Seken

A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 15

So we carried Paulus’ puppet back with us to Aisling’s Temple. I keep telling myself it was just flesh and bones. If there was a soul there, it had long departed to Caillech’s domain. Still, it left a sick feeling at the bottom of my stomach.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a day in this fair city without a surprise. Here is a short list of the illustrious personages that happened to be in the same room:

  • The High Seer of Aisling.
  • The High Necromancer Illian of Caillech.
  • Every single player of the large guilds in the city.

Apparently our movement wasn’t unnoticed and they were able to take advantage of what we had done to have a ‘new Paulus’ puppet’ go in. Ssama would win with a few concessions made to the other guilds.

I felt we earned a well-deserved respite. We took all of us (including Gryllith, who grew on me rather quickly) to the Big House. After watching some very awkward moments between Cinnamon and Ivraham, I knew she needed some friendly help.

Sadly all I could provide was some good old family advice. Watching Cinnamon’s face turn red and watching her unable to form coherent words was priceless.

Between all of us, we managed to get them to finally, after all this time, to kiss.

And then we were invited to the Kalb and Mann room. Well, we gave it at least 5 minutes to watch Ivraham and Cinnamon finish up their business.

Meeting with the head of House Kalb and Mann was a strange conversation. We filled them in on the details, which led to some very interesting dynamics between those there. I think Duke Mann was walking the line of making sure Duke Kalb didn’t go to war.

Very interesting. Perhaps he and I could see things eye to eye…

Leaving the room proved difficult, but we somehow managed to leave without offending anyone too greatly.

In the morning, we woke to hearing news of the Chancellor’s death. Apparently he had tried to rile up a riot before being assassinated. I felt a pang of guilt there. If only we could have saved him…

View
Cinnamon's Journal: In which it would take a team of surgeons to get this grin off my face

We hauled Paulus’ corpse into a safehouse behind the Aisling temple, where we’re met by the High Priest of Aisling AND High Necromancer Lillian AND a dog team of magical sniffy wolves AND not-dead not-Paulus AND the Bosses of all Bosses of the various entertainment guilds. I really have got to start carrying a paper bag to breathe into for situations like this. The plan is explained: Fake Paulus is going to go out and throw the jester competition, leaving the Ssama candidate as the winner, in order to avoid bloodshed when people find out how close the Wizards (sidebar: fuck wizards) got to puppeteering the king’s closest advisor. Shit – I got to kick a wizard-puppet in the teeth, I’m not dead, I’m not going to jail for this, AND I inadvertently helped engineer Ssama’s winning the jester competition? Today was a good day.

It wasn’t without cost. Lady C’s getting over Wizard Ebola, and Hoskins lost a lot of men. A lot of men. But it looks like we prevented a lot of bloodshed. Which feels good.

On the way out, the Bosses of all Bosses took notice of Alice and me – should be interesting to see what they think of us now. An ally or an asset? Something worthy, or something to be exploited? Need to debrief with Herrik.

But first, time to celebrate. Bringing Grrlyth into the VIP room was a hoot. And son of a bitch if the hobgoblin server doesn’t turn out to be Jinko! Drinks all around. And then Varus (that fucking guy) drags me up to the bar to convince me to make a move on Ivraham. AUGH. He already KNOWS how I feel and he just stood there being all inscrutable. Then there’s the whole different species/spiritual advisor and advisee/I accidentally sucked out your soul and now you’re dying thing. Varus asks me: “If YOU were dying and had weeks to live, how would you spend your time?” Me: “Trying to NOT DIE.” Varus’ heart was really in the right place, but what was I supposed to do, say “Hey, sorry I sucked out your soul, do you want to get dinner and then, what, make a bunch of quarter-elven glowy eyed freak babies?”

It’s at this point that Alice informs me that there’s been some kind of cultural misunderstanding and to just man up and talk to Ivraham. Leo literally shoves me into position. Turns out the bracer of daggers was a sort of warrior’s intention gift, meant to indicate that he pledged to defend me, and he assumed that the length of hair I’d given him was essentially the same. So Leo actually GRABS my JAW and starts puppeting it to get me to say something, ANYTHING, and I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t seem stupid, so I just kissed him. Which worked out pretty well, actually.

