Hidden 5 mos ago Post by JBRam2002
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JBRam2002 Controlled Chaos

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Kiki smiled up at the bard who cradled her, glad someone cared for her well-being. The pain from the goblin's attacks subsided as her wounds magically closed, and she let out a quiet giggle as Ardiane kissed her forehead. "I think I like you best this way," she whispered before forcing herself back to her feet. "Should we keep moving?" she suggested.

Kiki stepped into the cave's opening once everyone had gathered. These goblins didn't seem very vigilant; perhaps they didn't expect anyone to interrupt them. The sound of running water echoed through the cave from the stream that flowed from its mouth. Kiki hoped the sound would cover their advance.

>Everyone who wishes to enter the cave, please roll Stealth with Advantage.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Gordian Nought
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Spelunking into the subterranean depths appeared initially to the goliath as martyrological, especially since the rogue had just recuperated, barely healed, in time, of her lethal wounds, by the wondrous, malleable bard. The ambush intentionally predicated upon Kiki and Bar’s prior anonymous but calamitous assembly. What were they doing? And why? Considerations of stone and clay torrentially riddled his gaze as the sorcerer’s pair of eyes vantaged the faint creek along the edge of the green canopy. He subconsciously traced the narrow stream that ebbed away from the maw of a potential cenote. It was naturally shielded by the coppices and groves that the forest provided in camouflaged concealment.

Was this their trek’s apparent terminus, the barbarian had premeditated for their journey?

Alongside the brook, their feet bubbled upon a parched trail leading to the mouth of a Platonic cave. With gallantry, diabetic thoughts plagued the giantkin’s superstitious concentration as he allowed others to slowly venture before him. Perhaps, inside, the company would possibly discover seven more goblins, all unconscious, snoozing and oblivious to the previous harrowing encounter their recently departed brethren paid with blood, now buried beneath the earth of Phandelver. Would these proverbial sleepers of Ephesus meet the impending persecution the troupe prefigured, by the mesmerizing shadows cast by the heroes’ ambling bodies? Puppeteered by the clashed strings of fate and destiny? Or escape, emerging into another eon, proclaimed as an Edessan homily as a warning? Sirens urging unsuspectingly these landlocked sailors of purpose and fortune to seal their ears with wax, deafening their minds to the screams of innocent enemies?

Brim hoisted his sternum, as the rearguard, in anticipation of the swelling danger, like an Odysseus chained to a ship’s mast, brushing upon the waves of grass and thicket. He only hoped this organized formation would lend itself to stealth and strategic investigation as they pressed further onward, into the belly of the Faerunian fissure.


@JBRam2002
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Samdragonx
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Bar thought his cloth would cover enough for now and felt like his sinister plans would have to wait.

Sneaking in with the rest of the party, he wondered if there would be any tasty food he could take from the goblins.

While sneaking into the darkness, he thinks back to the days before he had to start wearing anything at all. He sighs silently, dodging a low-hanging edge along the way.

Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Regitnui
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Ardiane stood up as Kiki did, grabbing the other woman's hand. "No," she said, pulling her back. "You got hurt just fighting the goblins here, and you want to go into their home?" The half-elf looked down, rubbing Kiki's hand. It wasn't like she owned her, or had any right to say what Kiki should be doing, but part of her screamed that this was a bad idea, and that she should stay outside. With Ardiane. Her cheeks went red as some small part of her mind whispered precisely what they could be doing instead of climbing through dirty, filthy goblin cave, but Ardiane didn't have the courage to say anything out loud.

She was concerned, worried for the Halruaan woman with a gap in her armour bigger than Ardiane's hand. And it was only leather armour, not even proper solid metal. The soldiers back home on Moonshae always put on solid metal before hunting monsters. Even the druids had that spell that made their skin like tree bark. She absently put her hand back over the smooth skin where Kiki had been bleeding from not ten minutes ago, and ran her fingers over it. "I don't want you to get hurt..." She murmured, probably only loud enough for the other woman to hear. Ardiane pressed herself against Kiki's side. "You're not going in without me to fix you if you get hurt again."

Hidden 4 mos ago Post by The Grey Dust
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Tolled

Only for payment I shall ferry,
Boating you across to paradise,
Offer me one when you are buried,
Lower the body to lower the price.


May the dead bury their own dead. The psion watched as the earth sunk and swallowed up the beheaded bodies. It was a curiosity that their resident smell stone sorcerer had the gall and grace to give goblins a grave. Missing heads in their shallow beds, unmarked but far more than what an enemy deserved. Still, there were no last rites to commend them to their goblin gods, merely unceremonious executions. And of course the former street-rat knew better than to leave such warm bodies unmolested. Not in the way of Hymn-Adriane and Kiki, but rather with an intent to search their corpses of whatever useful things before the goliath finished his mounds of earth. Slim fingers lifted two silver pieces from the dead target, and a thought considered if he should pick up the discarded goblin blade. Twas either the blade or bow and arrows left behind, and a blade was far more fetching than sticks and string. Another weapon to be added to the growing collection, as the mute affixed the new piece to his belt and tucked the coins into the man's coinpurse. Perhaps he could fancy himself now as one of those warriors from (Hammerfell) the western desert with their curved swords.

