View Full Version : The Crucible (F)
01-03-2011, 02:32 PM
CAMPAIGN F ARCHIVE (http://mangatutorials.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=977)
01-07-2011, 06:24 PM
The minion grappling Alberto saw Vivien's attempts to heal his prey, and decided to drag (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2830474/) him off, breaking Vivien's spell.
The four Warriors around Lucille proceeded to attack her, all but one (who accidentally struck his ally) (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2830520/) meeting with success (56 Total Damages to Lucille (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2830527/); and 13 damages to a minion (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2830535/)).
As with Lucille, only one (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2830566/) of Rosaline's attackers failed to make contact. His ineptitude was compensated for by the critical hit of his ally.
Crit confirm! Possible X3 Crit! (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2830569/)
Triple Crit confirmed! (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2830578/)
41 Critical Damages to Rosaline (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2830585/)
25 Normal Damages to Rosaline (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2830586/)
Thina Oshgeth - 21
Vivien - 20
Lucille - 19
Ramirez - 19
Thina's Minions - 8
Rosaline - 4
Alberto - 2
Reposting initiative for convenience. Y'all kids got some healing to do.
01-09-2011, 06:22 PM
After that last hit, Rosaline wasn't feeling too well. She decided to heal the giant bleeding gash in her side.
Cure Critical Wounds
http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2833519/ 29 hp healed (32 hp total)
01-09-2011, 06:38 PM
Alberto was fucked. He didn't even struggle, it would only make him die faster.
01-09-2011, 07:07 PM
Thina winked before pointing at Alberto, once more releasing a volley of toxic missiles. The five orbs of acidic venom smashed into the already badly injured Wizard, reducing (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2833570/) him to little more than a puddle of green goo with some bones in it. The minion who had been grappling him gave a shrug.
Thina smiled. "Ouch. Tough break, huh?" She flexed her muscles with a laugh. "I'm pretty awesome, yeah. Sure you don't wanna give in, cuties?" She nodded towards Vivien and Lucille. "It'd be a shame to ruin your bodies."
She still has a move and standard action. That was a quickened spell. She's waiting for a response before acting.
PLAYER 5 HAS LEFT THE GAME.
01-09-2011, 08:16 PM
Rosaline stared in horror at Alberto's corpse. It wasn't because of the gruesome mess, but because she didn't even realize the trouble he was in. "I should of..."
01-09-2011, 09:29 PM
Vivien turned to face Thina, aghast. "Curse you...you...heathen!" His eyes glistened, and tears gathered at their corners.
01-10-2011, 11:55 AM
Ramirez hummed a tune (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWsJcg-g1pg) under his breath at the amusing circumstances of Alberto's death.
Lucille shook her head. "The Law exults in those who exult themselves. The Law will prevail. It is a pity he failed in his duty."
01-13-2011, 08:19 AM
"Hah! You sound like a Horned Society wench!" Thina laughed, clearly enjoying all this. "If you're so confident, honey, why don't you and me tangle one on one? I'll even fight you unarmed if you get your little friends to promise not to interfere. Even - no, especially - your limpdicked little invisible friend."
Lucille shook her head again, clouds of ginger curls bobbing excitedly with the movement. "You misunderstand, Heathen. I am not the Law; I may fail, weak as I am. The Law will prevail." She smiled to herself. "I think not. Heathens do not keep their word- they have no understanding of the Law. I will continue in my charge."
01-16-2011, 05:45 PM
Ramirez's dick was decidedly not limp at the prospect of the two young women having a barehanded catfight.
01-26-2011, 12:08 PM
"Honey, I've forgotten more shit about your god than you'll ever know. You know he started out as one of Asmodeus' angels? You shitheads worship a fallen angel who's too pussy to embrace what he's become." Thina laughed while moving in closer to the group, her sword dripping acid behind her.
02-20-2011, 04:46 AM
"Blasphemy!" Vivien roared, but his voice was drowned out by the column of flame hurtling towards Thina.
Flame Strike Damage (Halved on reflex save: DC 22)
02-20-2011, 04:52 AM
"Fuck!" Thina dived and rolled, just narrowly missing the column of divine fire. She wasn't hurt, although she did to pat down some flaming bits of her hair and clothes. She looked pretty surprised she dodged it, herself, but quickly regained her composure. "Oooh, nice one, prettyboy. I'm definitely going to have some fun with you myself before giving you over to Hevisa." She said with another smirk and a wink.
http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2900818/ Since she rolled a 20 I'd rule no damage since that's what I'd do for a player.
03-22-2011, 06:03 PM
Vivien's giant fire column reminded Rosaline of the desperate situation they were in. It was time to go in for the long haul. After saying a prayer, Rosaline's armor suddenly began to shine with holy light, and it was strengthened by the Saint's blessing.
magic vestment +3 enhancement bonus to armor for 13 hours
07-16-2011, 05:29 PM
As Helena entered the room, Thina took the option to let out an "Oh fuck!" and teleport away.
Helena seemed as annoyed with the group as she was with Thina.
The rest of the mission went smoothly, mostly thanks to Helena being proactive and glaring at the group while she did all the heavy lifting.
Ramirez was able to get some of the books, but not all of them.
Back at the monastery, Helena called you all in to her office once again. She, as usual, did not look pleased in the slightest.
"Would any of you care to offer me an explanation for your performance today? You were slow, sluggish, and ineffectual. Two servants of the Saint lost their lives because of your ineptitude. Have you anything to say for yourselves?"
07-17-2011, 11:21 PM
Since the whole fiasco Rosaline hadn't cleaned up at all. There was still slime, grime, and dead spider all over her body. There was a huge frown on her face and grody bangs hid her eyes.
07-18-2011, 10:45 AM
In contrast, Ramirez was looking cleaner than he had before the mission, and he appeared to have lost some weight. In addition, numerous of his wrinkles had vanished, and the grey roots of his hair were nowhere to be seen. Magic had its uses outside of combat...
So what was the wretched she-dog yapping on about now? Oh yes. Failure. Not that Ramirez cared much, the only reason to bother about such trivial matters was to maintain his cover, but a show of responsibility would ingratiate him with her highness the ever-dull and provide more opportunities for sedition. So he began, in a voice less vice-stained than usual:
"Any misconduct on my behalf, Ma'am, was, I assure you, due to my own faults and not to those of my companions. I apologise deeply for any such mistakes and assure you that any such flaws as I may have exhibited today will be corrected in the near future."
07-18-2011, 12:11 PM
"See to it that you do, Mr. Aquila. If you can find the time to spend sinfully worrying over your appearance I would imagine that you should also be able to find the time to focus on prayer, training, and other such measures to ensure that in the future I shall not find cause to have conversations like this with you." Helena said, cold as always, and not once raising her voice, as always.
"As for the rest of you, spare me your apologies and excuses - it is not me that you need to seek forgiveness from, and I do not wish to hear more excuses. You will perform better in the future or I shall request you all be replaced with men and women who can."
"That said, we are leaving this place in the morning. My superior has requested my presence back in Lareaux, and you are coming with me. Fear not, though, for I am sure that I shall be able to find some work for you all, even there. You need not worry about sinfully idling. I shall also endeavor to find replacements for your lost members." Helena waved a hand somewhat dismissively. "If you have no questions for me, I suggest you pack your things and I shall see you all again first thing in the morning, and then again when we have arrived in Lareaux."
07-20-2011, 01:07 AM
Lost members. Those words almost caused Rosaline to start crying right there. She still believed herself to be the single reason why Alberto was now a (probably not smoldering anymore) goo pile. However she managed to hold back her tears. With a throat tight from repressing her sorrow, Rosaline whispered "Excuse me", then bowed quickly and left the room.
Lucille stood at ease, her freckled face blank of expression. She didn't bother with looking contrite or ashamed; her emotion on the matter was worth a damn. They had failed, that was that, and only He in His eternal wisdom could judge if they were worth forgiveness. She would simply have to not be so worthless next time.
Although she did long to curl her lip in distaste at Ramirez's arrogant grovelling. Despite his claims, they were all flawed and he alone had not carried the battle, for better or worse. No one man ever did. Even Helena commanded armies to do the things she did not have time for.
She couldn't help but raise her head at the news they would be returning to Lareaux, but rather than so much as twitch a smile Lucille simply snapped her heels together, gave a salute, and left.
07-27-2011, 09:39 PM
Ramirez bowed, made the rote goodbyes, and left the room. He didn't head straight back to the barracks, but instead waited to accost Vivien when the young priest emerged.
07-29-2011, 12:49 AM
Vivien's chest ached with guilt, but he managed to control his emotions. He wanted to give a sincere, heartfelt apology, but Helena was not the kind of woman to desire them. He would try to do better next time. It was all he could do.
He bowed meekly and left the room, rubbing at the corners of his eyes.
07-29-2011, 12:05 PM
Ramirez intercepted Vivien as he left.
"Excuse me, would you mind terribly if I talked to you in private?"
07-29-2011, 12:36 PM
Vivien ran a hand through his hair in a vain attempt to un-rumple it. "Oh, uh, no. I mean, I don't mind."
07-31-2011, 08:09 PM
As they walked through the corridors, Ramirez found it was impossible to find anywhere private whatsoever. Everywhere, even places where you didn't expect there to be people, there were bloody monks. On the rare occasions where a quiet area appeared, the ambience was immediately ruined by some patrol or another coming through. That wasn't something you noticed when living here, but it became obvious as soon as you started looking for a place to talk. Ramirez wished for the secluded drawing-rooms of his youth, and the gentrific surroundings of those days. They had been more common among the Horned Society than among the boring Cuthbertines, at least.
Vivien and Ramirez had been engaged in light conversation as they navigated the corridors, but as it became obvious that a private place was going to be impossible to locate, Ramirez steered the talk towards more serious matters:
"Yesterday's mission... Lady Helena was correct to be angry at us. It must be unfortunate for her to lose her men in that way."
08-02-2011, 03:23 PM
Biting his lip, Vivien directed his gaze to the floor. "Yes. My efforts were...completely inadequate."
08-12-2011, 06:52 PM
Ramirez gave Vivien a brief pat on the back and held it there 'supportively'. "All of our efforts were inadequate. I could have prevented their deaths if I'd taken less time in attacking; had you not been focused on your other comrades, you could have healed them. We all make mistakes."
He removed his hand.
"But I'm sorry, we both need to be prepared for the journey to Lareaux, so I should instigate the cessation of my verbosity and leave."
08-13-2011, 08:15 PM
Vivien blinked at Ramirez for a second, trying to figure out what he had actually said. Then he nodded. "Thank you...And, um, I'll see you."
08-13-2011, 10:21 PM
Lareaux was as beautiful as always. The city's countless cathedrals and temples to the Saint gleaming in the sunlight, the countless statues of saints and angels standing ever vigilant over the seat of St. Cuthbert on Asul. There was the sound of choirs in the air, and overhead the ever present patrol of gryphon riders (and other aerial cavalry) kept watch.
Helena had given the group the day off, so to speak, requesting that they - and the new recruits - meet her first thing the next morning for their new temporary assignment.
In big city. What do?
08-18-2011, 04:39 AM
Vivien was normally cheered by the beautiful sites of the glorious faith, but their last mission, and the lecture from Helena, had wounded his spirits. Praying had not helped.
He headed into the nearest temple, and asked, polite as always, if he could see a priest.
08-18-2011, 05:10 AM
Vivien was directed to the office of Father Wilhelm. It wasn't unheard of for a priest of the Saint to meet with people in their office, but it was fairly uncommon in the larger cities like Lareaux.
Father Wilhelm's was cozy and had several large bookcases mostly full of various theological texts, but some on more scholarly subjects like alchemy, arcana, and medicine. Wilhelm himself was handsome man apparently early into his middle age, with shoulder-length graying blonde hair (tied back in a somewhat loose ponytail) and a neat chin curtain beard.
He got up from behind his desk the moment Vivien entered. "Ah, Mr. Bellerose!" His voice was powerful but extremely friendly - very unlike the fire and brimstone powerful Vivien was more used to.
Approaching Vivien he gave the younger priest a firm handshake, smiling all the while. "Father Jan Wilhelm, at your service on behalf of His service." He offered Jan a seat before sitting back behind his desk. "But please, just call me Wilhelm, or Jan, or something. At my age I find it a bit upsetting and awkward when people your age call me 'father'," he laughed. "So what can I do for you today, Vivien - you don't mind me calling you Vivien, right?"
08-20-2011, 09:16 PM
Rosaline used her free time to take a bath... and then began to just mope around the temples.
08-21-2011, 04:02 PM
Ramirez looked around for the nearest 'gentlemen's club', and more specifically one specialising in 'ropework'. It was one of the perks of the job.
08-22-2011, 10:50 PM
"Oh. I, uh, yes Fath-I mean, Wilhelm." Vivien bowed and took the offered seat, suddenly embarrassed for his neediness. "I'm sorry for taking up your time. It's just..."
With some effort, he drew his eyes from his lap. "Recently I began working under someone of great distinction, and I find rather difficult. Of course, I respect greatly her! Her services in the name of the Saint are far beyond what I could ever hoe to accomplish in a lifetime. But there is an coldness to her interpretation of his Law. On the one hand, I wish to learn from one as great a her. Surely she knows better than I do. But I find it hard to agree with her sometimes; her interpretation of his law is harsh.
But perhaps this is just false pride. She has been very critical of me, and all of us. I felt like a failure to the St. Cuthbert, even though I tried my hardest. Perhaps I should try to emulate her. I do not know. What might be the best way for me serve the Law?"
08-22-2011, 10:57 PM
"Please, please, Vivien, it's no trouble at all! This is my job! What sort of priest would I be if it was a trouble to tend to my flock? Heck, what sort of person would I be?" Jan laughed, interrupting Vivien momentarily before hearing out the rest of the younger priest's words.
He paused for a moment after, apparently in thought. "Vivien," he started, "what is the purpose of the law? Why bother serving the Saint? Why is it that you have chosen to become a priest rather than a farmer, or a blacksmith, or even a barkeep? If we can figure that out, Vivien, I think I can help you."
08-22-2011, 11:18 PM
"Because the Law brings peace, balance, and happiness to the world, and to the individual," Vivien said, without hesitation, sitting up straighter. This was a subject he had meditated on a long time, like any good priest. These were the words he spoke to unbelievers when he sought to convince or educate. "If everyone obeyed the Law, this would be a paradise. The Saint knows what is best for us. I became a cleric because I wanted to enforce his Law and create a more perfect world."
08-22-2011, 11:34 PM
"Exactly, Vivien, exactly!" Wilhelm said with a clap. "Surely, then, the Law would not require of us anything that we are unable to give it? It is my belief, Vivien, that we each are called to service, and that we each know how best to serve the Law in our own way."
"When I was a young man my parents wanted very much for me to become a Wizard. This was, they felt, my calling. I spent no few years both at home and abroad studying, believing that this was how best I could serve the Law. In time I came to hear His call and I realised that being a Wizard was, in fact, not what I wanted for me, nor was it what He wanted for me - it was what my parents wanted for me. I, Vivien, was destined for greater things. And now I am here today so that I can help you. That's just how the Law works."
"I was mistaken about what was desired of me because I had let the desires of others lead me astray. I had failed to see clearly the path He had prepared for me because I was distracted by the path my parents and own youthful failings had lain. Now, I don't believe that my parents were trying to lead me astray, and I'm sure you don't believe that your superior is trying to lead you astray, no? I think, though, you get what I'm trying to get at. Do not try and walk the path of others, instead try and find out what path it is that you, Vivien, have been called to walk."