And then we were interrupted by a page who wanted us to go talk to Lord Mann. KID. YOUR TIMING. UGH. So we go meet Duke Mann…who’s sitting there with Duke Kalb. Man it is just an evening of walking into weird social situations, I tell you. So basically Duke Kalb was all like “I said I’d wait 6 days to start my civil war and you’ve had 5, so now what” and Leo, bless him, pointed out that starting a war might be exactly what Macha wanted, plus we still need to deal with the chancellor, plus we don’t know who the other force is influencing the king, so yeah, still not a great time for a war. And it looks like Duke Kalb actually believed him. And then he told us to not die, which was more courtesy than I was expecting.

We all crashed in the one room in the house, and over breakfast we hear that the rioting was bad last night, but currently under control, and someone cough Kalb Assassin cough shanked the Chancellor as he was riling people up mid-riot.

It was a good day.

Now I just have to figure out how to save Ivraham and shank the Builder. Got my work cut out for me…

View
Cinnamon's Journal: Fuck Wizards

That was one of the more hellacious fights I’ve been involved in. Of course, I spent most of it wrestling on the ground with Paulus the Wizard-Puppet, kidney-punching him and kicking him in the teeth in the attempt to keep him from casting any spells, which mostly worked – mostly.

But I’m ahead of myself. The group managed to grab a bunch of Hoskins mercenaries who had in interest in trying to get their compatriots back. Then Grillyth made an impromptu appearance – boy was I glad to see him. Had I known I would have brought more beer. Hoskins created a distraction on one side of the mansion, while Leo handled the (trapped) side door. We scrapped with the guards a bit, and then just decide to grab the currently slack-jawed Paulus. Varus summons a…monkey?…to get him out of there, Leo bagged and bound him, and we dragged him out to Lady C., who we discover is SPEWING blood. Turns out being pinned, gagged and blindfolded only impacts your spell casting ability so much, so I kicked him in the teeth to try to keep him from talking. Maybe too hard. Paulus passes out, and I go back in for Ivraham.

Meanwhile, Byron is chewing on his stick and riding his minotaur-goat steed, Alice is…invisible? And Grillyth is having the time of his life.

But ultimately we get out, and it’s time to head for the Temple of Aisling. And hope we don’t end up in jail for beating the ever living crap out of a leading Jester candidate.

In conclusion: fuck wizards.

View
A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 14

And so the battle for Paulus begins.

While the rest of the mercenaries caused a distraction at the front, we managed to move quietly through the bushes. We managed to take one of the guards with a Command spell. From there, everything went to hell.

Leo opened the door and what we will colloquially call “Man With a Chain” and “Picklearms” were standing guard over the man. I looked around once I was over the fence. Alice was being stabbed by a halfling. A fight had broken out indoors that I couldn’t see.

I cast a spell that turned the garden into a hellhole. Hopefully enough to keep the rest of the house at bay. Inside was pure chaos. I heard the sound of an explosion rocking the rest of the household. With my friendly companion Ook, we grabbed Paulus. From there, we attempted to bind, pin, stab, punch, and otherwise do terrible things to the man.

My attempts to subdue him with magic failed utterly. I don’t remember much for the next 30 seconds except attempting to heal those who fell during battle and manipulating fate. Eventually we managed to drag Paulus away from the battle… and I can only imagine that our troubles has only just begun.

View
A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 13

Concerned readers may have noticed that this Short History has been revised to Two Kalbs. Never fear good readers- a new member has unofficially joined us. Her name is Alice. What do we know about Alice?

Well, she is…

  • A singer.
  • Very good at disguises.
  • Has told us very little about herself (I know, I know).
  • Has several mind-influencing magics.
  • Is competent.

I think the last is the most noteworthy.