Now that the scavenging was completed, the silent watcher considered the next course of action to be done as the loam and gravel covered the remains away. Three goblins to sentry was adequate, but their lack of vocalization was worrying. Did the greenlings believe a force of three could take the five lot of them? Bar the smoldering wizard who seemed to contracted either apathy or hydrophobia, their party had the numbers. So why did these cretins not call for backup? True they had nearly killed Kiki, but given the nature of the changeling's and the rogue's budding affections, it would only incite more than just vicious words from the tiefling.


Kiki has a bard in this wretched place
Ardiane is the singer in the band,
Kiki says to Ardiane: girl I like your face,
And Adriane swoons as she takes Kiki by the hand.


Yes, being the silent one had its benefits, set aside in solitude did allow you to people watch. Watching how their little party had begun to interweave as one cohesive unit. Each having their particular place and partner as it seemed, though the stragglers were just as dangerous as the Bonnie-&-Clyde's. Certainly he knew they had been wary of his silence, and so had he been of their words. For what was not said bore secrets which intimidated the mind, but what was said could also be a lie, with acts done to deceive. Of course they didn't know his name, but he knew theirs unlike the nameless corpses lying low and under now. And the more you knew about one's enemies, the better, but the more you knew about one's own allies? Well, even better still. As it is said in the east: know your enemy, know yourself.

Into the depths of Hades, threading the trickle of the Styx, the rushing sound of its waters running over the stones as shoe-clad feet stride across the rock. The resounding footsteps, prated by the very cave telling of where and when. Not as so much a stealth operation as a stroll into the cave, keen to take the observation in what little light left lingers behind them. The shadows of Nyx unto Erebus, darkness along the path unpierced by human eyes, but alas they had amongst them a walking candlestick to illuminate the path should that sooty snooty Lordsmen take the lead. And yet by placing the wizard there, to be a neon light advertising their decent into the fold, was to ask to be riddled by arrows from all sides. Hence perhaps it was a blessing the fiery mage was a step behind thus far. If perhaps the bird could care to blaze ahead, and tell of what use a ranger has in settings un-urbane, for the psion was only versed in the city alleyways and slums not repulsively pungent goblin caves. The smell of damp molds stank like guano, or perhaps goblin feces turning the olfactories away from inhaling such foul spores. Oh wait, a moment, it was the be-lisped goliath who made such offending odor, albeit perhaps it was the orc as well? Either way one of the boys would most likely have announced their arrival beyond attempts to muffle their walk into the cave. Of which, why bother thought the psion as he simply walked inside with nary a reason to so excruciatingly conceal his presence with every step.

Hidden 4 mos ago Post by JBRam2002
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As the group makes their way inside the caves, they quickly come across a side room. A trio of wide steps leads up to a small cavern with several stalagmites dotting the ground. Immediately evident are the three wolves that look up, one much larger than the other two. They snarl and growl, and one darts forward only to be yanked back by a chain attached to one of the stalagmites. Despite the noise that they are making, no one seems like they're approaching at the moment... but the wolves don't look happy.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by The Grey Dust
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He threw it into those rapacious gullets.
Such as that dog is, who by barking craves,
And quiet grows soon as his food he gnaws,

-Inferno, Canto VI, Lines 27-29


Three barking mouths, snarling fangs with lips uncurled. The chain of their tether strained back as a wolf tested the length of its chain. Finding itself salivating at the mouth, and yet pulled back and recalled to the post. Ah there it would find its bond infuriating, wanting to gnaw at the metal that condemns them to this starving hell. For they were gluttonous beasts, craving for flesh so unwittingly walking at the mouth of the cave before them. Food and water, so close to the water's edge as the party entered, threading across the stone, scented most foul. It was only natural that the canines took offense to the malingering scent which wafted in, and howled in recourse. What gave them away in the depth of the cave? Was it their faces in the light? The stench? the sound of splashing feet? Or the hunger that filled their empty stomachs to churn upon themselves. A tongue that dripped of venom, nearly foaming to maim and kill, to fill their pain with soothing balm of gilead, to feast upon something to save their stomachs from the ulcers that shall destroy itself. Oh for the sake of hunger, did their eyes sharpen, fur raised and bristled back, heart pump with a hunting vigor. The primal forces urging the wolves to howl and hunt, the pack alive once more.

And as they had their pack, so did the psion have his. Food for thought, as he reached into the reclaimed bits of goblin food and threw them within reach of hungry jowls. He knew a hungry mongrel when he saw one, too many times he had to fend them off to snatch a meal for himself as a street rat. But he also knew the appearance of a dangerous cur, one driven to the edge of starvation and rabid enough to bite. These wolves were no different, and it did not take a great intellect to surmise that it was difficult to bite an arm or leg or snarl and howl, when a mouth was busy chewing on food. As such with food in sight the wolves like current, flowed to the path of least resistance, taking to the food with lapping appreciation, allowing the party to move on in peace perhaps...

