Goriel and beyond, part 2

As we play, occasionally we'll close a thread and open a new one to keep the size of threads (and relative complexity) down to a dull roar. Here's where we store the closed posts from the history of Errant Road.

Re: Goriel and beyond, part 2

Postby Drannin » June 3rd, 2012, 11:10 am

Argus stared at the dead prisoners silently, tapping his borrowed spear against the ground absently. The men of the house hold looked on in shock. For his part, Argus found the scene grisly, horrifying- and somehow fitting.

We came to find someone who could kill with a word, and now these men die- he glanced at a clock -at exactly the stroke of midnight. Too much of a coincidence. Someone was on to them.

"Well now," he murmured quietly, "I haven't seen anything quite like this before." Not entirely true, but Lord Shashenka didn't need to know that.

Looking up as Eli stormed out of the room, he sighed. "Always hot-blooded, that one," he said honestly. Eli was definitely becoming a loose cannon, and it was starting to worry Argus. But he could wait until later. For now, he needed to make sure Tim's injuries were treated... and to figure out from whence this attack had come.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 2

Postby Alberich » June 3rd, 2012, 11:13 am

That was one area, at least, where the Yurkashev were taking care of business. Shashenka's brother Sevastien turned out to be a mage with some healing abilities. They were not on Desiree's level or on Tim's own, not by a long shot, but they were enough to ensure that the Veracian brother would not die. Healing after battle apparently did not violate any taboos -- and even if it had, letting a guest die from wounds sustained right there in the feasting hall would have violated a much stronger one.

Lord Shashenka himself anxiously awaited Argus' answer to his other offer, but he maintained enough self-control not to let that anxiety show in his face.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 2

Postby Graybeard » June 3rd, 2012, 11:36 am

That was interesting, thought Sister Rose. This noseless man was reacting to the carnage in the banquet hall the way a man might who had earned the unflattering title "Chessmaster." (Speaking of which, some of the wives in the tea room had been surprisingly good at that game.(*) Rose was a better than average amateur player, but several of the women in the tea room could mop the floor with her on a chessboard. That might be something to think about.) Calm, unexcited ... was there an element of smugness to him? That was hard to tell.

She was trying to home in more deeply on Leonid Duravsky when Eli emerged from the room, and she didn't need the Empathy spell to see that he was in a murderous rage.

Uh, oh. Protocol be damned; she went looking for Argus, even as a corner of her mind asked her why she wasn't going to head off Eli instead.

Because I'm scared of him, came the answer from the remainder of her intellect, whereupon that one probing corner nodded its head, sat down, and shut up.

(*) Somehow this whole scene seems to me as if it might be happening among the Cossacks, and from there it's a short jump to the former Soviet republic, now country, of Georgia -- which was long the home of a remarkably large fraction of the world's strongest female chessplayers. Georgian society was never quite like Gorielian, but still ...
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 2

Postby Jack Rothwell » June 3rd, 2012, 11:46 am

Eli had broken into a run as soon as he was clear of potential witnesses. He knew he was running late, he clasped a hand to the amulet and focused his will as his lungs started to burn.

'Fucilious.' He sent. 'I'm on my way now, tell Gabriel I'll be there in less than ten minutes.'

'I prefer my employee's punctual, half-elf.' Came the reply. 'But very well. Do not fail me in this.'

Eli though of sending some sharp retort but thought better of it. If the mage decided that Eli was unreliable with the resources at his disposal, losing the power he'd been given would likely only be the start of it. It was better to play ball and reap the benefits than bite the hand that fed him.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 2

Postby Drannin » June 3rd, 2012, 11:58 am

Argus nodded as soon as he realized that Tim would be alright. That was a relief, to say the least. But of course, there was still diplomatic protocol. Best to let Lord Shaskenka keep some face, and they might even be able to gain an ally in the midst of all this mess. "I accept your offer of hospitality, my Lord," Argus said politely. "Perhaps together, we can find out just what was behind this incident."