After sleeping for a good dozen hours, we made our way to Herrick. It was busy that day, but between mouthfuls of ice cream and morning coffee, I gave my companions a chance to ask any questions they liked. Now, if you have been reading this from the start, you know that the Church wanted me to find the one unbound by Fate. Punchline to come!

The matter with the Manns is a bit more complex. I don’t entirely understand what happened, but there is some bad blood between the Kalbs and Manns. My Lord asked me to help mend those bridges (which I’ve been doing a piss poor job).

However, we did clear the air a bit and they even were interested in letting me look at them with Aisling’s eyes. Cinnamon was a very strange shadow play of her (more than one?) fighting on a hilltop. Many attackers were swarming over her before a giant wave washed them all away…

My second attempt brought forth an avatar of Aisling. Suffice to say we were reasonably flabbergasted by the exchange. At least we found out that Byron’s stick was unbound by fate. Still cursing myself as a idiot for not asking all those questions we really wanted to know.

At least we got put on the right path to find the Wizard’s construct. It led us to a bar out in the city. Our new friend Alice showcased her ability to smooth talk and drink lots of Fire Whiskey. We were certainly amazed at her ability to charm these people.

Well, we found the wizards home and began planning a way to get to him. Something tells me this is going to be harder said then done…

View
Cinnamon's Journal: Bitches Will Get Stitches

First things first. Twelve hours of sleep. Then bacon, four cinnamon rolls, a bucket of coffee and enough strawberries to kill a horse. Time travel is hungry work.

Then we took a little time to lay our cards out on the table. Varus was forthright (now there’s a sentence) about how House Mann basically wanted to keep tabs on the Kalbs, and the Temple of Aisling wanted to determine which of us is “unbound by fate” – as if that were a thing, but that’s not Varus’s fault. Also I assume that Lord Mann wanted to keep tabs on me as well, as I cannot believe in that huge of a coincidence – but file that under “whatever.” Seriously don’t know what I’d do if I ever actually got to confront any of the Manns. What would I ask for? Answers? A pony? It all seems so unsatisfying. I suppose kicking the crap out of a few of them might make me feel better, but beatdowns like that are like meat on a stick – initially satisfying but you feel unsettled and empty later.

So when we got to talking about our futures/fate/whatever, and Varus asked me what I wanted from my future, it caught me kind of flat footed. I mean, there’s things I want – answers about my “family”, a cure for Ivraham, to have some kind of path that’s meaningful and rewarding – but I don’t really know what a future with those things would be like, or how I’d get there.

Didn’t have much time to ponder that because in the course of Varus trying to see our futures (which resulted in a very strange vision he described as a shadow play of me, or multiple versions of me fighting in unison, set against a group of assailants on some great height, and then – a clap of my hands and water? What?), he accidentally summoned a decidedly cranky aspect of Aisling. On her day off. She was not pleased. Amongst other things, she told us that the one among us who was unbound by fate was…Byron’s chewed stick. Of COURSE it was. Also, she told us (in a roundabout Aisling sort of way) how to find Paolos. So off we go to tear that fucker into bite sized shreds. On our merry march to mayhem, everyone gives me no end of shit for not just apparently asking Ivraham to dinner. Because it is that easy. I’m an unstable half-elven prostitute who can’t seem to leave this city no matter how hard she tries, who has inadvertently caused her shadow-self to drain the life force out of her Xeph spiritual advisor. Who is slowly dying. Because of me. And because of this city I can’t leave. So clearly we should just go get coffee and it will all just work out.

At least Alice bought ice cream. That stuff is amazing.

We go to the bar, where I lose two copper betting against Alice’s ability to put down literal fire whiskey (that girl is tougher than she looks, and a smooth talker too), and she manages to get one of the guards to tell us where the puppet’s mansion is.

I let the Kalbs et al handle the assault planning. Boy, it feels weird to be in a Kalb-minority group these days – can’t believe I’m sort of missing Raisa. Also I need a better name for this group. I run off to fetch Lady C, sans pants. My pants, not hers. It was complicated.

