With the night's events winding down, and everyone meandering out into the hallway. Scourge took a heavy seat upon one of the twin beds which served as their reprieve for the evening within his room. He flipped the latch on the door and placed a mental alarm spell upon it should anyone open it save Elandor. He also gave his evening prayers and cast a Shield other spell upon his diminuative companion before rolling over and going to sleep.
Orion sits upon the foot of the bed, and will converse with Elandor should he wish before bed.
(which will be covered in backpost of joint post next time to save time)
Paula's brow furrowed as she regarded the location that Johan claimed the children to appear at.. Nothing out of the ordinary, and everything seemed in its rightful place..
There has to be something.. Paula thought to herself quietly, and quickly glanced about the room.. and noted the closed door.. "Master Johan, what is through this door?" Paula asked as she approached and cautiously opened the door, peering within..
She glances around the room and watches the rest filing out; she rises from the floor and brushes off her pants to the best of her tired ability. -I suppose this means I'm in...- She thinks and hides a tired smile as the satyr gets u and stumbles over to her.
"Us Girls have to stick together." She says in her drunken speech, slurred and a tab bit too loud. She walks over and grasps Marie's hand leading her out into the hall.
"That we do." Marie answers and waits while she gets their key then leans her to their room.
She satyr holds the key and attempts to unlock the door, a tricky task for one that had a little too much to drink with dinner.
"Here, let me." She said, still suppressing a smile, "The door knob isn’t moving in my vision." She unlocked the door and helped her companion to her bed, not sure how she was intending on sleeping. "Good night, rest well." With this she removed her boots and then gave up on changing and just passed out on her bed.
"Well, it is my last option to try and free the ghosts of the children.." Paula says to herself as she reaches into her pack, and withdraws a long iron rod with a bundle of cloth tied around the top. Paula carefully unravels the top, which shines with a gold tip for a moment, before the tip lights up into a brillant blaze of light.. Paula carefully directs the light down the stairs, and then glances back to Johan..
"If things become too strange, Master Johan, do not hesitate. Run. I shall be fine on my own." She says with a stern confidence in her voice, and then carefully descended below..
The time had come for them to once more bed themselves in an inn, like they had done so long ago, before their joined adventure began. Elandor couldn’t be less tired. All the energy he had stored, hoping to go after the two men and their imagined scandalous plans, was still waiting to be released.
Their new companion had chosen a room with Mahou and Elandor found himself with lots of questions locked inside. Shoving them into the back of his brain he looked around the room. Scourge lay on one of the beds, sleeping so it seemed. Orion was awake and looked at the kender curiously. Elandor sighed and seated himself on his bed. He loosened one of his pouches and took out an oddly shaped stone. He felled the smooth sides of it and held it up for the bird to see.
“You see this? Looks like a piece of crap, but you’ll never guess where it came from! I inherited this stone from my aunt. She was an adventurer of some fame. Nicolette Brightwise, that was her name. She told me the story herself, you know.”
He regarded Orion, to make sure the bird was paying attention. The kender’s eyes were shimmering with joy.
“One day she encountered a beautiful gorge, overgrown with spring green trees and refreshed by a wild stream. Such a marvelous place just calls for investigation. So my aunt strolls down to the water when she suddenly hears a ferocious bellow from down-streams. Softly as only the best of rogues can walk she tiptoed closer.”
Elandor’s eyes widened even more as he continued:
“There, standing with each foot on opposing sides of the river, was an enormous giant. He was standing next to a wooden bridge where a group of dwarves was just crossing the stream, his club held high to strike down on them. The dwarves were terrified and would probably have died if auntie Nicolette didn’t interfere.”
Whispering now, to add effects to the story Elandor leaned closer, regarding the stone, rather than Orion.
“She crept behind a bush so the giant couldn’t see her and took two stones from the ground. Banging them loudly against a fallen tree trunk she mimicked the sound of a horse in full gallop. The sound reverberated against the walls of the gorge and reached the giant. Shouting several things in low voices like “there he is” or “let’s get that ugly giant” and “for honor and country” she mislead the dumb brute to think that a group of men on horses was coming to kill him. Frightened, the giant forgot about the dwarves and sprinted away through the gorge.”
Elandor looked up at Orion and went on:
“You can imagine how thankful the dwarves were when they found out what she had done for them. They gave her a big diamond as a token of their appreciation. On one of her later adventures Nicolette was attacked by a demon that tried to burn her alive. She survived, but the fire had melted the diamond into a weird stone. This very stone! Isn’t that great!”
Awaiting the bird’s reaction Elandor looked at the stone, for he now believed as well that it had been a diamond once.
