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 Another Roadside Distraction

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Mallus

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PostSubject: Another Roadside Distraction   Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:38 pm

The short-lived God of Choir lies in a heap of mismatched bones. The frayed ropes it once hung from the rafters by dangle like unanswered prayers. Nearby are the five bodies of the god's involuntary flock. Though the violence done them by the League were minor, their hearts literally burst with the joyous, but brief, revelation. The unmoving body of the cherub can been seen through the god's dragonling jaws.

The barn door creaks open. The smell of livestock tinged with sulfur drifts in. "Is it over? And by 'over' I really mean safe" asks the Tiefling farmer, Barnum. "What of of my bone collection? It has some sentimental value, not to mention being a tourist attraction".

You hear shouts from the behind the Tiefling, who hasn't quite yet mustered the courage to walk through the door. "Amos! Andrew! Are you alright? Why did run off like that?"

The bodies on the ground give no reply.
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:11 pm

"Oh, the bones are fine," Vox says in a bitter tone, moving to inspect the corpses. "More than can be said for these poor bastards...." He cups his hands together, fingers twisted in a manner that looks very painful, and speaks into them.

"You're dead," he says loudly. "Head for the Port, try not to get eaten along the way. Don't stop to talk to anyone, don't make any sort of deals with anyone or anything, and keep your names to yourself.

"If you're lucky," Vox adds, turning to Barnum, "They won't haunt you. Maybe."
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:20 pm

Rolzup wrote:
"Oh, the bones are fine," Vox says in a bitter tone, moving to inspect the corpses.
The bones are more than just fine, notes Vox as he examines them. Many of them are unmistakeably from the Interior. Some are whole, meaning they contain unspoiled Divine Marrow, the sole ingredient in a Raise Dead ritual. For whatever reason, Barnum is using a small fortune in reagents as a rural sideshow attraction. In a town that's probably never seen so much as a country fair. This probably constitutes the very pinnacle of Tiefling humor.

OOC: the nature and value of the bones is pretty evident to anyone in the room with ranks in Arcana or Religion.

Quote :
"If you're lucky," Vox adds, turning to Barnum, "They won't haunt you. Maybe."
"They'll have to get in line. I've got a legion of spirits waiting to bedevil me. You wouldn't understand, it's a Tiefling thing..."

Barnum is cut off by a modest-sized mob of confused and frightened residents of Choir. "I can't hear it no more" says one dirt-covered man with a lovely speaking voice. "No wait" says another, "It's still there. But it's so sad. It sounds like a dirge."

A woman begins crying. She approaches one of the bodies. "Amos" she gasps. Her son and daughter look on, dazed. More towns folk rush over the line of five corpses. Choir's pastor and mayor John Seraph looks Vox dead in the eye. "That one was my brother Amos. This is your fault. Are you going to make amends?" Angry, close-mouthed words get spit from mouths behind him. A few of the men glare at Barnum for good measure.
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:50 pm

Vox looks Seraph in the eye.

"We did what needed to be done. When the god died, so did those it had taken. And if we hadn't killed it? Would you want to be its thrall as well? Along with the whole of your people?

"That said," Vox continues, spreading his hands, "You're right. It wouldn't have awakened without...." his gaze flickers in Gepettojack's direction, "...us. I'm not sure what amends I can offer, other than a chance to speak to your brother and the others one last time."
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:48 pm

Rolzup wrote:
"That said," Vox continues, spreading his hands, "You're right. It wouldn't have awakened without...." his gaze flickers in Gepettojack's direction, "...us. I'm not sure what amends I can offer, other than a chance to speak to your brother and the others one last time."

Christabel emits an unladylike grunt and her gaze also flicks to Gepettojack - and stays there. "I'm not sure it was up to 'us', Vox," she says, eyes not leaving the latest addition to the band. "Was that the cherub that idiot Denham was looking for? What were you doing with it, Gepettojack? And how are you planning to make it up to these people?"

OOC: I think you might have to provide a response, Scott, since Mike doesn't usually check the forums.
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:28 pm

Rolzup wrote:
And if we hadn't killed it? Would you want to be its thrall as well? Along with the whole of your people?
The country pastor shifts to Barnum. "You should never have brought that abomination here."

"Brought it here?" ask the Tiefling. "I assembled it here, most of it, at least. Why Jimcrack --indicating dead Amos's young son-- helped me fish some finger bones of the Ossuary Flow. I recall you weren't complaining when the caravans would stop and gawkers would pay a silver Governor to see it."

"Hells" adds Barnum, "You're own church choir sneaks in and sings to it at least once a fortnight."

