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Thread: Part: 2, Act: 1, Scene 1

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    Post Part: 2, Act: 1, Scene 1

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    Continent of Akhenaten - Underdark of the Sezzara Wastelands -
    500th Year of the 3rd Age - 10th day of Mid Spring
    __________________________________________________ ____


    < We are on DDS 211 now on rolz.org... please everyone roll up your Fate Pools ​>


    Cavern of the Underfolk Aridu Tribe __________________


    Ersun


    Time is not easy to measure in the underdark... it exists no doubt, and still it is hard to remain conscious of just as the caverns of your home are largely hidden in shadow. You have no concept of time in your present state, deeply drugged from Ania's magical potion that coaxed a deep yet dreamless sleep. Perhaps that is best, for some would surely face madness if they were aware they were carried within an extradimensional space with a limited air supply.

    Luckily for you, Ania takes care to remove you from her Bag of Holding before you suffocate. Most Warmages are familiar with such items, but few risk transporting living things in them, especially one so young. Aria however is daughter to Kairos, a living legend in tribal lore. Kairos is the first man born to the warrior caste to own a seat on the warmage council. His mandate safeguarding internal security for the tribe is fitting, albeit ironic, since he has no idea his own daughter is serving his most hated foe!

    Irregardless of that, Kairos trained her well. Ania is as skilled and confident as any other Warmage twice her age, with the added advantage of breathtaking good looks and a no-nonsense persona. Ania is bold to the edge of recklessness, yet clever enough to minimize risk surprisingly well. How else could she avoid suspicion among the very organization tasked to protect the tribe from such traitors?

    Her reasons for your capture shall become known to you soon enough as she removes you from the bag to lie on an impossibly soft fur rug laid across a beautifully marbled floor. Her fingers snap themselves sharply above you, instantly dispelling the effects of her potion. Even so, your wits are slow to return as you feel yourself sucking in huge breaths like someone who nearly drowned. Your disorientation is only amplified by a deep, dangerous voice that warns your gut you are in serious trouble!

    Crusher: "Ersun is it? I'm told you are not an easy man to capture! Forgive me not than, my methods, but understand they were necessary to bring you here to warn you about our true enemies!"

    [Ersun: What do you do?]

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    Post Ersun (Posted for p3sent)

    Ersun: Slowly sits up and leans onto his knees, trying to rub the drugs out from his face. He supposes he should be thankful he has to still fight of the last of the dosage, as it gives him an excuse to take his time to gather his thoughts instead of rushing into panic. He gives his surroundings a quick glance: who is there, where are his items, and so on. First of all, if they went through so much trouble to get him there he can hope they won’t kill him out of impatience.

    He supports his forehead with one of his arms braced onto his thigh as he gives Ania a scrutinizing look. He was technically in the hands of her father and his warmages, she sure risked a lot by kidnapping him from that situation. Covering that up seems like an impossible task, so he can’t help but wonder her reasons. He gives her a faint smirk just to make her wonder a little too.


    Then he gathers himself, straightens up, stretches his arms and legs a bit, and faces Crusher. His guts strangling at him suggest he will have to make a rather quick judgement of his character to stay healthy. Although unintentional, focusing on Ania first might have been a good test of his personality, people’s reactions are gold after all.

    Ersun: “You went through a lot of trouble... Yesterday no one really seemed to give me a second glance...” He finally replies.

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    Post Ania, Crusher, Ersun

    Ania avoids looking you directly in the eye, but makes no effort to apologize either. Her expression is one of frank determination, and her body language makes the impression she did what she had to do, regardless of how she might feel about it. Taking stock of your surroundings you notice the fur rug you sit upon lies before a raised circular dais, upon which rests a huge silver bowl filled with blood set within the grasp of a beautifully carved Underdragon in the middle of a marble floor patterned in diamond-shaped tiles of contrasting red, black and grey hues, polished mirror-smooth, about thirty feet across within an ancient circular cavern.