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Rose peeking into the room worriedly. He opened a mental connection to her, to let her know that he was alright, and what he was currently up to.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 2

Postby Graybeard » June 3rd, 2012, 12:05 pm

<"I'm here and okay,"> Sister Rose thought back at Argus, her own relief considerable. <"So are all the women in the tea room, including Lillith. We'll be on the way for some Heals shortly, screw the taboos. But there's one thing you should know: Eli just took off out of here like a bat out of hell."> She closed down the telepathic channel and headed for the banquet hall; if the rules didn't allow women to save lives here, then the rules needed to change.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 2

Postby Alberich » June 3rd, 2012, 12:29 pm

No one stopped Rose from entering the hall to be beside her husband. If she had the empathy still up - she felt a strong surge of relief from Lord Shashenka, Chief of the Yurkashev. Not that he was anywhere near relieved, but here at least was a chance to start redeeming his honor. He made a low bow to Argus. "My household is at your disposal." That said, he turned to giving orders.

Not a single Yurkashev had left the room. The guests from other clans had. He ordered the doors closed (Rose was inside) and asked his kinsman - "Did any of you see our guests fight with magic?"

Several voices cried, "No!" This displeased him.

"I say again," he roared - sounding like a drill instructor Rose had once known - "Did - any - of - you - see - our - guests - fight - with - magic?!?!?"

As a man they drew their daggers and roared it out -- "NO!!!!"

He nodded, the daggers went up, and he turned briefly to Argus. "Our guests may have seen, but they have not the rank to say it in public. Not even Leonid. If he tries he will lose more than a nose." His fingers clawed at the thought of what he'd do.

He turned back and began to give other orders. Who was responsible for bringing the "acrobats"? Who were the guards at the gate, to check their "credentials"? Sevastien knew the names -- his duties were something like the chamberlain's at Clan Duravsky, and matters of the household fell to him -- so Lord Yurkashev ordered these responsible men to be brought at once. "And bring flaying knives!" he ordered. Then he commanded Sevastien to have others prepare the best chambers, including both of their own, for the use of the guests. He could not properly take Tatiana from Leonid, but his house had three other geteroi, and all three would be placed at the Cleivieins' disposal (with Kirissia, that made one getera for each of the four men - a signal honor indeed!). Sevastien hustled away to make this happen.

Now it was time to wait for the men to start coming in, and Shashenka had things to say. Firstly - with grim sincerity - "My good Lord Argus, we do not know who is responsible for this. But my household is at your disposal to find him, and we will find him." His voice grew louder. "And when we find him, my own hand will be in it - to bring painful death!" He turned to his household idol and drew his dagger once more.

"The pains of Arja be on me, if I do not do so!" He bowed, and slashed his palm with the knife.

His kinsmen drew their knives again. "ARJA!"

"Perul himself bring me to ruin, if I do not do so!" He bowed, and slashed his palm again.

"PERUL!"

"Khorav ravish my wife and my household, and ravage my flocks, if I do not do so!" Once more he bowed, and gashed himself deep - the blood poured out but he did not gasp in pain.

"KHORAV!"

He whirled back to his kinsman, and held up his bloody hand - "Hounds of Perul, you will serve in this!"

"HOUNDS OF PERUL!" they roared once more, and sheathed their knives. They had not cut themselves; the oath was his, not theirs.

Then he let the doors be opened, and information began to come in. And bodies. The gate guards, his trusted householders, had been found nearby. Stone dead, without a mark on them. So, after a little more searching, had the sexual acrobats he'd hired from Clan Chepilesky, sparing no expense for his guests, and their own escorts. [OOC: I'll save you time; upon further investigation, the Chepilesky have no clues, and are simply horrified.] It was obvious that none of these deaths troubled Shashenka a tenth as much as his clan's lost honor.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 2

Postby Jack Rothwell » June 3rd, 2012, 12:40 pm

Eli reached the museum several minutes later sweating, out of breath and with a stitch sinking its teeth into his right side. He came to a staggering halt, put his hands and his knees and panted heavily.

"It's about time you showed up."

The half-elf froze involuntarily at the voice which had come from behind him. It was flat, in fact almost completely without emotion. He turned.

