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Session XVI – November 10, 2007
6th day, 3rd rule, state of Delirium.
The eye-sting fog is as thick now as it ever was.
He dumps Chryseis into the filled tub, spilling water and cess everywhere. The water drains into the apartment below and Javius comes up to see what’s going on. I race by him to fetch Prioress Ismine; who, upon hearing my request for aide, comes at once.
Javius sets himself to mopping up the floor and helping clean up the mess.
Chryseis and Ludvik both recover from their wounds thanks to Prioress Ismine’s assistance. Eki and I spend some time trying to mop up the fouled water, rince the tub, heat some water and give Ludvik a chance to take a bath. Ismine heals Ekikos, then blesses our future endeavors.
Ekikos opens the portal, Chryseis casts light on her shield making the Gorgon’s head glow. We cross the entry chamber, skirting the pool of ichor and side stepping the dead rats. Upon closer inspection, the area doesn’t seem that old or even in much disrepair. But it is covered in shit.
The stairs to the right lead down into a slightly sunken room. It was probably a bath. Across the room, against the outer wall, is a manikin half covered in shit. It looks like someone’s building an effigy. There’s a pattern of muck and guck on the floor; but none of us recognize the pattern.
We go up the stairs and find a door. Beyond, Ekikos hears the clinking of glasses and lots of conversations. We descend and talk for a bit. Ludivk opens the door, beyond is a tapestry. As Ludvik and I go through, Ekikos and Chryseis go back to the small room just off the main room. The small room smells like an animal pen, filled with junk, regular-sized rats, grain and rags.
A short corridore lies beyond the door. At one end is a lavatory, and at the other is a bar in complete darkness. In the center of the tavern room is a giant candle. People sit around the candle, some groping in the darkness and others seeming quite comfortable in it. Most of the patrons of the bar are human or human-oid. There’s a disproportionate number of tieflings. There are about 2 dozen tables, and booths along the wall have curtains. The barman is brawny and has tusks; but not much hair — a half-ork.
There’s no music, no food, just the tap room. It’s pretty quiet. Ludvik goes to the bar and get a drink. He tries to find someone who knows about the wererats, but he gets nowhere.
We rejoin Ekikos and Chryseis after about an hour. Ekikos finds an area in the small room where the wall has no mortar. Beyond is a small passage that ends at the flow of sewerwater. Ekikos tries to jump it, but gets attacked by 3 zombies.
The battle ensued. Since Ekikos was the closest, all three attacked him first. They grabbed at him, and hurt him badly. I climbed Chryseis and fired off a skipstone at one Zombie. Chryseis took her time and cast a healing spell on Ekikos while Ludvik lunged at a Zombie with his sword. Regardless, the Zombies took Ekikos down, then turn on Ludvik.
Ludvik manages to cross the stream, but now the Zombies block his escape. Chryseis manages to slash a Zombie with her shield while grabbing Ekikos’ collar and pulling him from the river of filth. I manage to take Ekikos from Chryseis and begin the slow job of dragging him back into the room and safety.
Ludvik manages to get back to the other side of the river, but suffers more damage from the ever-attentive Zombies. Even though Chryseis manages to heal Ludvik, he goes down. Chryseis grabs Ludvik and hauls him away from the river. Once we move away from the river, the zombies return to hiding beneath the river.
Chryseis and I drag our charges back to Crossguard. Once through the portal Chryseis lays them out on a quilt on the floor. I go get Prioress Ismine again. She was visiting with an bear-man who seems to know our plight. Prioress Ismine brings Ekikos and Ludvik back to health.
Once again we light the fire, and heat water in the tub to bathe. We wash ourselves, then the apartment, clothes and armour. We lay the armoire doors-down on the ground. In our absence Ismine has organized a bucket-brigade drill. There’s a line of 20 or so people dumping water into the sewers.
When I return home that night I find Eugene has returned. He met Ginal Elli. She wants him to improve his penmanship and learn more languages, but if it works out she’ll take him on a trip to the beastlands. He’s very excited about it all. I fall asleep in my basket, cradling the eye and trying to think of the barmy killer.
Chryseis, Priestess Lini and Aurilius are all out patrolling the neighborhood tonight. Ekikos visits his brother and has dinner with the family. Hynrick is sitting before his home’s hearth with his feet soaking in a bucket of warm water. Ludvik spends some quality time with him.
During the early evening Ekikos storms out of the house. Upstairs we heard the angry overtones of an argument between Nestor and Ekikos, but no details. Aurilius seeks Ekikos out with a reply message from Journos. Ludvik catches up with Ekikos and they talk and go to the Black Sail on Ale house row to talk.
October 13th, 2007
6th day, 3rd rule, state of Delirium. Day of Kindness
Alchemists fumes have washed in; eye-sting has settled in to Crossguard. The day begins with Ekikos praying to Niki for victory in our venture.
Gathered together in the apartment, we batten down the barred door on the other side of the portal. It takes three solid swings to break the door beyond. In the ensuing hush Ekikos and Ludivk are the first to step through. Chryseis picks me up and we join them on the other side of the portal.
Without the portal’s friendly blue glow, it is dark as pitch. It smells of stale urine and putrefying excrement and it’s damp. Nearby I can hear water dripping, or perhaps something … thicker. The battering broke the iron bar holding a wooden door in place before a urinal. The floor beneath our free tis a mosaic – the individually set tiles create wave patterns on the floor. They are caked in mildew and fungus. On the walls are nymphs and saders, a scene of the Ellesian fields – joy and harmony and cleanliness, now caked in filth, disuse and rot.
