18, 2020 19:32:48 GMT -5
This secret passage seems too good to be true. Of course there are spiders, ones the size of your hand, but that's not enough apparently. There is a well that has a crack, one we all spent too much time searching and fussing over. I hope that there is more value in this place than what we have found so far, and that we don't anger the... proud dwarf that now holds the household we find ourselves in.
What's more, I don't trust the elf. That Bardic Bastard has only gained by our continued fleeing and fighting, and shows no sign of stopping his profiteering off our skills and labor. If I find out this line of quests he sends us on is for his own benefit, at our own expense, he will meet beings not his own when I send him to the afterlife. My patrons enjoy the occasional sacrifice.
Perks of being a goose- small, can go anywhere I want and not attract attention, hard to hit. Downfalls... can’t see in the damn dark!
We found our old friend the fancy elf in a new town, and heard about some long dead bard who hid the cure for the disease or something away in a vault beneath his old manor. Problem is a cantankerous dwarf lives there. So I get meat pie, apple pie, a big wheel of cheese, and we all grab booze for him and head to the manor. Turns out he really is an a**hole and won’t let us in.
The next day elf boy brings us to an alley where he says there might be a secret way to get in, and we just find a lot of trash and s***. Luckily Ogreman finds a door! Unfortunately he’s too big to get in it, but the rest of us do save for our armor. I just go in as a goose, holding onto Dwarf Thief to lead me through the darkness. We get half way through when there’s screaming and feet running, and I very nearly get trampled. Dwarf friend picks me up and runs out, and I discover that the cleric and our new psionic friend are terrified of spiders.
Us braver folk head back in, me burning away cobwebs with a torch and Wizard man and Dwarf at the ready to attack the giant spiders. They attack! Castor kills them, and I am disappointed. They’re tiny little spiders, only slightly bigger than the ones I sometimes eat in goose form.
We head forward to the end of the tunnel and find a strange painting of lines and circles with lines, but none of us can figure out what it means. I quickly draw it so we can ask around, and then we head back out.
“You fools, those weren’t giant spiders!” I growl at Tara.
Psychic man nods in agreement.
The next day we head back, and Tara shrinks Runt down so he can fit through the door. Down the tunnel we go, and the smart people get the door open. Dwarf goes ahead and gets attacked by some big metal man, and I jump in to help him.
Psychic man starts rusting away it’s arm, and I hack it off, dwarf and I pummeling it like crazy. Runt keeps saying excuse me and trying to get me to move, but there’s nowhere to go! Everything is going great until it slams into me, my face already swollen and bruised, and I fall to my knees. Another hit and I’m sailing off to dreamland.
I wake up to Tara tending my wounds, but the bruises are already healing right before our eyes. She’s very confused by how horrible I look when I get hit, and how fast I heal. Maybe I should pursue pit fighting?
We rest up as the dwarf checks all the doors in this secret underground lair, and then proceed to check things out. We find a well that I fly down into, but it’s filled with pickley tasting water. There’s a spot in the brick that looks weird, but none of us can get it to divulge its secrets.
Another room has cool decorations, and a wall that looks different than the others, but again it just confuses us. Hopefully we will find what we came down here looking for!
After poor Castor nearly dies from stomach wounds sustained by spiders that Runt and I easily killed, we gather Bron and Tara who ran away in fear and proceed on. I find a cool cloak made out of an owl bear hide and put it on. Almost immediately my neck begins to itch, but I’m sure it’s just the strange feathers. They’re not as smooth and beautiful as mine.
We find a well preserved room that looks like it’s some sort of study. I walk in and we all start looking around when suddenly from behind us is a cry of elation from our weird elven companion. I turn to look and everything becomes... so... slow. I can barely move my hands, everything feeling heavy. Elf boy raises his sword, and it glows with fire as he rushes to the desk. He opens it and pulls out a stack of parchment, holding it up in victory as he turns back to us. He gives a speech about wanting a champion to undertake his battle of wits and knowledge or something or he will destroy the notes. Naturally Castor volunteers.
Turns out none of us are good at riddles, and Castor answers incorrectly. The elf runs Castor through and then holds the blade up to the papers, and everything happens in a flash. I turn into my proper form, and start slowly flying toward the papers just as Dwarf friend grabs them. It’s a battle of wills, both tugging on the papers as the elf swings his sword at those who attack him. Daksilfur wrangles the papers and holds them up.
“Get it Hilda!!!”
I grab them in my beak, and wheel around.