Upon returning, I find that Byron’s managed to exchange notes with Herrik, so we now know that the hired security force hasn’t been checking in with their bosses for some time. Awesome, so we have a mind control situation on our hands on top of everything else. Bitches. Bitches everywhere. Bitches get stitches.

Realizing we’re going to need as much help as we can possibly get, I decide to get Ivraham. I show up at his door, and he’s already arming up. He is…not well. He is really not well. At this rate he’s going to be dead in weeks. Maybe sooner.

I have to do something. The lady said he needed to be pushed to tap into his abilities (something like that – I should check my notes. Ha, who am I kidding, I don’t keep notes.). And the bright sun. So…do I jump of a cliff at noon and make sure he sees it? I’m not good at this woogy stuff. I don’t know what to do.

I’ll think about it after we deal with Paolos. Bitches get stitches.

View
A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 12

After seeing the Wizard, we retreated as fast as we could from the Jester’s Competition. Harrik needed to be warned of the dangers we were in. Unfortunately, we came across the beginnings of a riot where things were just beginning to grow ugly.

Things went out of control quickly. It seemed like many in the crowd were charmed or paid to start this mess. Then there were the guards who were far too organized and focused on their ‘job’ to be Goldcloaks. As the slaughter began I had to try stopping this madness. And so began one of my stupider acts of using Akhluts’ true name to try and disperse the crowd.

I blacked out. I came to tasting copper in my mouth. Also, naked and covered in blood.

Needless to say I was arrested along with my friends who had received strange visions. On the bright side we somehow managed to gain some time. Perhaps enough to avert the disaster that would turn the city slick with blood.

We managed to get out of there with some palms greased and made our way to Harrik’s. That was when my vision began to double and became overlayed with the nightmarish future of what was to come. Death. Blood. Slaughter.

The less of the specifics, the better.

Through some deductions, we managed to search for and find the focus for the ritual. A pebble left on the cobblestones of the streets. We began running it to the Temple of Caillech where it was detonated safely while the sleep-filled initiates moved outside.

We were given the opportunity, from a Risen of Caillech, to slay the arcanist. I struggled with myself then. My nature and oaths forbid me from taking this, but if such a person was responsible for this…

No. I couldn’t do it.

Afterwards we went back to the city with time ticking down…

View
A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 11

After everything with Raisa, we were fairly tired after the entire display. We retired to Byron’s abode where we began putting the pieces together.

There is something threatening this city and quite possibly somethings. Determined to find answers, I summoned a conduit of Aisling, Agathion, whom we posed a series of question to:

  • Is the death of the late Duke Hlar Flaa directly part of some divine plan? Yes.
    -Investigate his death if possible.
  • Is the Jester competition being rigged by a divine plan inimical to the Valenci? No.
  • Is Macca directly influencing Valenci? Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. No.
  • Is there a malicious divine agenda at Duchess Zeitgast’s party? No answer.
  • Is the Giant burning figure in Elise’s drawing Macca? Yes.
    - Founder of Korpesh. Farsc of Many Tribes. Destin moved to Valenci.
  • Is the tar entity using the Skin Thieves to specifically breed conflict? Yes.

The implications hit us that Macca was somehow bound to/by/is binding the city of Valenci. Well, Byron and Leo started gesticulating about something they really wanted to talk about. So off we went to the High Necromancer to act as our translator.

And from that exchange, many interesting elements were exposed about the city and it’s implications. Thankfully, our arguments were done ambulatory as we returned to our usual drink. There, we were introduced to a street bard named Alice.

Apparently there is some interest in the Jester competition and as a mutual favor to the proprietor, we all went along to investigate. And the entire performance was ensorcelled.

After a few, ahh, misunderstandings, we managed to extricate ourselves from the spell song. With Alice’s invisibility spell, I managed to get close enough to the performer to use my Sight.

And I saw a Wizard.

Well shit.