Wilhelm smiled. "Did that help?" "And about this female commander of yours. Harsh? Harsh how? Sometimes, Vivien, a bit of harshness is needed. However we must always remember that harshness alone will rarely accomplish anything worthwhile."
08-26-2011, 02:57 AM
"Yes, Sir. Thank you very much." There wasn't much to add to that. Wilhelm was making perfect sense. "Maybe I am being unnecessarily sensitive. Grand Crusader Amalric is a respected personage for a reason. I will try not to let my insecurity clog my ears next time. I can listen to her, as you say, and still keep to my own path for the Law."
08-26-2011, 03:22 AM
"Vivien, it is my pleasure to help you. That's what I am here for. My door is always open. Well, metaphorically speaking. Quite often it's closed, if we are talking about things literally." Wilhelm gave a light chuckle and smiled. "But in all seriousness, Vivien, do not hesitate to come to me for whatever you may need, be it advice, or simply a captive audience to talk to. I am here to help you."
"You are serving under Ms. Amalric? My, Vivien, you certainly are privileged!" The priest's face took on a less jovial expression as he moved to the subject of Helena, although it was still caring and expressive, devoid of the harsh judgment or scorn Vivien had grown accustomed to as Helena's more-or-less default expression.
"Of course I know of Ms. Amalric - who doesn't? I imagine that she is a very difficult woman to work for, no? I know her type well, however, Vivien. Her type was very common back up in Sigmar. That's where she started out, did you know? Her first jobs with the church were during the Seven Year Crusade. It's both where she started, and where she earned her distinction. I won't pretend to know what sort of person she was before the war, but I would imagine that whatever she experienced up there changed her. I've heard the stories about her and her victories - and what they cost. I understand she's as harsh as the Vetrheim winter, yes?"
"I think, Vivien, that people like her are scared. I think they are scared, and that they are running from the source of their fear. I think most people are, Vivien. Too often, Vivien, people forget to confront the enemies lurking within them and instead focus on those lurking without. The hardest crusade of all is the crusade to conquer the self."
"Oh, but look at me! I ramble." Wilhelm laughed, "I think you get my meaning, though. Hero worship can be dangerous, Vivien, particularly towards a woman such as her. You cannot win the internal crusade if you are caught up in other people's crusades. The Law understands the importance of authority, Vivien, but I think it is even more important to understand the necessity of that authority being earned and deserved. Ms. Amalric is most certainly an important servant of the Law and deserves all of the accolades she has received, but I do not necessarily believe that her path is the only path by which one could have gotten to such lofty heights. Do not lose sight of yourself, Vivien. Your path is yours and yours alone - she cannot walk it for you any more than you could walk hers."
Lucille had slept badly the night they arrived back in Lareaux, even with the reassuring weight and warmth of her husband. Benoît had always seemed huge beside her. Huge and solid. She rose early, slipping silently out of the bed and smiling fondly as he shifted and grumbled sleepily at her absence.
Lucille resisted the temptation to go and watch her daughter sleep; she'd not yet seen Aurélie, her daughter having already been persuaded to bed before her mother arrived home. Instead she dressed in a soft plain tunic and wool leggings and left her husband with a kiss to the forehead.
She padded down the hallway in the gloom, not needing to see to feel sure of where she put her feet, silent as a cat. A modest L-shaped one storey wooden building, it was hers only in name. Benoît was the yeoman who worked the fields along with his tenant farmers. She was too often and for too long away to look after the household, and she had neither the skill nor the interest to do so.
She had missed it so. The rushes that carpeted the hard stone floors rustled slightly as she entered the ironically titled Great Hall. The dying embers of last-night's hearth fire bathed the hall in a soft orange glow, making the small room seem even more cramped. She moved past the dining table and ran her fingers lightly over the wood that had been smoothed and polished by countless meals. Comfortably at most it seated ten, uncomfortably you could just about squeeze another two people on the ends. They'd often supped with their entire estate; Jaquan and his two sons, Esmé and Robert, the de Navarre's, Father Jean-Claude Barre...
Not for a long time, though.
Lucille continued on, past the Great Hall into the kitchens and out into the balmy early morning air.
She hesitated outside the small chapel that stood against the woods that ran across their land, but shook herself and went in. Inside it was cool and dark, the stone underfoot radiating cold up through the soles of her shoes. She walked past the pews, each one carved with careful and exquisite depictions of celestials and saints, though they had clearly been worn down by the years. Each one was older than she was, and would remain long after she had gone.
She stood in front of the lectern, staring past it at the stained-glass window that dominated the far wall. It depicted The Saint in all His Holy glory. He looked at peace.
She dropped her eyes, collected one of the kneeling cushions that hung under the pews, and knelt before the image of her Saint. She clenched her fists, her knuckles digging into her thighs, and cleared her mind to pray.
It would be hours before Father Barre came to set up for the day. That was alright. She could wait.
Behind her, the sun had crested the horizon and spread tentative fingers of light over the lush greenery of her home. The servants had awakened and smoke was rising from the chimney in the kitchens. Farmers who had already been working hard for hours prepared for the new day, and a young girl named Aurélie crawled into bed next to her father and sleepily asked for her mother.
08-31-2011, 10:21 AM
This is the sleepiest I've ever been while attempting to write Delilah. Hopefully she worked.
Ramirez, compromising position and all, was suddenly aware of a tall woman in the room. And the wings. A tall angelic woman.
She was stunningly beautiful, with long curly red hair, elven ears, an ample bosom, and a perfect face. Her body was clad only in a tight bodice and loincloth, leaving much of her perfect skin bare. On her left shoulder was tattoo of the symbol of Baator and of the Ninth. Her feathery wings seems almost blade-like as they terminated. Her wrists were adorned in numerous bracelets, and her ears similarly adorned with numerous piercings.
"You may call me Delilah. May I call you Ramirez?" She smiled. Her body language was enthralling. She moved with effortless grace and sensuality - but at the same time Ramirez was very much aware of a deliberateness behind her movements. It was something subtle but unmistakably predatory and menacing. He was acutely aware that she was allowing him to know that she could, if she so chose, end him before he even registered her moving to attack. Well, granted, he was kind of helpless at the moment. But even had he not been.
Delilah squated down by Ramirez, smiling flirtatiously at him and running one of her hands along his cheek. "You humans are so interesting." She purred with what seemed like genuine interest. "Shall I untie you, darling?" She turned to the other people in the room. "Leave."
Delilah was not the sort of woman who needed to, or did, repeat herself.
Ramirez made a friend?!
09-01-2011, 09:58 AM
"I may not be in the best position for conversation at the moment. My lady. I'd be indebted to you if you'd untie me."
Her beauty was formidable, even more so than Helena's. In truth, Ramirez had never seen anyone who radiated charisma in quite the same way as his superior - or so he assumed - did. He'd heard stories, of course, but he'd always assumed they were old wives' tales or at least exaggerations. Yet the evidence for those stories was kneeling beside him.
What was she, anyway? A fallen angel?
09-01-2011, 10:43 AM
"Of course, darling." Delilah smiled as she quickly untied Ramirez, again with a seemingly effortless effort. "Is that better?"
09-17-2011, 02:49 PM
"Thank you, my lady, it is. Physical bondage is so inconvenient in social situations."
"May I ask why you've come to me?"
09-18-2011, 07:47 AM
"You may." Delilah smiled as she stood up. "I understand you retrieved several tomes from your most recent outing with the Grand Crusader. I have come to take these books where they need to go. His will be done." She pressed up against Ramirez, draping her arms over his shoulders. "Did you want something else, Human?" She asked, her voice still full of sensuality and quiet menace.
09-18-2011, 08:07 AM
"I think you know my interests, my lady. I will take whatever's judged to be my dues."
Although she was beautiful - obviously supernaturally so - Ramirez only felt physical attraction to her. She was too powerful and too corrupt to mean anything but a routine, though exquisite, fuck. Fun? Yes. Sublime? No.
09-18-2011, 08:19 AM
"Of course I do." Delilah smiled. "Before the Law even the whispers bow down." She added.
She pushed off him gently, the smile still on her beautiful face. "They bore me. Your interests, that is. Although, I must confess. I am, at times, a bit jealous of you. You are living in a momentous time, when the fruition of one of His grandest plans will soon come to pass. The time of the kingdom is at hand. Soon you may come to experience a sliver of the glory and radiance that I have the the honor and privilege of knowing. Not in full, of course, for who could comprehend His true majesty? Glory, glory, hallelujah, His will is marching on!"
She spoke of Asmodeus not just with the slavish devotion and religious awe that all His knowing servants did - although that was certainly there in spades - but with a hint of what Ramirez could only recognize as romantic love and adoration.
09-18-2011, 08:53 AM
All religious fanatics were the same in the end, weren't they? Delilah and Helena were exactly the same; exactly as obsessed with their respective friends on the other side. Asmodeus was an object of worship and compliance because everything turned according to His will. The powerful rose to the top and inspired worship. That's what happened.
"Immanentised be His Glory."
09-29-2011, 12:57 AM
Wilhelm’s words were as wise as they were welcome. The anxiety in Vivien’s heart faded and determination poured in. He sat with his hands on his knees, leaning forward a much as he could without appearing to stoop, and looking very much like a devoted pupil.
“Thank you very much for your wise words. I have been too judgmental of the far more worthy Helena, instead of focusing on my own path to serve the Saint.” He pushed back his chair and stood up. “I will try my best to heed your guidance. I hope I have not been too much trouble.”
09-29-2011, 07:45 PM
Wilhelm gave Vivien a big handshake and placed his hand on his shoulder. "You've not been a trouble at all, Vivien. Believe me, it has been a pleasure. I look forward to seeing you again in the future."
As always, everyone knew better than to show up late to Helena's meeting. There was a new face there, as well. Lucille wasn't around, maybe she had other business to attend to?
Helena was seated behind her desk, out of her chainmail the party was reminded of just how attractive a figure the terrifying woman had. "I've more meetings and business to attend to today." Helena said with her usual disinterested monotone, "but you will no doubt be pleased to know that I have managed to find some work for you. Idleness begets sin."
"The Witch Hunters have uncovered a vile nest of heretics and apostates lurking within the catacombs. You will report Inqusitor Laure Guidonis who shall brief you further on the matter, and lead you as you cleanse this filth from beneath our city. You will answer to her for the duration of this mission."
"If you have no questions, I would suggest you go and report to Inquisitor Guidonis."
09-29-2011, 08:29 PM
"Non Ma'am." Replied the new face.
The new face was a pretty plain, dark haired she who seemed to be something of a Jock, nearly 6ft tall and as muscular as a woman can naturally get.
Olivia wore a black, turtlenecked unitard with a red tabard and Cuthbertian belt. She also had a Red Beret.
Si je pouvais écrire des introductions d'une manière moins jambon poing je le ferais, mais je ne peux pas. (http://i.imgur.com/j3zwk.png)
09-29-2011, 09:48 PM
From behind the gathered communion came the faint rattle of chain, and the alternating toggles from a rustic tin chime... A second newcomer?
Far from frightening, they moved with a passive silence and grace which denoted the timid and heartwarming nature of a house servant. Ethereal, with clear, pale skin and a long braid of soft blonde hair, plus an angular face with large lips, and dark, distant eyes. Lastly, she had an attractive, elongated body somewhere in between athletic and lithe; It took a moment to realize that she was in fact much taller than Olivia, even.
Yet, the woman was no priest; A ramshackle of thick brass armor plates were bolted into place around each limb from the joint downwards, leaving the torso completely exposed save for a simple white cotton tabbard. Dozens of chains holding little Cuthbertine emblems, along with a mass of wax-stamped holy literature, coated the armor plate randomly with examples of zeal. This all wasn't mentioning the titanic cleaver-sword chained to both of her gauntlets and currently obscured at the rear of her waist, itself half weapon and half object of dedication.
The woman named Oriel was humility practiced to the point of obsession, slothful and soundless as to reduce any appearance of intimidation. Arcing her head downwards with a small but firm nod of agreement towards Helena, she just averted her eyes and said nothing.
It was easy enough to believe she never made any noise.
09-29-2011, 11:47 PM
The Witch Hunters were a specialized sub-division of the Inquisition created primarily to deal with heresy and apostasy among the laity (while the more experienced mainstream Inquisitors policed the church itself) and with the threat of witches; unsanctioned or otherwise rogue arcanists and psions. While in some ways less severe and terrifying than the Inquisition proper, the Witch Hunters were known to be extremely puritanical, generally, about arcana with many of them viewing all arcanists as blasphemous heretics who ought to burn.
You met with the Witch Hunter in the undercroft of one of the many, many, many, churches in Lareaux. of Inquisitor Guidonis was dressed in a black dress of sorts, with a red veil. Like many of the more severe Inquisitors, she chose not to be too ostentatious in her faith - preferring to let her actions show her faith instead - wearing only a single necklace with the holy symbol of the saint on it. She seemed to be actively trying to deemphasize her chesty physique, unlike Helena who seemed largely oblivious about her own beauty, but clearly her clothes were simply not up to the task. She was joined by two people of indeterminate gender in full plate armor and tabards, by a three men in severe gray robes - presumably lower ranked Witch Hunters - and by two stunningly gorgeous women.
The first woman (http://i.imgur.com/HN1NI.jpg) was presumably a priestess, an extremely curvy young woman in a far more revealing outfit than the Inquisitor. She had black hair, a beauty mark below her mouth, and great big tracts of land. Her nearly as curvacious counterpart (http://i.imgur.com/oEsEm.jpg)was fairly more toned, wearing an outfit that ran against the limits of what Cuthbertines were willing to tolerate, and carried herself with an air of haughtiness, confidence, and sensuality. Ramirez hadn't seen her at any of the Horned Society get-togethers (so to speak) but she certainly seemed like she might fit in. She had a beauty mark too, go figure.
"Grand Crusader Amalric has recommended you to my service, and I trust you shall not disappoint either me or her." Was Guidonis' version of "Hello, nice to meet you, I'm Inquisitor Laure Guidonis."
"We have recently discovered the meeting place of the 'Carnival of Hope' a vile cult of debased apostates." Guidonis started, her voice showing clear contempt as she spoke of the heretics. "They meet regularly and for extended periods within the catacombs. Our task is simple - we shall go to this den of heresy and administer the Saint's punishment. Fire cures all follies."
"Bellerose, Atkins, you shall focus the Saint's blessing towards punishing the heretics and purging the undead abominations which are likely to cross our path as we make our way to the nest of sin. Sister Leveque shall handle our wounded." The curvacious black haired woman in the white outfit gave a shy little wave towards Vivien, apparently to let him know she was Ms. Leveque.
Laure turned to Ramirez. "I believe that by harboring men such as yourself that we place our souls in mortal danger." She said simply. "I will not doubt your usefulness, however. You have a body, use it. I do not want to see any of your blasphemous magics put to use in my presence."
And so, led by Inquisitor Guidonis, you made your way through the undercroft and into the catacombs.
Lareaux had a lot of underground. There were the pits and tunnels of the Inquisition. There were cellars and sewers, forgotten rooms, dead ends, spaces behind ancient walls, and even natural caves in the bedrock itself. And, of course, there were the catacombs where the people of Lareaux had interred their dead since before Lareaux was even Lareaux.
And they all intermingled, combined, and twisted into each other in a tangled spiderweb network of underground. It was doubtful that anyone besides the Saint Himself knew, really, just how much underground Lareaux had and what it all looked like.