Orion looked on as Elandor spoke, and even flew closer to sit on the edge of his bed to show is interest in the story, and caw'ed softly as he finished. He ruffled his feathers knowingly thinking no regular fire could melt a diamond, it takes thousands of years and tons of pressure to form such splendor from coal. But he said nothing but "Well then young Kender, keep your aunt's memories with you, close to your heart and perhaps her wisdom will guide you to cunning victory as it did her." Not sure what else to say he fluttered back to his bedpost and prepared for sleep.
August 11th/Tuesday Night
Old Home/Outskirts of Eldarast/Thollin's Capital
Johan observed over her shoulder, as Paula withdrew the strange rod. As it’s end was unwrapped, a flood of orange light spilled down the stairwell. The wiry man nodded at her advice, but followed closely behind her, holding his own glass lantern above his head.
The stairs only descended about six feet to an uneven, dirt floor that was pocked with fungus, and littered with rat droppings. The “basement” was simply a massive crater dug into the ground at the base of the house. Thus, the walls were also of crumbling, eroded dirt as well. Due to years of rain, the far wall had eroded so far back, that, as Paula could see, her lantern light shone through a several inch gap between the wall and the actual house. Lantern light through it onto the lawn. The ceiling was so low that even Paula was forced to stoop.
For the most part the basement was empty, save a thick canopy of cobwebs, and the potent stench of mildew and rotten dung. A couple, newly placed crates sat at the base of the stairs. Obviously they belonged to Johan and Belldonna. Yet in the far corner, a pile of much more antique looking, wooden barrels and crates loomed. A small rocking horse with a cracked handle sat off to the right hand side, and a pile of what had once been blankets, now a hay strewn, rats nest slumped against it.
As Paula approached, several of the rodents scampered off, into the shadows of the far corners. Stepping beside her, Johan regarded the barrels solemnly.
“I have never investigated these.”
He said matter of factly. There were three crates, and two barrels. Reaching forward, Paula began prying open the crates, cautiously. The first was filled with old, moldy clothing. Insects had claimed this crate as their own, and fluttered about, attracted to the lights Paula and Johan held. Either ignoring, or batting away the nasty bugs, Paula continued the investigation. The final two crates contained only old claywear, and 3, very old, wooden dolls. The once vibrant yellow and red paints had faded or peeled nearly indistinguishably.
Through Paula’s expertise, she had come to notice that usually, whatever item caused a ghost to linger on the plane of the living, was either one that had to do with that ghosts death, or had to do with a matter that the person was very emotionally bound to, before their death. Nothing she had come across in this cellar thus far had struck her as such an item.
Prying open the two barrels, she beheld that they were filled with books and manuscripts. Apparently the previous owners could read…
Johan stared uninterestingly at the moldy, leather tombs, or rolled, yellowed scrolls. Apparently he could not.
Tentatively, she began withdrawing books and scrolls; scanning their titles before laying them aside as irrelevant. The Earl and The Troll, A Guide to Eldarast, The Laws of the Kingdom, such titles obviously had nothing to do with this particular predicament. Perhaps beginning to lose heart, Paula continued to rummage, until a particular gleam in her lantern light caught her eyes. Narrowing them, she reached forward, and pulled out a small vile, about the size of her thumb.
Suddenly interested, Johan knelt beside her as she rolled it over and over in her fingers. It was empty, save a long dried, brown resin that clung stickily to its base.
“What do you think it is?”
He asked as she reached back into the barrel and pulled forth a weathered and beaten, gray cloth covered book. There was no title, but as she opened, it, the spidery, scrawling writing, and clearly written dates indicated exactly what it was. A journal. The journal of a Mrs Geronde Melcontri.
It had been filled nearly two thirds of the way, and relayed such information as cooking ingredients, favorite places to hike, and the like. It told secrets only valued by the individual who wrote them, and daily events. A typical journal. Yet the final several pages were worth a read. As Johan waited patiently, Paula scanned over them.
Indeed it was true. Her husband had apparently left her, for a woman she had never met. The incident had, as the writer had so eloquently put “destroyed my world.”. As she Paula read, she saw an increasing depression, and loss of ambition. Geronde’s own death was mentioned often, along with continuous mentioning of a previous lover she had had before meeting her now deserter husband. Apparently this lover had died long ago in a tragic accident; yet, with her own husband having forsaken her, the delusional Geronde believed “Michael” still awaited her in the Kingdom of the Gods.