Ludvik spots a rat the size of a small dog. As we react to its presence we hear a voice from out of the darknesses. It’s the ship’s chaplain, again demanding the orb. The chaplain’s name is Ernest and he was the chaplain of hte ship named the Grindstaff. He’s squat, and bearded with rust-colored skin. Wearing a full breast plate, he carries a mace and shield. He tells us the orb grants its users the gift of second sight. Ernest believes that everything that was Nabod’s is now his; since he was next in line to inherit should Nabod die. We disagree and Ludvik tries to learn why Nabod needs the orb so much.
The negotiations end when a female wererat speaks up. She demands the orb; claiming they need it and it is rightfully theirs. She forces the rats to attack us. Battle ensues.
Ludvik and later Ekikos best the wererat and injure her severely; but not before she’s able to drowned Chryseis in the pool of putrid water in the center of this bath house turned cess pit. Ludvik succumbs to his wounds. Ekikos dives in after Chryseis and pulls her from the pool. I drag Ludvik back to the doorway, open the portal, then climb through and drag him through. Ekikos follows with Chryseis.
As we depart three young ratlings come forth, gather up the wererat, at carry her into the darkness.
September 29th, 2008
5th day, 3rd rule, state of Delirium, Day of Forgiveness
As we make our way across the lagoon, the sun is rising. When we return to the shores we give Kalan 2 bottles of rhum as thanks for all he’s done. He asks that, when we return, we bring him butter, honey and some bread.
I get a pineapple and an armoured crab to bring back to Ma & Dad.
Chryseis returns to the pantry and finds Media’s been crying. Castor is badly hurt and it’s only early morning in Sigil.
Turns out who ever’s been killing the barmies caught Castor and cut off one of his fingers. They then beat him to learn about us and our families. He was taken on Black boot lane; and remembers a man’s voice with a strange lilt.
Prioress Ismine promises to try and speak to Nabod’s ghost in the apartment; but she has to do some research first.
We go to the apartment and speak to Nabod’s ghost using hte compass. Through the compass he tells us that the hag killed him. He tried to escape via the bath tub, but the hag followed, dragged him back and killed him.
When we ask about the orb, the compass leaps out of Chryseis’ hands, falls, and breaks open upon the floor. Inise is a blue orb. When I hold it I see a forest in its shadows, whipping by. There’s a strong sense of deja vu – a place I’ve been before, but I can’t remember when – or where it might be.
We divide the money by 5 and give Javius his share. Ludvik goes to the gem exchange and sells the pearls; we divide the 12 gold amongst us–Zoe gives her share to Javius.
Chryseis speaks with Sophia and learns that Eki’s strength may come back on its own; if that fails she suggests we burn the Hag’s head with Eki present. But, the Hag’s head could be used by others skilled in the unweaving the weave of her hair and reweaving it into something new.
That night we part company for a time.
Zoe attends a mass.
Chryseis spends her alloted time at the garrison. There’s a lot more voilence than usual on Rath night; lots of fights.
6th day, 3rd rule, state of Delirium, Day of Kindeness
It’s a pea soup of a day. There’s a miasma of alchemical gas that makes everyone gag. It’s what the locals call eye-sting fog.
We meet at the well and go to the temple. Aurillius is there. We learn that The Lady singled out a man for her attention. The Dabus are still trying to wash the blood from the alley in the Lady’s ward. No one’s too sure what he did; but there’s lots of chant on the issue. The event caused quite the panic, one the Harmonium was hard-pressed to quell.
Eki and Zo go to Wingar’s to trade for the stuff Kalem wants: butter, bread & honey — all for a bottle of rum.
We meet up in the pantry and go through the chest to the MoonIsle with Prioress Ismine, it’s windy and the light is much brighter now (must be around peak). We visit Kalem and give him the groceries. He puts them away and speaks with this drum.
Kalem is quite taken with Prioress Ismine. After a 10 minute ceremony, Ismine kisses Nabod’s head. A wind picks up and blows into the corpse, then everything goes still. Prioress Ismine takes our questions and asks them tot eh corpse on bended knees.
1. What does the orb do.
It allows one to see the future.
2. Who is looking for the orb
The sea witch?
3. Where does the portal in the armoire go?
A bath house int he Guildhall ward.
We place Nabod’s body in a sack and weigh it down with some rocks. Kalem rows the cannoe out a little ways and we dump the body over the side. Kalem assures us this was his tradition. Kalem retells one of Nabod’s tales — when he was a captain the Hag claimed some of his men. He diced her for his men, with his soul as an anty. She lost her eye in the bargain. She must have tracked him down and killed him.
Years ago one of Nabod’s old mates accosted Kalen – looking for Nabod. He was 1/2 barmy. Skulked around the jungle for a few weeks. He was desperate. It was Nabod’s shop’s chaplain; the chaplain believed Nabod kicked the chaplain unjustly from the boat.
We say our goodbyes and head home. There’s a lot to talk about.
We take the armoire off its bolts and turn it back around. Prioress Ismine gathers some buckets. Hinrik makes a ram that we bring to Nabod’s room. We fill the tub with water, just in case.
3rd day, 3rd rule
The rain is almost gone when we awake the next day, and the woman is starting to smell. Chryseis detects magic and sense that the woman has a fleeting aura of necromantic magic on her body. Outside a fog has risen up.