The catacombs, unsurprisingly, were full of the dead. The walls were covered in alcoves that stored corpses in various states, some were ashes in urns, more common though were the alcoves covered in bones or with coffins. Thankfully, however, the dead so far seemed to be just that - dead. Besides being a byzantine maze, the catacombs were known to harbor not only cults like the one Guidonis now hunted, but also dead that hadn't quite stopped moving yet, as well as more spectral undead horrors.
And so the Cuthbertined made their way through the catacombs, the two people in armor sticking close to Guidonis, apparently her guards, while the rest of the group clustered according to your own whims. Ms. Leveque made her way over to Vivien and gave him a shy little smile . "Hello," she smiled, "you can call me Maryse, or Sister Maryse if you really want to be formal like that." Maryse gave a awkward little laugh. "It's nice to meet you."
10-01-2011, 10:40 PM
Oriel lurked behind the group at a perfect six paces behind for the distance, never once making clear eye contact or uttering a single word. Her combat garb spoke, however; A simple shield-like plate was lashed across the lower chest down to the pelvis, just enough to cover the vitals and retain modesty. Something told you it was the bare minimum for avoiding lewd accusations, rather than death, however. The short sparks of embarrassment on her face loomed too frequently.
Suddenly, deeper into the catacombs, she used that same timid essence to slip past. Personal distance between her and Theresa shortened the more her confidence grew.
"Lady... Noireaux... It's wonderful to make your acquaintance... again..." Oriel could talk! It was a sweet, empathic whisper, a sheepish greeting towards an old friend. Concurrently, you see the rear of the torso for the first time; and the sprawling mess of long, thin scars it contained.
No doubts about it now; The quiet, unassuming sweetheart was a die hard Cuthbertine flagellant.
10-01-2011, 10:45 PM
Lady Theresa Noireaux, daughter of the Duke Noireux, was the woman in red who was currently deliberately not looking at Oriel as she responded to her. "Oriel." She said, slightly amused. "I see that despite your best efforts you're not dead. Are congratulations in order?"
10-01-2011, 11:13 PM
"I'm alive as per his will, of course." Oriel spoke with conviction and a small self-assuring smile, glazed over eyes imagining some unseen angelic figure. She lent around into the muscular woman's visual range after a moment, but was careful to keep a low profile and avoid actual contact with Theresa's impressive arms. "...It's... It's okay if you joke... I don't mind. The sin is kept fluent and the soul remains clean. But I did miss you, old friend. It's been much too long."
10-02-2011, 12:59 AM
Rosaline actually managed to get some sleep the night before. Perhaps with the added energy, she would be able to make up for her past failures.
0 lvl = 8 spells
1st lvl = 6+1
~ Enlarge Person
Hide From Undead
Shield of Faith
Shield of Faith
Cure Light Wounds
Cure Light Wounds
2nd lvl = 5+1
~ Spiritual Weapon
Cure Moderate Wounds
Cure Moderate Wounds
3rd lvl = 5+1
~ Magic Vestment
Cure Serious Wounds
Cure Serious Wounds
4th lvl = 4+1
~ Divine Power
Cure Critical Wounds
Cure Critical Wounds
5th lvl = 2+1
~ Righteous Might
6th lvl = 1+1
~ Stone Skin
Undeath To Death
10-13-2011, 02:28 AM
Vivien smiled back at Maryse, blushing a little at having the attention of such a pretty lady. "A pleasure to meet you too, Sister Maryse. I mean, Maryse." He felt a bit guilty for casually chatting during an important mission, but they weren't exactly in harm's way yet.
10-13-2011, 10:42 AM
"I was not aware that we were friends." Theresa said flatly, brushing aside some large cobwebs with visible disgust. "I am, however, quite pleased to see that you found a way to serve the Saint that is wholly appropriate to your disposition. You deserve this so very much."
Maryse gave a warm smile back blushing a bit herself, and then shuddering suddenly as an echoing sound of weeping filled the catacombs. "Ignore it." Laure commanded to the group flatly, although Theresa and Laure's associates seemed to be unphased by it anyway.
The group continued through the catacombs, the ghostly (presumably literally) sounds of weeping, screaming, and crying infants getting louder and more intense as they did. Maryse stuck close to Vivien, making small talk, blushing and smiling a lot, and being clearly upset and disturbed by the ghostly noises. The catacombs were darker here as well, less lit torches, more cobwebs, and more visible signs of disuse.
The group fought a few groups of Zombies, and some Ghosts, but between all the Clerics present it wasn't that long of a fight - and Maryse was able to handle the few injuries that arose. Theresa seemed to enjoy smashing the Zombies, although Maryse was clearly unnerved by some of the Ghosts insisting that they were 'innocent', claims which Laure was quick to respond to; "Where there is sin there is always punishment. If the punishment precedes the sin, then it only serves to prove the foresight of the Saint."
Maryse didn't feel like talking much, although she still stuck close to Vivien and managed a smile now and again.
Eventually the catacombs sort of spilled out into the sewers. Thanks to some fortitude enhancing spells from the Clerics, the group was able to resist getting sickened by the foul stench, or the ankle-high sewage 'water' in some places. There were a few zombies here too, presumably they'd wandered in from the catacombs.
The group continued along the sewers/catacombs (the two began to blend and interweave frequently enough at this point that it became difficult to tell where one ended and the other began) fighting Undead along the way. Eventually they came to a fork in the tunnels.
"The path forks here although it rejoins a short distance before our destination." She said with characteristic coldness. "There may be heretics guarding these paths, and it would be remiss to allow any of them to escape the Saint's justice. Heresy begets retribution."
"I shall lead the Novices and Sister Leveque down this route," she pointed, "Lady Noireaux shall lead the rest of you. You shall obey her as you would myself." No sooner had the Witch Hunter finished talking before she was already making her way down her tunnel, not waiting to entertain any questions. Maryse at least gave a sad little wave to the rest of the group.
10-14-2011, 08:55 PM
"Lady Amalric won't be here to bail us out this time... will she?" Rosaline must have been talking to Vivien and Ramirez... or maybe just to herself.
10-14-2011, 11:31 PM
Oriel stuck close to Theresa for the entire journey, despite the muscular woman's complete disinterest. She hadn't changed a bit since they had met the first time. If anything, Theresa had become more independent, stalwart and tough; All qualities that had made her idolize the woman in her younger years.
Still, the cold was starting the bite at the flagellant's skin, making the steel armored rings bolted around her fingers feel like ice. Oriel couldn't help but cross her arms and hunch up, feeling a little self-conscious amongst these strangers now, too boot. It wasn't exactly hard to be seen as perverted in her chosen work... Instead of pondering on it, she turned and regarded Rosaline.
"I'm sure his righteousness will guide us even here, noble sister." She made a meek smile and walked alongside her, again keeping a lower stance. Even with scars showing, the woman's soft face still managed to come across as completely docile and endearing. "My name is Oriel Augustine Gaudet. It's very nice to meet you, miss."
10-15-2011, 12:43 AM
The words knocked Rosaline out of her thoughts. "Ah? Oriel...? I like that name... Mines Rosaline." Her eyes drifted down towards the flaggelant's revealing armor. She quickly moved them back to the path ahead of them when she realized it might be rude. "Sorry! For.. uh.. looking at you..."
10-15-2011, 10:51 AM
"Please don't be, miss Rosaline. My chosen line is all about accepting my dues..." She responded meekly, then walked slightly further behind the woman to keep herself out of sight. "Sorry about making you feel uncomfortable. Occupational hazard. I'll stay out of your way from now on..."
There was a distinct feeling that she was herself embarrassed, but couldn't afford any clothes past that one white dress she was wearing when you had met her; Such was the cost of obsessively trying to remain a perfect disciple to her god.
10-17-2011, 12:45 AM
Rosaline almost said something back to Oriel, but changed her mind at the last second. She just continued on into the increasingly spooky catacombs.
10-17-2011, 09:12 PM
The group continued along their way down into the catacombs. There was less ghostly sounds here, and instead a strange, faint, hum.
Then they found the pipes.
There were strange adamantine pipes running along the ceilings and some of the walls, as well as part of the floor. Theresa seemed unnerved.
"These shouldn't be here. These pipes. They aren't on the map." She pointed towards a tunnel, worked stone like the rest of the catacombs, but without remains. Many of the pipes seemed to run along it. "That shouldn't be here either. That's not on the map." She seemed unsure. "Gimme that." She rudely grabbed a torch from Oriel and took a closer look at the pipes, putting a gloved palm against one.
"Something's flowing in them, but it's not sewage. Not here." She seemed unnerved. "I'm willing to entertain suggestions. There may be heretics down that way..." she seemed to light up a bit at the thought of smashing heretics. "Or it could be a dead end and waste our time..."
She turned to the rest of the group. "Thoughts?" She shoved the torch back in Oriel's hands. "Make yourself useful and hold that."
10-17-2011, 09:41 PM
"If we ignored it and it turned out to be full of evil we'd be doing our job wrong."
10-17-2011, 10:14 PM
"Alright. Let's go, and keep your eyes open." Theresa gave Oreil a punch on the shoulder. "And hold the torch straight! You're useless."
The walls were different. They weren't the familiar stone of the catacombs and the sewers. They were smooth and solid stone, these tunnels seemingly hewn directly from the rock. And the pipes became more and more numerous as the group went along. Soon the walls, floor, and ceiling were almost completely covered in the twisting pipes.
Theresa stopped. "Shh. Hear that? Listen." Ramirez had probably heard it earlier (too lazy to roll) but Oreil and Olivia could hear it now (and maybe Rosaline and Vivien if they make a DC17 Listen check.), too.
There was a faint sound coming from the pipes.
It sounded like a heartbeat.
10-17-2011, 10:39 PM
Oriel squeaked and flinched upon being hit in the shoulder... but instead of herself, it was Theresa's hand she was worried about. Armour plated shoulders, remember? Despite the fact that the beefcake lass was probably fine, Oriel still swooned after her a little more and tried to 'make up for it'.
Theresa was typically less than amused, one would guess.
Creeping softly and trying to remain out of direct sight again, Oriel found herself unsettled by the imposing new architecture. She could sense the pipe's faint pulsating nature through her bare feet, and the sensation was beginning to make her feel nauseous as it was. "...I can feel it..." The sheepish woman replied, simply. "A heart?..."
"...Lady Noireaux... What is it?..."
10-18-2011, 03:05 AM
"What do you think is in these pipes? Should we check?" Rosaline tapped one of the tubes with her morningstar.
10-19-2011, 02:09 PM
Ramirez listened carefully to see if he could discern anything new about the sound.
Listen: 1d20+13=28 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3228596/)
Then he looked at the group, especially Orien, who his gaze rested on for longest. Since the insane witch hunter had vanished, he turned to Rosaline.
"The pipes probably lead to something interesting and unholy. Maybe heretics, maybe something else. Either way, we should make sure that anything impure is destroyed. As we all know, anything that offends the Saint needs to be annihilated, no matter how innocent a facade it projects."
He addressed this last clause to Vivien.
10-23-2011, 04:18 AM
"Heretics? By the Saint I hope so," Theresa sighed. "I am eager to dispense His judgment, for it is in His service that I am made whole." She handed the map to Oreil. "This is where we are," she pointed. "You remember how to read, right? You didn't get hit in that head too many times? Good. I want you to mark where we've been - I don't recognize these tunnels at all, and I want you to keep track. Think you can handle that? If you're lucky maybe you'll get a papercut or two."
As the group made their way along the strange tunnels, there were numerous branching paths. Sometimes Theresa would choose one on her own, probably at random, while other times she'd defer to the group at large.
The heartbeat seemed to be getting louder.
And then the group came upon it.
An enormous pair of doors, wrought in adamantine.
On the doors, encrusted in rubies, was a symbol Ramirez and the group recognized immediately. The symbol of Baator, and of the Ninth, and of the Enemy.
"Well, shit." Theresa seemed to recognize it too.
10-24-2011, 02:05 AM
Well this didn't look good at all. Rosaline looked at each of her comrades one by one while saying, "Umm.. Should we go find the others? This looks pretty... not good... at all..."
10-24-2011, 05:58 AM
"Nah, we can deal with it. He sent us down this path for a reason." Olivia sounded confident but she wasn't exactly rushing to open the door.
10-24-2011, 06:00 AM
Theresa nodded. "Olivia is right. We'd just be wasting more time. If there are vile heathens behind this door then it is our duty and my pleasure to dispense His judgment. 'Course, the door may be trapped. Probably is, in fact."
She turned to Oreil. "Oreil, open the doors."
10-24-2011, 10:22 AM
Oriel handed her map back to Theresa, looking rather miserable but not questioning the orders.
Taking a deep breath and holding her face in the oppisate direction, she then attempted to shunt the door open with her shoulder, oversized cleaver ready in her hands...
10-24-2011, 11:18 AM
Theresa readied her fists, assuming her fighting stance. Ramirez couldn't help but notice she seemed *very* excited about the prospects of smashing in some skulls for the Saint.
To Oriel's relief the doors opened without incident. Then the lights came on - reacting to Oriel's presence, evidently, and emanating from some sort of large, enchanted, ruby-like gemstone on the ceiling - bathing the long hallway, which was about 50 feet wide, before the group in reddish light.
The ceiling was completely lined with the pipes, which diverted about the light fixture but otherwise covered every inch of it. The floor was clear of them, though, as were the walls.
The walls were something else entirely.
The walls were completely lined from top to bottom with alcoves each no larger than foot. These all held, for as far as the eye could see, large flasks which were connected to adamantine pipes which came out of the walls directly above the flask. The pipes were, save for their smaller size, identical to the pipes the group had seen earlier and presumably connected to them.
Inside the flask were creatures, floating serenely amidst a blood-like red liquid that seemed to have a faint glow to it. They were small, about 8-10 inches on average, and resembled some sort of grotesque amalgamation of fetus, infant, child, and full-grown adult - although all were completely hairless.
The things were alive - clearly - for immediately they all shifted in their flasks and turned their gazes towards Oriel, silently watching her and the rest of the group.
Knowledge (Arcana) if you want to try and identify the creatures.
10-24-2011, 11:33 AM
He failed his Knowledge (Arcana) check.
Ramirez's eyes widened with genuine shock. It wasn't as though he wasn't used to seeing horrifying monstrosities dragging themselves, drenched in blood and slime, out of one Horned Society ritual or another, but he had no idea what these were. All he knew was that he didn't need to - and, to be honest (for once), didn't want to know.
"By the Saint..."
10-25-2011, 04:05 PM
"Uhg.." Rosaline couldn't bear to look at the creatures. "What are they..??"
10-25-2011, 04:22 PM
"We're Homunculi!" The creature in a flask on the right and close to the door said proudly its voice high pitched and had a echoing reverberation thanks to the flask.
"Check out the rack on the blonde one!" another laughed.
"Haha, they're scared."
"They don't know what we are. How sad. They must not be very bright."
"You can come inside, Father already knows you're here." Said another. "He's been expecting you."
Theresa seemed stunned and busy trying not to vomit. "O-Or-Oriel..." she managed, "go inside. We'll follow behind."
10-25-2011, 05:50 PM
Oriel's eyes remained wide at the sight of the encapsulated creatures, helpless against the sensation of her stomach beginning to churn. She'd fought and killed alot of sick things before, but... These 'Homunculi' had just that level of 'almost human' to make them grotesquely relatiable. The heart asked for pity, and the soul asked for purigation.
