Cinnamon's Journal: In Which I am Street

We’ve finally made it to Averton, and wouldn’t you know it, the rich kids STILL think they know better than me, despite the fact that I am a literal streetwalker accustomed to bad neighborhoods, whereas I assume Varus would have a panic attack if someone forgot the cocktail olives at the buffet. I don’t know why Leo keeps rolling his eyes when I walk down the street. I got this. I know what I’m doing. Shoulders back, chin down, long strides. Look purposeful. Look like you know where you’re going. I’m street, I know what I’m doing.

Of course, looking like a badass attracts the attention of those with something to prove, which would be why the squeaky-voiced goblin squad confronted us. Fortunately, a right hook easily set the first one flying, and the rest of them were gone by the second bounce.

Finally, we needed a place to sleep. We found a suitable hovel (about as good as you can hope for), and I scattered the itinerant troglodytes with my best threat display. Now to get some shuteye as best I can.

Leo's View: Sightseeing in Averton

We survived our first night in Averton.

We decided to head toward the Outcast King, to see if we could gain any information there. As we started out, we encountered some goblins tied to the wall. One was just a torso and arms, barely alive, which Alice whispered to death. The other was missing one leg, and was undead. His assessment of things was that he was completely fucked, his people wouldn’t take him in, and even if they did, he’d eventually turn on them and try to eat them. He didn’t * want * to die, exactly, but he knew he was going to die anyway, so I put him out of his misery.

There is a miasma of death and disease in the air.

Tiny toothy scavengers came in a pack and looked as if they were considering picking a fight with us, but they didn’t. The lithe …elf (?) who was following us yesterday was still trailing us today, making no effort to hide herself.

A small shrouded figure with an epic-level protection spell on him stepped out and told us to give them “everything”. He could smell through our disguises. He had a small pack with him, and demonstrated that he had hidden archers as well. I activated my hat — and I’m really curious who he saw — but we agreed not to come by that way again if they’d let us through that once.

We kept on moving, until at length we came across a zombie constable. Yup, I know. And then a zombie wagoneer. And a zombie street sweeper. Until eventually we got to a full-fledged zombie marketplace. The zombies didn’t seem to have any minds, they were just corpse-puppets that someone was animating for their own personal … hobby, I guess. There was also sound in the air of appropriately marketplace-y chatter, although it wasn’t being generated by the zombies.

It was eerie, but they seemed to take no notice of us. Until one little zombie girl looked straight at us, and it was pretty clear that she saw us. We kept on moving.

Dark fell eventually, and despite vowing to myself that I wasn’t going to shapeshift in front of people, it was really the only way to see.

The elf who had been tailing us started fighting …something, on a rooftop. About 15 minutes later a gout of flame up there was accompanied by a mushroom cloud, a roar of sound and a palpable pressure wave. It seemed to attract a lot of attention, including a whole swarm of those tiny scavengers. The fire behind us, and the newly-risen moon, provided enough light to navigate by.

There were bodies tied to walls as we progressed, like snack food that predators had put out for themselves. Some of them were very clearly dead, but let’s be honest, many of them probably weren’t — I mean, what better way to keep your snacks fresh? We didn’t slow down to find out, and I didn’t call Varus’ attention to the issue, lest we get sidetracked with trying to save or mercy-kill every victim in Averton.

We reached a large barricade, on the other side of which was “Vareth”, a ratty-looking ghouls with Takara’s virus. Byron made a binding magical contract with him, which will keep his folks from ambushing us if we pass this way again.

The stench in Averton is pervasive, but it’s not consistent. After traveling a time, the smell shifted to dusty. Dessicated. Still.

There was a manhole into the sewers with no cover, and an unlit candle. The sewer was set up like a hallway, then opened into a large vaulted area. Candles lit all around us, revealing a humanoid…thing, made of tentacles. It didn’t seem to have a mouth, but it spoke in our minds, saying “Welcome. You have my hospitality.”

At first I thought that the crown he was wearing was a replica of the war crown of Korpesh, which seemed egotistical, but not puzzling. Then Varus called our attention to the fact that it’s the real war crown of Korpesh.

This is going to be interesting.

A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 47

We are finally in Averton. After following the gator’s men into the sewers, we emerged into Sawtooth’s “safe” territory. I stayed back with the others and only heard vague things about Cinnamon tangling with some goblins during her foray out, but we made it to a safe house to rest for the night. We forced some troglodytes out and I felt a pang of guilt, but the smell drove away all other thoughts… I shudder thinking about it.