View
Byron's View: A Snowstorm and Tea

After returning from our very interesting dinner with the Builder, we had a quiet night at my apartments. The morning came with a nice breakfast, interrupted by a messenger who had a flyer with a strange message about cotton balls on sale at the closed apothecary’s shop. Most intriguing I thought. We were then visited by Jacob, our old Goldcloak friend. Sadly, it was a business visit. He was there because of the whole thing with the King being controlled by the builder, and possibly someone else, at least according to the vision of our local Mann noble priest. But, I distract myself.

We had a long talk with our KingsGuard friend and brought him up to date on all of our machinations and maneuverings. He did the same. They really haven’t been as busy as we have. For shame.

Then we left for the Apothecary to buy some cotton balls —on sale! Lady C. was there, and was somewhat confused about the flier, and why it hadn’t been the messenger she sent that brought us there. She and her wizard fighting organization want us to do what we are doing already or something like that, I kind of drifted in the middle there, though we did have an interesting conversation about how her Alchemy thing works.

It was at about this point that Sighing Winter decided she would like another try at Raisa, and so we were interrupted. Raisa, Cinnamon, and Leo took to the rooftops, and Varys chased after them along the streets in the blinding snow. I, realizing that I would merely fall off of something and slow them down decided to stay for tea with the lovely Lady C. Once they left the area and the tremendous snowstorm died away, we repared to my apartments for a more congenial setting, and had a lovely light lunch.

Apparently, they defeated Sighing Winter through the direct intervention of Ahklut, and it turns out that Raisa is the High Priestess of Akhlut. Not just locally, which would have made sense, but globally. How strange. She’s going to attempt to journey to the Southern Polar region to be close to her God now. I can only imagine what Mother and Father’s reaction will be. Varys has prophecied that she will arrive there safely, apparently, though who knows how much that can be trusted.

View
A Short History of Three Kalbs and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 10

After the dinner with the Builder, we retired for the evening. Before sleeping, I took a stroll through the dock area, watching the festivities. I was in a bleak state of mind. If Macha and Devlin are involved, the chances of preventing the city from becoming a smoking wasteland were narrowing.

I eventually slept with the same uncertain dreams plaguing me.

Morning came with Jacob of the Goldcloaks. Sameus was doing what could be done on their end to limit The Builders influence- and it wasn’t going to be enough to stop the impending civil war. When, not if.

Measures need to be taken. The question is what could be done? With bloodshed backed by two Gods, the only thing we can do is to remove their proxies. Except who are they?

With nothing on our plates, we followed the randomized advert left by Gelt to a ‘abandoned apothecary’ where Lady C happened to be. That quickly changed when Sighing Winter came literally knocking on the door. I tried to detect what it was and was mentally knocked on my ass. Apparently Raisa is a hotly contested follower here in the city.

While several ran along the rooftops, I followed along the streets. Moving slowly due to the spontaneous ice, I saw Raisa leap onto the ground with the godling right after him.

We moved quickly now, hoping to make our way to the shrine at the docks. Only divine ground could be a deterrent for a godling and it would be a slim one at that.

Running with Raisa, we came to a straightaway where we saw a snowstorm covering the entire street. It was a terrible idea, but waiting for Sighing Winter was worse. Entering the snowstorm, we saw the largest bear I’ve had the misfortune of meeting.

It would have torn us apart (or at least me while it brings Raisa to Sighing Winter). However, some invisible shape began attacking it and blood splattered everywhere.

Slipping past, we made it inside the shrine. Then the door blew open and Sighing Winter was there. Raisa, defiant, stood proud and doomed. How exactly Akhlut channeled himself beyond his chains is uncertain. One moment Sighting Winter was there and the next her arm was gone and after that she disappeared entirely in the darkness.

Looking into Raisa’ soul, I found Akhlut’s true name emblazoned on his form. She was going to go south to the pole, and after many years, find her new home. I saw her older and lean from hard years, yet somehow in her prime nonetheless.

It seems like vomiting is a thing I do with Aisling’s gift. That and the desire to eat a chicken raw. Still, worth it to know that everything will turn out alright for her.

And with that, Raisa Kalb began preparations for her journey out of our lives and towards her new one. I wish her luck wherever it applies.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.