Seken

A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 44

So we left the sewers after sealing the Negative Tree in lead. Well, that was that. Leo asked for a promise not to tell anyone else and we complied. No reason to screw the boy over, although I still shudder at the image of him allowing brains to drip through his fingers.

On the surface, we prepared ourselves to go to the cemetery. The Wizards had somehow set themselves up to the east now, presumably guarding a 2nd device. The city forces held the center as what remained of Devlin’s priesthood roamed the countryside.

In hopes of securing help from the FB forces on the left flank, we made our ways to the no-man’s zone in that area. The last thing I remember was being snapped by a few darts and then darkness.

=

We woke up in a completely clean room. You know, I thought that I understood what “clean” meant, but this put the palace rooms to shame. We all waited for our captors to appear. Apparently they started talking, which I wasn’t able to hear given my… condition. Thankfully they provided an unconventional method to listen in.

After essentially “volunteering” everything we knew, we managed to bargain with them for our release. Apparently as creatures purely of logic and isolationism, we managed to convince them that the outside world does in fact matter in some small part. Also that our intentions are at least reasonably friendly. Then darkness.

We awoke by ourselves (although the poor shadow kitten…). We argued again on what to what to do about Analeise. To make a long, long story short, they convinced me.

Thinking on it, my supposition that the Negative Trees were effecting Analeise was a jump too far in terms of logic. After that enlightening discussion, Byron and I flew over to the Temple of Caillech while the others traveled north to meet with us.

Wait, is that something flying behind us?

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A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 43

Fyodor. As the man stepped out I knew with a sinking heart that there would only be blood here. Leo almost looked like he was frothing at the bit to go after his cousin. We had already moved far past the traps we had set and tactically we weren’t in great shape for a fight.

At least most of us had moved up before the wave of Fyodor’s zealous god asserted itself. The aura was almost overwhelming, driving people to anger as things became a blood bath. I used what power I had to summon a boar of Benjiro. It battered at the man as we loosed other magics. Byron’s fire roared through the air as we struggled not to give into the divine call.

Leo transformed. My eyes almost buggered out as I saw him go completely feral. Some kind of lithe were creature. He tore at Fyodor and I felt myself stumbling back at that assault. Then a minotaur hit me from behind as I stumbled to the side. Fyodor had finally decided to act and a single sword swipe almost killed Leo in a single blow.

I reached out and pulled at his blade, somehow managing to pull it away and into my hands. Even having him at a disadvantage, something was terribly wrong. Fyodor was going to win here. I saw him run into our traps, a man gone mad. Somehow he managed to make it to the other side before Leo caught up to him. I tried to interpose myself, but Leo stabbed me.

We need him alive. We need Fyodor alive. He has a piece of the Builder in him! There was nothing I could do as Leo finished the man off, bashing his brains out until it dribbled away in his hands. I stood there horrified.

Our chance at the man orchestrating the doom of the city and Leo threw it away for a chance at revenge. Lady C dubiously offered to revive him but the damage was done. I reached out with my senses and saw the trap here for what it was. The essence of the Builder is in Leo now. Gods help us all.

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A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 42

After a hard look at the next few days, we got what sleep we could before the morning journey into the sewers. Dread has become that old wolf that gnaws away at you. A bit of kidney here. A bite there.

Still what are we to do? We gathered our usual force of people and went below. The Dread Tree was still where we left it. Except there were two people there. Two people that we have never seen before. Or things. Definitely things. I inscribed them in my memory as they vanished from view.

A flash of hot hope made me consider my options. Maybe they are here to help? Or at the very least have tools to examine the Tree that we don’t. While the workers banged away at creating the Lead casing for the device, I attempted a divination and I saw… them.

What seemed only like moments actually went for hours. They were outside of time and while you can See them, they didn’t technically exist. Not in the same way we did. We managed to make contact with one of the fellows and in what time we had remaining a bargain was struck for knowledge. Several in fact. We discovered more information regarding the Trees and how they worked. Knowledge that may in same way allow us to deactivate these devices. A hard bargain was struck.