Eki, Ludvik and Chryseis carry the woman down on a make-shift stretcher. Ludvik and Chryseis carry the stretcher while Eki and I watch their backs. Visibility is only about 10 paces. We quickly get out of the back allies and onto the Black boot walk where lots of folk are out and about collecting rat tails and cooking street meat. We resist the hunger pains and move on for a while, but eventually Ludvik breaks down and buys Eki lunch.
As we approach the gatehouse, we following the press of bodies up the road. Chryseis and I stay with the body and Ludvik and Eki move off to question the bleakers. The collector’s question our intent (and our right to have the body) but back off when Chryseis identifies herself as a member of the Harmonium. From them we learn there are at least two competing teams of collectors who vie for business. They are known as Shargrave and Farid.
Eki and Ludvik return with Darioch, where we explain that we found the woman; struck-down in an alleyway. Chryseis tells Darioch that the woman’s eyes reacted to the presence of light and that she detected a faint presence of necromantic magic. After examining the body briefly, Darioch casts a spell over the body. With its results she confirms that there is a lingering presence of magic. The woman is, however, dead. Darioch suggests we meet her at Zeroes later tonight.
We take the body to the Mortuary. There, we ask to speak to Torranna the Grey, as she is the one who receives all dead barmies. The Mortuary is a beautiful and cold place wrought in black stone. After a bit of a wait, we follow a dustman through an antechamber guarded by four massive skeletons. They didn’t seem to move, but their size and the fact that they were armored was enough to keep us all vigilant as we passed between them into a smaller room.
There we were able to place the body on an alter. Chryseis said a few words over the deceased. A dustman knocked on the door some 15 minutes later and Torranna the Grey entered. Torranna tells us that magic that can harm or snuff out the soul can cling to the body for several days. She confirms the presence of necromantic magic on the body as she can feel it. Necromancy calls to the dead.
We agree to stay and see the woman cremated. Zombies enter and bear her away. We are guided to the cremation room atop a tower by a young man about 3/4 of an hour later. In a room with 24 portals (16 to a corner) we see the body unwrapped and, after Torranna opens the portal with a red marble, fed into the portal head-first. The portal is bright with fire light and the heat is palpable, but brief.
We then head home. Once back in the apartment, Eki and I take bathes to try and get the soot off. Chryseis, feeling the need to make something, heads to the forge. Ludvik follows and both end up helping Hinrik with a large order.
After some time Chryseis goes to talk to Sophia. Sophia disagrees with Torranna the Grey’s statement. A necromantic effect shouldn’t last for hours after the body dies.
Ludvik heads into new market and buys a pair of goggles from one merchant, and old clothes from Rag monger’s lane. Once dressed, he heads to the Buthcher’s block. There’s a cover charge and a large number of people waiting at the door. Most can’t afford to pay the cover. Outside, along the pens that line the building, stands another crowd. They’re cheering the pigs as workers try and force them up a ramp. The workers bear pikes, but even then the odds are against them.
Inside Ludvik learned that someone matching the Barmy killer’s description was around here – but he left this morning.
Ekikos enters and tries to kill a boar. If he wins he gets the boar. Unfortunately he doesn’t win. Ludvik and Chryseis jump in and try to protect Eki from the boar — the whole incident made tempers run high. Ludvik did call before jumping in and so won the boar, but he didn’t give the crowds enough time to bet on his chances. Chryseis and I, it seems, had no right to enter the pit and the bartender has to be paid off to return Eki’s body to us.
2nd night, 3rd rule, state of Delirum, Night of Gluttony.
It is still raining. Ekikos and Chryseis move the victim under cover. The woman is very light, weighing less than 100 pounds. It’s difficult but they manage to find a mostly dry spot to lay her down before Ekikos and Ludvik go out to try and find more clues.
From what they can tell, someone dragged the victim from the alley into the intersection, after she was attacked. The path from where the body lay to where she was attacked is easy to follow. After a fair bit of looking they find a bundle of cloth (about the size of a loaf of bread), hung up on the nearby razor vine. Ekikos recognizes the victim then as the woman he saw frequently in the Hyve. She was obsessed with keeping her baby, even after it died. The bundle, fortunately, contains only cloth.
I was quite lost and still following the attackers through the twisty streets of the Hive. Every so often I’d stop and leave a chalk-mark on a door or brick; but the rain threatened to wash my trail markers away. The attackers seem to be sticking to back alleyways, vacant lots and shanty towns. They dodge passer-bys and light sources, proving they want to pass unseen. From the way they move, I doubt they could see in the dark. At least – I hope they can’t.
Every so often one turns around and checks his back trail. I press myself into the cold, wet ground and try to think like a rock. His gaze passes right over me. Fortunately he can’t see me shivering.
Eventually the attackers come to a major thoroughfare. There’s quite a bit of foot traffic about. The attackers, for once, don’t double back; instead they wind their way thought the people. Those who accost the attackers for alms only receive 1/2 drawn swords and dangerous glares. It’s then that I realize where I am – we’re near the Chaos district and they’re heading into the Butcher’s Block, past a giant pig pen.
Rather than follow them inside, I try to double-back, using my surviving marks as a guide. Once I’m in site of my friends I make a b-line to Chryseis’s leg and don’t let go. We go back upstairs and try to clean up and dry out. It’s very cold and hard to sleep, but somehow we manage.
August 5th, 2007
1st rule, state of Delirium, Day of Chastity, 127th year of Factol Haskar’s reign
I’m sure that, in the morning Ludvik, woke with a thick head! During the night a light drizzle fell and a moderate wind made a dent in the fog. When I got up there was a rust-colored muck on the streets and buildings, washed down from the sky.