Was this feeling... Malice? Unwanted benevolence?... No....
Her hands shook and grasped the bindings of her heavy blade with a new found ferocity. The sweetness fleeted, and the warmth of her posture dried up. She gave a new look to Theresa, but it was no longer one of obedience.
"...P-put... Put them out of their misery, my lady?"
10-25-2011, 10:42 PM
"Misery?!" One of the Homunculi shrieked. "We're not miserable you crazy bitch!" "Yeah!" "If you hut us Father will be upset!" "You don't want to upset Father!"
Theresa was clearly not sure how to handle this. Fortunately for her, she didn't have to take charge, because someone else did.
"Darlings." A voice rang out from behind. A woman's deeply sensual, but equally authoritative and arrogant. It was an Infernal Angel of some sort. A stunning woman in a revealing bustier and loincloth. She had dark red hair, and feathery wings that seemed almost blade-like at their ends. "I am Delilah, and your presence is both expected and welcome. I shall take you to see the master of the house. I promise you that if you behave yourselves, you shall be treated accordingly. You will follow me." She began down the hall.
Theresa was sweating. "Listen. We can take her, I think, if things get bad. I think maybe we should do as they ask? We know where this place is - we can come back later with more help. Gudonis and others. But I'm not unreasonable, if you think otherwise, I'll follow your lead." She whispered towards the group once Delilah was reasonably ahead - mostly towards Ramirez.
"Please, ignore the little ones. They can be bothersome, but they shall play a vital role in His grand design. Blessed be."
10-26-2011, 08:56 AM
"I think we should see the head and get as much information from him as possible. It's probably what the Saint would want."
Olivia whispered, although she figured the Devil could hear her anyway, what with her big Devil ears.
10-27-2011, 05:28 PM
The place was enormous. Delilah led the group through twisting tunnels and great halls. In many areas there were 'mature' homunculi millig about, the nature and purpose of their labors unknown. There were other creatures, too, strange androgynous human-like creatures with chalk-white skin and heads devoid of all features save for mouths.
The decor had changed now, too. It resembled a grand palace, or a temple. The pipes were still everpresent, but so too were masterfully carved statues of fallen angels, devils, and of the Enemy himself.
Eventually the group came across what seemed to be alchemical laboratories. There people here. Dozens of men and women going about their work, paying no heed to Delilah or her wards.
"Here we are," Delilah sighed happily, the group standing before an enormous pair of adamantine doors upon which was carved a blasphemous relief of the Enemy with the Saint kneeling before him.
"It would be unwise to keep him waiting. He has been a most gracious host."
And, at that, the doors opened of their own accord, Delilah ushered the group within, and then the doors closed behind them.
The room was enormous and poorly lit. The walls and ceiling could not be seen. The room was full of the strange luminescant blood-like liquid that the Homunculi were bathed in.
Several dozen feet from where the group stood, ankle-deep in the blood(?) was a raised adamantine platform, a foot or two above the surface of the liquid. Atop the two-tiered platform was a table (also wrought in adamantine) upon which sat numerous alchemical apparati and a flask containing a Homunculus. Above the table hung numerous pipes, presumably used to dispense alchemical materials.
Besides the table was an enormous adamantine throne Countless pipes connected to its base, rears, and sides.
Atop the throne was a figure in white. He wore a featureless white mask adorned with a crown and two large, swept back, horns. There were eyes painted on the mask, but no visible holes.
"Welcome to my home." The figure said with the most sincere, caring, and paternal voice the group had ever heard. "Please, allow me to introduce myself; I am a man of wealth and taste, and you may call me by the title by which I am perhaps best known - The Tyrant."
10-27-2011, 11:31 PM
After Lady Theresa told them to cool off, Oriel just swallowed her revulsion and took up a defensive position ahead of the woman. She had to admit that there was tact in going for the head of the snake first, at least, and woe be it for her to question orders in the first place.
Walking in these unholy ornamented halls, her bare feet felt... Dirty. The kind of caustic, infectious grime that you could only remove by limb amputation. To her, these vast hidden riches represented nothing more than an utter uncleanliness of ideals. A sickness of thought which desperately required malice, even to purigate from her own mind.
Then, the chamber of... Well, blood-esk liquid. The slippery feeling of it inbetween her toes nearly made her gag, never mind the smell.
"No, embrace it." She told herself, a hollow whisper on the edge of hearing. Her eyes dared not look at the inhuman man on the platform, both covered by contorting hands. "Take the disgust inside and let it purify you. In total depravity you'll find your true soul, that's what he said... The wind is saturated with sound. Only with an ear to the ground, can you hear the saint whisper..."
Twitching with discomfort, she at last set her eyes on him. The inhuman priest with the most human of voices.
10-28-2011, 07:14 PM
Ramirez was fighting a creeping, malignant smirk that threatened to overpower his self-control. As a consequence, his face was set into an unnatural, blank expression that failed to convey any of the disgust that he ought to have been feeling at the sight of the complex's decor.
It was nice what they'd done with the place. Ramirez enjoyed the irony of having the passages beneath a sanctuary of the Saint be despoiled by the workings of the Enemy, and the corruption implicit in this irony not only amused him, it put him in awe of the might and the glory of the great corrupter. Innocence and purity had been broken by superior force and intellect.
And what a ruler sat at the heart of this palace! Although Ramirez didn't recognise the figure, he knew what he - it? represented. Power. Domination. Subjugation.
He didn't dare speak. Some tiny drop of admiration might mingle with his speech and make his true feelings obvious. Besides, Theresa was their leader - she could take the responsibility and the blame.
10-28-2011, 07:26 PM
The Tyrant rose from his throne and began to speak. "Ah! But where are my manners? You must be tired and weary after your trip here!" The Tyrant stepped down onto the pool of blood. Not into - onto - the ruler of the Horned Society walking atop the blood as though it were solid ground.
He approached and gently touched Oriel on the shoulder. In an instant she could feel the minor but present wounds she had sustained in the fights with the Undead along the way healing. "Rejoice, for mine faith has made thee whole." The Tyrant stepped back and produced - quite literally, for it seemed to grow out of nothing - a small dagger in his hand. He proceeded to cut one of his hands, whereupon the dagger became a golden goblet which he used to catch the blood (which was identical to the faintly glowing blood-like liquid which the group stood within and he stood upon) from his wound, which promptly healed itself. "The blood is the life." He explained, handing the goblet to Ramirez. "Drink and be healed, my children."
Theresa was eying Ramirez. She wasn't quite sure how to handle this.
10-28-2011, 09:42 PM
Oriel squirmed under his touch, and backed away as soon as she was able. A panicked hand parted her chest armor for a second, as she realized that her minor cuts and grazes had been healed. It made her feel twice as bad internally. Close to four years of avoiding healing magic altogether, ruined by a single moment of carelessness. Infected by a debt to some monster, however small the gesture was...
A worried look shot to Theresa, then back into the floor. Please, please let me atone for this. Her expression projected her troubled thoughts. I don't want to get everyone killed, but this is unbearable... unforgivable... unholy...
"Excuse me, sir... That... t-that wasn't right of you... Y-you can't just heal a stranger like that..." Her hands grasped at her sword, but her voice was trembling with nervous frustration rather than hate. She couldn't make eye contact. Infact, she looked damn close to tears trying to keep her bitter resentment internal. "Life is pain, you know... The injuries were... They were earned..."
10-28-2011, 11:57 PM
"I can, and I did. For those with faith all things are possible." The Tyrant said calmly, his mask twisting to form a serene smile. "Believe you not that I am able to do this?"
"Don't call him sir, shithead!" Theresa spat at Oriel. "Such language." The Tyrant responded, his mask twisting now into a grimacing half-snarl.
"You don't scare me." Theresa said, mustering all the confidence she could manage.
"Yes, I do." The Tyrant smiled, his mask twisting once again. "You will mind your manners and be respectful."
"As you wish." The Tyrant did not so much make a move as Theresa's mouth sealed in on itself, the flesh twisting and molding. Shackles of adamantine shot out of the blood and bound her, silently down, her head just above the fluid. "Much better." The Tyrant's smile faded and the mask became impassive again. "Now where were we?"
His voice never, not even once, wavered from it's tone of ultimate paternal concern.
10-31-2011, 12:50 PM
Oliva couldn't bring herself to talk, the Tyrant was obviously able to kill everyone, they were absolutely powerless. Why would the Saint send them here?
11-01-2011, 05:30 PM
Ramirez drank the blood. It wasn't like there was another choice.
11-01-2011, 10:28 PM
Oriel's face twisted with mixed despair and anger, darting her eyes at the rest of the group, and finding them just as paralyzed. Lady Theresa, her admired champion, was being humiliated, and yet nobody was stepping in... Sure, she was scared, but that was no excuse. This was pathetic. She wouldn't let herself feel this useless.
"UN-N-NFORGIVABLE!" The flagellant suddenly yelled, fiercely slapping the goblet out of Ramirez's hands. For the first time, she displayed the perfect attitude for her baroque, feral appearance, absolutely stern in her tone, with eyes full of zealous deprecation. "You wonder why he doesn't save you? Look at your damn selves!"
Already, she could feel the Tyrant's intentions burning a hole in her back.
She turned quickly and brought her hefty blade up into a striking pose.
"Strip the flesh off my bones, demon! To scratch you would be sufficient repayment!"
11-02-2011, 09:05 PM
Ramirez not only felt his minor wounds closing. He felt better than good. He felt great. He felt healthier than he ever had in his life. His whole body felt as though it was running at optimum efficiency, everything perfectly working precisely as it should and in total harmony with every other component.
The Tyrant slowly turned to Oriel after her little outburst, his masked face as impassive as ever. "Oh my," He said calmly, his voice still paternal and full of genuine concern. "Where are your manners, young lady?" He shook his head slowly, disapproving. "You should probably get down on your knees and beg for forgiveness. Yes, I think that would be appropriate."
His voice changed. It was different. Grander. Bigger. No longer his own. "Get down on your knees and beg for forgiveness for your outburst." Instantly Oriel felt her body and lungs conforming to the Tyrant's 'suggestion' falling to her knees and offering her apologies and sincere desire for forgiveness.
The Tyrant seemed pleased, judging by his body language, and turned back to Ramirez, while Oriel was still on her hands and knees and prattling on. "Women." He said with joviality in his voice, placing one hand on Ramirez's shoulder. Leisurely the Tyrant turned around and made his way back to his throne, taking his seat upon it once more.
"So, tell me, what brings you lot to my happy home? You work for the lady general, Helena Amalric, yes?" At the mention of Helena's name a large mass of the blood shot upwards and assumed the form of a standing liquid statuette of her, before almost instantly hardening and solidifying into what appeared to be marble. Oh, and the statue was nude, no doubt to Ramirez's approval. It was perfect in every detail and one would have assumed it was carved by one of the greatest sculptors to ever walk the plane, rather than something appearing magically from what appeared to be blood.
"I imagine she must be difficult to work for. She is not a pleasant woman in any way beyond what she offers the eyes." The Tyrant then waved a hand dismissively at Oriel. "Oh, you may get up now. Apologies accepted."
(Ramirez gets +2 to all physical stats (Str, Dex, Con) until I say otherwise and, as a result, some temporary HP since his Con score is now higher.)
11-05-2011, 12:01 AM
"We came here to kil- ...to purge the cultists who come here, but we definitely weren't expecting you.." Rosaline readied her shield and morningstar to fight, but didn't seem very confident at all. "What do you want with us??"
11-07-2011, 07:52 AM
"Cultists?" The Tyrant asked in an amused tone, his mask twisting into a harlequin-esque visage. "What cultists would that be? Are you referring derisively to we who knowingly serve the Law? Or perhaps you mean one of the deranged Demonic cults which meet in these dark depths? Or mayhaps you refer to yourselves?"
11-07-2011, 09:19 AM
"Why don't you just tell us why you brought us here." Olivia was still shaking, and her words weren't exactly filled with confidence.
11-07-2011, 01:14 PM
"Brought you here? Why, Olivia Poulain, I do believe you and your companions did intrude upon my home! You do realize where we are, yes?"
She'd never mentioned her name. How did he know?
11-07-2011, 01:20 PM
"The Devil told us we were expected." Being called by her full name did anything but help calm her nerves.
11-07-2011, 01:42 PM
"Why, my dear Olivia, of course you were expected! The good shepherd is always aware of the going-ons within his flock!" The mask twisted once more, this time back into its initial impassive featureless 'expression.' "I understand, my child, that you do not like killing. A curious position, especially for one in your line of work."
11-07-2011, 02:00 PM
"I am not a part of your flock! What do you even want from us? You have done nothing but show off since we've gotten here!"
Olivia was now as angry as she was scared, how dare he insinuate that they have anything to do with one another, how dare he read her mind. fuck him. He's not my real dad.
11-07-2011, 05:46 PM
Still crouching on her knees within the liquid, Oriel just stared at her crimson-stained hands, unable to move. The sensation of the Tyrant taking control of her, -puppeteering her very organs-, made her feel so utterly corrupted that she couldn't think of an adequate way to purify herself. There was just no way to clean her soul of this at all.
"It's... in my skin..." A coarse whisper escaped her trembling lips. She wouldn't let herself cry. No, the abomination couldn't have the satisfaction. Instead, she sunk her head into her elbows in a rather pathetic fashion, airing her 'tainted' forearms as if they were burnt. "In total depravity you'll find your true soul... In total depravity you'll find your true soul... akhh... I won't... be... In total depravity you'll... find your true... soul..."
11-09-2011, 10:28 AM
"Not part of my flock?" The Tyrant made a tsking sound and shook his head, as if correcting a small child. "You know not what manner of spirit you are of."
The Tyrant took the somewhat spherical flask containing the Homunculus in his hands and began to examine and hold it aloft while speaking. "You lot are like the little fellow in the flask here. You are trapped in a flask and know and see little of the world. What you hear is twisted, distorted by the echoing walls of the flask. Unlike the Homunculus, however, you do not all yearn to be free of your flask, which is of your own making."
"I am the Tyrant." He said proudly as he placed the Homunculus back on the table. "What I want is to help you become the people you are meant to be. He is the will and the way and He has a plan for everyone and everything."
"Before the Law," immediately several circular rows of Adamantine Golems formed from the blood, and proceeded to prostrate themselves before the Tyrant's throne, "even the mountains bow down."
11-13-2011, 04:32 PM
"We don't need your 'help', we have the Saint to guide us..." Rosaline's voice trailed off at the end. There didn't seem to be much hope in talking.
11-18-2011, 01:39 PM
Immediately two massive columns of the blood-like liquid erupted upwards before shifting and solidifying into the form of a grand statue of Asmodeus with the Saint prostrate and bowing before him, wrought in adamantine, ruby, and gold.
"Before the Law," the Tyrant began happily, "even the gods bow down."
"Kneel." As the Tyrant rose, the group found themselves unable to resist his command, their bodies instantly complying with his instructions no matter how much they tried to fight it. He approached the group, once more walking upon the surface of the blood. Crouching down besides Rosaline he placed a hand on her shoulder, his voice somehow even more paternal now. "Please, my child, tell me what 'cultists' you are looking for, so that I may help you. It would be my pleasure."
11-18-2011, 10:35 PM
Rosaline had trouble remembering the name for a moment. "They're... the... Festival of Hope?"
11-30-2011, 09:56 PM
"Ah, yes, the Carnival of Hope." the Tyrant said. "Quite a nasty bunch of degenerates. I am sure you shall see to it that they get exactly what they deserve."