Quote :
I'm not sure what amends I can offer, other than a chance to speak to your brother and the others one last time."
"I'd... like the chance... to say goodbye" says Amos's wife. Her children being to cry. Mollified somewhat by Vox's reasonable words and irked by the Tiefling's farmer's mention of coin, the crowd starts to focus their anger on Barnum.
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:33 pm

shilsen wrote:

OOC: I think you might have to provide a response, Scott, since Mike doesn't usually check the forums.
OOC: good point... but could one of you guys do it? I'd much rather see where you folks take this. I don't want to be a part of deciding that (outside of playing the NPC's).
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:20 pm

OOC: Let's drop Mike an e-mail at least. In his place, my inclination would be to blame his orphans.... "Children, goodness. They're just so irresponsible. I shall have a long talk with Clanky Joe about this matter, and make it very clear that stealing semi-divine beings is wrong, no matter how shiny they happen to be...." But that's just me.

Mallus wrote:

"I'd... like the chance... to say goodbye" says Amos's wife. Her children being to cry. Mollified somewhat by Vox's reasonable words and irked by the Tiefling's farmer's mention of coin, the crowd starts to focus their anger on Barnum.

"That," Vox replies gently, "I can most certainly give you. We'll need to cross over, but I can bring you there and back again safely. And a few others as well -- no more than eight can cross with me."

(Takes about 10 minutes to cast Shadow Passage; he'll see who wishes to come with him, and begin the casting shortly.)
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:45 pm

Rolzup wrote:
We'll need to cross over, but I can bring you there and back again safely. And a few others as well -- no more than eight can cross with me."
The dead man's wife and brother step forward.

Meanwhile townsfolk begin to mutter about making Barnum leave town. The Tiefling shoots Christabel an imploring, "you know, this really is your fault" sort of of look.

OOC: anyone else going along for the ride?
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:30 pm

Vox heads outside and cuts open his palm, a faint white scar showing that he's done this many times before. Holding his hand out in front of him, palm parallel to the ground, he begins to walk in a long and looping path, blood dripping from his hand with the regularity of a metronome. With each pace, he steps squarely upon a droplet, which begins to grow and stretch behind him, creating a faintly luminescent red line as each droplet merges with those before and behind it.

When he finally stops, he stands at the center of an intricate spiral. "Walk the path," he calls, "If you're coming."
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:41 pm

OOC: Thanks for the email Scott.

Gepetto Jack Fagin looks sorrowful for the tragedy of these poor, poor commonfolk. For a dramatically appropriate amount of time, that is, before launching into an improvised Snake Oil Salesman routine.

"I'm truly sorry for your losses, and I'm glad that we arrived in time to prevent this from happening to more of you. Those... things" Gepetto Jack says with subtle disgust, looking over at the divine bones sprawled onto the floor "have been spreading black roots into the heart of this town for quite some time now. I felt it as soon as we arrived. And I'm sure that even you, non-tieflings that you are, have felt some of it too: Doubts creeping into your minds. Weeds and dead patches sprouting in your fields. Feelings of discontent. Fear for the future. Food spoiling. Fights among you." (In other words, things that happen in every town and village, but which can be turned into fearful omens without too much difficulty.) "The old gods are were insidious beasts, and even when dead they still try to leech the spirit, and eat the free will of good folk, turning them into cultists. It even consumed the spirit of one of my orphan wards, poor little guy."

Gepetto Jack shakes his head sadly.


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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:45 pm

OOC: "Yes sir, you've got trouble! Right here in Choir! That's trouble, with a capital 'T' and that rhymes with 'B', and that stands for Bones!"
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:47 pm

Yessiree.

Argh. Despite the crap roll on my Bluff check, that's still a 20.


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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:47 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:58 pm

Rolzup wrote:
"That," Vox replies gently, "I can most certainly give you. We'll need to cross over, but I can bring you there and back again safely. And a few others as well -- no more than eight can cross with me."

(Takes about 10 minutes to cast Shadow Passage; he'll see who wishes to come with him, and begin the casting shortly.)

Christabel nods at Vox's offer. Though the deva's relationship with death is very different to most people's, she understands that most intelligent species have a fixation on life after death which she doesn't share. "I'll come along too, Vox," she says. No sense risking being left here if something happens to him.

Atlatl Jones wrote:
Gepetto Jack Fagin looks sorrowful for the tragedy of these poor, poor commonfolk. For a dramatically appropriate amount of time, that is, before launching into an improvised Snake Oil Salesman routine.

"I'm truly sorry for your losses, and I'm glad that we arrived in time to prevent this from happening to more of you. Those... things" Gepetto Jack says with subtle disgust, looking over at the divine bones sprawled onto the floor "have been spreading black roots into the heart of this town for quite some time now. I felt it as soon as we arrived. And I'm sure that even you, non-tieflings that you are, have felt some of it too: Doubts creeping into your minds. Weeds and dead patches sprouting in your fields. Feelings of discontent. Fear for the future. Food spoiling. Fights among you." (In other words, things that happen in every town and village, but which can be turned into fearful omens without too much difficulty.) "The old gods are were insidious beasts, and even when dead they still try to leech the spirit, and eat the free will of good folk, turning them into cultists."