    The walls and high domed ceiling are natural stone inset with rich veins of platinum ore that luster's brightly in the glow of several low-burning sconces. The sconces are mounted within upturned iron helms held by statuesque dwarven busts leaning out of the rock. Their stern faces stare at you with eyes made of precious gems, as if their likenesses could awe and shame you from the grave. You quickly note however that their skulls are bald and their countenance is generally threatening, suggesting rather obviously that these busts, and indeed this whole chamber, was likely made by duergar, not dwarves. Furthermore disturbing is how the busts are stained and dripping with blood like some sort of offering had recently been made to them?

    The voice that addressed you came from behind you, closer to the wall, so you have to twist around bit to lay eyes on one of the most dread-inspiring duergars you've ever seen. By the look of his mighty hands and burly stature you know instinctively this duergar must be Crusher. You remember Ania spoke of rumors regarding his ability to alter his appearance, yet somehow you doubt this is any sort of magical disguise. He looks completely at ease staring down at you from a crude throne of bleached bones and skulls lashed together with black iron wire and strips of taught black leather. He looks as if he's exactly where he belongs and he knows it. Suddenly, legends from your tribal history flood back to you suggesting that this whole network of caverns was once home to a mighty duergar clan before something exterminated them and your tribe moved in.

    Crusher is dressed in a plain grey, fur-trimmed tunic with short sleeves over bulging biceps and black iron bracers. A single platinum chain drapes around his thick neck while each of his fingers bears a unique platinum ring. His belt bears a richly jeweled platinum buckle as well, but his trousers and boots lack further embellishment. You see he carries no weapons beyond a single dagger, but if reputation is anything to go by, Crusher prefers to dispatch enemies with his bare hands! Indeed there is little doubt he could given the great strength he obviously possesses.

    His expression towards you is icy and calm, yet the ringed fingers of one hand tap restlessly against the skulls of his throne, whilst those of the other roughly pet a cave badger lying across his lap. Crushers completely hairless grey skull features a sizable iron plate above one of his temples that's been there so long the flesh has started to creep over the edges. His beard is deeply grey and streaked with white indicating he is old, perhaps even venerable in years, yet clearly still strong as an ox and very dangerous. When he speaks to you, his deep voice echoes with authority, whilst his dark eyes glint with terrible capability.

    Crusher: "You are of interest to me because Izell chose you as his eyes and ears abroad in the Kingdom of Vulkh. I want you to go ahead with that mission, except now you'll also report to me, in secret, just as Ania here does." He huffs. "I encourage you to question why, but the facts may frighten you. In any case, refusal is not an option!"

    [Ersun: What do you do?]

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    Post Ersun (Posted for p3sent)

    Ersun: lets what has been said sink in for a bit before responding. It was baffling how easily a short conversation with a single man a few hours ago turned his life so upside down, but there wasn't much else to do than trying to roll with it by now. He finally sighed.

    Ersun: “I see. I am in no position to argue with that indeed. You mentioned true enemies, who or what do you mean by that?”

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    Post Ania, Crusher, Ersun

    Crusher: Leans forward to emphasize his words. "Our true enemies are responsible for this..." He remarks tapping a ring on the iron plate in his skull. "...and who also did the same with your young friend Shala yes?" He pauses then for a moment, regarding you not with pity, but recognition. The pain of loss in your face is something he understands all too well. However it only seems to encourage him to needle you further. "Did you know Ersun that an illithid does not actually pierce the skull when it attempts to eat your brains? It dissolves it with a powerful flesh-eating secretion through its tentacles. This secretion acts so quickly the tentacles actually appear to push through scalp and bone as if it were soft clay..." He says watching your reaction closely.

    Ania grimaces with discomfort and outrage behind you. Crusher stares at her for a moment.

    Crusher: "...What is it Ania? You think poor Ersun should be spared such gruesome details? You underfolk aren't much better than humans, such weak stomachs!" He snorts. "Sometimes I wonder why I bother with any of you."

    Ania:
    Scowls. "We're wasting time!"


    Crusher:
    Leans back against his throne. "I disagree. I need to know what sort of man Ersun is... Will he put his life at risk knowing what horrors await him if he should fall?" He mutters out loud.


    [Ersun:
    What do you do?]

