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 Worse than the Disease

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Rolzup

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PostSubject: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:42 am

It is entirely possible, when the time comes to write the Gospels of Treasure, that the Hall of Injustice in its current form might be pressed into service as Orthodox Swinism's version of hell.

Between the drunks, the adventurers, and the giant possibly-divine pig, the place is...horrifying. It stinks, there are are mounds of trash and manure scattered about, and Agenbite has resorted to crouching behind the bar and menacing anyone who approaches with a dagger, all the while wearing a pig mask that has aromatic herbs packed into the snout to cut the ambient odor down to bearable levels.

Even Yatigan is cognizant of the fact that this is not the behavior of a well man.

It is into this pit of despair that the new arrivals stagger. As well as the company's newest client, a fellow that Artichoke met during his sojourn at the Battle Angel School. He was there looking for mercenaries to aid him in a rather unusual venture; Artichoke, sensing profit, swooped in and offered his services without hesitation. And without finding out what this job entailed. All he has is a name: Nicholai Hidimba. And the promise of a reward that includes a rather substantial piece of property.

He arrives just after 10:00, and is likely the oldest Tiefling any of you have ever seen. Hidimba sports a truly magnificent crown of horns, an improbable number of rings, and a black robe embroidered with a host of obscure arcane symbols. He's being carried by a pair of...things. Humanoids of an unknown sort, with expressionless faces, one pure white and the other blood red. They've made a sling of their hands, and the old man is seated upon them; not entirely happily, judging by his expression.

They move in perfect unison, and with inhuman grace, smoothly navigating the room and depositing their burden in a handy chair. He waves them off with ill grace, fighting to suppress a coughing fit, and they move to take up positions flanking his chair. The white one stands with it hands clasped in front of it, the red one with its hands clasped behind.

"I hate the damned ugly things," the old man wheezes, "But they get me where I need to be, by Hades." He puts his hands on the table, takes a deep breath, and looks the room over. Even for a man of his apparent age, Hidimba doesn't look at all well -- his skin is blotchy, covered with lesions and swellings, and he struggles to take each breath.

"Interesting decor," he says in a doubtful tone. Producing a handkerchief from somewhere within his robes, he raises it to his nose. "So, Commander Artichoke: are you and your...people prepared to render the services for which I have contracted you?"
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shilsen

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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:54 pm

Rolzup wrote:
"Interesting decor," he says in a doubtful tone. Producing a handkerchief from somewhere within his robes, he raises it to his nose. "So, Commander Artichoke: are you and your...people prepared to render the services for which I have contracted you?"

"Yes, we are," says Artichoke decisively, "But first we need some more information about exactly what this job entails. And about the payment for said services. If I recall correctly, you had mentioned something about a building you own?"
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Rolzup

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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:30 pm

Hidimba shakes a finger at Artichoke. "I knew you weren't paying full attention when we spoke, boy!" He sounds amused, rather than outraged. "Typical, really...."

He shakes his head, smiling a little. "You people are going to cure me, remember? Deal with this...illness that afflicts me so." Hidimba looks Artichoke in the eye, waiting for the spark of memory, but remains disappointed.

The Tiefling sighs. "I'll explain again. Likely just as well. Do you know what a spirit trap is?"

Vox, seated at another table, frowns. "Something used to capture and imprison the bodiless dead. The Bureaucracy really doesn't approve of such things, and for damned good reason."

"The Bureaucrats can kiss my withered ass," Hidimba snaps. "To hell with them, and to hell with...." He breaks down into another coughing fit, which takes a few minutes to resolve.

"In any case," he eventually gasps out, "Some months ago I made myself into a spirit trap." Vox makes a strangled noise, which earns him another glare. "It made sense at the time," he says defensively, "I was desperate and...well, it doesn't matter. Suffice to say that things did not go at all as I had planned. Instead I've been infested with a variety of malevolent spirits, all of them trying to claim pieces of my Self. And it's killing me. Slowly, painfully.

"I'm not afraid of death. I'm ready for it, really. But if I die now, in this state, my soul will be torn to shreds by those struggling over it." Hidimba levels a stare at Artichoke. "I have plans for the afterlife. I can't allow this to happen."

Using one long finger, he absently begins to trace a pattern on the tabletop. "I've designed a ritual," he says slowly, "That will allow physical access to my mind. For cent...years now, I've used a Memory Palace to allow me to keep my mind in order. In this case it's worked to my disadvantage...it gave the invaders enough of a structure for them to exploit. But it will also you and your people to do precisely the same thing, and eliminate the pestilent bastards."
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shilsen

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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:41 pm

Artichoke keeps a careful straight face while Hidimba is speaking, but his mind is racing. What the hells? when he old tiefling finishes, he says, his tone neutral, "So, let me make sure I've got this straight. You want us to essentially enter your mind and kill the evil spirits that infest it? That raises a few questions. What sort of access does the ritual allow? Can we enter and leave of our own will or do you need to allow it? What happens to any of us if we are slain inside your mind? That's probably enough for now." He pauses and then adds, "Oh, and what about the house you mentioned?"
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Rolzup

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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:55 pm

"In order?"