However there was danger approaching. Leo’s cousin, a monster containing a piece of the Builder, was coming. Putting all of our traps together, we readied ourselves for the thing coming for us…

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Leo's View: Bloodlust

FUCKING HATE YOU, I’ve always hated you Fyodor, you fucking SADISTIC patronizing arrogant… kill you, fucking WASTE OF HUMAN LIFE, this is it, never again, KILL YOU, stop you, CUT YOU, gouts of red blood fountaining YES bleed your life out, STAB your life out TEAR YOU LIMB FROM FUCKING LIMB… retaliation, retribution, still nothing undoes the pain you’ve nurtured so carefully, fascinated, monstrous, I WILL END YOU any way I can, no hesitation, no regret, no thought, just your flesh giving way a block of senseless meat as I hack into you AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN an—

[ WORDLESS BLOSSOMING OF UNTHINKABLE PAIN ]



Up. Yes, I’m still up. Alive, you fucking pig.


Ow.

…Still going to kill you. One more— THERE. That’s it, you’re down. Never stand again. Killing stro —

Varus, you fucking—

Let me—

Need to kill—

KILL HIM

— Don’t care.

Do it anyway.

As final as I can make it—

…Done.
Indescribable satisfaction.

A trap, huh? Don’t feel any different. Fuck the Builder.

… You’re all looking at me like I should feel regret. Manipulated by Gods and men, perhaps. You think I should feel a fool?

If you don’t understand, you can never understand.

That felt good.

No regret.

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A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 41

Remembering some unfinished business, I left Alice to visit her friends and met up with the others at the Big House. Apparently Leo had bartered for money from his family to pay for our indiscretions. Thankfully.

We went to first a college of arcana in hopes of a Message spell, but apparently those take a while to scribe. Returning to the College seemed like a terrible idea, but we somehow managed to avoid getting ourselves killed or lost in space/time. Barely.

A message was sent to the Fazuku Butzu and we hoped that they would take the warning regarding wizard apocalypse machines seriously.

After dealing with that, we talked about the next few days

The plan seemed to involve going back into the sewers to encase the crystal flower in led. Day 2 involved going back to the Temple of Caillech to deal with the Hand. Day 3 was the suicide attempt into the walled off district.

But first, we needed to arrange a meeting with our old unground friends to make this all happen. I largely let Leo and Byron negotiate things out with the lawyer and then the surprise gang leader unveiled himself in the corner. At least the minor heart attack allowed us to arrange things more quickly.

It looks like a busy few days have come upon us…

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A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 40

In the morning we gathered altogether and discussed the various information and divinations that we’ve seen. It was clear that we had to make it to the Forbidden district made of horrors. That’s what they tell me at least. Lady C also visited and we uncovered some information regarding what can be done about the Crystal Trees- also that they seem to be very well warded.

So began a day of visiting a variety of places. We first visited the Temple of Aisling and informed the High Seer of yet another threat to the city. We chatted with a shadow that happened to be spying in the corner.

We visited some ironsmiths to find a good deal for a lead wall to block the Evil Crystal Tree generators. With a laundry list of things we’d like to accomplish, it was eventually decided that we should split up and go different ways. Alice and I would go to visit her shadow friends. Joy.

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The hole in my understanding

There’s a hole. A hole in my understanding. I get that. The hole isn’t a void; it’s not that the understanding doesn’t exist, any more than the earth ceases to exist because you dig a hole in it. But it’s fundamentally changed. It forces you to walk around it and end up in places you didn’t expect, in ways you didn’t expect. Or maybe you just can’t figure out how to get across it.

So that’s what it’s like.

So the tree. I was part of the tree, for a while, and I wrapped myself in other people’s thoughts and they became me and now I don’t know which parts are me and which aren’t, or if that makes a difference. And the wizards are using the tree to harvest and focus negative thoughts to collect the same kind of energy that makes up Macha. There’s four of them, one of them in Atherton. And that’s bad. It should terrify me. But instead I feel – sad? Tired? I don’t know.

Leo took me to see the lady who hired us, and we explained the situation. He seemed concerned. I guess I’m not acting like I normally would, which makes sense. But Leo wanted me to come, and doing what he wanted would make him happy, and I would want him to be happy because he’s my friend. So I did that. And when we came back, Varus was asleep on the couch, and he’s family so I should look after him. So I took his shoes off so he could sleep a little better.