The tyrant paused for a moment, as though in thought. "I wonder, however, if you shall be thorough enough to see their benefactor brought to justice? The tomes and reagents needed to summon foul Demons into this world are not simple or cheap to come by. The Carnival of Hope is a disparate lot, but few of them have any real intelligence or wealth."
12-03-2011, 01:25 PM
This guy just wouldn't cut to the chase. "If its not you, who is it?"
12-04-2011, 06:17 PM
"Saint, girl," said Ramirez, savouring the diabolic energy coursing through him, "have you never heard of the expression 'know thy enemy'?"
12-14-2011, 05:43 PM
The Tyrant turned to Ramirez. "Tell me, my son, do you know where you are right now?"
12-14-2011, 06:31 PM
"I have to say, I really do have no idea. All I can tell is that the Saint finds it offensive and would be gladdened to see it destroyed. Not that there seems to be the remotest chance of our little group succeeding in that regard. If you feel so inclined as to share that information, though, we're quite at your disposal to do with as you wish."
12-14-2011, 06:38 PM
The mask formed a smile. "We are at the heart of the church, and I use the word 'heart' in more senses than you will understand or know. it is here of course, that all the important decisions are made." The Tyrant proceeded to sit upon his throne once more, taking the homunculus back in hands and examining it absent-mindedly. "The vicar's very chambers are above us. Many, many feet above us, but directly above us all the same. As below, so above."
"This particular structure is a very old one. I remember when it was still so small and new. In many ways the city grew around it. As, of course, did the church. This place serves many purposes, among them, as you have seen, is the production of my children."
"The blood is the life."
12-29-2011, 08:27 PM
"Apparently so. But what were you saying about the Carnival of Hope? After all, you're not our target, really, are you? Not at the present, anyhow. You called their product 'foul demons'. So they are. I take it then, that we'd be rendering you a service in destroying them, even as we served the Saint. I don't like to ingratiate both you and the Saint, but if that's what's required to destroy the depraved, so be it."
Of course they'd be doing the Law a service by destroying demons. It would take - why - a Cuthbertine level of ignorance not to know that the Horned Society despised demons almost as much as the Church.
02-04-2012, 12:29 AM
After the longest of pauses, Oreil finally braved submerging her hands back into the blood in order to right herself. The feeling of disgust was so cutting that she both writhed in her own skin, and found her earlier burning confidence now completely absent.
"...to destroy... the depraved..." She whispered the words back to herself, head fixed down ward in shame. "...Saint, please strike me down... I can't even touch him..."
Weapon sloshing uselessly through the red mess at her feet, not even looking at her target now, Oriel began to simply drag herself towards the Tyrant again. It was like watching a person knowingly about to walk from the peak of a cliff... The infrastructure of faith, the very validity of the priests of the Cuthbertine faith didn't apply at all. What mattered was the theology she lived by. The theology she had given up everything to pursue. The ideals that she wasn't going to instantly drop, just because they were too damn weak to keep fighting.
"...I'll... I'll never stop... our failure can't b-be... unpunished... not like this..."
02-14-2012, 10:28 AM
The Tyrant's mask remained impassive. "We serve the same master. All who live do, Ramirez. There are, in this world, two sorts of people; those who serve the Law knowingly and willingly, and those who do so in ignorance. Blessed are the former, for they shall find glory within the Kingdom."
The mask twisted into a smile. "As below, so above. I am the Tyrant, the executor of His will and the shepherd of His flock. You have each spent the entirety of your lives rendering service unto me, and you shall continue to do so until you die and, quite possibly, beyond that point as well. Gloria, gloria, alleluia."
Mask scowling, now, the Tyrant turned his head towards Theresa. "Honestly, young lady, you are beautiful and, assuming you live long enough, may one day become a duchess. You ought to learn some manners." Without a word or a motion, Theresa was released from her bindings and fell to her hands and knees, coughing and gasping and growling some very unSaintly things under her breath. Smiling, now, the Tyrant rose and spread his arms. "If there is nothing else, my friends, you should be on your way. This has been a most enjoyable conversation, and I would offer you life everlasting, but I know that you would not accept my gracious gift. In lieu of the life eternal, I offer you instead a bit of advice; the Carnival has friends in high places, and if you wish to do your job well, and to please your apparent masters, I suggest you weed him out and bring him to answer for his crimes."
The Tyrant had not seen fit to acknowledge Oreil the entire time, although as she moved through the liquid, she suddenly found it solidifying into adamantine about her feet. Evidently she wasn't worth yelling at.
03-14-2012, 10:48 PM
Struggling against the sudden resistance at her feet, Oriel's teeth began to chatter with utter frustration and rage. Through her drive had wained for a moment, simply being forced to listen to this -thing- continue to mock them made her heart convulse with self-hatred. A hatred towards this inhuman shape. A hatred towards every little ounce of dirty sin that clung to the lot of them... She would have thrown her sword at the Tyrant and left herself defenseless, if it were not, with the ultimate irony, chained to her wrists.
"...Blessed?... A shepard?" She scowled, baring her teeth again now. Perhaps it was childish or reckless for the other's sakes, but if yelling was all she could do, by the Saint, Oreil was going to do it. "If you pick up a weapon, and think you deserve any more than death, I'll kill you! I run you right through, you hear? We are all sinners here, and the saint will give us what we deserve, for certain. Every damn one of us. What useless servant would only follow a master under the promise of everlasting life? I spit on the idea, and I spit on every one of your foul mindless charges!"
03-19-2012, 09:58 PM
The mask smiled. "Lady Gaudet, where does the Saint send sinners to be punished? To whom does your precious god entrust their deserved torment?"
The smiled widened.
"Punishment was His creation. Retribution is the basis of all law. As below, so above and beyond."
The Tyrant rose and stretched his arms wide. "The Day of Judgment is coming, the time of the Kingdom is nigh. Everyone shall get exactly what they deserve. This He has shewn me, this He has promised me."
"For the Law exalts those who exalt themselves. Gloria, gloria, alleluia."
03-20-2012, 08:43 PM
Was... -it- trying to say the great enemy had become the ultimate sinner by choice?... Oreil scoffed at the comments audiably, but couldn't find a rebuke. Surely, the masked thing was filled with falsehood, but...
What kind of hypocrite would she be, if these poor fools were also unknowingly under the guidence of the Saint? Was there a differance between a person who commits sin in his name knowingly or unknowingly? Was there a differance between those who kill or die in his name? He was the Saint. He knew the value of men. And like she said, they were all sinners on differant levels.
"...Judgement?... Those who exalt themselves?..." The words mulled in her mouth, and caused her to sternly glance back toward her team mates. Some of them seemed so close to doing just that without the monster's help.
A vindictive realisation gleamed, and her head shot back to the opponent with zeal.
"...For a creature that accepts no judgement yourself, those are twisted words. But possibily not even as false as you conceive." Her blade slammed into the solidified crimson floor, and imbedded itself upright. Her voice was ultimately hoarse, bitter and spiteful. "I will massacre the carnival of which you speak... because I destroy sources of sin in his name. His name. When he decides that it is your time, or mine, I will meet that moment with a happiness like no other."
04-04-2012, 09:53 PM
"You will do His will because you have no choice in the matter." The Tyrant said with an audible smile. "Before the Law, even the ignorant bow down."
Then Delilah was there, behind the group. They hadn't heard her approach. "Delilah shall escort you out and point you back on track. The Law be with you."
Delilah said nothing on the way out, simply humming happily to herself. Theresa, like the rest of the group, also said nothing. When they had left the Horned Society's lair, Delilah explained to Theresa where to go to find herself back on the map. Theresa led the group along in silence for a while before feeling secure enough to talk.
"...Is-is everyone okay? Shit..."
04-04-2012, 11:15 PM
Oreil was looking pretty humiliated, having redressed herself in full shawl and harbouring her weapon meekly. At least if they had come back with injuries it would have look like they put up a fight, at least...
"...Perfectly fine... My lady." The sweet, soft tone had returned in earnest, despite her upset expression. The weirdest thing was the fact that the tall woman's voice had gone back to being totally devoid of judgement, too. "If you are laboured I would be honoured to carry your equipment. That goes for anyone."
04-04-2012, 11:49 PM
Theresa continued along quietly for a moment before stopping to punch Oriel in the head. "Stop kissing ass and hold the damn torch straight!"
04-05-2012, 12:14 AM
She didn't dodge.
"Sorry, Theresa maam. T'wont happun again." Oriel slurred through a swollen cheek.
...Alrough she did seem to be in a better mood now, suddenly.
04-05-2012, 01:03 AM
"So, are we going after the cultists still?" Rosaline was pretty on edge.
04-05-2012, 02:31 AM
Theresa rolled her eyes and sighed. "Saint but you're as stupid as Oreil. Yes. We have a job to do. First of all, I'm not in the business of disobeying orders, second I'm not in the business of not punching in the faces of sinners," Theresa smiled happily at the thought, "and third I'm definitely not in the business of decided that I'm a scared little coward who's going to abandon her job because she ran into some servants of the Enemy. If you want to crying back like a little bitch, go ahead. I'm sure Inquisitor Guidonis will understand."
She rolled her eyes again and continued on.
04-06-2012, 02:59 PM
Oliva kept her mouth shut and head down, that whole ordeal was pretty soul crushing.
04-07-2012, 08:25 PM
After Oriel's ordeal, Ramirez stayed uncharacteristically quiet, even if the corner of his mouth was twitching involuntarily. A familiar feeling had gradually bubbled into his mind, starting with the Tyrant's arrest of Theresa, intensifying as he watched Oriel struggle toward him, and consuming him when Theresa punched the flagellant. Amusement.
"Brighten up!" he said to the most miserable-looking member of the group, Oliva, "Most people join the Crusaders in order to survive brushes with certain death. Why, when I was in my first year with them, I..." he continued, telling an amusing, lengthy, and largely false anecdote about a mission with Clemence 'Bug-Eye' Garcoine, the near-blind Witch-Hunter.
04-21-2012, 06:12 PM
Oliva ignored the guys story, she really wasn't the mood.
04-21-2012, 07:03 PM
Theresa was quiet as they continued along, before finally speaking up again. "We have to tell Inquisitor Guidonis, obviously." She stated simply. "But I don't know that we can trust the Novices with her. Or the Sister with the cow-tits." Theresa didn't try to hide her jealousy, even if she was at least as stacked as Maryse was. "When we finish this job, and we're back on the surface, we'll tell her."
After about 8 more minutes of trudging through filth, corpses, and corpses-that-tried-to-eat-them the group eventually made it to meeting point. Judging by the fact Laure didn't yell at them, the Tyrant had kept his word and delayed her enough that the group wasn't late.
The rendezvous point was in one of the areas of the undercity that comfortably fell into one type of environment, in this case the catacombs. It was nice to not be standing in ankle or knee high sewage anymore. Of course, the ghostly whispering and moaning, the bones in the walls, and the catacombness of the catacombs were equally unpleasant in their own ways.
Laure's group was missing one of the Novices, but otherwise they looked no worse for the wear from their trip. "The heretics lurk in the tunnels ahead." The gorgeous Inquisitor said with her usual flatness. "Ramirez, you will go ahead as far as you can, disable any traps you come across, and note how many heretics you see. You will not engage any of them, and you will not be detected. Then you will come back, inform us, and we shall cleanse these tombs of the heretic filth. If you fail and run into trouble, you will call for help. I do not want a single of these apostates escaping, am I clear?"
The look on her face made it clear that she wanted no response. "And none of your heretic magics either, Assassin. It is better to struggle and suffer in this life than in the next."
Fortunately for Ramirez, she still didn't seem to want a response. And it's not like she would know, right?
04-28-2012, 08:26 AM
"Yes Ma'am. Right away, Ma'am." Three bags full Ma'am. The scowl on Laure's face was so mask-like (http://www.greekshops.com/images//EA_MM21.jpg) and devoid of humanity that she looked like the Tyrant's Cuthbertine wife. Never one to argue with psychotic uptight extremists Ramirez did as she said. At the first bend in the tunnels he tapped his ring and carried on through the catacombs. He was little more than quiet footsteps and a faint muttering about 'insane order fetishists' as he scanned his environs for traps or heretics or chums.
Move Silently: 1d20+23=37 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3492572/)
Search (Trapfinding): 1d20+16=30 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3492574/)
05-01-2012, 10:34 AM
Ramirez didn't find any traps as he crept along ahead, although he could tell from the relatively tiny amount of dust and cobwebs that there had been recent human activity.
Finally he reached a well-lit large hall in the catacombs, presumably once the altar or resting place for a notable bishop, royal, or high ranking noble. The room was lined with skeletal remains, and the ornate chandeliers which hung from the ceiling were similarly constructed.
The room was full of people. Ramirez counted about 25. Mostly younger men and women, although there were few older women as well. There were also babies, clearly Tieflings or Half-Demons by the looks of them, being cradled and tended to by their mothers.
The cultists were drinking, laughing, juggling, fucking, and generally making merry. Given the supernatural beauty and tiny clothing of a handful of the ones engaged in intercourse, Ramirez surmised a few were Incubi/Succubi. There were also a few Incubi - clearly so - dressed as harlequins and juggling what appeared to be skulls and human hearts, while others played music. Six to eight - they moved pretty fast - Quasit were also running about, humping at peoples legs, stealing drinks, and generally making nuisances of themselves.
No obvious traps. Ramirez counted, in total, 25 cultists, 3-5 of which were certainly Incubi/Succubi in human form, 3 harlequin Incubi, and 6-8 Quasits.
05-04-2012, 04:56 PM
Ramirez headed back down the corridor and joined the rest of the group, ensuring he became visible when out of Laure's sight.
"There's a whole tribe of heretics down there, with a brood of demons and their spawn. Spot of good luck with the heretics, though: it doesn't look like any of them are properly armed. Six to eight lust demons, the same amount of tiny demons, and around twenty humans. They oughtn't be any trouble for a half-competent party."
05-28-2012, 04:42 PM
Laure nodded. "Ramirez, Olivia, and Theresa; you shall deliver the Saint's justice unto the heretics. No one escapes." Theresa's face seemed to almost light up at the orders. She really enjoyed her work. "Vivien and Maryse, you shall tend to our wounds. The rest of you are with me, and we shall deliver His justice unto the Demons. Prioritize your targets - I do not want a single heretic or Fiend escaping their deserved punishment. His will be done."
"I take it there are no questions?" The group got the impression that Laure was asking as a formality and not out of genuine interest. Still, better speak up and upset her now, than wait and upset her later.
07-06-2012, 12:04 AM
Bad posters don't get to have nice things.
This is a bit shittier than I had hoped and rushed but I want F again.
The battle was relatively quick and simple - who would have thought unarmed, untrained, civilians taken by surprise would be little match for armed and well trained soldiers?
Unsurprisingly, the Incubi and Succubi seemed to focus their efforts on Laure and Theresa, although they didn't manage to do much harm. Laure was a firm believer in fire curing all follies - both literally and metaphorically.
Theresa seemed to really enjoy her work, as her yells suggested, although she got really tired since she was breathing heavy and sweating a lot.
Ramirez, of course, knew better. Monsters have a tendency to be good at recognizing their own kind. She probably wasn't Horned Society, but she was definitely nuts. Probably great in bed, too. Praise the Saint! Deus vult!
