The Great Adventure

Roark, come on my shoulder... that's not what I meant.

DM appreciation month

We start the evening with a presentation of Gin and Collage to DMJ for all the fine work he does.

start scene:
Much mirth, lots of back slapping and dick waggling after the smiting of the nasty Demon. Tiran, a bit shy, pulls his cloak from the Bag of Holding. While he is doing this, we notice that under his arms, it’s all shimmery, like a solid shadow. No evil detected.
We are about to do further examinations, when we hear a big BANG from down the loot hallway. Something is coming.
Hanlon quaffs a Resist Heat Potion and heads for the flaming door, with Damdrah in hand. Meanwhile, Kasa and Inthin are throwing spells at the loot door to hold it fast. Inthin has it wedged pretty tightly with vines anchoring it to the stone walls.
There is a mad rush to the Bag of Holding and people get all suited up in their gear.
Hanlon tries to go through the flame door, to no effect other than being blasted back into the middle of the room slightly singed and smoking.
Basso Profondo at the loot door, but Kasa and Inthin are still holding it.
Gar checks a door to find a long halway, as does Tierra (down the hall from whence the demon came). Tierra heads down her’s and Gar provides cover at the doorway.
Meanwhile, Tiran and Gam are working on the runes around the flaming door hoping to effect release. Gam recognises a trap mechanism and opens the door. Hanlon immediately heads for the door. The big thing at the loot door is starting to break through and causes a ripple of fear through the team. Kasa, Inthin, Hanlon and Gam are OK, but everyone else shits bricks and runs towards the door. Hanlon, Gar, Tiran and Roark get through just as the door closes. Hanlon goes back through the black portal just as a firey hand reaches through the loot door. Hanlon shouts words of encouragement, not that they were required or made any difference.
Kasa invites us to spend some time at Kasanoody’s Kottage, a bardic spell for secure shelter. Kasa grabs the key from under the mat and opens the door. After a bit of uncivilised jostling, we enter. “Snug as a bug in a rug and warded to the nuts” Kasa starts a fire in the fireplace and cots are brought out. There is smoked meat and cheeses in the kitchenette and 4 Vines Red wine (200gp) on offer.
We see some dark faces at the windows, but Kasa insists that we need not worry about what it outside.
There is a toast to the hosts, and a thanks to Roark and some discussion of a debt of honour, which it is agreed can mean much or nothing.
Kasa gives Tiran a scroll bound with a ribbon. On the scroll are 4 spells: 2x protection from evil, 1x protection from chaos, 1x dimensional door.
Although Tiran looks like he’s about to dive headfirst into a bottle of wine, Kasa convinces him that he would be better off studying his spells before imbibing any further. We all get 8 hours of rest.
Over a light breakfast, it is story time. We all take turns telling each other about our personal ordeals behind the black door. Kasa listens in with the warning that anything good will end up in a bardic tale. We try half assedly to negotiate payment, but after listening to Kasa’s light hearted, but very possible, threats of time travel, and undoing things, we let it go with some mention of “future considerations” which again, can mean much or nothing.
Hanlon makes a marginally sucessful pass at Inthin, but only the two of them are aware of it.

Gear: we get all of our original stuff out of the Bag of Holding, plus 10 percent. In that 10 percent, it’s mostly junk, with the following exceptions:
Scroll – magic, scroll of shatter. Magic weapon, cleric spell.
Goggles – goggles of minute seeing – microscope googles.
Wooden box – scrimshaw out of bone. small characters/figures. beautiful.

Kasa entertains us with songs and stories, for example the “Tribe of Ogres”. We are led to beleive that he speaks some Ogre-ese.

We have a bit of time to inspect and test Tiran’s “Black Flanges” He goes up to the second floor and jumps. He catches some wind, but still takes 3 damage, which we sense is about half what he should have taken. When he wraps the flanges around himself, he seems to blend into the backgroud, and our eyes fall off him.
Tierra (nat20) “seems to have merged a bit with Roark” bit of glide, hiding, no damage cackle
Roark “like this cackle?” and deals us all a bunch of sonic damage.
Hanlon and Gam quickly test Mijime. Gam fails to stop it, but Hanlon is able to overcome it.

We get a bit more rest and everyone is fully healed up. Tiran tries to “hide” his wings and they physically disappear. He can bring them back at will.

The Kottage begins to quiver and Kasa announces that his work here is done. “We came to help a friend and pay back a group who dealt with us in good faith.” When we start to ask for more help, he resonds with “Perhaps you are meant to be here”
Before he leaves though, he asks us for a favour: “Spread the word of Kasanoody’s Karnival. We aspire to be the best. Mention my dive roll. Two K’s”
Gam: “You shall forever be a friend”
Kasa in Ogre-ese “It’s been a punch in the face”
Inthin become winged and grasps Kasa, hauling him upwards.