His first thought at his first good look at Gabriel Averis was that the wanted poster he'd seen didn't do the man justice. He appeared in his early-thirties, although there was a gnarled quality to his features which suggested he'd seen a great deal of hardship, he was pale, too pale to be healthy, and he raised his head to look directly into Eli's eyes he saw the flat gaze of a cold-blooded killer. A livid red scar ran up the side of the man's neck to complete a picture which would've struck fear into braver men than the half-elf was.

Somehow he managed to catch his breath and make a reply.

"There was an obstacle, it was overcome. Why am I here?"

"To help me steal something." Gabriel gestured to the back entrance of the building, which appeared securely locked even from fifty feet away. "There's an artifact in the bowels of the museum. An orb. It's the missing component of a device which belongs to the Ralkin, taken from them centuries ago and held here for gaudy display."

"What does it do?"

Gabriel grinned, but made no reply. Eli stiffened, then forced himself to find some guts.

"If I'm going to come in on this I need to know what I'm getting myself into."

"You're getting in on the ground floor of a revolution." The grim-faced man replied. "Fucilious has plans, Eli. Big plans. He means to take power away from those who'd abuse it, expose the weaselly men in control and their societies for the flimsy things they are." He threw his arms open, the half-elf took an involuntary step backward. "I was like you, you know. A petty man with petty ambitions, wallowing in small-time triumphs and working for a corrupted pig of a man for tiny profit."

"Fredriel? The man you killed in Port Lorrel?"

"Precisely. Fucilious... woke me up. Made me see how small my life really was. He gave me a real purpose the same way he now offers you one. You can walk now, Eli, and spend the rest of your life living in your shithole of a town or help me and live like a king..." He paused and stared into Eli's eyes with a knowing look. "You can take revenge on the people who've repressed your race, maybe even win some freedom for the people you hold dear. Now... what do you say?"

For a long time the half-elf didn't say anything. Internally he searched his feelings, he thought back to everything which had befallen him since he'd left the gilded cage of Snamish. The dangers, the corruption of the people, the prejudices he'd faced....

And he knew Gabriel was right.

"What do you need me to do?" He asked.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 2

Postby Alberich » June 3rd, 2012, 1:06 pm

Around Lord Shashenka, no one was speculating openly about who the responsible parties might have been. Further back in the hall, and out among the women where Lillith was, speculation was running freely. As one might imagine, the chief suspects were Clan Zukalin - the Yurkashev, and the Gibazov also, had killed many of them in the last few years, and they were desperate enough for just about anything. Second after that was the Gibazov themselves - there had been no open rivalry between the clans, but the Yurkashev were the second clan in Goriel - second in honor to, and receiving much honor from, the Prime Minister's Clan Duravsky. If they fell, the Gibazov must rise.

Men and women alike looked the corpses over coolly -- there was no one here who had not seen dead men, and almost all had seen them die more painfully than this. No one recognized any of them. That in itself was highly unusual - Goriel was not a tiny town, but it was nothing like Tsuirakushiti or Emerylon, and a hard place to be anonymous. From their features they were Gorielian. From their hygeine, they were either poor or from outside the city -- the Yurkashev men certainly could and did like to get outdoors and hunt for a week without bathing, but when they were in town, Gorielian manhood liked hot baths administered by girls, so as to enhance their other sensual pleasures. Their leathers also suggested poverty - these were not new, but scuffed and dirty with much use.

Whoever convinced rough men like this from a country like this to wear women's robes, walk like whores, and fling themselves to certain death - well, that was one thing everyone agreed on, whoever did that must be fearsome indeed. Shashenka is himself fearsome, but to a man like him it would be simply unthinkable. (The violation of hospitality and the unmanly walking-like-whores part, that would be unthinkable. "Sending people to certain death" he could handle.)

[OOC: Oh, by the way, the developments of my last post bring three more geteroi into play. I haven't actually named them yet, or established anything beyond the fact that Yurkashev geteroi tend to be more athletic than most, and especially good at dancing. They're obviously semi-background NPC roles, but if anybody wants to play one of them - might make for an interesting scene or two - lemme know.]