At last, the final page read
…He has taken the life I have on this plane away from me and my children. He has spoiled all pleasantries we will ever claim from this day on, in this mortal realm. He leaves me for another, and so I shall do the same. Michael speaks to me. He loves me still, and he waits for me. In the land beyond I will be happy, and so too will young Gerte and Sawyer. This world holds nothing for us, and though the children don’t yet realize the pain they would face should they stay, I take it as my duty, as their mother to bring them with me. Together we will be happy beyond. Woe to the sorrow’s of this world, and this life. I will reunite with Michael, and we shall be happy again!
The final paragraph ended, and as Paula turned to Johan, both jumped. Beyond, two children, laughing, ran down the stairs. As both investigators watched, the two ran, shrieking in pleasure about the room, as if playing a game of tag, before back up the stairs. At that moment, from above, they could hear the voice of a woman speaking.
Paula had turned the vial over in her hands, and sighed softly as she slowly shook her head.. "Poison, Master Johan.. Somewhere in the back of my mind I had hoped the children merely fell to sickness, but now I am sure it truly was the mother's doing.. this vial is proof.. however.." She said, glasping the vial in her hand.. "I believe I now know what is holding the children in this realm!"
And then, as if summoned, the ghosts of the children appeared.. Paula's eyes narrowed as she held her mace in one hand, and clasped the vial, the ring, and the chain of her holy symbol in the other before looking back to Johan.. "Remember what I said earlier.." She said, and then marched up the stairs..
August 11th/Tuesday Night
Old Home/Outskirts of Eldarast/Thollin's Capital
Johan nodded uneasily, but followed as Paula headed through the cellar and back up the creaking stairs. He wondered now why he had never bothered to search the cellar in the past, and felt rather foolish for his oblivious surprise at the cleric’s discovery.
As Paula reached the top of the stairs, and pushed open the door, a burst of icy air seemed to lunge down the steps, enwrapping her and Johan in a chilling embrace. Behind her, Johan gave a strangled cry as his lantern fluttered out.
Glancing around the common area, Paula’s eyes widened. It seemed she had walked into an entirely different time, and place. A fire crackled in the fireplace, though it’s flames seemed to give off only cold. Belldonna’s collection of crochet dolls had disappeared, replaced by a massive painting portraying a slender woman with dark hair, embraced in the arms of a tall man with broad shoulders, flowing blond hair, and a moustache. The woman was the same as the ghost that stood not 20 feet from Paula, at the kitchen table, decorated now with a vase of pale white flowers. The two children sat at the table; and though they seemed to be chatting happily with one another, their voices seemed hollow, and echoed eerily off of walls that should not echo.
The mother was setting bowls before the children. From what Paula could see, they were filled with a typical stew of potatoes, carrots, and probably either beef or lamb. Paula could smell no food. Having set down the bowls of stew, the woman’s eyes rose, settling on the cellar doorway, and Paula. This time she did see the cleric. Raising her arms to cover her face, she recoiled violently, shrieking in a voice no living woman could make. The sound caused Paula to wince, and Johan to drop his lantern, covering his ears. Yet he did not run.
Like a thick fog, a greater cold settled over the kitchen. Wisps trailed between the table and chair legs, and a mist had settled like a sea before Paula, reaching only to her shins, completely obscuring the floorboards. The air had become tense, raising the hairs on Paula’s neck. It felt as if a terrible storm were about to burst. The children, who had already begun eating, had started crying, tugging on their mothers pale, flowing gown.
You! Go away, GO AWAY! You will never take my children from me!!
The woman was pointing at Paula. Her eyes had drawn so pale that they seemed to glow. No pupils could be seen. The children were shrieking and crying now, tugging on their mother’s sleeves, but her terrible voice rose up, above them.
You will try to take them from me! Go AWAY!!!!
Suddenly the woman was flying over the table with unnatural, and rather surprising speed at Paula. Her arms were out before her, as if she was to attempt to claw the cleric apart.
(I will be rolling Reflex for you, after you post your actions. The ghost has lunged at you with supernatural speed, thus, even if you attempt simply to raise your holy symbol, she may reach you first, if your reflex’s aren’t great.)
"Watch it!!" Paula cried as she sweeped her arm around behind her, catching Johan on the shoulder and pulling the both out of the angry mother's path. Regardless of whether or not it worked, Paula put herself in front of Johan, for it would suffice to say that the cleric could take far more of a beating than the peasent.
I can't just jump out of the way, he might be spooked and fall down the stairs! Paula thought to herself a moment.. Wonderful.. looks like I might need more than bedrest before the night is done..
If she's still functional by the end of this, Paula is going to begin going about destroying the vial and the ring (prominantly within view of the ghosts), and then catch all three of them in a full-blown turn.