We meet up at Nabod’s apartment. After some discussion, I went down to speak to Javis who intimated that the fated didn’t need to know about the Portals. He agreed to talk to Ismine about hte Ghost, but wasn’t comfortable renting the apartment just yet.
Chryseis goes to the temple for services and visits with Ismine. Chryseis agrees to spend the graveyard shift tonight at the local barracks.
Eki tried to take my bed back home, but the Fated saw it and tallied it along with the room. The fated who came to evaluate Nabod’s room was a human woman who did not give her name. She seemed pretty self-involved, and not even my curiosity could get in between herself and her greed. If she looks at it, she claims it, I’m pretty sure we were all found wanting in her tally-books. She evaluates the room to a value of 750 gold rings. Javius seems about to faint!
Since Javius obviously doesn’t have that kind of jink around, she claims some items in trade. She grabs the books, loose parchemnt, the quill and a couple of the decorative tools on the desk. That did it too – right then the ghost has a fit! He tries to attack the fated’s goons, and makes her move like he was the Lady’s own shadow.
Javius gets his receipt and Ekikos takes Javius for a drink to settle his nerves. The fated woman was so jangled that she didn’t even stop for a polite word with Wingar.
Later, after the drink, Ekikos returns to the apartment and he figured out that to open the portal connected to the tub you poor salt into it.
Javius paid me later that day, and we get an informal rental agreement with Javius; the apartment is ours for one month.
We spend the afternoon securing the Armoir so it faces the wall, then break up. Chryseis and Ludvik go to the forge and help Hynrik with a big order for the Mercy Killers.
I pay tithe and head home to tell Da my adventures so far.
Ekikos hussels to get to the Marble District and from there into the Blood Pit to find Journos, his master.
And so, with Chryseis at the Barracks, blessing Hard Heads, the night of Lust passes with only the wind to complain.
2nd rule, state of Delirium, 127th year of Factol Haskar’s reign.
Eki returned to the Blood Pit while Journos is giving a pep talk to his fighters. Eki learns that the Bloodfire and the Achilla had an altercation in the open area beneath the pit. One Achilia is injured and he later looses his match. It’s not a good day for Journos’s fighters.
Chryseis heals those brought into custody, then returns to CrossGuard.
Ludvik spent the eve helping Hynrik.
Zoe spent the eve trying not to tell her family about Hyzaik.
We met back up about 4 hours past peak and headed out to the Weary Spirit infirmary in the Hyve Ward. It was a long walk.
The Weary Spirit Infirmary is a large granite edifice, 2 stories tall with small windows, each barred with iron. There is a sign over the lintel of the doorway identifying the place. Beyond the now darkly stained rosewood granite building is a large waste pool in which swollen bodies of the dead float. The stench of decay is overwhelming. On the far edge of the pool a Collector uses a hook to try and pull bodies from the pool.
A shoot from the Weary Spirit allows the infirmary to expel the dead with a minimum of fuss. We watch as a few people arrive. They look desperate but frightened as they enter. Apparently some doctors from the Weary Spirit work at the BloodPit. They use non-magical means and work for free. Most of what they do, they do in the name of research.
A beggar we meet just gets weirder and weirder as we talk to him, finally muttering about “the ocean named earth” before we give up.
Ludvik asks around about he Weary Spirit infirmary. The stories are horrendous – people with holes in their heads, devoid of passion, unnecessary amputations, you name it. Collectors drop by several times a day, just in case another body has been deposited in the pool.
As night falls we head to the bar named Zero. Half-a dozen bleakers are outside; almost everyone is wearing drab green. We find Darioch outside and she leads us in. There’s a sarcofocus at one end and people are standing on it. The few tables and chairs in the room have patrons facing away from the stage.
The creature on stage is harsh, 7 feet tall, with gangly limbs and huge noses. They both wear dark tunics, one over dark breeches, and the other with a kilt. The kilt-wearing one has shaved his head to show off a star-burst tattoo. He’s reading poetry passionately while the other wears tiny glasses and plays a tiny drum. Darioch introduces them as Morvin & Phinnius – Asgardian Trolls.
We tell Darioch about the Chaositech warriors we encountered and their “attempts” to find the Barmie killers. She tells us that she noticed the sudden rush of deaths in the Hyve because they were so odd. No matter how different the background or appearance of the victim, they all died without a mark on them. Most of the bodies were found in the morning. She found no visible pattern to their deaths either.
By the time we left Zeroes it was raining heavily and the winds were picking up. Ludvik managed to find a burned-out husk of a two-story building where we could find dry shelter above the ground. We get fitful sleep as Chryseis stands watch all night.
Chryseis woke me when she heard a scream. Out in the rain, about 40 feet away, she head someone say “get off me”. A man, possibly human, standing between 5’5″ and 6′ wielding a weapon stood in profile to her. He and a second – both armored by their profile – dragged an unconscious or dead humanoid form out from the alley and into the street. When I looked I thought I might have seen a human, possibly helenic, wearing a leather cap with short dark hair and a stocky build. Two more came out of the alley and looked around. Finally a fifth joined them. Six feet fall and dark cloaked with a deep hood. He put something back under his cloak and turned away.
