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 Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty

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Mallus

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PostSubject: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:16 pm

The Jetty

The beach to the south of the Port is nearly empty. A cool wind scented with blood, burnt cinnamon, and insincere contrition blows in from the Aster. A storm is coming. Fortunately, from the south-east, which means it didn't originate in the Hells.

A few other lost and foolish souls wander up and down the strand; a Port tradition called Stormharrowing. Young lovers affirming their love in the face of death or monstrous change. Fading couples hoping to be bound anew by the act of surviving something immense, deadly, and outside themselves. Sad-eyed suicides who lack the courage to hurl themselves into the waves. Instead they wait for the rising tide, or, if they're lucky, a storm surge from the void-driven sea.

Then there are the magicians; penny-ante, daft, nothing but be-robed portions for foxes smart enough to wait behind the high dunes. "Masters of the Art" too unskilled for a proper summoning, hoping to luck across some poor storm-tossed entity lying supine, too injured to eat them before the mage scribes a binding design in the sand. Lower still are the scavenger-mages with their seeking-rods, wooden staves with inscribed disks of lodestone attached to one end which periodically emit a pinging chime.

None of this lot troubles your heavily armed and armored band in the slightest. You sight the Jetty ahead; a narrow 100 yard long stone causeway ending in a spiral of unconnected stone slabs barely above the churning waves. The entrance to the jetty is marked with warning signs and threatening mystic symbols, a "No Trespassing" decree signed by the Governor himself, and in deference to the mob of illiterates who stalk the Port, several clever warnings fashioned without the aid of letters, the chief of them being a full, bleached human skeleton with red paste gems for eyes, a ribcage stuffed with blackened rats, and a jutting mummified snake for a tongue.

Apparently there's some danger of possession here.

Titus is far out, hovering near the center of the spiral. A Bailiff is next to him. Two more stand on the causeway nearby. Each Bailiff carries a massive greatsword and a man-portable arbalest.


Last edited by Mallus on Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:53 am; edited 2 times in total
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Rolzup

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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:41 pm

OOC: Damn, but that's lovely stuff.

"Is likely little sense in talking," Pætros opines cheerfully, rubbing his oddly-jointed hands together. "Is to be firing and brimstoning instead, yes?"

He levels his staff at the distant figure of Titus, squinting a little as the wind blows spray across his face. "Is out of my reach," The Porcophant spits, the sputum quickly assuming four legs and a curly tail before scurrying away with an almost inaudible squeal.

Pætros raises. "Is unusual," he admits, watching the tiny porcunculus flee. "Is sign, maybe. Of what, cannot guess. But," he shrugs, his grin returning, "Will being much fine in finding out, yes?"
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shilsen

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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:21 pm

OOC: Scott, what exactly do we know about Titus and the Jetty? I know that we have fairly conclusive information that Titus was the one who set the Petitioners after the Mask (at least conclusive to us), but I wasn't that clear on the Jetty angle, so I thought I should double-check before doing/saying anything.
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Mallus

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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:08 pm

shilsen wrote:
OOC: Scott, what exactly do we know about Titus and the Jetty?
According to Larkspur Dandy, Titus is trying to bind the spirit of Cybelle, under orders from her father, who believes --or says-- she remains a threat to public safety while free.

The Jetty is a giant spirit trap build roughly 100 years ago by a magician named Magnar Katzenjammer. It's designed to catch spirits from across the Aster Sea trying to flee home. Unaided spirits are incapable of crossing the open sea, hence dead souls needing to travel aboard the Black Ships in order to reach their last end.
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Mallus

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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:09 pm

Rolzup wrote:
OOC: Damn, but that's lovely stuff.
OOC: thanks! I was feeling all wordy from reading Joyce.
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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:24 pm

Mallus wrote:
According to Larkspur Dandy, Titus is trying to bind the spirit of Cybelle, under orders from her father, who believes --or says-- she remains a threat to public safety while free.

The Jetty is a giant spirit trap build roughly 100 years ago by a magician named Magnar Katzenjammer. It's designed to catch spirits from across the Aster Sea trying to flee home. Unaided spirits are incapable of crossing the open sea, hence dead souls needing to travel aboard the Black Ships in order to reach their last end.

