Imagine if you will, five mismatched explorers. Vacillating between light and shadow, between good and evil, between the pit of their fears and the limits of their knowledge. Tonight, they are exploring what kind of people they were, are, and will be in…
The Ilderan Tales
The burly red tielfing, Carson has taken Ren inside The Crimson Sail and begins to question her. (Carson looks like Hellboy.) “We need to understand each other.” He demands Ren tell him the truth about everything. He brings in a cowering young Orc called, ‘The Guppy’, so named because he gasps when he runs. They are brought upstairs.
Carson produces a throwing star, sharp enough to cut someone with ease. “Every time you lie, I will cut him. I promise you, he will live.”
Ren gazes back, steely eyed. This is serious business.
Out of game, Jim says the Big Questions for Ren are: What do you tell him about what’s going on, what do you not tell this man. Do you attempt to disguise the truth or lie?
Brent starts summarizing what Ren tells him. She will try to start by avoiding her time in Volus. She’s clearly a pirate. Carson will be curious, why did Ren not go to the Pirates. Ren will focus on the summer campaign, her times with the adventuring party, who she views as family.
After she does that, she starts to betray some reasons why she’s no longer with the pirating party. She talks about her time as a sailor and how she was on varying ships and she talks about the ‘Chickadee’. The current ruler of the Ruador has a son. Ren and the son know each other and served on the same ship. They were both novices. Tragedy struck on the sea. A storm hit and they were stranded. From there, things devolved. Ren didn’t eat him. Ren got angry and she ended up doing something bad and there aren’t any accounts for what actually happened. Ren says that she’s not welcomed with the pirates anymore. She’s divorced from them, but she hasn’t changed her markings because she still identifies with their ideas and is looking for a way to redeem herself.
To do that, she needs to figure out what good is or what good does. This has been a struggle over the past several weeks and she is conflicted, and her friends, she views as good, but she’s seeing them do some strange things.
This all came to a head with Lucian. When speaking about Lucian, she doesn’t make much sense trying to explain how angry she is at that whole situation. She tells pretty much everything and doesn’t leave much back. She’ s honest with Carson.
While Carson is curious about the blackmail, he doesn’t care much about the other business.
As Ren is speaking, her heart is on her sleeve, she’s teary, emotional, forthright. Carson listens, is very patient. The throwing star rests on the table. He does not toy with it. He takes pains to not be cruel to this child. This child is very scared. Ren would not risk lying, knowing the stakes. Any time she’s tempted, she’ll look at Guppy and says nope. She has no bargaining power. She owns up to who she is and her actions to this bitter enemy.
Back at Shoreline Manor
Narcel'Uss hears a banging on her door. Dorian is knocking and that knock doesn’t sound happy.
Narcel'Uss and dorian engage in unhappy conversation. Dorian stomps in since the door isn’t locked.
Dorian briefly recounts the events of the last couple hours: We’re rich, with Lucien’s money. Narcel’Uss is annoyed she didn’t get a chance to hurt the monk. Vani is limping in, hurt from the fight with the monk.
Vani hears a cat call. She mews back. Bird girl peaks in and heals vani. Dorian asks about the loot and vani actually shares everything! The gold coin with a wvyern embossed on it (gold that goes back centuries). it is a well preserved coin that came back into circulation when he was young. They are pretty valuable. Now, they serve as tokens because nobody mints coins with wvyerns on it. It is a clandestine thing.
Narcel’Uss is upset and thinking about leaving, upset they were all touchy feely and convinced her to stay. Basically blaming the rest of the party for getting her and themselves into this mess with Lucien.
Vani is wondering if Narcel’Uss can detect magic. Nothing is detected on any of the spoils from Lucien’s caches.
Vani asking if anyone has seen Ren.
Dorian is clarifying that Narcel’Uss thinks we made a mistake by not leaving and made a mistake by leaving, not leaving? argh confusing!
Now everyone is concerned that the chosen might be coming here tonight, to get them..