When the fight was over the heretics and their abyssal masters were dead - many burned by Laure's fires (many of the Cuthbertines were used to the smell of charred corpses, but Maryse and Vivien still seemed uncomfortable. None of the group was that hurt, besides Oriel, although Theresa was still out of breath (but in a very good mood) and Laure had her dress shreded by an Incubus' claws and was now wearing Olivia's tabard which, much to Ramirez' pleasure, did not do much for the Inquisitor's modesty.
Their work was not done, though.
There was still the matter of the babies.
In a room to the side of the cultist's lair was a nursery with various infants. Most were visibly Half-Demons or Tieflings, but a few appeared completely outwardly Human.
Laure ordered them killed. Vivien refused. The summary execution, at least, was quick. Theresa held him, while Laure cut his throat. "Ramirez, kill the abominations."
Maryse seemed pretty shaken up by it all, and looked away, clearly trying not to cry. Theresa still hadn't come down from her high and seemed unphased. And Ramirez was probably looking forward to it.
07-06-2012, 12:57 AM
Oriel looked ill. Her eyes were heavy, and her lips hung just a hint of agape as she let out a periodic series of pained gasps. It could have been the newly-formed slash bleeding out from her upper right arm, but she was also paying quite a bit of attention to Laure now... far too much. The lackluster change of clothes, the way the woman held the blade as she ended her comrade's life, everything...
It didn't last long. With a crooked gait, she quickly hobbled back over to the unholy camp's gathered cauldrons and supplies. They made easy targets for her blade, even when it was thrashed around awkwardly with one-hand. The movements were just as fierce as when she had attacked the carnival members themselves, through it was now missing the hollered firebrand oratory. All that seemed to be left was irate, monstrous frustration, and a desire to rid herself of all self-consciousness by squeezing out every last ounce of malignant energy she could.
08-14-2012, 03:57 PM
Vivien's death was disappointing. He had been a most interesting subject for Ramirez, and his death halted any further opportunities to discover his limits. Ramirez had keyed him as naive, but not so idiotic as to disobey a screaming lunatic like Laure. A spirit of obedience at least ought to have prevented him from acting too freely on impulse.
The first infant didn't suspect anything. Ramirez picked it up and cradled it in his arms, tickled it under its chin until it started to chortle, then threw it onto the floor with some force. Ramirez heard an audible squish, but the baby still kicked limply and made subdued little whimpers. He bent down, drew his shortsword, and cut its throat. Well, one must have some mercy, even to the tainted and corrupt. He dipped the fingers of his free hand into the child's blood, and waggled his fingers inside the gaping wound until they were sticky with blood and a thick gore. The little thing's head flopped about, and made it look somewhat like a ventriloquist's puppet: had Ramirez had his way, he would have attempted to discover how far this resemblance went.
A soft crying emanated from the nearest cot. One of the children had awoken, no doubt, in the previous violence. Its squealing grew gradually louder, and was joined by other voices, until the nursery was filled with incessant squealing. Ramirez considered casting a spell to subdue the noise, but reflected that this would be unlikely to draw approbation from the fanatics in the group. Instead he soldiered on, daubed the chest of the first crying infant with a Cuthbertine cross in the blood of its dead kin, and cut its throat. He repeated the process at each cot, replenishing his blood supply when it ran low. As he came to the last infant, he considered whether to keep its slightly-horned skull as a memento. It would be an impressive candle-holder, and if it bored him he could sell it to a collector of such curiosities. He suspected, however, that this would also fail to endear himself to any of the members of the group. Really, it was shocking how little aesthetic sense they had.
Turning back to the group, he smiled expansively at them. "There. Saint be praised."
08-14-2012, 05:53 PM
Maryse was crying now. If she was making any attempt to hide her tears or still her sobbing, they were not up to the task.
Laure seemed satisfied. The Saint's work was done, the heretics and their abominations were slain. Perhaps she had been overzealous, though. There were, after all, no survivors to question. Wordlessly, she began rummaging through the belongings of the dead, carefully examining books and objects. Some she smashed, some she burned, some she smashed and then burned, but some - papers mostly - she kept, handing them over to her acolytes without comment. Evidence, presumably. Ramirez had seen some of the grimoires and magical foci the cult was using - they seemed quite expensive. Some, presumably, had been brought from the Abyss by the Demons, but still the suggestion was clear - someone with more means than the rabble they had just slaughtered had enabled all this.
08-14-2012, 06:06 PM
Ramirez wiped his sword off on one of the cots' sheets, sheathed it, and wandered over to Maryse. He put one hand on her forearm, near her shoulder, and said, in a soft voice: "It's awful to see, I know, but enemies of the Saint take many guises..."
08-14-2012, 09:37 PM
Oriel had finished her spree of vandalism and simply found a place to sit on the overhanging struts now, as if trying to separate the group from her own macabre attitude. There seemed to be so little here that could be justified as 'holy'. So much so that it really made her feel quite pitiful for all of those concerned.
Part of her wanted to climb down and console Maryse. She could image it in her head, through rose-tinted glass; Taking the sobbing woman's face into her grasp, and harshly slapping Ramirez for his lack of subtlety. The action would have felt good.
But Ramirez was correct. More than he knew.
They were all the enemies of the Saint, to some degree, and the suffering here had simply been an acknowledgement of that. What could they do that would effect him now, perched in his unseen realm? What could such weak, powerless beings as them hope to achieve without the faintest slither of divinity remaining in their veins? All they could do was thin out the corruption in their own crude, murderous manner, and beg for forgiveness for their inadequacy once the deal was done.
"How disgraceful." She made a hollow rasping whisper through parched lips, eyes still gazing down upon Maryse and Ramirez as she said it. "May He forgive us all."
08-26-2012, 08:25 PM
Maryse initially shoved Ramirez away, but then took to crying on his shoulder, for want of any other nearby shoulders on which to cry. "They were just babies." She sobbed. "Just little babies."
"Get down from there!" Theresa yelled at Oriel, pelting her with a shoe taken off a nearby corpse. "Dumbass." She muttered.
The trip back to the surface was done largely in silence (save for Maryse's occasional sobs), after Laure had finished burning the bodies, Vivien's and infants' included. Upon reaching fresh air and sunlight once more, she took her leave, several papers and books from the sewer. Maryse, shuffled off as well, leaving Theresa alone with the rest of the group. She led them into an isolated alleyway, her voice hushed and quiet.
"I think we can trust Laure." She said, uncertain. "I mean... we have to tell someone, right? What we saw? It's... it's important... I think we should tell her?"
08-27-2012, 11:41 AM
Whilst Laure was still busy incinerating the corpses of their enemies, Oriel took it upon herself to take the others aside and serve them others hot tea and scones. She even silently served Ramirez, despite how agitated she clearly still was. Laure's mug was left full but untouched on the side... Fantastic they were not, and Saint knows where she actually got them, but it beat hanging around to smell the charred cadavers.
Back on the surface, Oriel seemed vaguely to agree with Theresa's idea. "Well now that her followers are gone, we can at least inform her of the creature we encountered without interruption. I think it's a good idea, Lady Noireaux, for sure."
09-02-2012, 09:58 AM
Ramirez narrowed his eyes for a brief moment, then smiled at Theresa like a wolf.
"Of course we should tell her," he purred, "that is our duty, after all. It would only be correct to do so, despite the difficulties that might arise..."
He made eye contact with Theresa, and let the words sink in.
09-02-2012, 01:48 PM
"I agree, but I think we should tell Helena too. We still work under her."
09-02-2012, 02:10 PM
Theresa looked suspicious. "Are you sure she can be trusted? I mean, that... thing... those tunnels..." She gave a bit of a shudder. "I'm just saying we don't know how high or far this thing goes."
09-05-2012, 06:19 PM
Again, Oriel found herself agreeing whole-heartedly with Ramirez. Perhaps she had him pegged wrong, despite his harshly-worded and uncouth nature...
The doe-faced Olivia's unexpectedly devout stance was noted, too, but it wasn't quite the same thing. She could tell that the rather clean-cut and robust woman was performing her duty as it had been ordained. With Ramirez, on the other hand, Oriel couldn't help wondering if the man actually enjoyed bloodshed, or if he seen his upbeat manner as part of his duties in itself.
"They are right. Fear is no excuse for obscuring the truth." The woman held the emblem on her necklace and overted her eyes as she said it, as if tremendously worried that Theresa would think she was trying to give her orders. Not that anybody would confuse her utterly sincere voice for arrogance, but the principle stood. "N-not that I would ever accuse you of c-cowardice, L-Lady Noireaux... only..."
Being slightly taller than Theresa, as much as she tried to humbily duck her head, was not perticularly helpful.
09-07-2012, 12:41 AM
"I'm not a coward and I don't need your passive-aggressiveness patronizing!" Theresa shouted at Oriel, giving her another punch to the side of the head. She took a moment to collect herself before sighing. "Fine. Ramirez, you tell Lady Amalric. Oriel, you go tell Inquisitor Guidonis. I'm going to take a bath. I smell like shit. And so do you. I suggest you go wash up, Oriel. You still remember what that is, right? A bath?"
09-07-2012, 12:53 PM
"-S-sorry Lady Noireaux-I d-I will!" Oriel scrambled to answer all of the questions at once, lowering her head repeatedly and diligently, as might a house servant rather than a battle hardened war veteran.
Truth was, she would have volunteered to go and see Lady Guidonis anyway if asked. The woman had such a selfless, shamelessly firebrand attitude that Oriel had rather come to respect her over the course of the last few days. Theresa wallowed in her sins and used them for good, but Laure was far beyond considering herself redeemable. It seemed that she did what she did purely for the Saint's will, and that sort of brutal honesty to one's nature was something that Oriel found both terrifying and noble in equal measure.
First, she really would have to get a bath, first, through. Her bare feet were a state by now. Perhaps there was a local church with one, or she could borrow some sin from one of the others by using a bath from one of their inn rooms? At least, that way, Laure had the perfect excuse to cut her head off and everything if she wanted to... No, but wait, wouldn't she just be all messy again, then?...
The woman put a hand to her mouth in a failed attempt to contain a spree of giggles. It came completely out of the blue for the others, but from the look in her eyes it was safe to say she was laughing about something perticularly twisted.
09-07-2012, 08:41 PM
Ramirez raised an eyebrow at Oriel's outburst, and began to raise his hands before remembering himself. The flagellent was probably sane enough by the standards of the Church. He did wonder whether Theresa's punching was really necessary; the last thing he would choose to do to a lunatic self-harmer would be give them further brain damage. They'd savour the pain, then one day they'd decide to stab you in the stomach and watch you bleed out.
He bowed his head to Theresa. "I do believe I'll have a bath too. This filth cakes my body just as sin," here he glanced at Oriel, "cakes all of us."
"And Saint," he added, chortling, "it reeks like sin as well."
As he was about to leave the alleyway, he turned back to face Oriel. "Lady Almaric will be hearing of my shortcomings," he said, "and I would urge you to confess your sins, too. I will not leave out the slightest detail if it serves to further give the measure of my unworthiness."
Then he was gone. Bastard.
09-07-2012, 10:15 PM
As the others slowly scattered, Oriel followed Ramirez just out of his peripheral vision, now a bizarrely giddy phantom due to her current strange mood.
"Quite noble, mister Aquila." She smiled, warmly and toothily. The flagellant didn't dare touch him, but apparently was feeling rather more connected to the robust man than she had before. "I agree utterly. We are most indeed... Cakes!"
Again, she laughed to herself, through in this scenario she apparently thought Ramirez was in on it. Perhaps she figured cakes were also a sin?
Either way, she seemed to appreciate not having to duck down for once, seeing as they were the same height, through Ramirez was still a half a body greater in span. That did make it a whole lot easier to stay within her comfort zone, within his shadow. It was also possible that she was more comfortable with him because he was more clearly rank and file than the others were. Or maybe because he was male? Now that he had made the commitment of talking dogma with her, any number of reasons were possible, really.
"I do advise, however, that presuming your own sins to be important to others can appear self-absorbed... Not that I would accuse you of such vice. But we are not as we exist in our own minds, after all." A misplaced amused sigh. "I find pain preferable to confession, simply because confession assumes the other party would take interest in your vanity. Which is a sin aswell, see?"
A short pause.
"...Would you... perhaps like to deride some of your sin by offering a strange homeless woman a bathtub?"
Ah, so there was a particular reason why she was being so pleasant with him, after all.
09-13-2012, 01:40 PM
"You're quite welcome to use the bath at my inn room," said Ramirez, "though it's woefully inadequate, like the rest of the place."
As they walked to the inn, he noticed that Oriel was trailing behind him. "Saint, can you stop doing that? I keep thinking you're going to tread on my heels."
09-13-2012, 05:43 PM
Oriel seemed to take a step back, overt her eyes and bow slightly every time Ramirez attempted eye contact. Doubtless she knew that it only added to his aggrivation, but the subtle smile on her face suggested she was going to keep on doing it anyway. It was almost preferable to talk to her in her psychotic battle-ready state. At least then she wasn't moving around as silently as possible...
"Why thank you, mister Aquila, sir! It will be far in excess of the accomidation I'm used to, for cetain!" She put her clenched hands to her face and gave off a beaming glance. "You are a bright and honourable man after all, sir! I must admit that after your stalward show of religious duty, I was not sure about the quality of your soul, -But it is clear to me now, -indeed -and... and... erm, I am in your reasonable debt!"
Her bare feet and knees were still covered in a combination of sewer grime, real blood, and that viscous red faux-blood from the monster's layer, so the elation in her voice was pretty understandable.
"...Lady Guidonis should not be kept waiting about this information... however... perhaps..." She added, before quickly backing away. "...But, I can find you, mister Aquila sir... Don't worry..."
The word was sent out to Laure as quickly and descretely as Oriel could manage. She chose a small peasant chapel within which to hold the meeting, one that was considerably older, more primative and more confined that the ussual for Lareaux's fanatical breed of upper-class architects.
It did seem like a decent time to pray...
09-14-2012, 12:09 AM
Laure arrived about half an hour after Oriel had expected her to. No doubt intentional. Maybe it was a test of Oriel's faith. Or maybe the Inquisitor was double and triple-checking that it wasn't some manner of trap. Or any number of other reasons. It was not Oriel's place to question the ways of the Inquisition. They were the eyes and ears - and hands - of the Saint himself protecting the faithful from the disease of heresy and the threat of witchcraft.
"You sent for me." Stated Laure flatly, her monotone voice betraying not the sort of disinterested disapproval of Helena's monotone, but rather a sort of judgmental paranoia. The Witch Hunter was wearing a new outfit (http://i.imgur.com/q9fD2.jpg), not surprisingly given that the last one was rendered a fine confetti by the claws of the Succubi, one which, to Oriel's sinful pleasure, left a considerable amount of Laure's ample chest on display. "If you have called me here to personally confess your sins, then I sincerely hope that they are dire indeed that you would take my time rather than another's. It is, Oriel, a sin to waste the time the Saint has given us on frivolous matters."
09-14-2012, 01:16 AM
"O-of course not, Lady Inquisitor Guidonis..." Oriel was a little caught off guard by Laure's outfit, her hazy blue eyes letting off more than a slight note of inappropriate fondness. The fanatic was clothed the opposite way; Now bearing more modest loose-fitting trousers, and small spiked chains threaded into the back of her hair as a noble woman might with frilled ribbons. "..That would be a... t-terrible vanity... for certain!"
