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…

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—


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


…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—


— Don’t care.

Do it anyway.

As final as I can make it—

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.

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…

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.

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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