August 11th/Tuesday Night
Old Home/Outskirts of Eldarast/Thollin's Capital
As the ghost lunged, shrieking at Paula, the cleric swept her arm behind her, grabbing a hold of Johan’s tunic sleeve. Yanking him with her, she attempted to dodge the ghost, but was too slow. Like lightning it had lunged at her from across the room and froze now, with her face inches from Paulas.
For a brief moment, it seemed time had stopped. Unable to tear her eyes away, Paula stared into the dead, milky eyes that had transfixed on her, inches away. The woman’s face now appeared to be very, very dead. Though translucent, her skin was gray and drawn tight around the skeletal features of a face long passed away. Her lips were split and looked like old leather, drawn about long teeth that rose like ruins from withered and shrunken gums. Even through the white cataracts that had blossomed like deathshead flowers, her eyes still burned feverishly, reflecting long tended pain and hate in their milky depths. As if a switch had been flicked, she was in action again, swiping at Paula again and again, like an ethereal cat.
Paula, who’s reflexes did not match the unnatural speed of this ghost, and was still off guard, felt a seering pain tear across her left cheek (5d). With the knowledge that she stood between the ghost and Johan, she rose her arms instinctively in an attempt to shield herself from the ghosts onslaught.
Johan had apparently frozen in terror, but as Paula’s arm shoved him out of the entry-way of the stairwell, he became overwhelmed with in panic. Crying out, he stumbled backwards against the wall and, as he watched the Ghost’s attack on Paula, he could not help but slump, frozen in fear.
As Paula fended off the chilling, dead blows of the ghost, she consciously felt her grip on the vial. Risking exposure, she suddenly swept her arm high, and slammed the vial on the ground. Another icy slash ran across her shoulder(7d) but she could not help but smile as the vial hit the ground, and shattered audibly.
Instantly the ghost froze, and behind her, the children, who had been standing at the table, watching, both began to scream again, dropping to the floor. As Paula watched, their rather solid appearance began to fade, until they appeared to almost as two balls of mist, curled on the kitchen floor. The mother spun now to face her children, and, though her back was to Paula, she began shrieking again. The sound was like a dagger run across porcelain. Paula had heard the terrible shrieks and moans of ghosts many a time in her day, and was able to withstand it, despite the hairs that rose on the back of her neck.
Johan, however, who had been crumpled against the wall, covered his ears.
“In the names of the Gods!”
With a cry, he stumbled to his feet and half dove out the doorway onto the front yard.
The ghost had her back to Paula, who could withstand the shrieks the still seemed to chill her soul. Peculiarly enough, the slashes Paula had suffered now seemed to freeze, as if frozen metal had been stuck to her. With every scream the ghost gave, the pain intensified. Paula could feel her head ache with brain freeze, and the cold on her cheek. Yet she realized this may be her only chance to destroy the ring…but how?
(Be thankful this ring can be destroyed in more ways than by the fires of Mount Doom
Paula gritted her teeth against the all too familiar pain of the undead's ghastly powers. Luckily, she didn't feel the usual draining sensation she had known so many times before. All too often she had spent a great deal of time recuperating in one of the temple's beds. She almost smirked to herself while reflecting upon those memories.. She supposed all the temple boys would have to find some other excuse to spend all their time with her this time around.
As for the situation here and now.. Subtlety? Maybe another time. For now, Paula raised her mace up high as the she dropped the ring to the floor, and it was certain that the ring would only bounce once before the great mace came crashing down upon it.
And as Paula's hand gripped the mace with certainty, the head of the mace, a great rounded ball of metal studded with spikes, burst into a fiery halo of flames and the head became white-hot so that the mace seemed akin to the sun!
Teros nodded to the big man as he offered to room with him. He thought about the offer of ale but quickly dismissed it. Getting drunk was never very fun, only brought pain. In the end it wouldn't be worth it.
"No ale for me. I want to keep a clear head. Lets get to the room, I wanna get up as early as possible tommarow."
He turned to his room and slipped the key inside the lock and turned it before pressing the door open and walking inside. Soon he had his turban and armor off and was laying on his bed where sleep took him as he thought about home...
August 11th/Tuesday Night
Jester's Hour/Eldarast/Thollin's Capital
After the other’s had made their way up the stairs to their bedrooms, Damien remained in his corner booth struggling to converse with the beautiful maid who had so reminded him of his lost Elena. By now it was very late, and the common room had all but emptied, save the few, random drunkards, who either slumped in their chair’s, snoring loudly, or lay tucked under the blanket of the booth’s shadows.
The other maids had opened the windows, and were busy cleaning up the many, golden and red puddles that lay at the base of overturned cups, and the legs of food and dish strewn tables. A cool breeze swept through the room, carrying out the thick, smoky air, and refreshing Damien’s senses. He hadn’t noticed how hot and stuffy the tavern had gotten.