I get to the door where Tara lies fast asleep, and hear a yell of surprise from the elf. His arm is gone, a bleeding, spurting stump in its place.
“Wintershiven... fate!” He gasps, and then disappears in a flash of white light.
I spit the papers out in Bron’s hands, and then go over to my pile of stuff and change back into human. Everyone averts their eyes, but I don’t get it. Why are these humans so ashamed of their natural plumage? I only wear clothes because some old granny gave me a dress off her clothesline, and I like that I can put bread chunks in the pockets of my wizard cloak I stole. My dead friend Nikolaj convinced me to wear armor, so I’ve got that too- I look like a proper human now, but I’ll never understand their customs.
I’m given the elf’s sword and Tara and I grab the body of our friend Castor, then we all leave this place. Bron blows a hole in the secret door so that Runt can get out, and we leave into the alley. Unfortunately we are immediately beset upon by a crowd of angry townsfolk.
“The outsiders bring the plague upon us!” A priest yells. “That one is infected! She bears the marks!”
The guy is pointing at me. I was scratching at my neck thanks to the fleas on my cloak... oh, s***!
“No, I’m not sick! I have fleas!”
We start to run, but Tara and I are too slow. Thankfully Runt grabs Castor, and we make our great escape. They run us out of town, and we find ourselves on the road again.
The first night we camp in the wilderness we burn Castor’s body, and honor his memory. He was the bravest wizard I have ever known and a great friend. I will forever miss my dear Nikolaj and Castor.
For days we travel, and finally come to Wintershiven. It’s a town run by priests, and very very religious. I have no god I follow, but Tara follows one that is not theirs. We enter the city, heading for the inn, and are immediately stopped by guards.
We turn around and face the mob of well armed men, and they turn their attention on Tara. She tries hiding her holy symbol and fitting in, but they know she’s holding secrets. They arrest her and take her away to the citadel, telling us to carry on.
The others head to the inn, and I slip around the corner to turn into goose form. Bron grabs my things, and I fly off well above the guards as they march Tara away. I follow until they bring her to a fancy building and bring her inside- that must be the citadel! I fly back to the inn, turn back to human Hilda, and walk in completely naked.
Post by kynigoskerata on Oct 28, 2020 14:30:16 GMT -5
Ply looks around the room carefully, only having met these strange people a few days ago. The Githzerai woman had taken a great interest in the history and mythology of these... non-astralers? Material planar people? Material girls and material boys? She would figure it out later, and get back to the hard work. Figuring out how to read these strange texts. She could always prepare one of her favorite spells to help translate it for her, but if she could find someone to help her, that might mean she learns more about the background of the wordplay and common idioms that she couldn't get through her magicks.
Still, this seemed like a good group. Hopefully, they aren't the type to destroy the very caves, dungeons and ruins that supply them with their wealth, as some adventurers are wont to do, but it would not surprise her if they did have that bad habit. History should always be preserved, as best as possible. That was one of her most important rules. The dwarf fellow seems like a good companion, a lover of stone, his strange ability to talk to rocks might provide good insights into the lore of ruins and caverns. A bit bad tempered, it must be said. Still, no one is perfect. Hilda is a strange bird. I wonder if she is a human who wished to be a goose, or a goose who was cursed to be a human. Either way makes for an interesting world view that must be further explored. The freedom priest has been locked up. I don't know whether that is divine comedy or godly tragedy. Hopefully I can get to know her better before the inevtible execution. The big... large ogre is quite frightening at first, but has been nothing but a gentleman since I have met him. A knight in monster's skin. And the psionic individual. Too many bad memories there, a genetic history of hate that will be hard to let go for us to work together, but so long as he keeps his mind in his skull and away from me, we can be amiable.
So now, let's see what else do I need to say. Well, to learn that this group had just found an old bard's secret hideout. Fifty years is not that long to elves or dwarves, but a lot can change of a culture from even one year to the next. Perhaps they had been able to find something interesting to study of the life of the bard before they left.
I walk into the tavern, and all eyes turn to me with shocked expressions. Suddenly a gust of wind pummels me from behind, and all the candles in the tavern are extinguished. I make my way under cover of darkness to my friend Bron, and quickly throw my dress and grey wizard robes on. The lights come back, and Bron jumps when he sees me sitting next to him.
“Good, you’re here. Waiting for one more, are we?” A blonde lady asks, her face covered with cloth.
“She got arrested, they were taking her to the Citadel!” I say.
“Yes, they were.”