I tumbled down and hustled after them, following as best I could. I leave chalk marks where I can. The group I’m following is being careful and staying out of the light as they beat a hasty retreat. Fortunately their rear-guard overlooks me in the mud several times when he turns to make certain no one is following. They lead me past a tenement with many windows, a lamp in each window – the place looks familiar, but I can’t place it. They eventually stop at the Butcher’s block.
Shortly after I leave them, Chryseis awakes Eki and Ludvik and they all climb down to street level. They scare two cutters, who dash for freedom. Chryseis, Eki and Ludivk go out and examine the body. Chryseis finds neither life nor wounds on the body, but after calling on the power of her goddess – she sees the victim’s eyes dilate. With further investigation Chryseis finds signs of necromantic magic running over the body.
Real date: July 26/07
Game date: 7th night of the center rule, night of pride, state of Delirium, 127th year of factol Haskor’s reign.
We couldn’t get the door beyond the portal in the Armoire open. Feeling around made us think that it was barred from the other side, but a knife slipped between the doors encountered a wooden lip. The bottom edge was stone and the stink of the sewer was impressive. We blockaded the door by putting a broom through the handles and moving the desk in front of the doors. We also took all the towels out of the armoire.
Ekikos took one of the towels to wrap the conch shell in. We took turns descending through the portal in the chest; where we learned that, once the portal closes, the net stretches and is drawn back into the chest.
The beach was in near total darkness when we arrive. Armored spiders walked sideways along the beach. They were the size of rats and had pincer-claws before their armored bodies. Ekikos tastes the water and found it salty. Strange sounds are coming from the trees behind us, and the horizon goes on for ever.
Crysaeis wraps the conch shell in the towel and puts it in her backpack.
We wander around the island – it is crescent shaped, and we think it’s the island on Captain Nabod’s map. The shadows further down on the beach are small ships – made from hollowed out trees. We follow the beach and admire the stars overhead. Pin-points of light that are too faint to light one’s way, spilled out on the black above like tiny bits of glass reflecting a light we cannot see. There are no visible moons but the horizon is incredible.
On the opposite side of the island we spot a bonfire. There people are dancing and crashing into the waves. They are armed with spears that Ekikos calls tridents. More people are sitting in the lee of a ship (at least twice as big as the previous ones we saw). Around the fire stand four women and two drummers. All but one of the drummers is dark-skinned and the size of a human child. One drummer is fair-skinned and seems to be an older human male.
We sneak up to see better and, eventually, a native sees us. He runs back to the rest of the natives screaming something, an alarm we figure. The natives stop dancing and the drumming stops. Then a set of dark tentacles rise out of the water and quickly take two of the natives disappear forever under the waves.
We run down the beach while two more warriors step into the waves to capture or kill the beast (what Nabod labeled the “lurker in the shadows”). The drumming stars up again before we arrive and we are all invigorated. The natives net the creature and it takes damage as it tries to break free.
Crysaeis, Ekikos and Ludvik all damage it (I manage to hit it with a bullet, but not really damage it).
We manage to drive it off, saving one native and recovering the body of another. The warriors keep their distance from us and the folk cluster together and seem to threaten us with taunts and thrusting their tridents in our general direction.
After they depart the human male begins to drum again. Through the music we learn that his name is Kay and he knew Nabod well. He calls this place the Moon Isle. From him we learn that the bathtub opens up a portal into a cave beneath the Singing cliffs where Nabod keeps his treasure. Kay is a native of Ifenmar – a place several hundred leagues away across the waters. (A league is a distance roughly equal to a human’s average height.) He asks that if we come back, we bring tobacco and rum; he wants for nothing else but company. The natives live on a nearby island and they visit him from time to time.
We share some of his Rum then head back to the portal. Ekikos gathers armloads of leaves. Beasts shriek at us from the woods, but like the natives – they leave us in peace.
Once back home Crysaeis agrees to stay the night. I curl up in my basket and try to sleep. Crysaeis’ desire to craft (or sharpen her spear) is not condusive to sleep, however.
Ekikos takes the leaves to the temple and tells Linni (briefly) about our adventures. Then he goes home and decorates the house with the leaves. His father believes the house has Demeter’s blessing. Either that or Tlao visited.
Ludvik went to the Black sail where he drank rum and spoke to Salja. He learns that this is where Nabod bought rum for Kay. On his way out, after many drinks, he runs into a gargoyle/demon creature by the name of Shage; and to avoid a fight he goes back into the bar with Shage to drink some more. Hopefully Salja is suitably impressed.
Real date: July 7/07
Game date: Day of Humility, 7th day of rule, , 127th year of factol Haskor’s reign.
The next morning Ludvik arrived last after scarring a cutter out of the forge. I saw the cutter first and gave him the apple I got from Ludvik back in the Hive. For a piece of fruit bought locally, it was well traveled.
Once assembled, I went to visit Javius Noll. He wanted me (well, my Da actually) to check out Captain Nabod’s rooms on the second floor. The fated are coming by to get whatever they can out of the room to pay some back taxes. According to Wingar, Javius is a good potter and a better neighbor.
Javius’ shop is just next door to Wingar’s. My meeting with him was brief. It took some time to arrange a fair price.
Ekikos spoke briefly to Arellius; he didn’t know much about the Captain. He seemed to have money (he rents an entire loft and furnished it himself). The neighbors complained of loud drumming at night and he was visited by people who spoke a babble of planar languages; seeing as he himself was a prime this wasn’t seen as unusual.