Narcel'Uss stops pacing and goes still. “We need to get Ren”.
They asks if Bird girl could do surveillance. Bird girl will hold up belt buckle and try to hide. Jeremy and Narcel’Uss disappear. Meantime, Dorian and Vani set traps up around the house. Vani “helps” by overturning a box of marbles.
BIrd girl is looking for Ren. People direct her to brothels. Bird girl huffs. “No! She has a large axe.” Some inn-keepers remember seeing an orc girl kill a man in the town square, but they don’t tell where she went. She slips a few coins to people: 8 silver gets her to the docks, but no amount of money will persuade people to tell her anything. That tells her something.
Bird girl goes back to the centre of town and pouts. Bird Girl ends up in a corner spot, not far from where Ren is. After a while of pouting, Bird Girl gets curious about an open window and perches. Bird Girl got distracted! She noticed criminals shagging in the rooms and laughs. hehehe! silly shagging criminals. She goes to a window with a noisy couple and starts mimicking them.
Spoiler! Highilght to read it. But wouldn't you rather be surprised in game?
Dorian asks Jeremy where Narcle’Uss is. “The Mithtreth ith indithpothed at the moment. Shall I tell her you’re looking for her?”
“Yes, do that.”
Meanwhile, Narcel’Uss is in Ildan’s bedroom. It is completely transformed, with black candles everywhere, bed overturned. A ritual looks ready to go.
Dorian is working on a rope trap when Narcel’Uss finds him. He asks Narcel’Uss how she found the monk in the first place. She went to the middle of town and cast a ‘locate object’ spell. She sensed the ring was in town and followed it. They think it would be smart to have everyone have a unique object, and they could find each other through the unique object… like Ren’s anchor. Something to be done later...
In the wee hours of the morning, Ren is exhausted. She’s been talking for 5 to 7 hours, with Carson listening quietly, breaking for water and food. Carson stays quiet longer than you think he should, so you fill the silence with words. After a while, he is satisfied.
He tells the guppy, “they shouldn’t call you the guppy, they should call you the Mountain.” The boy looks proud, as he didn’t move at all. Carson sends him away. Carson cleans the knife and thanks Ren for not making him cut up a child just to make a point. He appreciates Ren’s honesty.
Ren says, “It wasn’t his problem, it was mine.”
Carson says, “I agree. The question is, what to do about you now. I understand you now. I understand you won’t allow someone to hurt a child. You will understand I do what is necessary. Now. in a week, the watch will find a culprit. Someone unfortunate but deserving. What i need you to do, within that week, bring me something that is worth your life; money, opportunity, information. I respect your position now you need to respect mine.”
Ren nods. “I understand.” Ren is exhausted and wipes her eyes. She rests in the room for the rest of the night.
Jeremiah comes in with the mail! Another invitation for Dorian from the House Dega. Bird Girl came back last night. Bird Girl put head in hands, looking very miserable and distressed.
Narcel’Uss got an invitation from Lucian, she looks at it and hisses and throws it on the floor. The invitation encourages and invites Narcel’Uss to lunch. Dorian asks if Narcel’Uss will go to it. Narcel’Uss is already gone, out in the distance. Dorian asks bird girl to keep an eye on Narcel’Uss. She takes the invitation and follows after Narcel’Uss.
Vani disguise herself as a personal assistant to Dorian! With pencil tucked behind her ear, she’s ready to go!
Ren wakes early and tries to leave discreetly. She’s not interested in conversation right now. Ren leaves hurriedly and tries to make her way back to Shoreline Manor. She runs into Narcel’Uss. Bird girl is very obviously overhead.
Spoiler! Highilght to read it.
Seeing Narcel’Uss, Ren’s eyes perk up! Ren is not wanting to talk about what happened. Narcel’Uss asks Ren, “Are you well rested?” Ren is rested enough! What needs to be done?
Narcel’Uss looks intense. “We need to activate the bed.‘We need to find ourselves a criminal. We go to the jail, we ask for them, we take them! I don’t care.”