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    Post Ersun (Posted for p3sent)

    He doesn’t know if he should be annoyed or amused that everyone keeps bringing up Shala to him even after so long. It’s like they found a decent tool to work him with, and didn’t bother to look for any other since then. He frowns at the description of mind flayer cuisine habits and grunts as a sign that the point was made. He wonders how much exactly crusher knows about him, their tribe isn’t as large as some cities of far-away lands at all, so it’s not that difficult to hear something about most people. It would be safe to assume he’s asked around since Ersun’s meeting with Izel.

    He glances at Ania at her interjection. “Unless you took especially long time to drag me here, I should still have plenty of time to talk before I will have to leave.” Of course there could be something that makes things more urgent he doesn't know about yet, that would be the smallest surprise of the day.

    Then he turns his focus back onto crusher. Everybody is playing a con, whether they realize and admit or not, and he doubts one could get the likes of this diligent girl to serve him unless they got the smarts to match those hefty arms. Both Crusher and Izel has been a bit straightforward about wanting to use him, he would be however more curious about the things they are hiding despite that. False honesty can be so misleading... He has to hold back a sigh about needing to have this conversation, but since his life might very well depend on it, he can’t be picky.

    “I try only to run when it is prudent to do so. What do mind flayers have to do with the Kingdom of Vulkh?”

    Meanwhile he slowly tests his limbs further, and if they seem stable enough gets up onto his feet and pats himself to check what belongings he has left.

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    Post Ania, Crusher, Ersun

    [Ersun: You have no trouble standing, and your equipment is all there.]

    Crusher:
    "I understand you have not traveled far enough to know much about what exists beyond these caverns. Indeed, your lifespan as an underfolk is far too short to truly grasp the passage of history. Thus, I shall do my best to answer your question, for so long as you remain ignorant you are useless to me.
    The Kingdom of Vulkh, or more specifically, beneath it, is where the Mind Flayers are strongest." He pauses to scratch the badger behind the ears and the creature makes a satisfied growling sound.

    "Have you ever heard of House Uldraeg? Centuries ago they were a powerful house of dark elves who ruled a grand city known as Garethche
    beside an underground lake. They were enemies of my clan of course, but we avoided outright war fighting smaller skirmishes instead. One day we heard rumors that House Uldraeg was warring with another drow household named Harltanik. That sounded like good news until reports came back that proved we were mistaken. Yes Garethche was under siege by House Harltanik, but those dark elves were actually Mind Flayer thralls absorbed into their army after their house had already fallen."

    "Accounts of that battle spoke of great losses on both sides except the Mind Flayers had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of thrall reinforcements. Rank upon rank of them marched to their doom without hesitation because their Mind Flayer masters stripped the fear of death from their minds. Victory for the Illithids was assured except they never managed to actually sack the city. House Uldraeg's rulers decided death was better than conquest by those creatures and brought the cavern roof down upon their own city! Thousands perished and all their wealth was buried with them."

    "We anticipated the Mind Flayers might send their army for us next so we did our best to ready ourselves for that confrontation. Our preparations proved inadequate however because their tactics completely changed. They did not march an army of thralls into our tunnels where our warriors were ready and waiting. Instead, they plagued us with an underdragon named Aphyon-Sarolssuule who filled our tunnels with poison gas! Defenders died by the score leaving our perimeter defenseless!"
    Crusher paused to reach for a pitcher of ale beside two mugs on a side table.

    "...Will you share a drink with me Ersun?" He asks. "...Tales of woe always make me thirsty."
    Last edited by Narayan; 05-21-2015 at 02:42 PM.

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    Post Ersun

    He starts stretching a little and circles his shoulders and glances at the pitcher and then back to Crusher. He tries to determine how sincere he just might be, or how much could his words be calculated for manipulation, and whatever else he can pick up from him. So far the duergar’s story seems to aim for sympathy instead of enlightenment.

    “Considering my day’s encounters with substances I could be most suspicious.” he smirks. “On the other hand poisoning or drugging me again would be rather cliché and unnecessary. Regardless, I will abstain, thank you.” He was actually honest, as wherever he went so far they’ve been making him drink while the situation kept getting worse. It seems like a hint to play around less... for now.