Crysaeis and Ludvik made their way down Alehouse row, trying to find people who knew the Captain. They found two people at the Black Sails who remember the Captain, but they’ve not seen him in 7-8 months. The Black Sails is a place of … character. The front of the place is pieced together from a ship. The bowsprit just out over the door and the black sails are tied to the bowsprit. The sails were once white, but seem to have been dyed black from the air in the Foundry district.
It’s an inn (rooms for rent on the second floor). The interior is lit by candlelight. There are curtained-off booths along the edges of the place and tables scattered about in the center. The customers are mostly foundry workers and mercy killers.
The innkeeper, a human named Zarin, knew of the Captain as he was a regular at the Inn. The patrons knew him as an acquaintances. A mercy killer (familiar to Ludvik as a visitor to Hinrik’s forge) points out the fish in the common’s room. Apparently it came from the Captain. The fish is named Esmeralda. The barmaid here is a friend of the Captain’s too. She takes care of the fish. It’s small, bright blue with orange fins – it’s also the most colorful thing in the commons room. Salja comes on duty around noon.
Ekikos and I entered Captain Nabod’s place. Javius had given us the keys. I searched it good and slow. Having Ekikos help to open doors and search the tall spots was very handy. The Captain had fine dark wood furniture with brass fittings; all of them are unique pieces. After a through search we found 4 copper rings and a map (beneath the ball atop the headboard’s left post). There are several artistic pieces/curiosities in the desk that could fetch a pretty penny and a lot of journals written in a language neither I nor Ekikos can recognize.
Eventually Ludvik and Crysaeis come to visit. Crysaeis detects magic and finds out that her bracers and helm are magical, as is Ludvik’s silver dagger. She says it has divinatory and conjuration magics.
Ludvik speaks to the housekeeper, a young tiefling with a pallid complexion and angular features. She has dark brown cropped hair. She’s dressed a little provocatively. She and Ludvik do not get along. He does learn that she was paid handsomely to take care of his place. Her name is Salja. Ludvik learns from Javius that the Captain did indeed have a housekeeper, she lives up the street.
I speak briefly to Javius about what we’ve found. He’s less than enthused, but realistic. I agree to stay up there until the Fated arrives.
Ekikos brings me my bed! And a packed lunch from Marm; I settle down on the desk to flip through the various books. I can’t read any of them, but some of the pages have pictures.
Crysaeis went off the visit the Prioress Sophia and asks about the new-found magic in Crysaeis’ bracers and helmet. The Prioress says a hefayestin from the Arborium wants to meet Crysaeis. His name is Ardalus. He is a proxy of Hephaestus. According to the Prioress the hem is changing magic but empty somehow. The bracers are similar and look bright orange, almost white.
Later that afternoon Ludvik, Crysaeis returned to the Black Sail with Ekikos. They learn that Salja got the fish out of the Captain’s bathtub. One man in the bar believes the fish is actually the Captain seeing as how the fish and the Captain haven’t been seen together it’s as likely as any other story going around.
At the Black Sails, the party finds someone who new a fair bit of the Captain’s dark chants. Ekikos buys a few drinks to loosen lips and hears a few details about the Captain. Captain Nabod has the reputation of being able to drink anyone under the table. Salja found him “rather grabby”. He was wild-eyed and claimed to be a pirate captain. His ship was the Grindstaff, although he may have several ships. He raided the seas of some elven nation.
Back in the apartment, I am still reading. A breeze ruffles the book’s pages. The windows are closed and there’s not been a draft in here before. I scurry under a nearby chair at the thump near the tub. When I turn back the book is closed; then the needle on the stone starts to spin madly. When I glance up, the book is back in its proper place. I call out, but there’s no response. I check the room out (running from behind one thing to under another), but there’s no one here.
Eventually I return to reading, but my fur is starting to stand on end. Again I hear a noise and again I investigate. And again the book is back in its normal place when I turn back to the desk. Not really knowing what else to do I talk to the ghost. What it does then is amazing.
First I hear splashing. Then I see wet footprints heading from the bath to the bed. Then the footprints begin to slide all over the floor – as though someone were being pushed about. Then there’s a loud thump by the bed (right about where we found a small spot of blood), then drag marks back to the tub and more splashing.
Suddenly in the apartment there’s a strange blue glow coming from the doors of the Armoire. A pale faced human, looking a bit like the man in the painting on the wall (who we think is the Captain) steps through the open doors of the Armoire from a pale blue background. He’s stepping out of a portal.
From my vantage point under the bed I can see him pull out a scroll. I demand to know who he is and what he’s doing here. He gives me some scree about being important and death incarnate (or some such) then demands I show myself. Not likely!
He moves across the apartment trying to get some light. He eventually reads a scroll near the window and turns around. I guess he thought he’d see something. But he didn’t. I call out to him as he reads, but it doesn’t stop him. When the blue light returns to the Armoire, I get scared. I couldn’t let him leave! I throw a skip rock at him and it shatters against his shoulder. He cries out, pulls out a towel and plunges it into the Armoire. A few seconds after he steps through the Armoire, the light goes out.
I decide the best place for me is bed. I’m not feeling too good.
I’m still huddled in there when there’s a nock on the door. I call out and it’s Ekikos, Crysaeis and Ludvik returning. They’re pretty surprised at my tale.
Ekikos goes over and starts muddling about with things on the desk. He blows on the conch shell and the lip of the closed chest glows. It’s another portal. Ludvik opens it up and climbs down the netting. He’s hanging from the net about 5’ of f the ground on a beach at sunset overlooking the ocean with a tropical forest stretching out behind him. The coastline curves much like it does in the map. The portal is formed between the criss-crossing of palm trees. He comes back up and we each take a turn. By the time Crysaeis gets down there it’s almost dark. Ekikos grabs some sand and a crab grabs him!