Ren asks, “what would happen to their lives otherwise?”
“It’s the same. I thought you were willing to do whatever it took. Was I wrong about this Ren?”
Ren is quiet a moment, thinking. Then, “Is that life worth enough?’
“We were so close before, imagine what we could do with a human being!”
Bird girl overhears all. She still thinks she heard “cripple”. She’s confused, unsure, flapping in the air. Narcel'Uss figures out that Ren killed the monk. There is still some dried blood on her axe.
Narcel'Uss grumbles to herself, and grudgingly thanks Ren for exacting revenge against the monk. Narcel'Uss tries to comfort Ren with the trifling matter of having helped a lot of people by killing the monk. Ren tells Narcel'Uss she has to find something worth her life, maybe this will help her find it out. Narcel'Uss agrees to help Ren if Ren helps her.
Narcel'Uss throws her cloak over Ren’s head, tries to disguise as she just wants Rena around for muscle.
Dorian and Vani make their way to house dega. They get there fairly early in the day. Vincent Dega is still eating breakfast in the immense hall where the golem still stands. Vincent (19) is alone, no Victoria to be seen. Vincent welcomes Dorian jovially. Dorian thanks him for the invite and excuses his absence. Vani, since she is a servant and therefore invisible to Vincent, takes notes, counts exits, takes note of the expensive-looking saber on the wall.
Dorian is seated and they enjoy breakfast, rich jams, pastries, fried meats. Dorian eats his fill, but not so much so that he can’t think straight.
Vincent tells Dorian he asked around about him and his ‘TIP’. Vincent says he is impressed that the golem was brought to House Dega via the TIP. Vincent asks, “are you a man of discretion?” He’s keeeeeen for stories of Dorian’s adventures. Dorian tells Vinent the story of how we rescued a family member of one of our party from gnolls, and discovered it was one gnoll leading them astray! Vincent takes this all in with curious eyes. Dorian: “We all bear the marks of that encounter.”
Vincent encourages Dorian to tell him tales of the campaign, all through breakfast. Dorian spins that story for a while, and Vincent is paying keen attention. Dorian SLAYS Vincent with his impressive storytelling. He takes a sabre from the wall, and tells him how he slays the golem, but carefully avoids saying how to activate it. Doesn’t want anyone to know we brought the box back. Dorian leaps on the golem’s back, “I killed it just like this!” he leaps down. A toddler is watching this rapt from the balcony. Dorian gets a mental picture of the toddler.
Vani assists by taking the rapier when it’s done. Wipes. Vincent asks if Dorian does this professionally. Vincent is interested in the old kind, artifacts. Vincent wants to work with Dorian, to hire Dorian and their services. Vincent wants to talk to Victoria first.
Dorian talks up the crew. Just point us to the proper direction and give it a push!
Dorian takes time between bites in the meal to sneak glances at the toddler. He has super blond hair.
Victoria comes in and glances at the balcony and then at Dorian. Dorian is extremely courteous. Victoria is full of fire and grits her teeth. “I’ll be happy to walk him out.”
Dorian says nothing. He walks silently, lets her take the lead. Vani grudgingly puts the sabre back.
Victoria is pissed at Dorian, snatching the invite from his hand. “I’m going to walk you out and suggest you do what you do best. Leave town.”
Dorian: “I remember I needed to leave town because of something someone said.”
Victoria is mad, she’s insisting Dorian leave town again.
Dorian: “What are you actually mad about?” Victoria is mad about something, she realizes the things Dorian doesn’t know. Her look changes from mad, to sad, to furious in the space of 2 seconds. She walks him to the door in stoney silence.
Dorian tells Victoria that he might be hired by Vincent, she tries to kill him with her mind.
Victoria would begrudge him the filth in the street, and points him out.
Dorian bows most formerly.
Vani scopes it out.
Dorian figures out that Victoria is mad about something from years ago.
Dorian and Vani deliberate over where to go next, whether to pursue the boy, investigate the trade with Lucien, or to identify the toddler at the house of Dega. They go to the inn first and see about the boy, and he’s gone. The deal is done.