    “How did you escape the mind flayers?” he asks after a little pause. He would have so many questions regarding connections and assumptions he can make, but one has to prioritise somehow. “For all I know you could be one of their puppets, no offense.” Once again, during negotiations, because that’s the healthy way of thinking of this, he prefers to shift the opponents out from their comfort zone. That and he really has no relevant background on Crusher or what his agenda might be. The simplest would be accepting his story and writing it off as revenge against the ilithids, but simple answers are often just traps, and even if they are not, nothing is ever one-sided.

    He also tries to piece together which locations he is exactly mentioning in his mind, and try to fit the described events into his knowledge of history, to get a grasp around the circumstances more. Since Crusher is sceptical about his knowledge it would be all the more satisfying if he could recall relevant insights.

    [Sense Motive; Crusher: 29]
    [Geography/Dungeoneering/History; Location of Garethche: 23]
    [Geography; Kingdom of Vulkh: 29]
    [History; ilithid wars & conflicts of the surrounding area: 30]

    [For Garetche I am not sure which knowledge to use, as it’s underground and also in the past. All three of the knowledges have the same rating of ten for Ersun. If its actual history is roll-able separately, then that would probably merge into the History regarding the ilithids? Although that may only cover their downfall, the rest of their history shouldn’t be relevant probably anyway.]
    Last edited by p3sent; 05-20-2015 at 10:23 AM.

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    Post Ania, Crusher, Ersun

    Skill Check Results
    __________________________________________________ ________


    [Sense Motive; Crusher: 29]


    This roll basically affirms that so far as you can tell Crusher is being frank with you and not keeping truths from you about anything he's spoken of up until this point. (If he was trying to blatantly lie to you I would've had him roll bluff and asked you to roll Sense Motive by now)

    This roll also gives you the gut instinct that he is easily capable of lying and doesn't care about you in the slightest. His tone is obviously patronizing, almost mocking, but that shouldn't be surprising from a Duergar to begin with, much less one who enjoys a position of great power. (Duergar are known to be cruel, sadistic, racist, megalomaniacs anyway.)

    [Geography; Kingdom of Vulkh: 29]


    Being that the Kingdom of Vulkh is primarily home to surface races and rather far from your lands its unlikely that many Underfolk have visited Vulkh before. Any general and/or geographic knowledge you have learned would've come from accounts by other races that already explored it.

    This roll indicates you are certainly already aware of Vulkh's existence and know some common knowledge about it. You know how long the kingdom has existed and how it came to be. You know which major races dwell there and some of their laws. You know Vulkh is largely desert surrounded by mountains with two cities near large water sources such as rivers and lakes. You even know the names of Vulkh's neighboring lands, but nothing specifically about them unless you made separate rolls for each.


    [Geography/Dungeoneering/History; Location of Garethche: 23]


    This roll indicates you were aware of the name and general location of this fabled city before Crusher told you, but only so far as it is a lost city best avoided. You would've needed a better roll to know exactly where it is, its history, and downfall as he described it.


    [History; Ilithid wars & conflicts of the surrounding area: 30]


    This natural 20 roll indicates you are already an expert on the history of Mind Flayer activity in the surrounding area. (Within this local region) There's likely very little Crusher can tell you that you aren't already aware of in this regard. (You should feel free to claim as much without the need for a bluff check) However, your tribe is only largely aware of the history after it moved into this area. The battle Crusher speaks of occurred a long time before that.


    __________________________________________________ ___________




    Crusher: Leans forward again slowly and glares at you. Sensing his anger the cave badger on his lap starts to growl loudly. "No offense my ass! Imply anything like that again Ersun and I'll let my little friend here chew out your entrails! The damned nerve!" Scoffs "I was never captured, I suffered this wound in battle! Lucky for me someone knocked this one off before it got to the goods!" He snorts and fills both mugs full of ale. "Ania what about you? Are you in a drinking mood?"

    Ania: Steps past you to take the offered mug. They tap the mugs together first before they each take a swallow.

    Crusher: "I'm not sure your friend Ersun appreciates our company Ania?"