Thanks. Wasn't there something we had discovered which made us think Titus would be a danger to Larkspur? Or was that just Odanais being unnecessarily chivalric?
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Mallus

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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:35 pm

shilsen wrote:
Wasn't there something we had discovered which made us think Titus would be a danger to Larkspur? Or was that just Odanais being unnecessarily chivalric?
I believe the latter.
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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pm

Mallus wrote:
Titus is far out, hovering near the center of the spiral. A Bailiff is next to him. Two more stand on the causeway nearby. Each Bailiff carries a massive greatsword and a man-portable arbalest.

Artichoke keeps his expression and movements casual, glancing around the area as they advance, but inwardly he's seriously worried. Getting involved in all the adventures the League has taken on in the Port is one thing, since the benefits usually outweigh the risks. But getting involved with anything that would upset the Magistrates, and getting between two of them, is a bad idea. He glances at the members of the League that have come with him. But letting them come here and do whatever insanity they come up with would be even worse.

Looking over towards Titus in the distance, Artichoke slows his steps slightly so that it will take them a little extra time to reach the causeway. Then he says quietly, pitching his voice so that all his allies can hear him, "Nobody mention anything about the Petitioners, okay? I want to see whether I can get Titus to incriminate himself. And hopefully work out exactly what he is up to and what we should do about it, since Lord Dandy - or anyone else - isn't going to care what we have to say on the subject. I'm pretty sure Lively's not going to be backing us up if we whack another Bailiff's servitor, whatever he may have said, so let's try not to have to find out whether I'm right or not, okay?"

As they near the causeway, Artichoke raises a hand and waves in Titus' direction, nodding in a friendly manner at any of the Bailiffs who look at him.
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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:30 am

shilsen wrote:

Looking over towards Titus in the distance, Artichoke slows his steps slightly so that it will take them a little extra time to reach the causeway. Then he says quietly, pitching his voice so that all his allies can hear him, "Nobody mention anything about the Petitioners, okay? I want to see whether I can get Titus to incriminate himself. And hopefully work out exactly what he is up to and what we should do about it, since Lord Dandy - or anyone else - isn't going to care what we have to say on the subject. I'm pretty sure Lively's not going to be backing us up if we whack another Bailiff's servitor, whatever he may have said, so let's try not to have to find out whether I'm right or not, okay?"

Odanais nods. "As you wish."
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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:52 am

"Am saddened by vegetable-man's streak of yellow, but," The Porcophant claps him in the back, "No man entirely without flaws. You have more than most, maybe, but is albatross you must bear. Will be showing restraint, until need to do elsewise."
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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:12 pm

"I'd rather kill first and ask questions later. But since the will of the 'people' is that we approach peacefully... Let me know when it's time to take down the filthy bastard."
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Mallus

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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:50 am

The Jetty

The Aster swells threateningly along the causeway, washing here and there across its surface. The touch of its waters aren't sufficient to change. You must be submerged. Or so most of the folklore goes.

Lightning flashes far out over the Aster. In the afterimages you see the silhouettes of distant islands over which even more massive shadows crawl in gargantuan pantomime; giant apes, devils, the outlines of cruelly elegant Fae the size of slender mountains. In a moment they're gone.

The flashes also serve to illuminate Magister Titus working in the center of the Spiral. He seems to be floating above the stones. Periodically what look like enormous moths being incinerated flicker around him.

Titus and his-- or are they still Lord Dandy's?-- men are a little less than 100 yards away. The Bailiff's shouts are lost to the crashing Aster, but they raise their ungodly long swords in obvious warning, before partially returning their attention to Titus's summoning. From this vantage point the Bailiffs seem unnaturally large. Nearly the height of the levitating magician.

Do you step onto the causeway and continue to approach? Something else?

OOC: it looks a little like this -- but the actual Spiral is a good deal more, umm, spiral:



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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:29 am

The Station

Around you looms the tomb of Industry. Here the Dragonborn Empire never fell, it was suspended in the act of falling. Squat building of concrete and metal, many of which stood in the cities of the Great Machine of State, hem you in like unpleasant modern sculpture. There is power here. And art. Both terrible. Between those building sit wooden shacks crammed with hawkers, soothsayers and assorted glad-handlers selling sausages, schedules, motion-illness potions and illicit predictions for the future.