Unless of course these wolves would still be hungry after their meal, and find themselves hungering like the risen dead for human (orc, goliath, crow, and whatever the changeling classifies as) flesh. As such, lacking their presumptuously presumed leader Seethe, the mute turned to Kiki and raised an eyebrow, before making a hand motion towards the continued path. Hopefully these dogs will leave them be, and this bribe will not come to bite them in the arse later.

Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Samdragonx
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Slowly moving towards the dogs, Bar noticed they were distracted. A fine move for a minion to make, he thought to himself.
It opened the opportunity Bar had been waiting for. Taking on an alfa-dog with minions that served him in a way that let him steal the show. And afterwards, he could wear their pelts as to prove his valor, just like his parents would have wanted him to.
Perhaps then everyone would see the briliance in his persona. He could already imagine the songs: "Oh bar, oh bar, the strong..."

Having reached within range of the dire wolf, Bar took out his axe and raised it. "This furball was going to recieve a major head hurt or lose it", he said to himself. Swinging down his axe, the blade connected to the neck of the creature. With a smile on Bars face on the moment of impact.

Hidden 4 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by JBRam2002
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22. Small Wolves
21. Dire Wolf
18. @JBRam2002 - Kiki Milaan - Character Sheet
16. @Gordian Nought - Brim Gehenna - Character Sheet
11. @Cu Chulainn - Seethe - Character Sheet
7. @The Large Dumbo - Pebbles - Character Sheet
5. @Samdragonx - Bar the Barbarian - Character Sheet
4. @Regitnui - Cas - Character Sheet
4. @The Grey Dust - "M" the Silent - Character Sheet

The wolves swarm their attacker, furious at the sudden yet inevitable betrayal. The two smaller wolves effortlessly clamp their jaws down on Bar's body. The first wolf's attack is a CRITICAL, dealing 11 damage! The second was almost just as fierce, dealing 8 damage. Bar is KO'd!

The Dire Wolf snarled at the fallen foe, lowering its jaws to feast. Melee attacks against a KO'd foe are automatically critical hits. The Dire Wolf deals 18 damage. Bar has been killed.

@JBRam2002 - Kiki drew an arrow and nocked it to her bow, but fear stayed her hand. She will hold her action until Ardiane acts.

@Gordian Nought - The mute, quietly brilliant, offered the lost happiness to the diverged Cerberus, the three acting as one triune entity, feeding off the green spoils of the previous skirmish. The hunger of the horrid crew appeared vanquished, rolling and masticating the sinews presented by the silent mystic. However, the barrage of betrayal was not over as the half-blood violently charged the leader of the pack, extending another verdant morsel. Within an instant, flesh was rent from bone as screams bellowed from the chained beasts, as the barbarian lost the life in his motionless eyes, witness firsthand, the power of famine. The stone sorcerer edged past Kiki, in a playful stance, as he charged his whip from his buckled pelt. He snapped the leathery vine intimidatingly in hopes that the listless wolves would quash their meal for an interim, to salvage the carcass from any further desecration. [Brim rolls an Intimidation of 13, hoping the whip's cackles would drive the wolves back.]

@The Large Dumbo - Pebbles flinched for a moment as he watched the barbarian get slaughtered almost instantly by the wolves. He was about to warn him not to go in and aggravate the already appeased beasts, raising a feathered hand in objection, but froze once the first wolf attacked. He looked around to the other party members for a moment, thinking to himself as he drew his bow. Pebbles quietly took a headcount, before noticing a certain somebody was missing. An aggravated grunt forced it's way from his throat, as he moved back behind the others. "Disgusting!" He shouted, replicating Seethe's voice to the best of his ability. Hopefully that would draw his attention, but in the meantime Pebbles nocked an arrow and held it ready, should the wolves advance towards the party.

@Regitnui - Ardiane squeaked, her hands coming up to her face to stifle what would have no doubt been a loud scream had she not. The nausea rising in her gut couldn't be stifled, and she doubled over as her stomach heaved. "Kiki," she weakly tugged on the other woman's top. "I..." She went to her knees, some voice in the back of her mind urging her to stand up. "Wanna go," she slurred, pressing her free hand against her mouth to hold back her body's reaction to violent death. She should never have left the tavern.

@JBRam2002 - (taking reaction for held action) At Ardiane's insistance, Kiki's arrow returns to its quiver and her bow to her shoulder. These wolves did not need to die. They were leashed, and the only way they could hurt anyone was if they got close, right? Instead, she put her arm around Ardiane, helping her to move further into the caves away from the sight.