    Ania: Shrugs. "Can't say I blame him, I can't hardly stand you myself."

    Crusher: Guffaws with amusement."Well whatever happens, you brought him before me, that means you vouch for him."

    Ania: "Yes I do... You should have seen him undermine that madman Moruk with an illusion of a giant Beholder. The look on my fathers face was priceless!"

    Crusher: Chuckles. "I bet it was. Moruk is another matter however. He will have to be dealt with eventually of course."

    [Ersun: What do you do?]
    Last edited by Narayan; 05-21-2015 at 04:19 PM.

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    Post Wrenwil

    __________________________________________________ _______________

    [Approximate time in game = 7am]


    Your voyage from Chival was long, yet those weeks at sea were not quite so arduous as they would have been if your old friend Jarahdrin hadn't paid for a first class cabin. However those comforts ended the moment you landed in the port of Chakralanka in the Kingdom of Maharatha. Jarahdrin's letter insisted you keep a low profile after you made landfall which meant you had to carry your own belongings and squeeze aboard the same crowded riverboat as other poor travelers on your way north to the city of Masaeus.

    Your journey is slow thanks
    to the strong current of the Arosis river bearing against you, but as it is very broad and gentle to sail upon the ride at least is very tolerable. The Kingdom of Maharatha is quite beautiful to behold as you sail past thick jungles and rich marshlands which the other passengers claim are full of dangerous beasts. Much wiser to take the riverboat they say! Eventually the riverboat sails past the mountains of northern Maharatha which give way to the oppressive Thayamar desert. A true boneyard full of terrible monsters and vicious bandits they say, again praising the wisdom of taking the riverboat.

    However, as
    you near the rising mountains of Vulkh's southern border you overhear a commotion at the bow. Other passengers are starting to shove and clamor clearly upset about something. The captain bellows at his sailors (you cannot comprehend his language because he speaks Maharathan) while they frantically do their best to adjust their course. Unfortunately the riverboat is so nearly overladen with passengers and cargo there is little they can do.

    Suddenly the riverboat heaves as the wake from another passing vessel crashes against the hull! The much larger ship moves past you at a reckless clip, sails full while also aided by the rivers strong current. Many of your fellow passengers are knocked off balance, some are even dragged overboard as the wake washes across the deck!

    [Make a Balance check, DC 15]




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    Post Ersun

    “Just like your other two goons vouched for me?” he quips as he smirks at their banter and shifts his weight a bit in his stance. “As much as I like to hear about my assumed bravery and creativity I am suspicious the gracious invitation was not for my pleasant company.” He makes a very faint beginning of a bow to hint at parodying showmanship.

    He recites some of the ilithid conflicts he knows of both before the settlement of the tribe and afterwards. He is careful not to reveal everything he knows, but likes to play with further implications between the lines. “We could discuss past history all day long, but I rather wonder your take on my mission and our tribe’s relevance to the ilithid of Vulkh.”

    Although, just as with Izel, he is stretching his boundaries, he deems it better to do that instead of covering behind safe lines. For now it seems killing him would cost Crusher more than it would gain and that gives a small leeway. He slints his eyes slightly and then adds the following: “And which of Izel’s bodyguards is your snitch?”

    He wasn’t sure if it was one of the patrons of the tavern, a man of Crusher stalking Izel, or one of his bodyguards until recently. The fact that Crusher was already aware the nature of his mission however narrowed the circle, and he doesn’t get the vibe that Crusher was bluffing about that. The patrons of the tavern or a stalker wouldn’t have been well situated to overhear the details of their discussion. Izel was also obviously not the informant, since if he would’ve been they wouldn’t require this entire circus to play out. That leaves one of the two guards, the cursed posers, he can easily recall how the pretentious grunts got offended at his every slight.
    Also, by the time he got to Lysen Rahul was already informed that he Ersun is a mark. That speaks of amazingly fast information connections within his network that he can’t help but admire. While most people would riot at the thought of so many layers of intrigue and power play within their small tribe, this only reinforces his ideology that everybody lies. As despairing as it is, optimism is self-defence to keep your ignorance content, or maybe the reverse, it is sometimes hard to tell.
    ~Right, that shows them! Yet somehow I am the one in this baatorian situation instead of them... what does that tell about me?”~
    In the case of Ania however, he can only blame himself for dropping his guard, underestimating the reach of the players. He should’ve remembered to only speak of details to at least two people at once, but then again who would’ve guessed the daughter of That man would turn on him. The world seems to be full of surprises no matter how paranoid one can get, and no matter how infuriating that is...
    Last edited by p3sent; 05-21-2015 at 10:27 PM.