“Two souls departing, Romario Kasanoody, and Inthin”

end scene

Comments

Hanlon’s Experience:

And when it seems adversity
Has dealt its final blow,
With smiling bastard demons leering
Everywhere you go

Turn to and put out all your strength
Of arm, and heart, and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter
Rise again.

Truthfully, I’m not as helpless as I may appear, and although these demon chicks with their tight haircuts and stellar tits are devastatingly effective with some of their torture techniques, it seems to me that they have become complacent with their steady stream of fodder, walking in through the gate, already weakened and weary. And although I detect a gleeful zeal to their ministrations, I also see them as sort of one trick ponies, with little imagination, using the same tried and true methods. I know some Dwarves who could teach them a nasty thing or two. That’s not to say the twins are not brutally efficient. No amount of concentration that I can muster will make my eye unswell open. I’m just happy that the claws haven’t clipped off any dangly bits.

I initially woke to find myself naked and shackled to the stone wall. Heh, stone. Not exactly like the stone I’m used to on the Material Plane, perhaps there is some magic involved, or maybe Hell Plane stone is subtly different from regular stone. But in the end, stone is stone, and I can do things with it.

Since first regaining consciousness, I have been attempting to deceive my captors… we all piss, we all shit. Hanging from your wrists doesn’t change that. If the demon chicks’ intent is to frighten the shit out of me, then being in control and choosing when to drop my load for maximum effect is to my great advantage. It’s what they expect; it’s what I give them. I don’t remember eating so much corn.

I’m also trying to appear weak and fall into apparent unconsciousness earlier than they expect. They seem to be after simple torment as much as anything else. Perhaps they will throw a spell or a potion my way and inadvertently make me healthier.

I have attempted to talk with Gam. At first I tried to use my voice, but that quickly brought in the twins. I’ve switched to our rudimentary hand signals, but I’m not able to tell if my intricate plans for escape are getting through the unblinking, glassy eyed, stare.

All of our weapons are missing but the two chicks have overlooked some items. I can feel my stone of concentration is still braided into my hair. In the dim light I can see the edges of other items clutched in the clenched fists of my companions. Our weapons are nowhere to be seen – I suspect door number one, where the chicks seem to have their break room. If these bitches have been at this for a while, there should be lots of stuff in that room worth liberating.

While trying to work with the stone around my shackles, watching out for the twins, and still searching for some kind of weapon, it occurs to me that perhaps just the shackle on the end of a flying wrist would do enough damage to increase our chances of escape… And if I could leave a bunch of stone attached for Gar, I’m pretty sure he could knock some teeth loose. Options are so limited when your party is shackled up with their twitching toes making ripples in puddles of their own piss.

Holy fuck, a demon just walked in. I think I smell Cyclops shit. I can see abject horror on the faces of those still conscious. I’m pretty certain that the whole team, healthy, would fall to this guy in short order. My only hope is that is concentrates on the hag or the Cyclops, and satiated, fucks off to another Plane. Maybe in a fit of rage, it’ll take out one of the twins. Ahh to dream – perhaps to sleep. I’m going under before any damage is done to my psyche and I shit myself for real.

 

The mage, though haggard and in need of a drink, does not take any of the ale in the cottage. Their host had presented enough gifts and arguments to sway his usual appetite. However, the request of a story was hard to resist. Lightson pulls up a chair, and recalls the events of just the past few days………..

Lightson tugged on the chains. Gods, he could wanted a drink. Lost track when he had his last one. When was that? When Rork departed? But wasn’t Rork outside, waiting for him while he wasted away in prison? Time became confused, between the thirst and the pain…….

He could vaguely remember being picked up by the city guard. How long ago was that? Days? Weeks? Work had been going well. Despite his fathers lack of faith, he managed to work his way up the Spiral, that towering plaza of shops. He seemed to have a way with merchants and customers, and quickly progressed from the usual clothes and trinkets to more valuable items, spending time in the tobacco shop, and of course learning a thing or two about the barley and the grape. The tobacco shop’s owner took a keen interest in Tiran. As such, he was able to try the new leafs from the south, including the enjoyable halfling green, and the intoxicating witch weed. The owner, Tuk, also shared from his private stock of wine, thinking that the 14 year old was now a man.

And where did that get me, wondered Lightson. Now, I can’t remember a day that I didn’t crave it. The lure of drink compared to the desire to cast was a thought he often avoided. Ha, I usually have too many drinks before I can even make up my mind.

The magic was elusive, amazing, and wonderful, like the aftertaste of a fine wine. Working in the scroll shop was a godsend, as he finally began to see his potential. Learning the Charm spell was easy, and helped move product. Making connections was key, he knew, to get out of town. To appease his appetites. And he thought he was in luck when he met Pizfan the wizard. The old coot appeared ancient with a memory of a sieve, but took a liking to the young man.