Gepetto Jack shakes his head sadly.

Christabel rolls her eyes so hard they momentarily threaten to pop out of her head. In a voice which is a very poor facsimile for Gepetto's 'sympathetic' tones, she adds, addressing the locals, "As you can see, my companion here is very sorry for what happened, especially since there is a distinct possibility that it might not have if he hadn't been here. So he will be providing you and the other families of the dead with substantial restitution. As in money."

Turning her attention squarely back on Gepetto, she asks, "So, kind and gentle Gepetto, precisely how much are you giving these people?"
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:19 pm

Fagin murmurs a short musical prayer to himself, over the bodies of the slain and his poor "orphan ward" cherub.

OOC: That is, he's casting the Glib Limerick ritual from PH2, to improve his bluffing.

"My dear Christabel", he says, shaking his head at her naiveté and unintentional bad manners, "I wouldn't dream of debasing these pour souls' losses by mentioning money. I know that your kind don't fully understand death, but even you should realize that you can't just 'buy away' the deep loss of a loved one," he says reproachfully. "Unlike your kind, we mortals feel a final death, and don't see our loved ones again until the afterlife."

He turns back to the townsfolk, pretending that his previous words were for Christabel's benefit, not for theirs. "At the very least, we will help you see your loved ones on their way", he says, motioning to Vox and his ritual. "And we will take away these foul relics that Barnum brought into your village... unwittingly, I'm sure," he says, as if he doubts the 'unwittingly' part but is trying not to cause trouble for Barnum. "We will dispose of them properly, by ritually casting them into the Aster so they never hurt anyone ever again."

OOC: That's a 36 on his Bluff.

I also added a new avatar. If only I had the photoshop skills to add in curling goat horns...


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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:19 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:00 am

Roxy observes Fagin's spiel with a barely disguised smirk, then turns to Vok. "Well, if you all are heading to the other side, I suppose I best come with you. Just in case you need protection."
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:29 am

Atlatl Jones wrote:
Those... things" Gepetto Jack says with subtle disgust, looking over at the divine bones sprawled onto the floor "have been spreading black roots into the heart of this town for quite some time now.
Barnum's eyes narrow.

Quote :
I felt it as soon as we arrived.
Barnum sighs lightly, a smile on his face. He says nothing. Those destined for the Hells from the moment of their birth can be remarkably sanguine at times.

Quote :
"The old gods are were insidious beasts, and even when dead they still try to leech the spirit, and eat the free will of good folk, turning them into cultists. It even consumed the spirit of one of my orphan wards, poor little guy."
"Old gods?" says John Seraph as he prepares to cross over. "That skeleton was a pretender, a charlatan's, umm, deadly toy. Mother Oak is an 'old god', and she shelters each of us in her sturdy, mossy breast". The simply country pastor seems on the verge of delivering a sermon, but instead he steps into the realm of the dead to exchange last words with his brother.

Vox shepherds the pastor, his sister-in-law, Christabel and Roxy to the Other Side as Gepetto Jack launches into a truly magical spiel.

Quote :
"And we will take away these foul relics that Barnum brought into your village... unwittingly, I'm sure," he says, as if he doubts the 'unwittingly' part but is trying not to cause trouble for Barnum. "We will dispose of them properly, by ritually casting them into the Aster so they never hurt anyone ever again."
Throw me under a carriage, will you? thinks Barnum.

Quote :
OOC: That's a 36 on his Bluff.
The crowd of simply folk stand in awe of the speech. Barnun waits until Gepetto Jack's companions are gone and says, "He just cast a cheap Fae glamour on you. In case you didn't notice, he's trying to play us like a cheap fiddle. The bones were perfectly harmless until they arrived."

The crowd blinks collectively and looks to Barnum, unsure of what to believe.

"He's trying to steal the bones, our bones, which brought town good luck, not to mention money over the years. Their worth a fortune in the... Port." Barnum spits that last word to emphasizing its bad taste. "Speaking of money, I'll give ten gold pieces per head to any man who helps me escort my kinsmen here out of town."

Barnum's diplomacy is still not quite up to the level of Gepetto Jack's bullshit.

OOC: Barnum's Diplomacy: 33

With a slightly heavier sigh, Barnum adds "Plus, to the grieving families I'll give -- he pauses for dramatic effect like an expert showman-- their loved ones back! I'll break off five of the holy bones and use them to raise the dead!"

Another pause.

"Which I can't do, if he steals them."

Top that! says Barnum with no more than the hint of a smirk.


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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:29 am

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:03 am

The first thing the traveler to the Other Side notice is the sound, a simple melancholy tune that doesn't fill the air so much as replace it. You breath sad music until your lungs hum like sounding chambers and tears wet your eyes. You cannot move.