[OOC2: Oh those poor Gibazov - just when they think they might be rising to #2, their museum gets ripped off!]
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 2

Postby Jack Rothwell » June 3rd, 2012, 2:46 pm

"Anyone inside?"

Eli grimaced, in his mind's eye the silka he'd summoned and released into the museum scampered up a statue and paused at the top to take a view of it's surroundings. It was a peculiar sensation, exerting this much control on the creature. He was seeing through two sets of eyes and hearing through two sets of ears. The sharpness of the rodent's senses made for an extraordinarily vivid experience.

"One... no, two men patrolling on the entrance level. They're... taking circular routes around the perimeter. They just crossed on the far side."

Gabriel nodded, he was crouching by the door with a needle of metal in his hand. With practiced speed he rattled and twisted the lock until a click announced it open. Yet he left it closed. He stepped back into a half-crouch.

"Let me know when they're by the back door."

The silka turned on its perch, tracking one of the men while it absently reached up a tiny paw to scratch behind its ears (even as this level of concentration Eli still didn't have full control of it). A minute later the half-elf gave Gabriel the thumbs up.

The scarred man wrenched the door open and beheld the surprised faces of the guardsmen who stood only three feet apart. One began reaching for the weapon on his belt.

He never made it, with a speed Eli didn't think he could have matched Gabriel sprang forward, cupped both men by the ears and slammed their heads together. The crunching noise was considerable, and clearly fatal. Gabriel seized the limp bodies by the shirts before they could fall and dragged them further inside, nodding at the half-elf to close the door behind them. The mercenary dumped them in the nearest corner, not bothering with concealment, and pointed towards the stairs.

Eli willed the silka to move ahead. It skipped down the steps with all the speed a creature that spent most of its time as prey could muster. Gabriel stood guard, straining his ears for any noise from above them.

"See anything?"

"It's clear."

"Let's go."

Once on the basement level, it didn't take them long to find what they were looking for. Gabriel had scouted the place the day before and had known exactly where to go. They found the object positioned on a stone plinth, glinting dully in the semi-light.

The orb certainly didn't scream 'super weapon' at Eli. It looked more like the work of a sculptor with a strange view of what was artistic. It was a dark green colour and around eighteen inches across, bedecked with complicated swirls etched in a blood-red colour. There WAS something about it which drew him tough, some faint aura about it, like an echo.

"Is it trapped?"

Eli shook his head. he could sense no enchantment weaved around the thing, it seemed whoever had put the orb as an exhibit didn't consider it valuable enough to...

He stiffened, in his minds-eye the silka saw a guard walking down a corridor, approaching a turn which would bring the the thieves into his view.

"Someone's coming."

"Then deal with them. I need to get this thing down."

Eli cursed under his breath, he ran as lightly as he could, skidding to a halt only moments before the man arrived.

"Hey! What are you?" Called an inquisitive voice, indicating the man had spotted the cute little creature.

'Go to him.' The mage sent. Through the silka's eyes he saw the man crouch and extend a hand to pet it. Eli grinned.

He bolted around the corner with his weapon drawn, and had the bloodthirsty satisfaction of seeing the horror in the guard's eyes before his blade descended and bit deeply into his forehead. The man made a choking noise, his eyes rolled back in his skull and he fell backwards. one leg jiggled briefly and was still.

"Sorry." Eli said quietly, and found he didn't really mean it. "Wrong place, wrong time." He turned, looked over his shoulder and saw Gabriel had retrieved the orb.

Two minutes later they were back outside the building. Gabriel with the artifact wrapped in a black cloth and tucked neatly under his arm; Eli with a hammering heart as an after-effect of the summoning, and stealing nervous glances at the violated museum.

"You've done a great thing tonight, Eli." Gabriel said, his voice as steady as ever. "Our leader will reward you handsomely for your work."

Eli nodded, feeling greed now as well as nervous excitement. Perhaps Gabriel saw it in his eyes, he gave the half-elf another unsettling grin.

"I'm going to take this somewhere safe. We'll be back in touch soon."

A moment later he was gone and Eli was making his way back to the dining hall.

OOC Be back tuesday, don't start any revolutions without me!/OOC
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