Yet he realized that, despite his misgivings, he needed to go to bed, and, with yet another apology, stuttered as to why. The maid, who’s name he now realized he did not know, listened attentively, as if what he told her was a tale of interest, rather than an explanation towards a night’s retirement.
As he lay his long, slender hands on hers, he made a promise that widened her eyes, and forced her to look away. Her smooth cheeks flushed crimson, and after a moment, she looked back at him.
“That is a hard promise to make, and I will not hold you to it. Though I assure you, My Lord. If ever you do return to the city of Aldarast, I will be here, serving the same customers in the same tavern.”
For a brief moment, the corners of her lips tilted down, and sorrow glimmered in her green eyes. She quickly wiped it away though, with a brilliant smile.
“Though, Lord LeBlaque; how do you expect to find a girl who’s name you do not know?”
Damien flushed, realizing how foolish he had been to have never thought of asking her name. Grasping her hands, he began to stutter, perhaps an apology, or perhaps the question itself, but she spoke again.
”You needn’t ask. My name is a simple, commoners name. Cassie Bernsmith. It hold’s no grandeur like yours, but I am like a said. A simple commoner.”
She blushed again, and let go of his hands, rising quickly to her feet.
“Well I need to get back to work. It’s a shock I haven’t been scolded yet!”
Damien too, had risen to his feet, and watched as she rushed towards the kitchen door. She stopped and her loose, onyx curls spun about her beautiful face, and bounced off her slender shoulders. Her clear, green eyes met his pale, smoky orbs for a moment, before she said.
“I hope we do meet again, My Lord.”
Bowing slightly, she turned and headed into the kitchen. Damien headed for the stairs and up to his room. The silence that greeted him in the upper hall suggested that the others were already asleep. Unlocking his door, and staggering into the simple room, he undressed and collapsed on the straw cot.
August 12th/Wednesday/Early Morning
Jester's Hour/Eldarast/Thollin's Capital
The party slept soundly in the comfort of their beds as the moon climbed the black sky and, with the lighting of the eastern sky, sank behind the dark shapes of Alderast’s buildings. The city rose before the sun, and with the first coos of the early morning doves echoed the first hammer falls from nearby smith shops.
Vilyamar, who was the first to awaken, had spent a good hour preparing mentally for the day to come. After spending another half hour stretching, he washed himself in the big, copper basin that sat in the corner of the room, and got dressed. The day was early, but he did not know what time the ship they were to catch would be leaving, or where to even find the docks. Furthermore, he didn’t know what kind of preparations the others might want to make before leaving. Glancing at the rooms one window, he observed that it was a portrait of motley gray shapes. Picking up his things, he left his room, and knocked on one door at a time, wakening the others.
Even through the yellow and red, stained windows, the common room was like a bleak ghost, lingering on after the events of last night. No fire danced in the gray fireplace, and the air was cool. Perhaps last night this would have been refreshing, but in the early morning, the party may have been better satisfied with some warm sunlight. The old, gray bearded tender was sitting at the bar himself, nibbling at a crumbled piece of flat bread, and drinking from a tin cup.
Upon seeing the party, he rises to his feet and moves back behind the bar counter, pulling out a tray of bread, and a plate of balled cheese, and laying before you.
“So how did ye sleep last night? Good I hope. We’re a friendly inn, and I hope ta see ya again.”
In a softer, after-tone, he added
“Breakfast is 2 coppers per person.”
August 11th/Tuesday Night
Old House/Outskirts of Eldarast/Thollin's Capital
The ghost had turned her back to Paula, who wouldn’t dare waste such an opportunity. The ring fell to the floor, bouncing loudly, and even rolling several feet, but Paula was on it and, muttering the words to ignite the flames of enchantment, her morning star burst into a beautiful myriad of red, orange, blue and yellow flames.
The ghost spun back around, and, opening her mouth far wider than was mortally possible, let loose another terrible shriek. Gritting her teeth, Paula raised the weapon high above her head, and brought it down hard upon the ring. Only made of gold, it shattered instantly, shooting glimmering pieces in every direction. Swinging perhaps a little hard, she realized the morning star had also busted through the floorboards. Leaving a perfectly round punch mark.
The ghost’s screech intensified, and her hands clawed at her cheeks and neck. Dropping to her knees, she too seemed to turn to an opaque mist. They were at Paula’s mercy.
(Once again, I apologize for the lateness. My schedual has been terribly busy, and infact, I typed this up in under 15 minutes...hehe. Nomatter. My training for my job is over, and things should go back to normal. Thanks for your patience)