The door opens a moment later, and in dashes Tara. She joins us at the table, and the lady begins to speak. Turns out she’s a cleric of Istus, and she came here to free the soul of a fellow cleric whose spirit is trapped in his body. However, they’re a bunch of religious nut jobs here, and now she is being followed by a guard. Oh, and she has the plague. Sounds like her life really blows.
Oh, but now we have to free the poor sot’s soul. Seems weird and I’m not sure I believe in all this religious malarkey, but I’m always down for a little breaking and entering into creepy places- I haven’t done a tomb before!
We get a little drunk after Arlina leaves, and then go to bed. The next morning I’m talking to Tara and Ply in our room when the subject of me being a goose comes up. Ply wants to see it in action so i do so, but then the strange noseless woman yanks on one of my feathers! It doesn’t break off but it hurts like hell, and I lash out hissing and honking at her. How dare she!
After Tara and Bron calm me down and admonish the githzerai for doing me such an offense, we go down to breakfast and start our day. Our day is spent out and about in the city, scoping out the cemetery and getting constantly watched by guards everywhere we turn. Runt accidentally gains an admirer, a girl my age, but her dad is not amused. We barely escape without a fight, and I’m sure that’s not the last we will see of Sherl.
At last we head to the cemetery around midnight, having been told there are only two guards working at night. Runt helps us all over the wall, and we head back to the mausoleum we are told the guy is in. He opens the door and we are greeted by a bunch of rats all over the floor. I move in past the big guy, hacking the vermin with my sword. A couple bite me, and one sinks it’s teeth into my leg deep enough to cause a spurt of blood. Tara comes in behind me and ties a cloth around the wound, allowing me to keep fighting. It’s not needed a second later when Bron lights their nesting materials on fire and all the rats go up in flames, scattering!
We proceed inward, me limping horribly, and I take the lead. I barely get a few paces into the next chamber when I’m first assaulted by the rancid smell of ammonia, followed by hundreds of bats flapping in my face. They claw and bite at me, doing much more damage than one would expect. My head is cut open, blood running into my eyes, and I’m stunned as one gets me hard in the stomach. Another gets my hand really bad before they get bored of me. As quick as they attacked, they fly away in a cloud of screeching fury.
“Ow.” I finally catch my breath, and can see again!
“Ugh, guano!” Tara shudders as she picks up her spear. “Here, let me heal you.”
“Can you wash your hand first?”
She starts binding my wounds and praying over me, and I can only hope her god doesn’t let me get infected. I’m very pleased when I can use my hand again and the limp is gone.
“Thanks! You’re a great cleric, Tara! I have nobody to compare you to, but you’re great!”
She smiles, and we continue on. At last we find the sarcophagus we are looking for in the back, and Runt hands me his door to hold as he opens the crypt. I peer past the big slab of wood and see the corpse, a young man with a horrible wound. Poor, poor guy!
“Ok, Tara- take the amulet off!” I tell her as she stands there looking unsure of herself. Is she afraid of corpses, too? “She said it has to be removed, and then you do the rituals.”
“Right.” She grabs the amulet, holding it in her hand. Her face suddenly falls, and she looks at us wide eyed with horror. “gos se. I can’t do the prayers.”
“... what?” Bron blinks slowly at her, and I wonder if he is going to blow her head up with his mind powers. “Did I just hear you say what I thought I did?”
“I don’t have holy water... or incense.”
“WHAT?! I just got bitten by rats and completely beaten up by bats, and you can’t do the one thing we came here for?!” I shriek. “You’re the worst cleric ever! I take back everything I said! Trianglethon, take back your healing- I’ll die of the rat disease!” I say looking up to the heavens. Or, the nasty crypt ceiling.
“Dammit! At least get the notes we came for!” Ply says, going to reach into the coffin.
“No!” Tara stops her from doing so.
Doksilfur rolls his eyes and goes to reach in, and I hold Tara back with the door. He grabs something invisible, holding it up between pinched fingers.
“Got it! Let’s go back to the inn. Guess we will go shopping tomorrow and do this all over again.”
We leave, and I stamp my feet the whole walk back to the inn. It’s past one in the morning by the time we get in, and the barmaid scowls as we trudge inside. I’m covered in my own blood, and we’ve all clearly been up to no good.
“Praise be to Pholtus- goodnight!” I snap to her as I run up the stairs.
Tara tries apologizing as we get ready to sleep, but I ignore her. I fall asleep and dream of bats, taking me far away from here.