When Crysaeis comes up, we hear drumming; much like the noise that the neighbors use to complain about to Captain Nabod.
Ludvik turns his attention to the Armoire. I ask the ghost to help us find the portal’s key and the doors of the Armoire bang. When Ludvik opens them a towel is out of place. It takes a few tries, but he gets the other portal to open using the towel. Beyond is a second door that slams shut a few instants after our portal opens. There’s not enough space between the portal and this door to see anything. It feels like a door without latch or hinges (they must be outside the confines of the portal). The smell from beyond is horrible – smelling like the Cage’s backed up sewers.
Crysaeis goes to speak to Linni and fetch her spear. I go wake Javius and tell him about the portals and their keys. We want to explore one (if not both) to determine their worth. We might start with the chest if we can’t get the door beyond the Armoire open. Everyone goes to kit up while I return to the apartment.
Real date: June 23 /07
Game date: Day of Kindness, Center rule, state of Delirium, 127th year of factol Haskor’s reign.
The walk to the Clerk’s ward was long and interesting, but uneventful. We walk past the Butcher’s block, where crowds wait for the butchering of the latest animal. We see a Gith Serai neighborhood. We were not made to feel welcome and move quickly on. As we approach the Clerk’s ward we see more and more Hard head patrols; the streets grow wider and the buildings taller. The houses had numbers and the streets have names. And there are Davas everywhere.
The Cleric’s ward is a multi-leveled structure, with roads and walkways arching over roads and walkways below; and multi-tiered entrances to several buildings. New construction is frequent. The neighborhood markets are lively and colorful.
The Hall of Records is a big round cylinder 11 or 12 stories tall. The place is thick with Asimars and bureaucrats. Everyone seems to have a place to go and things to do. Our thick cloaks attract quite a bit of attention. Fortunately Crysaeis’ presence seems to have reduced our number of Hard-head encounters. Still, in a region where no one’s derelict, our ash cloaks did seem strange.
We found the Incantarium on scholar’s row. It’s a large manor house that’s been massively expanded; a fair bit bigger than the mortuary I reckon. There’s lots of traffic around it: bureaucrats rushing about, clerics, sedan chairs and a whole flock of birds. Owls are the most common, with the doves next. There are humans, elves, ½ elves, gnomes — it as a sea of people with only one commonality: they are either scholars, or, like us, had business with scholars.
As we’re standing there, marveling at it all; a piece of amber floats up and asks Crysaeis if it (he?) can help us. As Crysaeis explains our task, we are taken to a room to wait. The inside of the Incantarium feels like a huge house. The main doors open by themselves and display a place that really does seem bigger on the inside than on the out. There are lots of flamboyantly dressed individuals.
Our waiting room has a stained glass window, 2 rows of pews and a lectern. There’s bright light coming through the window, but I think the window was on an interior wall. We wait. The room itself was fun to explore. A lot of people went by the open door, and most of them at least peak in.
At one point I found myself nose to nose with another raccoon. His name is Hyzik. He invites me to the ceremony at the shrine in the Park of the Infernal and divine held every 7th day.
A modron came in with books on its head and Aurilius balancing atop the books. Ekikos took the books (6 grimoirs, 8 abaca, 6 slates, and 3 boxes of chalk; in total it was 25-30 lbs of gear). Aurilius informs us that the floating piece of amber is Nitselet, a philosopher’s stone. He works with the gatekeeper.
Aurilius offered Factol Remander’s grace. We chat, telling him about Eliath’s disappearance and discussing what few clues we’ve found. We also learn that Aurilius is a mage within the Incantarium.
Ekikos, Crysaeis, and Ludvik divide the jink between them and we leave; heading into Little Arcadia. It’s the largest community of ortho-humans in the Cage.
We take Euge’s letter to Master Ragnal on Grey Dragon Lane, and we only got lost once. We enter Ragal and Eleezes Scriptorium. Master Ragnal calls Euge – Mister Eugene. He also said Mister Eugene’s writing is a chicken scratch. They also didn’t realize Mister Eugene is a raccoon. This seems to interest them greatly, but they were not subtle. They asked a lot of questions about our knowledge of the Beastlands. They pen a reply and I promise to deliver it.
The walk home is long. It is windy and wet weather as we travel from the Scriptorium to a more industrial sector. Ludvik bought Ekikos a new shirt along the way as Ekikos didn’t want to return home in a torn and bloody shirt.
A warehouse door turns into a gateway to Arvorita – the fields of plenty. Donkey-driven hay cart and sheep fill the plaza until the Hard heads came to clean it up. Ekikos asked one of the shepherds for the password to the gate and got it – Cornucopia. Throughout this region all manner of goods are brought in by gate. We saw barrels of wine, ale, apples, cartloads of hay, bags of grain, you name it.
Markets and stalls line the way as we approach the Bazaar. It takes us 2-3 hours of walking to cross the neighborhood. Lady’s ward is more wealthy than the clerk’s ward, with finer homes, people in livery, and fancy parks.
We arrive at Swordhold, and finally Crossguard where we stop at the Athenium first. The evening serving just ended. Priestess Ismine is glad to see us, but sorrowed by our news about Eliath. The jink will greatly assist the temple in teaching the young of the neighborhood.