Hidimba raises one finger. "Literal bodily access, by means of the ritual that I spoke of. It's an involved process, but you'll need to do nothing more than stand about and wait until I finish casting it."

A second finger. "Entrance and exit both require the ritual, so you won't be able to come and go freely. And it's a rather debilitating process, so I'd prefer not to employ it any more than necessary.

Third finger. "Body and soul will be bound together, until you exit. The spirit will then pass over, as normal."

He closes his hand. "Or at least, such is my theory. It's an entirely new branch of Applied Symbolic Logic. Groundbreaking, really.

"As to the house.... It's more of an estate, really. Somewhat enormous. In dire need of repair, and I understand that there are some squatters who would need to be dealt with, but it's certainly better than this. It's my ancestral home; I'm the last surviving heir -- well, the last in a position to lay claim to it -- but I haven't set foot in the place in a very long time."

Hidimba shrugs. "I dare not, in fact. I've patterned my memory palace upon the place, and seeing a sight that deviates from my constructed memory structure could prove disastrous."
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Mallus

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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:08 pm

"Has anyone ever done such a thing before? Bodily exercised spirits from the interior of a being's mind? It all sounds so splendidly singular..." says Yatagan, intrigued.

"Just the sort of experience that could give me a leg up over my brethren in the apotheosis department. Not to mention, good practice for our eventual expedition into the real Interior".

He smiles, then frowns.

"Precisely how large is the inside of your mind? Are you sure it can accommodate us all?" Yatagan looks down at his codpiece.

"Some of us are rather large in the metaphysical department."
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Rolzup

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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:17 pm

Mallus wrote:
"Has anyone ever done such a thing before? Bodily exercised spirits from the interior of a being's mind? It all sounds so splendidly singular..." says Yatagan, intrigued.

"Just the sort of experience that could give me a leg up over my brethren in the apotheosis department. Not to mention, good practice for our eventual expedition into the real Interior".

He smiles, then frowns.

"Precisely how large is the inside of your mind? Are you sure it can accommodate us all?" Yatagan looks down at his codpiece.

"Some of us are rather large in the metaphysical department."

To the best of my knowledge, we're breaking entirely new ground here. You'll be pioneers, of a sort!" He's clearly decided that Yatigan will be an easy sell.

"And my mind -- or rather, the place that I have constructed within my mind -- is quite large indeed. It's patterned on a fairly large estate, after all."
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overeddie

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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:34 pm

"I'm not sure I want to go traipsing around in some old guys head just so I can become a member of the landed gentry," scowls Lizzy.
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Mallus

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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:40 pm

Rolzup wrote:
You'll be pioneers, of a sort!"
"Splendid!"

Quote :
"And my mind -- or rather, the place that I have constructed within my mind -- is quite large indeed. It's patterned on a fairly large estate, after all."
"I have a big... codpiece".

overeddie wrote:
"I'm not sure I want to go traipsing around in some old guys head just so I can become a member of the landed gentry," scowls Lizzy.
"We'll convert the estate into a union hall! Well, the part that isn't the church" says Yatagan enthusiastically.
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gridley

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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:43 pm

Odanais considers the Tiefling's words in silence for several moments, then, reaching for his glass of brandy, asks, "Say, is there anything to drink inside your mind? Or would we need to bring our own?"



(OOC: Odanais has not transitioned to sorcerer yet. Awaiting John's approval of wacky idea in characters forum.)
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Mallus

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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:45 pm

"You know, I've always wanted to set pyrotechnics off in men's souls. I always thought it would be through my art. I never dreamed I'd get to do it literally" says Yatagan happily.
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:54 pm

Artichoke sighs softly. This can't end well - but I knew that when I returned. "What my colleagues are trying to say, Mister Hidimba, is that we look forward to this unique opportunity. When and where should we meet with you to begin this ... ahem, expedition? I should mention at this point that I will be leaving some of my compatriots with you for added security, to make sure nothing untoward happens while we're inside your mind."
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Mallus

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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:58 pm

OOC: now would be a great time for Odanais to switch...
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:59 pm

Mallus wrote:
OOC: now would be a great time for Odanais to switch...

Heh! Or inside the guy's head.
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:08 pm

Mallus wrote:
[
"We'll convert the estate into a union hall! Well, the part that isn't the church" says Yatagan enthusiastically.
"You and your 'spiritual' bunkum," Lizzy says dismissively. "About this union hall. Will there be room for worker education classes? And beef and beers? We'll need beef and beers."
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:12 am

overeddie wrote:
"You and your 'spiritual' bunkum," Lizzy says dismissively. "About this union hall. Will there be room for worker education classes? And beef and beers? We'll need beef and beers."

"Don't we always?" says Artichoke dryly, before adding, "I presume there should be more than enough room for what we individually want to do, unlike this place." He then turns back to Hidimba, awaiting a response to his previous question.
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:52 am

"Not just worker training Lizzie, but instruction in civil disobedience, protest singing, and... as a matter of course... weapons training too!" says Yatagan, beginning to get swept up in his own rhetoric. Again. "But we'll need to serve pork as well as beef. After all, it is a temple."