She cupped her hands before her face and bowed rapidly as she spoke, but then paused and seemed to freeze in place whilst trying to think about how to break the news to the inquisitor. Wasting her time felt utterly wrong. She knew the holy woman had more important things to be doing.
"In... t-the catacombs... when the paths forked... we encountered something that we did not inform you about. It's... It's unforgivable..." The flagellant sounded honestly pained under the still all-too-fresh memories of being rendered powerless and humiliated in front of the others, and was hunkered down onto one knee, as if personally asking Laure absolution for failing so utterly. "We saw a man... monster... thing. Called himself the Tyrant. Said he was the leader of the horned society... In a red robe, with a mask. The place was lined with s-strange tubes... and small, unholy infant-things in flasks... fake blood that could be manipulated by his f-foul magic... he defeated all of us, soundly. Even Lady Noireaux... and... and he knew absolutely everything about us... and..."
"He told us about the carnival. Told us to wipe them out. He also said that they had a friend in a very high place, back here amongst us... It makes me feel utterly sick to be carrying out his wishes, but he specifically wanted to inform you that such a man existed, but not who or where..."
"I'm truly, truly sorry for all of this, Lady Inquisitor Guidonis. But there was no telling who we could trust... Any punishment you s-see fit to a-administer is... undoubtedly deserved..."
09-15-2012, 12:06 AM
In an instant Laure had grabbed Oriel painfully by her hair, slammed her face hard into a pillar, and then shoved the girl's back up against it, pinning her wrists over her head with one mailed hand and the other holding a small knife to Oriel's neck. Laure wasn't nearly as as strong, as Theresa was, but given that Oriel was, if anything, helping her along rather than resisting, she still managed to pull off the maneuver with ease.
"The Tyrant?!" She barked, pressing the dagger-like heel of one of her boots pressing against Oriel's bare foot. "Did he say anything else?! You're not lying to me, are you?!" She pressed both blades closer, drawing blood in each case.
09-15-2012, 01:08 AM
"... No... No, that was... all he said!..." Oriel gagged and writhed reflexively, only able to avoid screeching due to her formidable pain tollerance. She closed her eyes. The instinctive panic of a trapped animal was raging inside of her gut, and blood pounded around her system so heavily she could feel it in her fingertips. "I would never lie to you, L-Lady Inquisitor G-Guidonis!"
Resisting was suicide, she knew that. It wasn't a show of faith.
Through the blood draining from her nose, however, her face did seem rather too red overall. It was accompanied by, of all things, an expression of great disgust or perhaps betrayal.
09-19-2012, 06:45 PM
It had taken them almost half an hour to prepare the water for his bath. Ramirez was disappointed. While he wasn't staying at the most expensive inn in Lareaux, it was hardly as though it had rats crawling up the walls, so by the nine hells, couldn't they just keep the water warm?
Never mind. It wasn't important. All that really mattered was that he had a small meal, a comfortable room, and a glass of wine.
The wine was dark red, and apparently the best the inn had in stock. It was mediocre, too acrid, too metallic to be any more than a second-rate imitation of actual quality. It reminded Ramirez of the mission, and more specifically of killing the infants. That hadn't been anything more than a second-rate imitation of murder. They were barely conscious, little more than animals, and as such exceptionally dull to slaughter. Would a baby fall to its knees and beg? Would its eyes widen as death revealed herself to it in her true, horrible form? Was a baby's life worth anything? No. It had no life, and few ties. Who would a child's death affect? Only the parents and immediate family, really. Children had nothing to lose. It had been a series of senseless killings, without aesthetic appeal, and the only enjoyment he'd derived from it was the vague irony of painting them with the Cuthbertine mark. And such fanaticism, killing children for being born to demonic parents! Demons - and Tieflings - were capricious and unruly, but keeping them alive would serve more use than murdering them. The Church was lunacy incarnate.
With this last thought in mind, he dried himself, got dressed into clean clothes, and headed off to report to Helena.
09-19-2012, 07:20 PM
Laure continued to hold Oriel against the pillar for several minutes, reading her facial expression and body language. The woman's stare was terrifying - she could see Oriel's sin, she knew it. She could feel the Witch Hunter's gaze.
Finally, after several terrifying moments, Laure relaxed and released Oriel. "I think you are telling the truth." She said coldly. "And," she went on, "if you are not, it will come out soon enough. Sin begets punishment as surely as the sun rises each morning. It is the way of the world." She said solemnly and confidently before turning and starting to leave. "There is much work to be done, and I must inform my superiors. I would suggest you not leave the city."
She paused and turned her head to give Oriel a Look. "I would also suggest you consider where your eyes wander, and what thoughts you have. To the eyes of the saint, the content of one's mind are no more private than the contents of an open field. If you cannot control your urges, I remind you that it is better to be blind than a sinner."
Helena met with Ramirez in an office that had been set aside for her in one of the larger cathedrals of the city. She was, after all, a Very Important Person. Although one who knew her might debate exactly how much a sociopath like her was deserving of being called a person.
Helena was wearing a simple black outfit, modest but not modest enough to hide her attractive figure. She had been doing paperwork before Ramirez entered, and for several moments after, before she responded. "Mr. Aquila, if this is about Mr. Bellerose, I do not believe I am the best person for you to speak with." She said in her usual monotone. "I know several priests who have helped my men in the past and I am certain they would be happy to aid you with your troubles." She finally looked up from her desk. "Or is this about something else?"
09-23-2012, 07:08 PM
"While Mr. Bellerose's death was certainly-" he paused for an instant, unable to think of any words besides pointless, "-unfortunate, and he will be missed, that's not why I came to speak to you."
He launched into an explanation of the chamber they'd found underneath the city. He took particular care to describe his sampling of the Tyrant's elixir as something he'd felt forced to do in order to protect the rest of the party, and spent a significant amount of time elaborating on the bravery of the other members of the party in attacking the leader of the Horned Society. His own behaviour was almost an afterthought in comparison. He completed his monologue with a brief summary of the information the Tyrant had given them, and the accusations he had made towards the Church.
09-23-2012, 07:29 PM
Helena listened in silence. It was hard to read her. Did the raised eyebrow now and then suggest surprise or accusation?
"The servants of the Enemy seek only to enslave and mislead, Aquila." She said with her usual flat coldness. "It is unwise to listen to them." Fortunately for him, she seemed to let that go after those words. "What about Inquisitor Guidonis? Have you informed her?" She paused for a moment, eyes closed in thought. "Can she be trusted, even? Do you trust her, Aquila?"
09-23-2012, 07:48 PM
"The flagellent-" he squinted into the distance, past Helena, "ah, Oriel, went to Lady Guidonis to inform her of these events. They ought have met by now. I'm unsure of their trustworthiness, but I have very little acquaintance with either of them."
"By the way, you seem troubled, Ma'am," he added. "Is something the matter?"
09-24-2012, 05:46 PM
"Mr. Aquila, you come to me to inform me that on a routine cleansing you and your associates came across the Tyrant of the Horned Society dwelling beneath our very feet in a labyrinthine lair wherein he was somehow creating a veritable legion of horrors and alleged that we are all unknowing agents of the Enemy." Helena gave him a Look. "Yes, Aquila, I am troubled and there is something the matter."
She let her look return to its normal look of 'glare' rather than 'holy shit you are dumb glare.' "The servants of the Enemy mislead, Aquila. It is what they do. I do not know what truth, if any, there was in what the Tyrant told you, but we cannot act on unknowns. All we can do is act on what we know, and on what we know to be necessary. We cannot be sure who is and is not an agent of the Enemy, and I think it is then prudent that this information be told only to those who can be trusted. I suspect that Inquisitor Guidonis may have already told her superiors, but it is the role of the Inquisition to handle such matters. Still, Aquila, we must be vigilant and steadfast. We all have our parts to play, and through determination, strength, and His favor, all things are possible."
11-30-2012, 08:44 PM
That night the group were each taken from their beds. The Inquisition had come for them. It was, of course, not unexpected. Besides, if you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to fear. The Inquisition was infallible. The Church said so. Where there is sin there is always punishment. If the punishment precedes the sin, then it serves only to prove the foresight of the Saint.
Due to the severity of the issues at hand; the Tyrant himself after all, there was a Grand Inquisitor on hand, one Rambert Ayres. Grand Inquisitor Ayres personally interrogated Maryse, Olivia, Oriel, Rosaline, and Theresa. He was very, very, very thorough in his search for brands and other physical signs of diabolic conspiracies.
Ramirez and Laure's acolytes were 'tended' to by High Inquisitor Isabella Cruz. Ramirez seemed to find a great deal of solace in the confessing of his sins, no doubt, as he left his cell with a rather big smile.
Saint be praised!
As none of them vanished never to be seen again, presumably the Inquisition had not found them wanting.
The group, with some changes, was summoned again. This time to meet with Inquisitor Guidonis, in the Witch Hunter's current office within the Cathédrale des Cloches. It was a spartan one, unsurprising, although it did have a lovely stained glass window depicting St. Marianne of Lareaux triumphing over the heathens.
Ramirez wasn't there. And neither was Rosaline. Instead the assembled group consisted of Olivia, Oriel, Theresa, and some new girl (http://i.imgur.com/LTikV.jpg), from Seville by the looks of her.
"Grand Crusader Amalric's business continues to detain her here within the city," Laure began, "but as idle hands are the Enemy's play-things, she has, in her wisdom, decided to lend your services to me in my continuing work." She'd worn another low-cut outfit, and Oriel couldn't help but notice that Laure's eyes were keeping an eye on her eyes.
"I believe there is a connection between the Carnival of Hope's acitivites and the actions of one or more apostates lurking within Castle Cresson. We shall be going to Loubard to investigate. I do not trust Ramirez's heathen magics, so he shall not be joining us. Sister Leveque is indisposed, and so Sister Alcon shall provide additional healing. I may solicit further aid prior to or after our arrival. We leave tonight."
12-14-2012, 01:11 AM
The flaggellent's eyes were darkened and spoke of days of missed sleep. She was not her normal accomidating self, there was no sense of a soft and unjudgemental aura at all. If anything, she was innovert, staring forwards for the sake of respect, but without a spirit behind the eyes.
"It is better to be blind than a sinner." Laure's words still repeated constantly in her mind. The memory of Inquisitor Ayres' touch made her want to loose several more senses than that.
Her heraldic besagew on her shoulder had the name changed from Oriel to Augustine, her middle name, alrough the rest of the plates remained intact. More immediately noticable, there was a simple modest red dress covering her body underneath. The whole change in manner made it like looking at a completely differant woman.
-And that did, perhaps, come across as exactly what she wanted.
"Orders received and understood, Lady Inquisitor Guidonis.”
01-23-2013, 07:51 PM
The party left on schedule. Like Helena, Laure was not one to abide impunctuality.
When the group met up with Laure the carriages were already waiting. One for her, and two for everyone else. There was a woman, a Sevillan knight from the looks of her, waiting by the carriages.
Laure was arguing with someone. A handsome man apparently early into his middle age, with shoulder-length graying blonde hair tied back in a somewhat loose ponytail and a neat chin curtain beard. He was talking loudly to her, clearly angry, nearly shouting. Laure, for her part, was apparently speaking with her usual grim monotone and could not be heard.
"For Arcadia's sake, witch hunter, they were babies!"
Whatever she said in response was apparently the last word on it she was willing to have, as she was already walking towards the carriages and the waiting group.
"I fear nothing, witch hunter, save the Law! Truth, moral or otherwise, will not be silenced by any torture!"
I wonder what that was all about?
The group arrived in Cresson at mid-day and were given lodgings in the castle - one guest room for Laure, of course, another for Lady Theresa, and accomodations in the barracks for everyone else.
The group was granted an audience within the throne room of Castle Cresson. It was a long and opulant marble hall, with stained glass windows along one side, each depicting various saints triumphing over heretics and heathens. At the far end of the room was seated Jeanne, Duchess of Loubard. She was an attractive black haired and green eyes woman in the beginnings of middle age, and conservatively dressed. Standing to her right was her daughter, Ambre, a young adult scarcely 18 years old, although already quite beautiful, filling out quite well her conservative (she gave Theresa a dirty look, which the almost scandalously clad blonde returned) dress.
"Witch Hunter Guidonis," the duchess began, "I welcome you and your companions to my home. If there is anything Ambre or I can do to aid you in whatever business it is that brings you hear please do not hesitate to ask."
"In a recent raid on a den of heretics lurking in sin beneath Lareaux, a certain text was found, detailing various arcane methods by which Celestials and other Outsiders may be called forth into Asul. The apostates had used it, and others, to call forth Demons."
Jeanne had opened her mouth to respond but Laure didn't give her the chance.
"The text in question was an obscure one. There are four copies known to us. Two are accounted for, the third is in Sigmar, and the fourth, Duchess, was known to be in your castle's library. Do you wish to offer an explanation?"
Jeanne's face went white, as did the faces of every other servant and guard in the room.
"I, uh, um, no?" The duchess seemed genuienly confused, Ambre sharing in her mother's expression. "I do not believe anyone has been in the library since my husband's death, Witch Hunter, and that was years ago. But you certainly have my permission to ch-"
"I do not need your permission to carry out my duties, duchess." Laure answered coldly. "I have already checked. It is not there, and several other texts were missing." Laure produced a parchment from her dress and handed it to a servant who handed it to Jeanne.
"What is this?"
"A list. I shall interrogate each and every person named therein until the truth outs and His punishment may be justly dispensed."
"But my name is on this, towards the bottom, there?"
"Yes, as is your daughters, and several recent visitors." Jeanne's face went whiter. "Do you have something to hide, Jeanne? Have you done something wrong?"
"Then you have nothing to fear."
That night, the group slept in the barracks. Well, most of them. Olivia was out walking, and Oriel had disappeared to Saint-knows-where to go erect a small make-shift shrine and spend the night flagellating herself and/or praying.
Oriel had secreted herself away in one of the quieter, less used, parts of the castle. Her deep prayer was interrupted by what sounded like two sets of heavy quadrupeds walking and dragging their claws along the ground. And sniffing, lots of sniffing and snorting.
Peeking out from behind the stairwell where she had set up her little shrines, Oriel could see two horrific monsters (http://i.imgur.com/qESu5kE.png). Each was a six-foot long and heavily armored quadruped, roughly canine creature. Where a face should have been instead were two fang-lined mouths and a long, barbed, tongue that licked at the air and ground as the creatures, evidently blind, moved along.
It didn't take a genius to realise the blind things relied on scent and, probably, hearing to find their way. Fortunately for Oriel, they had not seemed to notice her.
01-25-2013, 12:06 AM
Oriel had been praying to herself, whispering a low, constant solem hue into the catacombs beyond. It was cold and dark when she got here, but that was now temporarily fought back by a mass of small candles that she had implimented about the place.
There were dozens, if not hundreds, of these small make shift shrines, hidden away by Oriel over the years, in cold and forgotten places few would think to look. She fondly daydreamed that one of them would be there, right when a forgotten soul was on the verge of breaking. A small holy sanctuary for the truly lost...
Tonight, it was not a lost soul that she found.
The scrapping, inhuman footsteps alone tore her from her deep reflection. It put pins and needles down her spine. For all of her effort, the halls instantly felt cold, desolate, and lonesome again.
Still, as always, her one material possesion was not far. That was all she needed.
Letting out a blood curdling scream, Oriel leap upright, span her titanic blade around one handed, and gusted towards the unknown beast with all her might in one motion fluent motion...
By the time it looked towards the source of the commotion, her divine blade was already being brought down upon it's head...