@The Grey Dust - Fool! What blundering idiot would think to agitate the den of wolves? What clown would dare strike down Cerberus without Herculean might? All they had to do was leave while the beasts had their mouths full, but lo! The green orc with an axe to grind, taking upon himself to spell doom for the party by striking the hound clean while they ate. Such poor manners were not tolerated by the dogs, though the reckoning came swift and bloody. The scene still fresh in the mind as the meat on the bitten bones. The screaming shouts in foreign tongue, bitterly hollering all too late. His anger understandable, but alas his hubris had sealed his fate. Flesh torn apart, fangs sunk in deep, Dire hounds of muscle and fur tackling him to the ground before his innards burst in an anointing bath of blood. There the abdominal wall of green David was cut open, claws ripping into the muscular barbarian's chest. The ripping of meat from bone, tendon and sinew in jowls chewed over. Behold the sight, learn what became of vile betrayers, the blessed battleborn blood a beautiful bounty of barbarian beef. Lifeless limbs shaken, what power and vigor once flowed within shall succumb to death's rigor. And what will be left to bury once all the food is gone? When the last snippets and bits of Bar were wolfed down ravenous gullets? The bones surely would be snapped in the teeth of the great wolf, and never would Bar pollute the party with his idiocy. Good riddance to him, his purpose as meat shield did not last long. But alas, even the dimmest candle is blown out once its purposes is done.

Enough of this. They still growling despite their new meal. Perhaps it they were mistaken in believe such an uncouth half-breed would have been such tender sweetmeats. The horrific sight appeared to have shaken Ardiane, but the rest of the men and Kiki turned to action. With whip that cracked to punish them, the thone thorzerer made his point. And so too would the silent member, clever enough to have sated them the first time, the psion took to Brim's far side, letting the attackers behind him keep their line of sight. With eyes of a master, borrowed from the noosphere, the mind asked to demonstrate the hierarchy here. To reestablish dominance in order, not by sharpened edge, but rather by the threat of pain and appearance of authority. A palm thrust out and downwards, his eyes locked with those of the three moons. The quiet intensity of his expression frowning all the slightest as his brows furrowed in.

@JBRam2002 - The wolves strain at their bonds in a fury, seemingly undeterred by either the sorcerer or the mystic, and their chains snapped. The Dire Wolf, however, was still held fast, its chains seemingly stronger. The dire wolf snarled and the other wolves reached their prey, seemingly intent on their attack.

Kiki, seeing the wolves charge at the group, pulled her blades free. "Sorry, Ardiane. Looks like we have no other option now." The blades whirred at the charging wolf, slashing it twice across the snout for a total of 15 damage, killing it instantly. A look of regret passed her face for a moment, but she stepped forward to block Ardiane from danger.

@Gordian Nought - With chains broken, the rogue struck true, with a sweltering clout of burning steel. Realizing the Dactylian ferocity amidst the boiling pack now, the malodorous goliath quickly kindled a promethean farenheit amongst the clenched knuckles of his left hand, from within the cavernous fissure’s inlet. Between each finger sprouted a phoenix flickering a miraculous conflagration, transcending from the ash of the sorcerer’s charred skin. The embers soon coalesced into a burning bush cackling a holy heresy, not consecrated to a Vesta nor to a Vulcan, but to a sentenced immolation, in the cold ire of Topheth and Polycarp. The gripped furnace of Nebuchadnezzar seemed only interested in the remaining Shadrach and Meshach, as Kiki had already slain the proverbial Abednego. Abruptly as a kiln’s intended purification, Brim hurled a screeching river of liquid fire at the Dire Wolf, hoping the Phelgethon would consume its targeted Agni in his crusade to avenge their barbarian ilk. [Brim casts Firebolt on the Dire Wolf with a 12, but misses.]

@Cu Chulainn - Seethe was annoyed at hearing the overgrown bird taunt him in such a fashion. Walking over a few paces down to get a better look at what's happening, although not even daring to touch the water itself, the Genasi watched the group quarreled with a group of recently chained wolves, with Bar's body lying on the ground. Seethe could only imagine how the poor brute died, before directing his palm straight into his face. "Yeah, hold on." Seethe groaned, as he worked on rolling up his robes. Did he plan to cross the river, after all? [Seethe walks down three squares southwest, staying on the ground and avoiding touching the water. He then rolls up his premium robes.]

@The Large Dumbo - Pebbles stood silent, rather annoyed at the nonchalant response. He grabbed an arrow, and for a brief second wondered what exactly compelled him to take this job again. One of their allies had thrown himself to the wolves, one of them was now actively cowering in the face of danger, and one of them was diddling themselves by the river. With a shrug, he completed the gesture, arming the bow before taking aim again and letting it fly loose. Ten gold was ten gold, after all. Hopefully this shot would hit, culling one of the furry, wolf-shaped problems Pebbles was looking at. [fired a shot from my longbow at Wolf A, 15 to hit and dealing 8 damage.]

@Regitnui - Perhaps it's time to drop the half-elf, Cas thought, still mildly nauseous despite dropping Ardiane's mind to cry in a mental corner, even if she kept the blonde, busty form. Reaching down to her thigh, she pulled out a dagger where Ardiane would be too embarrassed to look. "Faas ru maar!" she snapped, the Draconic leaving Ardiane's pretty mouth with a viciousness the woman herself would be shocked she could use. She forced herself to her feet, a hand on Kiki's shoulder to balance her. [2 psychic damage on remaining wolf (rolled 12 on Wis save vs DC 13), disadvantage on next wolf attack]

@The Grey Dust - Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky,
And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back;
For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack!