“Did you check the thieves’ cant before going inside?” Dorian asks.
Spoiler! Highilght to read it. But you probably shouldn't...
Narcel'Uss is figuring out how to buy the freedom of a criminal at the city jail. She casts a spell to enhance her charisma. She is suddenly very magnetic, difficult to ignore. She goes into the city jail. Bird girl follows behind looking resplendent.
Narcel'Uss strolls to the front desk and tries her best at charming. The attendant’s attention is immediately drawn to both Narcel'Uss and Ren as the pirate marks are quite distracting.
Narcel'Uss broaches the idea of an unusual request. “It will be well worth your time.” The attendant is quick to agree. With black robes and cloaks, these two are impressive to view. They are walked to the watch tower. Bird girl looks the part. They meet with a lieutenant. In an office in the back, he watches them with curious eyes. Narcel'Uss broaches the idea of a deal. He’s ready to deal. He has an oily mustache. Narcel'Uss asks for a prisoner, someone so despicable, that they don’t deserve to be in this world much longer.
“Yeah, I think we could do business,” says the lieutenant. “I’m a little a surprised: usually you kinda people send a henchman to do this sorta thing.”
“Well, some matters you have to take care of yourself.”
“I understand, I understand. It’s gonna be around the usual price. Because you’re here, we could arrange an audition.”
“That would be splendid.”
“You wait here, I’ll be back in like 20 minutes.”
“Now Ren, I know you are most sensitive about this sort of thing. I’m going to let you decide which one deserves to die the most.”
“Well, they should be all bad, so I’ll help.”
“Just point to which one.”
“All right,” says Ren.
To Bird Girl, Narcel'Uss says, “we’re going to bring a new friend home. You’re doing great.”
10 minutes later, our heroes are brought in to see 2 men and a woman manacled and gagged. Narcel'Uss asks about their crimes and the jailor rattles them off. First man murdered his wife, second woman stabbed 4 people in a bar fight: some of them lived. The third man is guilty of “various crimes”. “Just ask anyone,” says the lieutenant.
Ren scratches her head, then points at the third man.
Narcel’Uss tried to barter down the price on the assurance of future purchases of doomed convicts. She manages to talk the jailor down to 50 gold for the convict. Money changes hands. Ren takes the convict back to Shoreline Manor.
Narcel’Uss and Bird Girl join Lucien for lunch
“It’s good to see you,” says Narcel’Uss.
“You too,” replies Lucien.
“You’ve been busy.”
“Let’s get right to it.”
“If you like. It was your invitation.”
“Let’s get right to the part where you beg for your life and the life of your companions. You did kill a person of interest.”
“Oh was he one of yours?”
“Of course not. Should I turn you over the chosen and let them deal with you?”
“You’re used to having people wrapped around your --”
Lucien interrupts her to order his lunch. “I’ll have a salad. And what wine would go well with that?”
“Now where were we?” asks Lucien.
“You like to watch people squirm, don’t you?”
“You should try the fish.”
“Oh yes, I’ll have the fish, please. Look, we could keep doing this forever.”
“Oh yes, for years.”
“I’m done with this. I’m not going to play this game any more.” Narcel’Uss gets up and leaves.
Bird Girl does not. She orders two glasses of wine. Lucien is sitting trying to size her up.
“She’s going to give up, you know. “ says Bird Girl.
“I know. The always do.”
“So what’s the point?”
He pauses, looks wistful as his shields come down for just a moment. Then his eyes go hard. “The fun is in punishing house Tanerthal for what they did.”
“Is she the only one to torture?
“The only one left. The only one within my reach.”
“I think it’s a boring game.” Bird Girl gets up and walks away.
When she joins Narcel’Uss, Narcel’Uss asks, “did that bug him when I walked away? what did he say?”