The next day, we made our way north and west to the Outcast King. We encountered a pair of dying goblins on our way past the barricade. Alice and Leo performed the mercy killings for the pair of them as we quickly made our way north. Small scavengers prowled in our wake before we encountered an Averton gang along our path. After a brief scuffle, we managed to come out on top. I saw the High Seer reveal himself as Leo and after thinking for a bit, I realized that it was Leo’s hat casting an illusion. In attempting to stay in character though, I allow Ogrimmar to believe what he saw. For some reason the gang’s leader in question had a layer of very powerful magic on him. Possibly a benefactor of the Eater? Regardless we passed by quickly.

We passed by a zombie village. It was literally a pastoral village with people acting… normal. The fact that they were zombies made it uncanny watching them go through the motions of real life. We made our way past it quickly enough as it reminded us too much of the Builder despite it not being quite his style.

Night fell and things grew worse. The person following us had attracted the attention of hundreds of scavengers with a gigantic fireball. We fled northwards and hit a giant barrier that we skirted. After stumbling through several traps, we made it to the top of the barricade in this section of the city. And a ghoul with an offer. After Byron signed a contract to provide some information back to the ghoul, we made our way into the tunnel beneath.

The sewers changed as we delved deeper and we reached a throne-like room. A humanoid thing with black tentacles offered us hospitality as I stared at his crown. The crown of the King of Khorpesh. I shivered as I tried to see deeper and realized that we were staring at the true rule of our country…

Leo's View: The Other Shoe Plummets Unseen

So, we were finally all set to go to Averton. I’s dotted, T’s crossed, supplies procured, prayers said.

And then Byron said we had to delay.

Mind, I’m the one whose name is on the line with the Duke regarding this Letter of Credit. Byron can waste invisible money willy nilly and never have to answer for it. I would’ve raised more of an argument, except that I was arguing with Byron instead about his Byronly sudden irrational idea that it would be great to sever his connection to the divine just prior to entering Averton.

It might give us an advantage! He said.

It might destroy you entirely and will definitely destroy your magical usefulness! I countered.

Nobody listens to me.

Although I think at least half of the problem was that I said it was a bad idea, which put Varus into knee-jerk Disagree Forever mode, and then he wouldn’t be talked down from how great an idea it was. He obviously didn’t give a shit about Byron’s well-being. Sure, let your companion self-destruct to give you an uncertain and nebulous advantage.

Seriously. That fucking guy.

At any rate, we ended up at Duchess Zeitgast’s mansion, petitioning the lady of the house to let brother dearest go up to the restricted wing so that he could take this — shall we just call it ill-advised and leave it at that? — action. She acquiesced graciously. (It’s her, honestly, how else.)

So Byron goes up there ready to do this thing, and has a dual epiphany. One: it is actually a really dumb idea to sever his connection to the divine. (As if this thought had not previously been introduced by, say, anyone.) But his second epiphany was that that area of the corridor would sever any divine connection, including the connections that fuel magical items, and particularly including the trying-to-be-divine-like-Macha magic of the wizards’ trees. Presto — easy-peasy disposal of the insurmountable problem. If we can somehow shepherd the incredibly fragile and unspeakably dangerous trees intact to that location. But hey, it’s a better plan than we had previously.

So all right, at least we got something useful out of the delay.

Finally everyone had run out of delay tactics and we actually went in. Sawtooth’s folks brought us in through the sewers. For all that that was disgusting, it was modestly less disgusting than most sewers, in that they’d built channels to route the sewage so that you’re not literally walking in it. Still, it gave us an undeniably organic lowlife aroma.

We finally emerged in a small barracks, where it was made clear we couldn’t stay for the night. Alice, Cinnamon, and I went to scout for a place to hole up until morning.

Cinnamon — I do not know what Cinnamon thought she was doing. But whatever it was, it wasn’t blending in. It was like this big stompy-boots swagger with an arm swingy thing and a chin-dip head-bob thing… suffice it to say it drew attention. Fortunately it was attention of the lowliest pipsqueak wannabe bullies around, and Alice and Cinnamon handled them easily. But it also attracted some other attention. One woman in particular started trailing us — she seemed not to really care if we noticed her. Lithe — I’d almost have thought an elf if it weren’t Averton. Maybe the vampire…? I guess we’ll see.