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    Wrenwil

    Endless days at sea, it can change a man. Wrenwil was close to his gutfull of boats, sails and the unnerving sway of the horizon. He wasn't ungrateful though. Jarahdrin's selection of vessel for the long haul of this voyage had probably saved his skin. Upon the polished decks of a formidable merchant ship, his stomach had turned more than a few times, and not always from rum. It had started with the odd empty and abandoned old dinghy floating by, then twisting arcs of lightning as stewing storms reached maturity. He'd seen wrecks corroding and breaking apart across crusts of jutting rock, writhing dark shapes beneath the waves and even the odd shipload of looters and pirates eying off their cargo from a safe distance.

    If Jarahdrin had suggested a low profile, then low profile it would be. ~Can't stoop much lower than this...~ With that he had shuffled aboard the crowded ramshackle river vessel, looking forward greatly to planting his walking stick back into firm earth... sometime soon.

    Pressed hard against the gunwale with a heavy pack wedged between his legs, Wrenwil's mood was in rapid decline. ~For Pentos sake we will burst like a ripe fruit on wedding night if but one more rodent comes aboard!~ People, blasted people everywhere. The days of reading a treasured book whilst floating along had come to an end. He gazed out at the river and let the light breeze caress his trusty old hat, trying to focus on good things, like a hard drink and a tale or two with his pointy-eared friend.

    Wrenfil could only look on as a great fist of water smashed across the bow. Like a handful of rocks, passengers were dislodged and flying in all directions. There was little he could do about the oncoming predicament, except brace himself, but it wasn't enough.

    [Balance Check = 12 (+2 Dex) = 14]
    Last edited by Ivan; 05-22-2015 at 07:51 PM.

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    Post Zie'Chael

    This morning you were summoned at dawn by Jarahdrin, your most generous employer. Up till now he had you delivering messages for him. Most of the time the task was straightforward, yet on occassion the circumstances were difficult and even risky. Nevertheless you haven't failed him and Jarahdrin appears to trust you a little more each time your jobs are successful. Today's summons bode well because he's asked you to meet him at The Good Guys Tavern, an expensive and very exclusive meeting spot for some of Cabarda's most powerful merchants and guild leaders. Needless to say you have never set foot in this establishment before, but you have no trouble finding it conveniently located on one of Cabarda's main streets.

    This tavern is well constructed of mortarted stone on a raised foundation with an expansive tile roof that extends over both a front and rear porch. It has four chimneys and large glass windows providing a wide view of the street. Stables are available in the rear for those with mounts. Before the steps is a heavyset, muscular Akhenaten man wearing iron bracers and a chain shirt with a mace and a heavy throwing axe hanging from his belt. His expression is dour and professional as he casually observes the throng of early morning foot traffic. Given his appearance, and the fact you won't be able to enter the establishment without approaching him first, it is likely he works as a bouncer.

    [What do you do?]

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    Zie'Chael:

    Still blinking the sleep from his eyes, Zie'Chael approaches The Good Guys Tavern on foot. Large burly bouncer types tend not to react well to newcomers descending from the sky at them, even newcomers with plumage as easy on the eye as this particular Keu. Attempting to look as if he belongs in this region of town, and not at all in awe of the wealth on display, he can't help but stop to admire himself in the various shop windows leading up to the tavern. Vanity... possibly his greatest flaw, ~modesty too I suppose~ he chuckles to himself as he looks over his appearance in a selfishly placed shop with a display of mirrors; of all things!