When I go home, Euge is the first to greet me. He’s ecstatic about the reply and wants all the details about Master Ragnal; I edit the information a bit but try to warn him that a) Master Ragnal didn’t know Euge was a raccoon and that (b) the Master is neither subtle nor that polite. Marm tells me Javius Noll needs someone to search his rented room and inventory its ingredients.
I meet up with Crysaeis, Ekikos and Ludvik at the Keg and Cask. We share a drink with Ismine and Linni for a job well done and to wish Eliath well. We aren’t quite ready to assume his name needs to go in the dead book; but we have no other clues or hints as to what may have happened to him.
Real date: June 9 /07
Game date: 3rd day, center rule, state of delirium, 127th year of factol Haskor’s reign.
“The Guardians are much like the Harmonium without their offensive goodness.” – Priestess Linni.
We met up with Ekikos at the Gatehouse and turned our attentions to trying to find our friend Eliath. We had not spotted him in the lines of barmies waiting to enter the Gatehouse, and so we questioned the berks around the line. A man promoting the “weary spirit infirmary” did not recognize Eliath’s description, nor did those giving food and water to the weary.
Ekikos stopped the body collectors cart and asked for their help. He was directed to speak to the youngest of the group, Tom. After some jink passed paws, Tom admitted to having seen someone who matched Eliath’s general description some four days ago off Laughing cat alley. The body had no marks of violence upon it. They dropped off the body at the Mortuary. Tom admitted to having collected quite a few bodies without signs of disease or violence, and he admitted it was odd; but this was the hive—where death is a close neighbor to everyone.
A dustman came up behind us and demanded to know if we were enjoying the show. Her sarcasm was sharper than a knife. As we talked she became more amenable. She was sorry to hear about Eliath’s disappearance; but she didn’t know the man nor recognize the description. She also told us that she’d noticed berks dying without a mark on them over the past few weeks. She told us to meet her at Zeroes, an alehouse in the Hive—just outside the Marble District. She said she regularly goes there when she gets off duty. Her name was Derioch Dysaro.
Not completely willing to trust the Dustmen, we made our way to Rag picker’s square through the headwaters of the ditch. Unfortunately, in our journeys, we stumbled into coffin smoke. It hit Ekikos hard and he began coughing violently. We stumbled about and found ourselves in Mortuary square.
We watched a zombie shamble past and begin raking up dead razor vine leaves. He had pallid green skin and no eyes, and thankfully paid us no mind. With Ekikos’ help we found Arios’ flophouse and pounded on the door. The proprietor claimed we were good for a day. The place smelled odd, but was in decent repair. He took us upstairs. Each room had 2 cots, no pillows and flat mattresses.
I snuck out to find out what the door-banging was all about ½ an hour later and saw a gith come in. I snuck back to our rooms, leaving the new visitor in peace. Outside the window in the night was an argument in lower-planar common. Occasionally we heard people moving around downstairs, but otherwise it was a quiet night.
By morning Ekikos had fully recovered. We get our bread, a more-than-day old piece that takes more gumming than chewing to get it down. We leave and the proprietor quickly locks the door behind us.
In Rag picker’s square we find a merchant who knew Eliath as a trader-bagman who’s not been here in a while. The Ragman’s heard stories about berks turning up dead and he tries to sell us some skree about a fiend who’s a governor who’s learned how to take souls from those that won’t be missed. With each soul he gains power. The Ragman’s certain this fiend will challenge the lady when he’s strong enough. Ludvik cuts through it quick enough and pays him anyways; promising to pay more for the dark.
We headed back to the Mortuary. This morning we meet Mr. Post. He’s a zombie who walks along the Mortuary’s edge. There are dozens of post-bills pinned to his body. In the Mortuary everything seems to be made of black granite. Symbols are carved everywhere. We cross a large open area to a set of guardhouses at the bottom of a great stairway. A guard takes us to the atrium to wait, warning us that “only the dead rest here”.
The atrium has 4 dustmen standing in it. They don’t say anything to us, just stand there. Nice job if you can get it, I guess. We met with a human woman by the name of Torranna the Grey; she’s responsible for admitting the unknown bodies from the hive. Unfortunately for us she remembers Eliath’s arrival some 4 days past. He was cremated within a day. She also remembered there were no signs of violence upon his body; just like the body collector Tom had said.
We decide to keep looking rather than have his name inscribed in the dead book. As we leave we pass a funeral procession.
Our next stop was laughing cat alley. We ask a lot of questions, but other than a general sense of unease (I guess we were too close to the Chaos district) we didn’t learn much. At the mouth of the street we meet up with some Chaositechs who thought the best way to find the killer of the unnamed by attacking all strangers in his area.
He had baroque-style armor and carried a 2-handed serrated sword. Behind him were more berks. Before we could state our case or even turn around, we were surrounded. Ekikos, Chryseis, and Ludvik met the threat bravely, and shortly after Ekikos fell with a horrible wound to his side, the guy in armor stopped attacking and laughed in pure joy.
He was hard to understand mixing his words and speaking his words out-of-order; but I think he said that he found Eliath at the alley-mouth. He’s found a lot of berks dead in the same way. His name is Morchigarz and he made us promise that, should we find the murderer, we’d let him know and he’d deal with the problem. I have no difficulty believing he would; but I do worry about all those he’ll injure between now and then.
After he and his mates left, a woman with a tray comes out and offers us refreshments. Ekikos gets freshwater, Ludvik gets something citrusy, and I get salt water. What do you expect; it’s the Chaos district after all.