Dorian and Vani
Dorian found out that the man he crossed is deeply possessive of his family. Bedding the man’s daughter was a coup. He learned that Serena had a baby about 9 months after Dorian left, she also named the baby after Dorian. She was heartbroken for a long time and soon after the baby was born, she hanged herself. Serena and Victoria were very close. Victoria tried to ruin Dorian’s life because she didn’t like Dorian and Serena together, but in doing so, ruined Serena’s life. Victoria looks after Darien, taking in the boy and becoming his guardian so that he has a parent and not just a nanny. A maid is telling Dorian all this like it’s the best gossip, and Dorian turns paler and paler, eyes just still. Vani is enjoying the story, eating popcorn while watching all this. Serena had official suitors, she was not engaged, but she had her debut.
Dorian is now pissed at Victoria, because this is her fault. During Serena’s pregnancy and afterwards, Victoria made a lot of smart deals, advising the Dega family. She has a reputation for making shrewd deals, making bargains, and not taking crap from anybody. She is smart, ambitious, and ruthless when she needs to be. Exactly the sort of person Dorian thinks, ‘I hate you, you’re so effing hot’.
Dorian slinks to a bathhouse, slumps into a hot tub, and ponders all he has learned.
Spoiler! Don't read it.
Back at Shoreline Manor
Jeremiah helps Ren with the criminal preparations.
The criminal is making awkward squawks. They positions him above the bed frame.
Narcel'Uss comes home at this point. Ren looks like a dark warrior.
Narcel'Uss invites bird girl to join in on something she may not like, or leave and be blind. As her answer, Bird Girl hands Narcel’Uss a jewel-encrusted sacrificial dagger which she found in the library.
Fade - we see Vani trudging home looking nervous, crossfade to Lucien laying in bath with wine
Narcel'Uss gives Bird Girl a nod. “I should never underestimate you. Are you coming?”
“K!” is Bird Girl’s eager reply.
Narcel'Uss gives Bird Girl a black drop cloth to complete her cult look.They all get their cloaks. Narcel'Uss gives the invocation, lyrically, about life ebbing, granting us power. Very powerful sounding, but respectful of the blood being given. Narcel’Uss cuts the criminal open, and he falls onto the whorl of teeth on bed frame. Teeth undulate to the body, fade to vani eating her jerky, Jerky made from the last animals sacrificed to the bed...
The bed chews and animates. Narcel'Uss uses the chalice with teeth and catches some of the blood. She drinks from the chalice. The bed animates and ripples and then the centre begins to open and expand downward. the body sinks into the hole that doesn’t go anywhere and it starts to quietly burn. It gives off no smoke, but starts to burn until the body and the blood burn away to nothing. Once it has consumed the body, it shifts into a position like an altar, slowly pulsating all the while. The wood that had surrounded the teeth now look more like gums. The altar is now awake. Bird girl throws a pomegranate berry at it.
“You are your mother’s daughter,” says a voice from the shadows at the back of the room.
Narcel'Uss slowly turns. Dressed in a nice two-piece suit is the criminal that was sacrificed, but his eyes burn with green flame. The form leans against the wall, in the candlelight, the shadow it casts is not human-shaped. The shadow is much too large with claws and talons. “I was waiting to see how long it would take for you to finish the job,” says the demon in man-form.
“Well, i think we have all been pushed to our limits,” says Narcel’Uss. “We were ready to make a sacrifice. Now that you’re here, what kind of services can you offer us?”
“I have plenty to offer you. I come in the service of fire and blood, and there will be plenty of both by the time we’re finished.” The green fire in his eyes is the same green of the magic of the gnoll cleric.
(Green is the color of balefire. Chaos, demons, green fire. Demons want chaos, and bloodshed.)
Narcel’Uss says, “I know what your kind represents and what you are capable of. If we are to make a deal, there needs to be certain understandings. We are looking for controlled power, which you have granted people in the past. We don’t need this burning chaos.”
“I can grants all the power you want,” replies the demon, “but the chaos will not be my doing. What is it that you want, Narcel'Uss?” the demon scans, and they can see that he somehow also never takes his eyes off Narcel'Uss: the pupil separates to look at different people in the room.