The owner of the Scroll Shop was actually a terrible merchant, even in the young, inexperienced eyes of Tiran. Papers and scrolls scattered everywhere. It was easy to pick up an item here, a charm there. But the knowledge, the magic, was intoxicating. Tiran poured over old tomes, of arcana and of planes. The satisfaction of obtaining his first spell book. Practicing cantrips, even at home, while the twins played, by the old family hearth.

Planes….. Why was that striking a cord with him??

His muscles ached. His back felt on fire. Was it truly flames, or actually whips? A parched tongue licked chapped lips. Gods, just a sip even…

Tiran’s mind retreats to the safety of the past.

The twins. He hadn’t given them a thought since he left them a few silver. His mother would do what she could for them, although he was never sure how much his father cared. Thinking about it, he couldn’t remember a time that his father wasn’t holding an ale skin, although the drink never seemed to actually affect him. His father never seemed to care about him, one way or another. Even with his shenanigans, he couldn’t even elicit disappointment from the old man.

He felt warm again. But not in a pleasant way, more like that all too brief relief after regular sharp pain.

He remember his last morning at the Scroll Shop. Pizfan just gave Rork to him, stating that the bird was a familiar of no uncertain ability. Tiran thought that this was the start of his journey out of town. Finally, a way to feed his appetites, and finally enjoy the finer things in life. But the old fool was killed in the slums later that day, even before he could share his spellbook with the young mageling.

Of course, that evening, Tiran was picked up by the Lions Pride. A charge of murder. Ridiculous, although he had wished the victim dead a dozen times over – a rival young mage who had been courting the very same mages and guilds as well. Tiran was much too busy lifting items from the store and hiding them in that barmaids apartment, to have killed anyone. That wench was as virtuous as the muddy snow outside her hovel. Tiran was no innocent, between his time with the drink and the theft of shop items, but he had never drawn blood. At least at that time.

He tasted the bitter tang of iron, of dried blood as his tongue ran over his lips.

He lost track of time in prison. Heard the occasional cry of a raven, and could only imagine it was his familiar. He hadn’t learned enough yet to truly have empathy with the winged creature.

Wait, he became empathic with Rork? But he was in prison, wasn’t he? Then why would he have memories of breaking out of jail with other inmates? The image of Rork flying and distracting the guards?

He knew he daydreamed. He had fantasies of being with the Alderan twins, sisters who were bar wenches and rumoured to always work together in the bar as well as their bed. There was a dream of owning the magic shop, forever gaining newer and more powerful artifacts. In one dazed memory, he became the Arch Cardinal of the Lore of Magic, overseeing the entire Arcane Curriculum. In others, he was a wizard of ill reput, living in the shadows, avoiding the Lions Pride, and running from town to town with a band of irregulars.

Wait, was that really a dream?

Another painful sensation came from his wrists, although he had no clear idea of what was going on. Was he dangling from his wrists?

His head ached, with a swirl of memories half remembered. Like the morning after far too many wineskins. Oh, it did hurt the head, and made it impossible for him to study, but the feeling of the wine in his blood made him feel invincible. Like casting a spell. But so much easier, as it was no more effort that to swallow a drink. Why couldn’t magic be like that more often? He dreaded the hours it took to study a spell, for a mere few seconds of ectasy.

Fire burned along his limbs. Lashes? Lacerations?

Fire. Fire was a tool he came to understand. His time from prison onward, he learned to use it as a weapon. To be controlled. To be targeted upon foes. To be created by magic or mundane, it would bring down monsters and mansions. There was no limit. It had served him well. Why, did he not light his own tobacco, with wisps of flames appearing from his fingertips? Why did he have a memory of someone yelling at him as he did this?

Fire. It was an agent for chaos, and a great leveler. Like himself. Fire could be good or evil. Like himself.

Sulfur. Why would he smell sulfur right now? Wasn’t he in prison?

His cell had no windows. He couldn’t see Rork, but could only imagine the bird was there. Couldn’t feel the presence of his familiar. Wait, but he remembered a time that he could sense the winged creature. It was reassuring, a sense of completeness. But that sensation was gone. Darkness. He lost the sensation in the darkness.

Rork was gone.

[….]

The thought hit him. A certainty that felt like a pit opened inside his chest. Rork was gone.

The emptiness hurt worse than the fire of his back.

Fire. Rage. Anger. The emptiness retreated from the heat of emotions welling up. Rork was gone, and someone would pay.

He could remember the party, entering the gate, gazing upon the vile darkness of the succubi. They attacked with chains. The others fell, slowly, but with impossible ability, he threw water upon the beast. It melted, and fell. He turned, spreading the liquid and taking down the rest of the creatures of darkness. The party fell, but he stood, triumphant……..

The fire broke through the anger, just for a moment……

No, he didn’t stand. He fell. The water evaporated on the skin of the creatures. He had fallen, and had entered this world of half remember memories and dreams.

The pain started again. But it was dull, compared to the anger feeding his resolve. He had lost Rork, and no force on heaven or hell would settle his soul, until this injustice was addressed.

TheDuke

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