- The Law For the Wolves, Rudyard Kipling

The wolf escaping the man's red fire, fell to arrow. The hunter's hide pierced with a hunter's shot. The wound deep and painful, taxing on the body as it fought to survive. Hair raised and bristled, teeth bared to show its last resolve. It would fight not and not be whipped like its compatriot. Though the sudden shout of the formerly cowering bard was a surprise to both it and the psion. So it was a battle then, inescapable as the conflict seemed. The larger wolf may give the party trouble, yet to allow creature of a pack to stand together? When you fight with a wolf of the pack, you must fight him alone and afar, Lest others take part in the quarrel and the pack is diminished by war. Tis the law of the jungle. And the motley crew was proof of that. Bar had went in alone against the wolf pack attack, and became their fresher meal. Thus with his mind turned to battle, the silent one made his peace with bringing death to these dogs of war. Their innocence a sad regret, that they had to simply die. They merely followed the ancient law, guardians of a beast, slaves to wretched creatures that starved them to maim and bite. At least, then he can offer them that dignity they can have left. And unlike Kiki and her blades, the mute turned his mind to the weakened wolf.



The Dire Wolf finally breaks its chains and charges towards M and Kiki, its teeth bared.

@JBRam2002 - Kiki was ready for the wolf, slashing at its face with her rapier as it approached. The wolf shook its head to relieve the pain, causing her second attack to miss terribly, but it looked like she dealt a lot of damage. 14 precisely.

@Gordian Nought - The enormous wolf bolted, lightning fast at the troupe, in its ravenous race for further chow. The visceral fodder of Bar apparently served as a mere foretaste to the fiend. Its fur mocked Brim, with each hair standing on its edge, as if the very electricity in the air harnessed the entropy of its hunger, consuming the static atmosphere with trepidation and mourning. The putrid sorcerer anticipated a thunderous solution to this aggressive flash from the titan against Kiki, the silent M, and himself. He dashed around the titan terror, flanking the monster. With a crack of his whip, booming energy wrapped around the twine, exhibiting a mythic Indra commanding a rumbling cord, to weather the tumultuous storm gnawing at their heels.
“Ova’ he’e, you bwute!”


@Cu Chulainn - Seethe walks 5 feet back, before walking 5 feet forward and performing a running long jump over the river. He then runs 10 more feet West. Seethe then casts Ray of Frost, hitting the Dire Wolf and dealing a whopping 2 Cold damage as well as reducing its speed by 10 feet.

@The Large Dumbo - Pebbles gave a blank look to Seethe, before taking aim with his bow again and aiming a shot, this time at the Dire Wolf. As lucky as he had been on those previous two shots, it seemed that it was only that - luck - as the arrow sailed just barely past the wolf. He wasn't quite dumb enough to charge at the wolf, although he still was not particularly keen on wasting arrows making potshots at the wolf. [fired a shot from his longbow, missed with a 12]

@Regitnui - "Hey, fuzzy, stay away from my Kiki!" Cas snapped, lacing it with the subtle magic she'd used last time. Whatever Ardiane thought about weapons, she's never leaving the carriage without that crossbow again. It cost good time to seduce that bowyer into making and enchanting it for her for free. [Casting Vicious Mockery, hitting for 2 damage.]

@The Grey Dust - How frozen and how faint I then became,
Ask me not, reader! for I write it not;
Since words would fail to tell thee of my state.
I was not dead nor living.

-Inferno, Canto XXXIV, Lines 22-25


Rimefire frostbite, a chill cold that it burns. Twas strange to see a creature of flame and fire burn a foe with a blast of ice. Yet for whatever reason the arrogant mage decided it was time to join the foray after beating around in the bushes, or whatever it was the fiery genasi was doing. At least the unexpected ray of frost did not misfire as much as the arrow shot by the crow behind them, or the fireball cast by their other spellcaster who had redeemed himself with his lash. Though worn down from Kiki's blades and Cas' vicious taunting, the dire wolf still had some fight left. But it was time to finish this foray, lest the goblins catch on quickly by the gnashing of teeth and claws. It served him, the barbarian, right to be mauled alive, to have suffered such a fate. By the three heads that engorged themselves, gnawing on the bones and flesh, that Bar's last moments of life be remembered in his eternal torment, constantly reliving the nightmare in the afterlife as his deserved punishment. For what wickedness he had to betray them, what schemes did he have to destroy the entire party by pursuing his own self interest? Indeed it was a judgment rendered most worthy, and yet his tormentors would be prisoners just as well. Time to send Bar one final head to seal his retribution. There the mute's eyes gazed into those lupine eyes and searing the experience into the animal's mind.

Hell froze over. Submerged in the freezing waters of Cocytus, fur bristled to the chill of cold waters. A shiver of muscle, a futile effort to conserve what dying heat was sapped by the eternal reign of winter undying. The frigid hands of death grasped the paws, frost sheathed the body in a cloak of ice. The heart rate quickens in panic, and then slows, painfully as the terrible torpor sinks in. The mindnumbing down, limbs stiffened and pale, everything shutting off to sleep. A slow death encased and entombed in bitter hypothermia, the mind feeling the shock of it all and unable to regulate the homeostasis it need to stay alive. Then and there with glassy eyes stare back at the psion.