I’m not sure what Byron thinks of this. Having a feeling just vaguely accessible but not actually there, like a word that sits on the tip of your tongue until you blurt out a word that seems similar but means something completely different – would that make more or less sense to our chaos-boy?

Herrik sent me a note. Said he was proud of me. I got confused by that. Sort of angry. It’s good to have your boss be proud of you, right? So why would I be angry? And why would he be proud of me?

I feel like if I could talk to Chip it would help somehow. He wouldn’t say anything – probably. He’d just let me talk until I found a way around the hole. But he’s gone, and so is Ivraham. And they were with me before, in a way. I remember the feel of Chip’s fur and the sound of Ivraham’s voice, and how those things used to make me feel. But now there’s a hole there.

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A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 39

In the aftermath of the battle against the wizards, we gathered the wizard’s survivors together. Well, one of the wizards bled out as Leo and I argued over his life.

We interrogated the engineer under Tamlin’s illusion. During that time all of us examined the weird crystal tree structure. Combining together our collective knowledges and the cryptic words of Tamlin, we uncovered that the tree collects the dark energy of those living above and filters it through the crystals here in some strange fashion.

Cinnamon was the one who broke through the secret behind the tree- that it was the negative thoughts of people and that she could jump into the tree. Knowing this, we gathered what metaphysical resources to help her in the jump. I drew upon Aisling and we were able to see the possible future for Cinnamon.

Using that knowledge, she decided to scout out this tree to find what information she could. During that time, we (not myself) stabbed Tamlin to dissolve his illusion. With that, I could perform my own scrying and we fled after Cinnamon returned.

She was changed. Not herself at all. Time would tell more in the morning as we dragged ourselves back to Byron’s abode. He left before I could tell him we were snapping the card, but I trusted Leo in handling the Blackcloaks. With that, I performed a Commune to ask several questions before going to sleep for the night. I thought I woke slightly to Cinnamon taking my shoes off, but that must have been a dream…

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A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 38

After a relatively uneventful night, we gathered for breakfast to discuss our findings regarding the girls diary. It looked like these were from different periods of history and passed from one little girl to another.

Filing away those bits for the future, we gathered our group together to contact Sawtooth’s gang through a lawyer of Hartam. Interesting fellow Sawtooth. Pure practicality is actually a bit refreshing in this mad city.

With the help of a kobold, we made our way down into the sewers and promptly got lost all sense of direction. Thankfully Sawtooth’s kobold managed to keep us from becoming completely lost. We did come up upon some maneater centipedes and with a giant wave and a pig, we managed to circumvent.

Before we entered the wizard’s lair, we were confronted by a set of shadowy summoned creatures. We managed to bring them down with our sheer numbers without heavy losses. The wizards themselves were evacuating the chamber. There were quite a few of them, although only two were focused on repelling us while the others skittered away or focused on some work there.

We almost died to an empowered lightning bolt that coruscated through us. A giant pit was open in the middle, but between a barrage of arrows, spells, and summons we managed to put both of them down. Cinnamon with that special cloak punched through to smash the crystal. Now we’re here holding three wizards…

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A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 37

After striking a standoff deal with Nurgle and the Temple of Caillech, we were given safe passage down the road back to the city. I believe Nurgle’s companions ensured that we weren’t troubled through our travel down the hill. After informing the blackcloaks of the situation in the cemetery, we watched them begin to march in and finally help those there. I hope they will be in time to save the University.

We gathered Lady C with us as there seemed to be a wizard plot afoot near the docks. I was a little nervous of our new companion, a sailor skin thief, who traveled with us to the docks. We spoke with a local priest that guarded said docks and uncovered a story about… something that lives in the water. I attempted a ‘seeing’ and then saw what seemed to be a wizard-borne aberration that lay hidden in the waves. A mere tentacle almost killed me in the attempt we regrouped quickly out of it’s reach.

After that, we decided on a course of action to meet with the local gang to see if it was possible to go down into the sewers to pick up the old trail I saw in my vision. That is, after a nice long nap at Byron’s place…

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