The spell is broken by the sound of weeping. A joyous weeping. It stands out like a bonfire on a cloudy, moonless night. Amos and the four other recently-killed townsfolk, two men and two women, are cavorting outside the barn, alternately laughing and crying.

"It was huge!"

"Yes, so huge. Bigger than the moon!"

"Bigger, then the sun! Both of 'em".

"But made of... of..."

"Joy!"

"So big no wonder we burst!"

They laugh at the same time, like happy madmen.

Aside from the barn walls looking slightly translucent, the barn on the Other Side looks much as it did in the mortal world. The bones, while appearing no bigger, seem more solid, weighty as redwood trunks, as the sides of a deep chasm which exposes the bones of the earth, their surface layered and striated, no longer merely white but an infinitely rich collection of shades.

Most of the bones, at least. It's dragon's skull looks somewhat cheap. Like a plaster fake in a carnival sideshow. Inside it lies the cherub, faintly luminous and breathing faintly.

Through the open door you can see the rest of the town, each body and building lent the aspect of the specter. Far off in the distance you can make out a hill crowned with what looks like radiant jungle flora.

The pastor takes the widows hand. Together they slowly approach the dancing Amos.
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:46 pm

The dead man Amos addresses his kin.

"Magda, John, it's good to see you!" he weeps ecstatically. "I didn't think it would be so soon. I've got something I want to share with you.... something wonderful!" Amos takes a long awkward step forward as if he's barely containing the urge to dance. The pastor and the widow stop dead in their tracks.

"What's wrong with you, Amos?" his brother asks sternly. The superficial inanity of the question is lost on the good country preacher.

"Nothing, John. Nothing. Even though I'm no longer among the living" Amos smiles almost warmly. "I've got the good news, come let me tell you".

Magda takes a step toward him. Moving slightly faster than the third eye can see, Amos is upon her, leaning in to whisper in her ear.
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:56 pm

Mallus wrote:
The dead man Amos addresses his kin.

"Magda, John, it's good to see you!" he weeps ecstatically. "I didn't think it would be so soon. I've got something I want to share with you.... something wonderful!" Amos takes a long awkward step forward as if he's barely containing the urge to dance. The pastor and the widow stop dead in their tracks.

"What's wrong with you, Amos?" his brother asks sternly. The superficial inanity of the question is lost on the good country preacher.

"Nothing, John. Nothing. Even though I'm no longer among the living" Amos smiles almost warmly. "I've got the good news, come let me tell you".

Magda takes a step toward him. Moving slightly faster than the third eye can see, Amos is upon her, leaning in to whisper in her ear.

Roxy watches very closely, listening carefully to what he says to her.

Perception: 15 (rolled a 1!)


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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:56 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roadside Distraction   Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:45 pm

Mallus wrote:
The crowd of simply folk stand in awe of the speech. Barnun waits until Gepetto Jack's companions are gone and says, "He just cast a cheap Fae glamour on you. In case you didn't notice, he's trying to play us like a cheap fiddle. The bones were perfectly harmless until they arrived."

The crowd blinks collectively and looks to Barnum, unsure of what to believe.

"He's trying to steal the bones, our bones, which brought town good luck, not to mention money over the years. Their worth a fortune in the... Port." Barnum spits that last word to emphasizing its bad taste. "Speaking of money, I'll give ten gold pieces per head to any man who helps me escort my kinsmen here out of town."

With a slightly heavier sigh, Barnum adds "Plus, to the grieving families I'll give -- he pauses for dramatic effect like an expert showman-- their loved ones back! I'll break off five of the holy bones and use them to raise the dead!"

Another pause.

"Which I can't do, if he steals them."

Top that! says Barnum with no more than the hint of a smirk.
"'Top that?' 'Top that?!'" Gepetto Jack says with incredulity. "This isn't a game, Mr. Barnum. People's lives are at stake here!"

"What is with you people, and your obsession with money!" Gepetto Jack exclaims towards Barnum. "All you've done is talk about money since we got here! Selling views of those unholy things to innocent travelers, and trying to buy your way into these people's hearts. Even now, you only talk about money, talking about the 'value' of your unholy relics, and trying to buy these people's loyalties for 10 gold pieces a head!"

"Why are you so eager to get rid of us, all of a sudden? 10 gold per person is a lot of money. What are you afraid of?"

"You're obviously a skilled performer, what with your sideshow of those things making money for you. But do you really think you can just buy loyalty? You've seen the insidious harms that these bones have wreaked on the well being of these townsfolk over the years, but you still kept them here. They make you too much gold, so you kept them, consequences be damned!"

"I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I thought you brought those things here without knowing what they do. But you're far too canny, and quick to bribe away those who would reveal your scheme."

OOC: That's a 29 on the Bluff.


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