Everything stopped, frozen as the growling halted and the wolf was seemingly locked in time, as if paralyzed by the gaze of the silent party member who approached the dead Dire wolf without fear of being bitten. It was time to reap the bounty, they had entered the inferno and now they shall harvest the spoils. Bar would no longer need what he passed on to the remaining living members. Perhaps an obol placed his the mangled remains of wherever his mouth was? Who would give last rites to their Orc Dunce?


Combat Complete!

The party gains 300 EXP.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by The Grey Dust
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And alas it was over, the spoils of battle won. To the victors the bountiful harvest of the experience, culminated thus so. They had ventured into the Inferno and returned prosperous ever more. Or at least those that survived. Picking through the bits of Bar that littered the floor, the psion mentally scoffed that he could not tell the difference between the bones the orc and those of his trophies. No one else had the will to get on their hands and knees to muck through the mess, bloody carnage swayed their stomachs to avoid the messy work. But for an orphan, digging through the piles of garbage was the very thing that kept you alive. Thus the mute was no stranger to the finer arts of corpse looting, picking up the undertaker's craft, checking for all the valuables left like a carrion crow (No offence to the Kenku). The hefty coinpurse for example dangling beneath the belt was appreciated and purloined so underhandedly out of sight from the rest of the Party. A sum of ten gold coins, that which was promised to them for the entire journey, to which the barbarian's death could have well ended the journey here for the orphanage manager. This small fortune could feed them for a month or more!

Yet he was a man of his word, and a sense of moral justice. Those ten coins belonged to the party now, and he'd need to claim his own pay later from either the dead corpse of the dwarf that hired them or the living man himself. A twist of the hand sprang the wrist-mounted blade which slashed through the discarded backpack. What small satchel of rations and waterskin Bar had carried along for the journey was also liberated from the pack, and a coil of rope that would perhaps be useful. There was a hunter's beartrap that the orc carried for some reason, at which given the human lacked the brutish muscles of the larger idiot, it would be left behind here along with the orc's camping gear that smelled of unwashed arse. They'd all thank him later for his essential grave robbing, the rope and provisions would probably aid in a rescue effort. The food and water for a living captive, and the rope to haul a dead body back to town.

The wolves on the other hand were another issue. They lacked pockets, well at least ones that the psion cared to stick his hands in, and thus there was little to offer but their meat and hides. The dire wolf fur would have been quite a nice cloak or duvet for the orphans after mending a few slashes, and the smaller wolves maybe a new pair of boots. Yet every moment wasted here was a greater chance of a patrol finding their guard dogs dead. This was no time to properly skin the bodies, even with all of Bar's sharps so readily available to skin. And they had topped off on rations and thus had little use for wolf meat to butcher. That and their resident butcher was butchered by them. It would be ridiculous to expect the lanky psion to lift Bar's greataxe to hack and chop the wolf bones apart. Even if a dire wolf head probably fetch a decent price as a decorative piece.

Casting thoughts of maximizing the spoils, there was a geologic curiousity in the back of the wolf den noticed as the silent one rose from the bodies. There was a crevice, small and narrow, tight enough for a single soul to just squeeze by. A pass that bore the pile of bitten bones, wmarks of scratches below, and stains of dried blood along the walls. A feeding pit it appeared, for these wolves though the clean-picked bones suggested they had no food come to them for so long. Maybe someone more athletic or acrobatic could scale the rock-face walls and venture to see what fed the beasts. Yet if there was indeed something that fed the mongrels, then, would it be so wise to venture up a pass where the master was?

As he returned to the group, the mute caught sight of the darkness deeper within the cave, going to the rippling rush of river water blind was ill-advised. They had been lucky so far no one detected their arrival, it was better to keep it in such a way and sneak about. Though the darkness was not suited for human eyes, the fact the goblins had no signs of light beyond the mouth of the cave suggested it would be a strange sight for them to see a torchlight within their cave. In fact, did any of the goblins they had killed carry torches as Bar had? The psion couldn't recall any, and what better way to signal the goblins they had guests than with a light in the darkness? So perhaps the perilous ledge would have been the best recourse after all.

Thus, it was settled and eyes gazed at Kiki & Adriane before looking down at the Kenku, they looked the sort to be limber enough to crawl through the crevice. Then there was Seethe who was probably not willing nor up to the challenge, similar to the psion himself who were men of the mind rather than outright muscle. Thus remaining was the stinky stone sorcerer, the one who spoke with his lisp and all the enthusiasm. Now he was a man of muscle, like Bar, bulky but biceps plentiful. Surely he, with his earthen affinity, could climb the stone cliff if anyone in the party. With his mental assessment calculated, and nose prepared for the stench, the mute beckoned the Goliath over with a hand. Another hand pointed over at the narrow pass as the game of charades began, sure it would have been easier to use telepathy to communicate, yet the less the others knew about his powers the better.