We found a burned-out building that one of the guards had described to us, and I scoped around looking for a place we could take over without too much splash. Good choices ended up narrowing down to kobolds (who would then stalk and grudge-match at us every single day for the rest of our lives, howsoever long those may be), an extended family of orcs (like half of which was children and infants), and troglodytes (which stink more than I can possibly describe). Really the orcs and the troglodytes were the best options, and slaughtering half the adults in a family and turning the rest out on the streets as prey for others… I guess it’d be good and Avertonian, but just didn’t sit right. So we menaced the troglodytes and they ran off into the night. This is only going to add to the genuine organic stink we’re gathering. If only we’re able to get any rest here through the retching.

Not that it’s been a picnic in the park getting here, but I still have an unshakable sense that the other shoe is dropping, even now.

Well, time to get some sleep.

A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 46

With Analeise freed, it seems like we have averted another of Maka’s apocalyptic strings into our world. There was a lingering tense moment as the Skinthieves departed, but the peace was kept. In fact, I think there is some measure of respect between hte “red one” and Nurgle that could be helpful in the future.

It seems like days since we’ve slept, which prompted us to return to the Big House. I don’t remember much of the evening… I think the secrets of fishkey was revealed to us. CInnamon seemed so much more like herself that I can’t help smiling. Lady C made an appearance and it seems like we have gone down to the business of figuring out how to not die in the next few days.

Byron was surprisingly quiet so we pushed forward with the plan of getting a team of 11 together. Setting up shop in one of the abandoned buildings and then figuring out more information. Lots and lots of scrying seems to be in order.

Some things never change, but at least we get to sleep tonight.

A Short History of Two Kalbs, A Bard, and a Concerned Prostitute: Part 45

Well, we have a plan. Alice with her countersong against Makka combined with Cinnamon’s ability to transfer the song. All cemented with a curse, we have a chance of freeing Annaleise from Makka’s influence.

So we waited for Jesse to finish her extraction of the Builder’s soul. Gazing over the assembling armies of Devlin, I felt a sad ache at the coming slaughter. It didn’t take them long before the army surged forward in a giant wave. Risen of Caillech and strange creatures joined the fray against one another as we helped in much smaller ways with bows and spells.

I projected the fazuku butzu near the ritual site to deter enemies from trying to flank without the main body. Just as the lines were about to break, Nurgle used his own blood in an attempt to banish Devlin’s Avatar and…

We were in a grey plane. Gazing around in confusion, we could see the aspects of the gods watching us. I felt a moment of deja vu. The gods are always watching. But why us? It was in this moment that I felt a stab of fear as we waited for Jesse to finish.

She did so right after Annaleise’s arm was torn off. Nurgle and others surged forward, but it was clear from Jesse that she was confused as any of us. Alice sang her song and we were joined in a struggle to push Annaleise towards the countersong. It was a struggle from all of us. The Builder’s will resisted us here and tried to claw it’s way out of the box. More than a few called upon the gods for help. I winced as Alice used her garrote string to sever the builder from Annaleise, but I kept myself ready.

Finally, I reached out and cemented the curse on Annaleise. For a moment, things held still then Caillech spoke. All went white, then black.

What just happened?

Cinnamon's Thoughts - I Don't Like This

Tense times at the Temple of Caillech. Jesse is a live wire. I cant blame him/her, but as the decision point for Annalisse’s fate draws near, I worry we’re going to have a war on our hands.

Alice is hard at work on the countersong. I think I can bring it into Annalisse’s mind. I think I can do it without force. I think I might be able to survive this.

I don’t think I’ll be the same.

What if I have to do something unspeakable while I’m in her mind?

What will I become? What will she become?

What if I can’t handle what her mind holds? Despair! The Unknowable has made a home in our hearts and our heads, and there is naught to do but flee.

Chip is here. Chip tells me that whatever he has come to witness, it is coming to an end. I can feel the end drawing near, like the change in the air before a storm.

Is this what Lillian felt like in her last moments? The sense of the inevitable and yet unknowable gathering around, oppressive and indistinct?

I don’t like this. I don’t like this. I have no grand destiny, but I had hoped for a life of more value rather than living in some state of vague, looming ruination.

I miss my cat. I miss Ivraham. I don’t like this. I don’t want to do this. I have to do this. I can. I can. I can.

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?

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.

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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