A thought strikes Yatagan, spinning his head around until it faces the Tiefling.

"Mr. Hidimba, as part of our payment I ask you teach us the ritual. One day I must needs take a pilgrimage into the Interior. Creating a map of my own mind beforehand would be an incalculable asset."
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:19 pm

"Alcohol is an integral part of my memories of home," Hidimba tells Odanais, "But how much of those memories have been consumed by my unwanted guests? I don't know, and would rather not consider it. Do enjoy whatever you find, however. I was never able to develop a proper taste for 500 year old brandy, myself.

"As to the when," he continues, turning to Artichoke, "The sooner the better. I fear that I haven't much longer, and would rather not drop dead before you can begin your work.

"And finally, yes, certainly I shall teach it to you. Be aware, though, that if you were to cast it upon yourself, you would not be able to make use of it -- you cannot travel bodily within yourself without risking dire ontological consequences. Besides, I don't quite think that you're flexible enough for that."

Hidimba snaps his fingers, and one of his servants produces an ivory tube, bows, and hands it to the old man. "Now, then, as to the property.... It is located within this very district, albeit on the border between the the Staggers and the Shambles. Not the most pleasant of neighborhoods, and considering its original location...." He sighs.

"But it should have plenty of space for whatever you plan." Drawing a piece of parchment from the tube, he spreads it open upon the table....





"The scale is 20' to each of those little squares. The servant quarters, shown here, are located between the first and second floor of the West wing. Now, this doesn't show the underground laboratory," he apologizes, "Nor the stables located atop the tower that rises above the greenhouse. My family were famous hippogiff breeders, in their day."

"That tower does not exist within my Memory Palace, however. Not in the same fashion, at least. I had very few pleasant recollections of it, and so I used it to house my deeper memories. I'm very much afraid that it has been compromised as well, which could be...unpleasant."
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:27 pm

Artichoke's eyes light up at sight of the map. This should be just perfect! And I can get rooms far away from the damn ... um, possibly divine pig. "Very well," he says. "I presume we don't need to be at the actual physical building to enter your mind. Correct? If so, how about meeting us here again tomorrow morning to do the ritual then? That would give us enough time to prepare."
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:44 pm

Rolzup wrote:
Be aware, though, that if you were to cast it upon yourself, you would not be able to make use of it -- you cannot travel bodily within yourself without risking dire ontological consequences.
I am more than Dragon-kin and less than Dragon-kind, descendant of Oroborous! World-snake! Self-devouring!

"Of course" says Yatagan blandly.

Quote :
Drawing a piece of parchment from the tube, he spreads it open upon the table....
"That's impressive. It will make a wonderful church, school, union hall, theater, fortress, and revolutionary headquarters".
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:05 pm

Odanais smiles at the thought of 500 year old brandy and other liquors of the mind.

"While I'm very intrigued, Mr. Hidimba," he says, "this ritual of cerebral exploration raises a few concerns of both an arcane and an epistemological nature. I feel I really must ask--"

As those final words emerge from the mage's mouth, the universe suddenly--and with seemingly no reason--collapses around Odanais Dare. The very light twists around him puckering into a luminous helix that shrinks almost into nothingness, removing him altogether from existence. Those present detect a slight popping sound and then a whoosh as the helix unspirals before them, leaving the room with a new inhabitant, but otherwise undisturbed, except for a faint smell of burning camphor.

"--that it worked?" mumbles the new inhabitant, staring at an empty wall for a moment before his knees buckle under him. Catching his breath quickly, he rises easily to his feet. He is a young man, his wiry frame decked out in tight black leather.

Except for the fact that his hair is cut stylishly short and he wears a neatly trimmed mustache and beard, his face bears an uncanny resemblance to Odanais. Looking around to find himself surrounded, he pulls a dagger from his belt and with catlike grace leaps backward to have his back against the wall.

"Right, who are you lot?" he asks with a snarl. "And where the hell am I?"


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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:44 pm

Hidimba's servants move smoothly forward, each producing a falchion from nowhere at all. At his hissed command, they both freeze in place. "Captain? What is the meaning of this?"
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:05 pm

"Holy crap!" ejaculates Lizzy, swinging around to face the new Odanais. With his axe ready, he interrogates the new arrival, "Who the fuck are you?"
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:18 pm

overeddie wrote:
"Holy crap!" ejaculates Lizzy, swinging around to face the new Odanais. With his axe ready, he interrogates the new arrival, "Who the fuck are you?"

"The name's Dare," he says, his eyes crackling with sparks of scarlet lightning, "Odanais Dare."
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PostSubject: Re: Worse than the Disease   Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:49 pm

Yatagan is visibly startled, first by the sudden malleability of local space, then by Lizzie unlimbering his limb-removing axe, and finally by the sight of a different Mr. Dare.

"Tell us this is just an especially dramatic way to introduce your new look, Odanais" says the Dragonborn, with a mix of familiarity and wary confusion. Reflexively, he raises his shield, but refrains from ejaculating onto the weapon.
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