Moving into contact and full attacking with a holy blade;
1d20+20=30, 1d20+12=15, 1d20+7=14 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3884079/)
That's 60 out of 70 HP remaining.
The attack clattered against it's armoured side, but was not quite the mortal blow that Oriel was looking for.
Another shadow. A claw. Some teeth.
There was a second one.
"...Saint, are you testing me?..."
"...I... I accept it gladly..."
"Come, demons. I will prove the worth of my shrine by sundering your foul forms before it."
01-28-2013, 06:17 PM
The two Fiends seemed surprised by the sudden attack, but quickly responded, lashing out with their barbed tongues, both times lashing into the Flagellant's mostly bare skin. The tentacle-like tongues wrapped around her where they struck, the barbs digging in as the two Fiends pulled her towards their fang-lined maws. She managed to kick free from one, but not the other, only getting loose after it had already bitten her.
As the tongues connected with her, she could feel her muscles stiffening up, some manner of paralysis. Fortunately, she was able to resist (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3891126/) it.
Attack Rolls; 2 Tongue Hits, 1 Bite! (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3891125/)
3 hits resulting in 20 total damages! (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3891131/)
01-29-2013, 12:42 AM
Oriel shrieked loudly and recoiled backwards just a step. Her heart raced, and her arms stung wildly where long groves had been newly sliced out. The feeling of pain sparked to life just the sensation that she was looking for, an utter hatred and disgust for everything that the enemy was. A cutting reminder of why she did what she did, that turned her gut into an iron furnace.
"So what, you think the dress meant anything? You think the blood means anything?" It was below her dainty robes that all of her armour was kept. Always ready. Locked to her soul. "I will rend you, abominations..."
Letting out a ferocious scream, Oriel lashed out with her holy arcane blade again, this time filled with twice the malice and condemnation.
Oriel entered a Greater Frenzy!
Another full attack (This time using Oriel's actual stats since I had to redo her sheet -_-);
1d20+20=37, 1d20+15=31, 1d20+10=20 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3891599/)
2d6+7=15, 2d6+7=14, (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3891600/) 2d6+7=12 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3891610/)
That's 19 out of 70 HP remaining.
The newly empowered impacts knocked entire fleshy chunks out of the monster, baptising half the corridor with profane blood.
It didn't quite fall, but that was all the same to Oriel. It deserved more punishment for being what it was.
02-15-2013, 12:16 AM
Twice more the things lashed into Oriel with their barbed tongues, while one of the Fiends managed to bite her, this time sinking it's rows of teeth deeply into her.
While off walking about, Olivia thought she heard something kinda odd...
Three hits! One potential critical! (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3925273/)
Crit Confirm! (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3925277/)
Oriel takes 38 damages! (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3925280/) (because the bite was the crit)
Olivia can post now! Player 2 has joined the Game! She can arrive this turn, attack the next.
02-17-2013, 07:04 PM
The weight of the unholy thing smashed Oriel's back against the wall as it's jaws sunk deeply into her left upper arm. She howled in pain, and then hollered uncontrollably in blind hatred and fervour.
Her sword was pressed between them; in an awkward position between it's neck and her right shoulder. There was just no room to lift the cumbersome thing up, let alone bring it down at a useful angle. Trapped in a painful mess, the struggle continued for a second, it's teeth digging deeper, and her frustration getting stronger. Out of options, she simply steadied the blade as best she could with one hand, and then forced the both of them over sideways.
The vibration travelling down the needles in her arm made her scream. There was blood everywhere, but for a moment, she couldn't tell who it belonged to.
Yes- The massive sword had been wedged half way through the thing's throat, she confirmed. She had nearly cut her own left hand off in the process, but it was worth it.
Now, to deal with the other one...
Oriel continued the Greater Frenzy!
1d20+20=37, 1d20+15=32, 1d20+10=17 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3930148/)
2d6+7=12, 2d6+7=17 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3930152/)
The first demon is now at -10 HP.
03-02-2013, 02:32 PM
Upon seeing the abomination, Olivia let loose evangelical battle cries and charged at it, socking it square in it's mouth thing.
Charge Attack: 1d20+25=31 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3951908/)
Damage:1d10+10=17 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3951913/)-5 12
03-05-2013, 02:59 PM
Putting her hand near the Fiend's mouth was, in retrospect, probably a really stupid idea. No sooner had the thing recovered from the impact than had it wrapped its barbed tongue around Olivia, pulling her in and biting deeply into the poor girl. Fortunately Olivia, like Oriel, was strong enough to resist the paralysis, leaving her with a unpleasant but harmless tingling and heaviness in her joints.
Olivia is hit twice! (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3957686/)
Olivia takes 13 damages! (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3957696/)
03-05-2013, 09:40 PM
Even though her blind fervor, part of the flagellant did realize that Olivia's foolhardy charge had kept the other demon away from her whilst she was still dealing with the first. She had no outward reaction, but a mental note was made. A blood debt.
Rage carried her arms forward through the pain, and hate guided the blade down upon the creature's exposed back.
Oriel continued the Greater Frenzy!
1d20+20=27, 1d20+15=33, 1d20+10=21 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3958408/)
2d6+7=12, 2d6+7=15, 2d6+7=12 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3958409/)
The second demon is now down to 19 out of 70 HP.
Oriel's dress was now red. The thing wasn't quite dead yet, but... judging from the macabre look on Oriel's face, that may not have been entirely unintentional.
03-08-2013, 07:31 PM
Olivia yelled some more and smashed her fist into it's head area again. This time knocking the creature out.
It's at -1.
03-08-2013, 09:27 PM
Oriel just stood silently for a moment, giving time for her blood to cool.
"...T-...T-Thank you, sister..." She tried to wipe the gore from her brow using her sleeve, but that only seemed to make things worse. Still, the sweet turn in her voice just went to show what a strange duality that the woman was. It couldn't just have been some bizarre twist of fate. She didn't speak, look, or carry herself like the average thuggish ex-beggar flagellant at all. Her face could be an idealistic painting of a noblewoman. "I wholly appreciate your intervention. You turned up at quite the right time... however..."
"I'm terribly sorry, young mistress, but I cannot quite seem to recall your name. How awful of me. It's inexcusable." She turned away, as might a castle servant, but the effect was rather ruined by her gargantuan blade dragging along the floor as she twisted. "For this transgression I will make it up to you, assuredly."
"-Miss, do you have any lamp fuel?"
03-14-2013, 09:16 PM
"Uh, no...You aren't going to set yourself on fire are you?" Olivia looked pretty uncomfortable, Flagellants are pretty weird, so is getting attacked by daemon dogs.
"Anyway, what are you doing, why are you getting attacked by Demon dogs!?"
03-15-2013, 11:35 AM
"...M-me?" She put her hands over her mouth and blushed, as if they were talking about somebody doing something very heroic and respectable. "No, silly beans! The demon!... It's still alive, you just knocked it out! Fire is the best purifier of all!"
"I... I think they smelt my little shrine." Oriel pointed backwards. Indeed, that many lit candles did rather clog up the air. "The question is, what are they doing here, I wonder?..."
"We have to t-tell Laure. The others could be in danger. Could you please get her for me, dear?"
"...Unless you want to, erm..."
She held out an extra pair of chained manacles, and an expressed another completely misplaced warm, loving smile.
"-For the demon aswell! -For the demon aswell! One of us needs to strangle it! Please don't look at me like that. ;_;"
05-03-2013, 09:28 PM
"We should probably go together, wouldn't want to get ambushed again would you?"
05-10-2013, 12:22 AM
The woman just looked around sullenly for a moment, considering what Olivia had said. This was too strange to just be a random attack. Somebody had to be in on it. Which meant that if just one of them went, they would likely be ambushed; But leaving the body alone meant that it could also be cleaned up by the time they got back...
Oriel shrugged, made a small weary smile, and patted the woman on the shoulder in agreement... Then, promptly brought her sword around, and cleft the creature's head from it's neck in one fell swing.
If Olivia wasn't doused in demon blood before, she was now.
"Okay, let's go." The flagellant just remarked with her usual chipperness returned, now hoisting the gorey head over her shoulder in a makeshift fabric sack. "Whilst it's still fresh!"
05-18-2013, 11:26 PM
The duo eventually found a very confused guard, and one thing led to another led to Laure interrogating the both of them.
Fortunately no one had cleared up the Daemon's corpse, and evidently that was that. Laure had, during the interrogatin/debriefing mentioned that Daemons rarely, if ever, come to the mortal world on their own accord, and that some person or persons deliberately brought the Fiends here.
Clearly whoever had been helping the cultists back in the catacombs was still here and didn't enjoy the attention they were getting.
The next night, while Oriel was off in her makeshift shrine praying again, she had another visitor. Only this one was less of a horrible dog-monster from the Lower Planes, and more of a young woman in a very fancy dress.
Lady Ambre Loubard, the Duchess' daughter, gave a curtsy in her elaborate dress. "Hello, lady crusader." She said softly, the attractive young woman's voice shy, meek, and everything you'd expect from the young daughter of an aristocrat who knew her lot in life was likely to amount to little more than marriage and who had been raised accordingly.
"I heard you were the one who killed the Demons that attacked last night. That was very brave. I was wondering... I was wondering if you would be willing to suffer my company for a brief while, Lady Oriel. I'm... I'm not sure who else to talk to."
05-19-2013, 12:42 AM
Oriel was sitting upright in full battle dress; but was merely propped up by the hilt of her sword, and very much in the dregs of half-sleep. Her eyes slurred about for a moment before surging to life, almost stumbling over before she managed to remember were she was, and how heavy the things she was wearing were.
"...S-...s-sorry... My Lady... I didn't hear you come in!" There was a clatter as the tall woman accidentally knocked over a candelabra, then had to scurry to stop the lit candles from rolling away before they set and of the bundles of scripture on fire. When she finally finished, through, she did get up and hastily perform a deep, heartfelt bow. "Lady Ambre Loubard, are you not? The dutchesses' daughter? Terribly sorry!.... The mess!... Sorry!..."
"W-we still have some tea remaining, w-would you care for some?"
"Y-you want to talk? I am only too willing to oblige, my lady."
The low ceiling combined with all the clutter, again combined with Oriel's height and personal clutter, made the whole thing ten times more trouble than it had to be. Her rounded, sullen face was beaming at the prospect of having somebody respect her enough to ask her advice, through.
05-20-2013, 12:09 PM
"No, no thank you. Tea's not necessary, but thank you." Ambre said, softly.
"Was it here," she asked, "was it here that you were attacked by the Demons? By the Saint it must have been so horrible..." she trailed off, looking at the floor and shuddering. "I am glad to hear that you and your friend are okay. I still can't believe it happened!" She added.
"...Can't keep putting it off." She took a deep breath and shuddered. "I'm here because I think I may have some information that can help you, and, and, I mean, I know I should have spoken to Lady Guidonis but... ah... uh... she, well, she terrifies me." She suddenly took Oriel's hands in her own gloves hands and started apologizing profusely, tearing up as she did. "I'm sorry, I know, it's wrong, an the Inquisition is never wrong, but she scares me and I am afraid and what if she tortures me and... and... and..."
05-20-2013, 10:22 PM
Oriel listened quietly and patiently, her expression serene and understanding. She only nodded briefly to the praise for killing the demon, just as an acknowledgement.
"This is praiseworthy, my lady. You did the right thing coming to me." Was her soft-footed response, when it came time to speak. Oriel took up Ambre's hands and warmed them with her own. "You have a good soul, and the Saint will not forget such a deed."
"But... We need to tell Lady Guidonis, you do understand? If we do not resist fear, then only greater evil will come of it. If we do not resist pain, then only greater agony will result."
"I apologize, but I must make that clear. The truth that is the Saint, he is my one true loyalty."
"But I can share the burden. That I will do willingly."
"What is it that you know? What did you see, my lady?..."
05-23-2013, 12:09 AM
"O-okay..." Ambre sniffled. "O-one of my servant girls. She sai-said that some of the commoners have been talking. That-that some horrible monsters had been seen outside the old abandoned sewer entrance!" She finally blurted it out, shaking. "I-I don't think the word has reached my m-mother yet. And I th-thought it could just be some superstitious peasant nonsense b-but with what just happened and all... I don't know... maybe it's related?" She shuddered and looked away. "I'm sorry... I know I should have told Inquisitor Guidonis, but she scares me... Am... am I bad?"
05-23-2013, 01:13 PM
Oriel just shrugged, and then made a sweet smile.
"No. I'm certain your soul is pure. It was brave of you to tell me." She placed a handkerchief into Ambre's hands reassuringly. "There is a difference between being steadfast in the face of evil, and simply being paranoid. Some things are just children's stories. You couldn't have known that such a thing would appear last night. And if you were guilty of anything, you would not have told me."
Standing up slowly but still holding onto the young woman's hands, Oriel ushered her to her feet and made a movement towards the curtains of scripture blocking the view of the cellar corridors beyond.
"Come. I will not force you to inform Lady Guidonis personally... but if you only have bravery enough to stand before her, that will prove your innocence."
"No one is born with a pure heart. It is purified by your deeds. Please trust in me, my lady."
06-03-2013, 07:12 PM
Ambre thanked Oriel but repeated, ad nauseum, how terrified she was of Lady Guidonis. It became clear even to someone a bit lacking in critical thinking like Oriel that they were gonig in circles and that Ambre was far too terrified to do the talking.
She did, however, tag along, and spent her whole time before Laure shaking and meekly squeaking out one-word yes or no answers to the Witch Hunter. Laure seemed to believe her - she only slapped her once and didn't tear off her fingernails or anything.
The next dawn the group, including the new woman, were gathered in the barracks with Laure to receive their assignment from the terrifying woman.
"There are rumors of 'monsters' lurking within a nearby disused sewer network." Laure started, giving Oriel a Look that said 'if you stare at my cleavage I'll put your eyes out.' while wearing an outfit with a neckline that made it a very dfificult test indeed. The Saint challenges us so that we may rise to new heights, of course. The wheat must be seperated from the chaff.
"It may just be peasant rumormongering, or oozes and vermin exaggerated by their ignorance and word of mouth. It is, however, my only lead at the moment." Laure's tone of voice made her annoyance clear - it's almost like torturing every single person you come into contact with until you hear what you want isn't the best way to investigate something. "Prepare yourselves and ready whatever you must; we leave in two hours." Unlike Helena, Laure made it clear she had neither the time nor the patience to entertain any questions or comments.
You all have 1200GP to spend as you see fit on mundane items - although no alchemical stuff, but Holy Water is fine - and on Cure Wounds potions. If you are unclear if something is allowed, ask me and I will clarify.
06-07-2013, 05:21 PM
Oriel did her best to enlighten Ambre's spirits for most of the following night, and assure her that she was doing the right thing, but it seemed like the only thing that would ever really quell her fear was seeing Inquistor Laure leave. By the Saint, it was quite likely she had come to resent Oriel's presence, too, even, but there were some things that just had to be accepted. Oriel was not about to let sympathy get in the way of her duty, even if that did, ironically, make her seem insincere. But it was her best interests that she had at heart. The light of their souls.
Oriel bought fourty holy water flasks from the local church, and twenty fused oil flasks in accompaniment. As always, she brought no healing potions at all, being as it was that they circumvented the Saint's will... But she did also use the church's power to obtain a little banquet of wine, fine gammon, breads, and glazed parsnips for the entire crew.
Virtuous work should be seen to be rewarded, even if Laure was likely to scoff at the luxury.
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