A piercing steam-powered whistles shrieks from a mile up the line as the trainspotters announce the imminent train's arrival. The crowd begins to press together trackside. Soon the spotter's whistles are joined by an even more ear-splitting sound as the train's brakes deploy. Behind you in their massive train house the twin golems Gog and Magog creak and shudder, like two vaguely man-shaped geologic processes reshaping the uncooperative earth.

The crowd looks evenly split between Port tourists seeking the drug and sex trade of the Snake States and Snake State natives returning to the warm malarial embrace of their rotted home. There is, however, a large party of industrious looking men and women carrying a frightening amount of gear. Most are armed, a few look competent, some lug what appear to be Aster harpoons. Porters heave wooden crates marked with the symbol of the Geographic Society. Two reverently hold a compass nearly three feet round. Instead of a needle it sports a still-living cherub pinned to the dial like a butterfly to a board.

A man dressed in sensible khaki traveling gear and an outlandish hat shouts orders, "Mind the kinetiscope Ms. Corday! It's irreplaceable. Dragonborn-made. Dates back to the MPM. I have a feeling this time. A good one! This time we'll make it into the Interior proper. All the way to the Falls of Adam, only the long way round. We'll sneak up on his corpse. No trickery this time. Prove He's really dead. We'll bring back the photos, the footage. Or my name isn't Denham Betwixt!"

The more sharp-eyed League members notice two Dragonborn in what look like engineers livery who had been watching Mr. Betwixt from the far side of the platform disappear into the shadows between buildings.
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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:15 pm

Pætros frowns, stroking his long mustache. "Am not liking looks of this, "he mutters.

(Arcana check: 29, to determine as much about the nature of the ritual as possible.)

****

Vox regards Mr. Betwixt with a jaundiced eye, and shakes his head with disgust. "Another one," he mutters. "Of course you'll find what you're looking for, you jackass. Everyone does. Everyone does."

The hand perched upon Vox shoulder extends it's middle finger, and tiny mouth at its tip whispers something into his ear. "Yes, yes," he responds irritably, "No sense being rude out loud, not if we're sharing a car with the fellow."

He lets a hand fall to his side, casually brushing across the hilt of his rapier, as he scans the station. "Now, where do we find our guide, eh?"


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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:15 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:08 pm

The Jetty

Rolzup wrote:
(Arcana check: 29, to determine as much about the nature of the ritual as possible.)
OOC: Even from this distance, Vox can make out what Magister Titus has done. He's nested a series of smaller, linked spirit traps along the surface of Jetty, which itself is a spirit trap. Right now, he's waiting. The exploding motes are lesser spirits getting caught in the traps and then consumed. You'd bet good money their manna is being fed back into the trap array. The longer this goes on, the stronger the trap will become.

You're not sure how long Titus can keep this running. Ritual casting is taxing, but he doesn't seem to be actively casting it now. He's merely waiting for the spirit of Cybelle the Matricide to happen by. Though odds are he did some divination beforehand...

The Station

Rolzup wrote:
He lets a hand fall to his side, casually brushing across the hilt of his rapier, as he scans the station. "Now, where do we find our guide, eh?"
The man in the hat stops his mix of berating and pep talk and looks straight at Vox. He drinks in the size and oddness of his companions. "Where are you headed?"
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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:04 pm

Rolzup wrote:
Pætros frowns, stroking his long mustache. "Am not liking looks of this, "he mutters.

Welcome to the story of my life! Artichoke chuckles sardonically. "Come on, padre - you're not going, what was it ... yellow on me now, are you?"

He turns and waves pleasantly at the bailiffs as if considering their raised swords an invitation and steps onto the jetty. "Let's go get killed, shall we?" he says quietly, as he advances.

OOC: Artichoke will proceed along the Jetty towards the ritual site, presumably accompanied by the others.

Quote :
He lets a hand fall to his side, casually brushing across the hilt of his rapier, as he scans the station. "Now, where do we find our guide, eh?"