Ah now the rope would come in handy. All the sorcerer had to do was climb up with the rope, and the rest could use it to shimmy themselves up. Or better yet, if the sorcerer was smart enough in using his powers over earth demonstrated earlier in burying the dead. If indeed he had sway over stone like he had dirt, Brim could cut a ladder-way out of the rockface and save himself all the trouble of having to climb. Yet the rope was produced regardless and gestured at Brim before pointing upwards towards the food drop chute. Time for a test of Brim's ability, and more so how smart the sorcerer and party was in using their brains beyond their brawn. It could be easier if the psion made himself leader and directed everyone into doing what he willed them to, but that would be rude to do to newfound allies.

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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Gordian Nought
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M’s pale nails assigned irritated canals through Bar’s sheared torso, much to the annoyance of the sorcerer. It was unlike a gent of unparalleled narcissism and abusive natures, to dig like an animal through a corpse. If Brim truly knew the feng-shui of the man’s mind, the actual dictator that heralded over the lineage of his frantic movements, diving into sinew, ligament, and bone, with such rancor, for a man bereft of muscles himself, this would be a mere moment of contemplation. The goliath pondered, out of ignorance, the duality of such a despoliation marred and contrasted against the exactness for his minimalistic purity, as the muffled vizier eventually arrested his activities and finally gestured him towards the perilous ledge.

Perhaps this was the manner of mute mystics.
Everywhere.
To torture all by hand signals.

However, the pain of these charades would steal likely minutes from both their brief lives.

Was he that ravenous for silence that he would risk miscommunication?

“M….” He paused, a slow, Parkinsonian thought wormed across the expanse of nerve clusters and his direct knowledge of the particularities of this mild, miniscule director of progress. His eyes slid over in a cool glance, curious, caught, hooked upon the subtle implication, frustatingly questioned by his own lack of whispered baritone.

“I don’t know what you’e talking about.”

An unassumingly, harmless sheaf of rope, enlisted by the mental shaman, was offered for the perpetual descent below. “Wope?” The nose turner grasped hold and buckled it to his belt reflexively as he looked with piercing eyes further into the depths of the cave. The next level below was distant, clear, spiteful and riddled with intentional harm, if someone was not careful. After some lengthy deliberation, the fetid giantkin released his hand from his chin and began to wave his arms in a methodical crux, as he attempted to chisel a stairwell, or ladder, if too cumbersome, propelling the carved stone upward next to the desecrated carcasses, hoping not to spill any silt, tipping off any circuiting patrol.

He hissed softly once again. “This will be betta to cwimb down.”


Hidden 3 mos ago Post by JBRam2002
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With the wolves defeated, Kiki wiped the blood off her blade using the dire wolf's hide and turned away from Bar. She didn't want to see his mangled corpse, and it was only adrenaline that kept her from bursting into tears. She hadn't known Bar well, nor did she like him overly much, but that didn't necessarily mean he had to die. If she were a little faster, maybe she could have stopped him, or at least given the wolves another target to tear into. Of course, then it might be her own corpse lying mangled on the cave floor.

Kiki turned towards their bard, expecting to see Cas from her voice, but seeing Ardiane instead. Kiki reached out to embrace her, some small comfort in this den of death. Was this what awaited her outside Halruaa? Mindless death and ruin, pointless slaughter? This job was to be simple: escort a wagon, collect the pay. And now Bar was dead. And for what? They could have walked past those wolves unharmed. There was no reason to fight. It was pointless. Stupid, even. And now he was dead.

The mystic was brave enough to inspect the body, and the sorcerer to look for another way forward. Kiki remained outside the wolves' den, but even she could hear the sound of stone rumbling against stone, echoing through the cavern as Brim cast a spell to shape the stone. She winced. "No use trying to be quiet now," she muttered. "Then again, fighting the wolves wasn't exactly silent." Her weapon was drawn again, ready to strike should an enemy make itself known. "You weren't hurt, right, Ardiane?" she asked over her shoulder as she peered into the darkness.
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Cas almost forgot to let Ardiane's personality back to the forefront. She did, and the half-elf promptly fainted into Kiki's arms. Admittedly, it was more of a controlled swoon than a buckled-knee, gone-to-rubber faint, but it was enough to have Cas mentally rolling her eyes again. That was Ardiane's reaction to high-stress situations, so she let it play out. "I don't know..." The girl muttered, searching around and finding her feet at the end of her legs. Standing, unsteadily, with Kiki's support, Ardiane felt at her torso for injuries. In the process, she both outlined her figure in the clothes and discovered the dagger she was still holding. "Ah!" She dropped it as if it were searing, jumping a step back and stumbling again. "Where'd that come from?"

Ardiane scrambled to her feet for the second time in as many minutes, backing towards the entrance of the cave. "It's dark, and there's a funny smell, and I think I blacked out." She put a hand on her chest to try and stop herself hyperventilating, and failed. "Kiki, I think there's something wrong. I want to go back to the carriages. Please can we go back to the carriages? It's safer there, and there's people and there's home and it's safe there..." Ardiane folded her arms, gripping her shoulders and still moving backwards out of the cave. "Please can we go back?"