Narcel'Uss seeks power to destroy an enemy and protect her friends.
“Protect your friends from what? From themselves?”
“Power to protect them from their enemies and maybe, one day, from me,” replies Narcel’Uss.
“Now Narcel'Uss, you find yourself needing an edge. My power to bestow power is linked to certain , shall we say, costs.” He gestures to the bed. “Nothing comes for free, after all, neither for you nor for me.”
Narcel'Uss says, “well, as long as I understand what I’m getting for the cost.”
This creature looks human, but clearly isn’t. Ren can see into the creature’s eyes and knows it’s not the person that he just sacrificed. She can see in those eyes, the man that was sacrificed just burning. The cost here is real.
Ren, seeing this, looks at the bed briefly, she picks up the manacles and goes to the demon and says, “I didn’t catch your name before I killed you, I’m sorry for that. I have a mission and that thing is to find something that is worth my life, is that it?” she holds up the manacles.
“Now I don’t have much truck with tieflings,” says the demon. “But, I imagine you’re going to have to offer Mr. Carson something a bit more tangible. However…” The demon pauses for a moment, and then he gestures to the manacles which heat up for a moment, hot enough that the number 416 is burned into ren’s hand. It burns briefly, but dissipates. “That might help you out in some way. You’ll know it when you see it. As for you Narcel’Uss, you’ll be getting an answer later tonight. It won’t be power, but freedom is a sort of power isn’t it?”
“Do you have a name?” ask Narcel’Uss.
The demon adjusts his body as if he was wearing a human-shaped suit, rather than clothes. Huge shadow climb the walls. “You can call me by the name you never learned. You can call me Simon.”
Bird Girl is standing behind it poking it a little, but it doesn’t really care. It’s clothes don’t work like clothes, they’re like it’s skin. They all move together. This isn’t a person wearing clothes, this is a thing inhabiting a shape. Bird Girl saw something like this when the fire burned the brothel down. Demon fades to black, then is two dimensional and fades away. After he fades, the lights come back up. The three of them can feel it now in the house, a presence. the house feels different.
Vani returns back to the house but sees someone standing in the dark near the pond. It’s Shay! Vani perks up immediately and hops over to her friend. They banter for a bit about nothing of consequence.
“Have you talked to Kaulin?” asks Vani.
“Not recently,” says Shay.
“If you need help with a job, let me know.”
“Yeah actually I do”, responds Shay. “I just heard there is a fixer in town. He has a whole bunch of people looking for this… ring.” It sounds like Narcel’Uss’ ring. “The word is that wherever it is it must be very well hidden. The job is to conduct a search for the ring, as the delivery was interrupted”. Shay would be happy to give her a finder’s fee if Vani finds the ring and then gives it to shay. $1000 gold pieces! Vani struggles inwardly for a moment. So much money! But friendship! Argh! She inquires further but Shay doesn’t seem to have any more details about who is delivering the ring or when, or even where. They sit and have some jerky together, socializing.
Dorian gets back late at night. Vani bounces over to him and Dorian looks at her bleary-eyed. It looks like he had more wine while he was in the bath. It appears to him that two Vanis are bouncing around in front of him. “I think I need to go to be-”. Suddenly, Bird Girl jumps out and freaks him out with a squawk. Dorian freaks out and vomits all over the ground. Bird Girl waits patiently until he is done and then gives him the dagger and says, “You may want it later, there is a new friend in the house.” Dorian looks at it dumbfounded, but Bird Girl vanishes before he can inquire further. He looks at it for a good long moment, eyes unfocused and then passes it off to Vani saying, “I’ll deal with this tomorrow”.
In the morning, Narcel'Uss wakes up feeling amazing. Dorian and Narcel'Uss chat. “Isn’t this day going to be amazing?” Dorian tells Narcel’Uss about the ring. Vani chimes in as well and tells a little bit about the arrangement with Shae. They talk about the price, then part ways.