Christabel, who has been looking around with a slightly bored expression and stroking Oothoon with one hand (or at least letting the fingers of one hand trail gently through the spectral armadillo's side), says, "Artichoke said that she'd be meeting us here." She looks at a scrap of paper with some scribbling on it. "Says here that her name is Roxy Hurrah. And that we can't miss her." The rotund deva frowns. "I wonder what that means."

OOC: I figured the group will need a healer, so I'll play Christabel for this adventure instead of Penelope. Plus I think Roxy and she might have some interesting RP.
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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:10 pm

shilsen wrote:
OOC: Artichoke will proceed along the Jetty towards the ritual site, presumably accompanied by the others.
"Spirits, schmirits. I don't get what mumbo-jumbo is going on out there. But it's a hellava place for fight Artie." Lizzy steps in alongside Artichoke.
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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:19 pm

After a few dozen yards the causeway narrows to an even 10 feet across. More importantly, the slick stone slabs cease being connected. The waters of the Aster froth and boil between the gaps, which range from 3-6 feet wide. Whether this discontinuity serves some mystic function or is simply a means of discouraging folk from walking the Jetty in the middle of a storm is hard to say.

When you get within 100 feet the Bailiff's shouts (and angry, armed gesticulations) can clearly be heard above the Aster's wrack, "Return to the beach, citizens! By order of Lord Dandy's duly-appointed men. You have no business here. The Magister cannot be disturbed. He's about the Lord's work!".

The Bailiff closest to the floating Titus raises his enormous crossbow as if to accentuate the point. All three Bailiffs appear to be about 9 feet tall.

Titus himself says nothing. He's got a wand in each hand, and traces a slow, elaborate pattern in the air as if conducting a silent symphony.

OOC: I'll send a better, more close-up map later.
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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:42 pm

Mallus wrote:
When you get within 100 feet the Bailiff's shouts (and angry, armed gesticulations) can clearly be heard above the Aster's wrack, "Return to the beach, citizens! By order of Lord Dandy's duly-appointed men. You have no business here. The Magister cannot be disturbed. He's about the Lord's work!".

The Bailiff closest to the floating Titus raises his enormous crossbow as if to accentuate the point. All three Bailiffs appear to be about 9 feet tall.

Odanais walks a bit closer to the bailiffs, a practiced look of miserable unhappiness on his face. "The beach, huh? Believe me, brother, nothing would make me happier." He looks around him, sneering with disgust as the sparks of magic and spitting sea. "We got an update from Dandy for the Magister. Word is Lively's warlocks have found that vampire bitch's spirit. Lord D's sending some men to investigate, but they need Titus down there fast in case they need to bottle her up."

Bluff: 21


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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:42 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:08 am

The Jetty

Titus turns his attention toward Odanais with a calm look upon his face, which gradually darkens to match the sea around. Soon Titus is glaring at the League members with naked displeasure. He barks a few short orders to his men before returning to his invisible symphony.

"Get back at once, citizens!" shouts a Bailiff. "We'll sort your story out on the beach after the ritual! Come any closer and it'll be a hostile act against the Magistrate."

Odanais is 30 yards from Titus and the Bailiffs, the rest of the League a few paces back. As if on cue, it begins to rain.


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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:08 am

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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:14 pm

As you approach, you can see the stone slabs comprising the jetty narrow further as they form the spiral. Here they are little more than 5 ft. across.

OOC: map fixed!

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PostSubject: Re: Strangeness on a Train/The Jetty   Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:01 pm

The Jetty

"Is possible could be very bad," Pætros notes. "Much energy at play; disrupting spell could have consequences. Will be very interesting to observe, preferably at great distance."

He frowns. "Angle not answering calls right now. Else would have simple answer, yes? Angel used to terrible deaths, but yellow streak even wider than yours, Vegetable-man."

The Station
"Oh that's not ominous," Vox says in reply to Christabel. "I wonder how many heads she has...."
Mallus wrote:

The man in the hat stops his mix of berating and pep talk and looks straight at Vox. He drinks in the size and oddness of his companions. "Where are you headed?"

Plastering a smile across his face, Vox makes a vague gesture. "Oh, here and there. Following up certain stastical irregularities and such. Investigations for the Bureaucracy, y'see." His smile transforms into something marginally more genuine; that's a word that usually puts a halt to questions.
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