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Pebbles began searching the field for his expended arrows, looking over at Bar's corpse again. He felt little sympathy for the fallen warrior; this was, after all, a potentially dangerous job, and such things were to be expected. Gathering up his ammunition, he quietly pondered the future fate of their journey. They had just dipped their toes into the depths of this cave, and they had already suffered a loss. The kenku silently turned his gaze to the rest of his party, interrupting his search for a brief second. Several members of the party had wanted to proceed further into the cave, it seemed. Staying silent, Pebbles supposed he would follow behind them once one of them had made their way up the stairs conjured by the sorcerer. After he finished recovering his arrows, that is. He was in no particular hurry to proceed.

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Seethe




The Genasi briefly glanced at each of his companions, sighing to himself. Either they’re too busy flirting with each other, or they’re in some matter inhibited in speech. Seethe almost missed Bar’s company, as he seemed to be one of the more grounded ones in the group. Seethe does seem a bit perplexed at the Changeling’s antics, however, specifically... he isn’t sure what sort of Transmutation they employ, or what exactly their true form is, as he wasn’t paying attention when they were currently acting as the one known as Cas. Either way, it’s another curious magic to take note of along with the Silent One’s...

”What would you all do without me?” The wizard sighed, whispering a few faint magic words while stretching his arm outward, resulting in a flame appearing within the palm of his hand. As he shines his light around the cave, he takes one look at Bar’s corpse.

”Oh, that’s what...” Seethe sighed, tossing his current flame on Bar’s corpse as a means of cremating it. It makes him sick just looking at the poor idiot, and it most likely would be the best memorial service he would ever recieve. Once that’s all said and done, Seethe continued on without turning back. conjuring another flame in his hand.



The Genasi continued forward, right by the Goliath, one arm outstretched and holding a flame to light the way, and the other plugging his nose to keep him sane from the putrid mix of Bar’s burning corpse and the Goliath’s... special scent. Squinting his eyes, the Genasi’s elemental heritage allowed him to see well in the darkness to some degree.

”I’m able to make out a passage on the right, although it is a bit caved in... You’re able to move it, I presume, Brim?” The Genasi asked the Goliath as he continued to mold rock into his whim.

”If not, we could send in our smallest and quietest to scout, for what it’s worth. We might have even been able to get the jump on them if you all didn’t provoke those wolves. We’ll have to work with what we can.”

Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Gordian Nought
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The sorcerer remained nefariously quiet, as palms and fingers etched stone, malleable to his utmost preserved concentration. The flame of the young wizard cackled, on his left-hand side, a spurning Megaera which enviously punished his jealous lack of insight. The Goliath abruptly halted the conducted orchestra of molded earth, committing the crime of broken taciturnity. The requiem wept a suggestion of a passage, an involution which would require his skill and testimony.

He cracked his knuckles, obnoxiously, as the petrified stone met its Perseus, the promised hero against the Medusan labyrinth afore them.

"All I can do is twy."

Sweat rent from his filthy fingernails, as dread posed and pressed closer to the walls of the allegorical cave. Brim focused again, half-expecting the muddy maze ahead, would incur a proverbial Gorgon. He pivoted and turned back to the mute and the mage.

"Hope this wock is not as fwustwasting as the wadde'."

Hidden 3 mos ago Post by JBRam2002
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At the bard's suggestion that they return home, Kiki shook her head sadly. "We have to make sure that Gundren is safe!" she said, tugging Ardiane's hand towards Seethe and further into the cave. With the exception of M, everyone seemed to follow Seethe away from the wolves' den and towards the outcropping as Brim began to slowly move rock out of the way. The work was slow and not quiet, and Seethe was able to look around while Brim worked. About 50 ft away and out of the range of his flame's light was a bridge passing overhead, roughly perpendicular to the stream they stood next to. The rest of the party are unable to see unless Seethe ventures closer.

After about a minute of moving rock, it appeared that Brim had cleared out the beginning of a haphazard passage, making just enough room for people to crawl through slowly. The destination on the other side of this area was dark and unknown, however. Any who wish may make Perception check to try to make out sounds. M will have to follow should he wish to do so.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Regitnui
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Ardiane looked after Kiki, forlorn and terrified. As such, Cas dropped the persona and blew her fringe from her face with a heartfelt puff. "Alright then. Where did that mewling child throw my dagger? Paid good money for that thing, and I'll be damned if I lose it." She kept grumbling like this for a good length of time, until she found the dagger in the flickering light. "Finally!" Cas tugged on her hair, the length Ardiane usually had it, and her lip curled in disgust as she chopped it off, making sure the dagger was still sharp. When she was done, she shifted again anyway, to Hymn and back, so her hair would be the right length. Readjusting her clothes to compensate for what she lacked, Cas wandered over to the goliath, feeling shorter than she normally did next to his bulk.

"So, big man, need someone slim, lithe and gorgeous to check that hole for you before you get your fingers in?" She wore smile #23, deserved arrogance, while looking him up and down pointedly. "I don't think you'll fit." With a hand on his arm, she ducked past him to peer through the hole at whatever lay beyond. She thought she could make something out, perhaps an outline or something, but she couldn't tell what just yet. "Can the torch bring the light over here?" She turned around, addressing the group. "And stop looking at my fine butt."
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