    Despite his vanity Zie'Chael isn't an arrogant creature, he has merely had a lifetime of Keu and other strangers alike admiring his bright red plumage. Coupled with a crimson crest, fiery orange breast and the subtle pale pink and blue flecked highlights throughout there is no doubt that he is a striking Keu but it is his mind he would prefer to be known for. A sharp witted and intelligent Keu, Zie'Chael reflects on his life so far as he begins the final approach to the, frankly terrifying, man by the taverns door.

    Always curious of magic, Zie'Chael had quite early on in life taken up studying the art of alchemy; often considered a gateway to the more mysterious magical arts. His parents, at this thought a twinge of pain passes over his avian features, had always supported him and had arranged for him to spend time with Rini Krik; an accomplished Keu Summoner. Many years down the line and he finds himself running errands for pay in order to fund his continuing research, still there are worse jobs and Jarahdrin is fair and generous, if not a patient man. ~Thinking of which, I'd best get a move on!~

    Zie'Chael boldy strides up to the door of the tavern, casually nodding at the bouncer, who towers over his diminutive frame, as if they are old friends and makes to enter the establishment...
    Last edited by Ziechael; 05-23-2015 at 02:48 AM.

  15. #15
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    Post Ania, Crusher, Ersun

    Ania and Crusher calmly listen to your brief synopsis of Illitid activity in the area, emptying their mugs and occassionally nodding. Crusher Hmmphs in response to your questions.

    Crusher: "You are no fool Ersun, but you shouldn't mistake hearsay with fact. Sages and bards are good at collecting rumors and telling stories, but the whole truth of events isn't always evident by just witnessing them. When I spoke of the battle of
    Garethche I implied House Harltanik had already been conquered by the Illithids. That was the logical explanation for anyone who caught a glimpse of the battle..."

    "Of course we assumed
    the failed assault of Garethche meant House Harltanik was essentially homeless. We even sent a reconnaissance party to their home city, Korinthdelmah, expecting a smoking ruin. What we saw completely baffled us. Korinthdelmah was still standing. It was as if they meekly surrendered to the mind flayers without a fight and threw their full strength against House Uldraeg on their behalf. Whats more, we glimpsed the underdragon Aphyon-Sarolssuule lurking there. Apparently the dragon was allied with House Harltanik before the battle, and yet, did not participate in the assault against House Uldraeg. Why not? ...The irony is, we only understood after Aphyon-Sarolssuule attacked us..."

    Crusher pauses then, as if biting his own tongue. You sense he wishes to speak further but hesitates.

    Ania: "Tell him!"

    Crusher: Frowns. "Very well, but Ersun needs to understand this secret is very dangerous. If rumors about this ever spread, he could doom his own tribe to the same fate as my clan... Of course, he won't live long enough to see that day if he betrays my trust..."

    I already told you how Aphyon-Sarolssuule elliminated our defenses by swamping our warriors in the tunnels with poison gas. In actuality our warriors were not slain, they merely collapsed and rose again a short while later... brainwashed somehow! Much to our dismay, they picked up their axes and aided the army of the mind flayer thralls infilitrate our caverns and slaughter their own clansmen!" He says with an edge of pain and pure horror creeping into his voice.

    "
    Aphyon-Sarolssuule is the key to both of those mind flayer victories. It is obvious to me now that he is unique among underdragons, altered somehow by the mind flayers so his breath weapon works like a drug. Long ago he patiently plotted and maneuvered his way into House Harltanik's trust creating cannon-fodder for his illithid masters. I expect the only reason he didn't attempt to use his breath weapon directly against House Uldraeg, or otherwise aid in that assault, is because he was far too valuable to them. Large dragons make easy targets in such big open spaces."

    "Sages and bards don't know those particular facts because no one in this area lived past their attack who could speak the truth. Only myself and a small group of my clansman survived because we barricaded ourselves within these catacombs. Once we emerged within the ruins of our fallen stronghold we decided we would never share the truth with others."

    "I know what your thinking Ersun, you want to warn your tribe. I understand that, but you can't, not until its absolutely necessary! If the mind flayers believe their secret weapon is no longer a secret they will come back to finish us off!
    "

    [Ersun: What do you do?]
    Last edited by Narayan; 05-24-2015 at 01:55 PM.

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