Turn 6 Thread

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Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:24 am

[Please use this thread for posting in Turn 6. All Secondary Objectives are now available for completion.]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:33 am

No time like the present? Laval suggests. What's the plan, you want me to just show up at the gate or...?

She passes on the message to Marina, but Marina shrugs.

"Pretty sure I already get it," she remarks, "I'm fine out here."

Laval sets up her crude disguise, makes sure her bag is in order, breathes deeply. She has an idea for improving her disguise, but it will be much easier with access to a mirror. Hopefully she can grab one in there.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 29, 2016 6:53 pm

Yes, Gracious responds. I'll have Leonard talk to the mercenaries and have you brought through.


Donning the crude disguise and trusting in the darkness, Laval makes her way towards the Villa von Klossner, hoping she is right to trust Gracious at his word. When she reaches the gates, they are opened without hesitation, with nary so much as a second glance from the mercenaries. Gracious has come through, and Laval is not suspicious, and the wych is given easy access to the mansion. She is hurried up to her room by servants, who seem to be on some instruction to get her there quickly and without bumping into anyone else. It is a bare looking bedroom, as if it has recently been stripped of personal affects, and Laval realises that she must be in the room of someone recently deceased. Happily for disguise-creation, there is a full length mirror in the en suite bathroom.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:20 pm

Feeling somewhat subdued, Laval resolves to get what she came for and get this over with. On the way in, she asks the servants humbly for water and, if they can spare it, something to eat. That's one thing out of the way.

Once she's alone, she stands in front of the mirror and contemplates herself. It's the first chance she's had to see her wreath of Warp-stuff from an external perspective, and she finds she kind of likes it, despite the inconvenience. As she suspected, it stands out against her pale skin - most visible round the mouth and eyes. But she has ink that will stain skin, and she guesses that if she were to paint herself with exaggerated make-up in abstract designs, the markings would help distract from the truth. She's obviously an off-worlder anyway, and it's better to look exotic than mutated.

The rest of her appearance is more distressing. She's filthy, and dishevelled, and there are still fading bruises on her face. Most of all, she's shocked to see how thin she's become. Oh well. At least some of those problems can be remedied. Clean skin will take ink better anyway. Laval investigates the facilities for washing herself.

****

Outside, Marina finds herself alone with Ari. Well. This is quite the opportunity.

[I feel like an interaction might be in order? S: S: ]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:55 pm

The en suite bathroom is more than fully stocked, festooned with soaps, perfumes and other arcane liquids of noble cleanliness. By the time Laval is finished, she looks something like her old self again, but for the thinness. A servant knocks on the door to see if Laval would like any food, and apologises for the clothes left accidentally in the wardrobes. Laval tells the servant to pay the mistake no heed. When she investigates, she finds a noblewoman's array of clothes. Gerhild Klossner was thinned by drug addiction and a pressure to appear pretty, and Laval finds that they are an adequate fit for herself in her partially starved state.

Laval is well-travelled - or at least, well-informed on the planets of Askellon. The feral people of Rund sometimes paint their faces in elaborate inks, especially around the eyes, nostrils and mouth to give them a fearsome, smoky look. It is perfect for Laval's purposes, and she puts together the disguise that matches a pict she remembers of a Rundian priest. It takes some time, but she is deeply satisfied with the results.

[Laval's disguise is at +20: essentially, she is 'assisted' at Disguise special use of Deceive Tests by herself twice, using the Common Lore (Askellon) and Trade (Chymist) Skills. If you adopt a disguise that incorporates the noble clothing, you might get +30.]

Meanwhile, Marina and Ari are left to have a talk... or not.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:47 pm

It is night outside the Villa von Klossner. Laval has left to enter the mansion, invited by Gracious, leaving Ari and Marina alone to nurse their wounds. Ari has not said much over the day, sitting about listlessly, whilst Marina has been up and down the nearby baobab tree, restless and impatient. Now, the two individuals - individuals who have horribly injured one another in the recent past - are left with each other to resolve their differences: or finish what they started.
 
Ari sits on a rock, impatiently jiggling her one remaining foot. Marina stares at Ari in the dark. Her goggles hide much of her expression, but her burned lips curl into a slight snarl as she watches Ari fidget. Ari’s longlas rests strapped to Marina’s back.
 
"So," Marina begins.
 
Ari turns. "What's... what's your name? I'd like to know that, before..." She shudders. "I don't know."
 
"Marina." She shrugs. "You're Ari, yeah?"
 
"Yeah."
 
"Well. Now we're introduced." The killer walks over to Ari, standing very close. “You said before that I can't kill you. What's stopping me?"
 
"I... what?" Ari looks confused. "I didn't say that."
 
"Yeah you did. Said I can't.” Marina shrugs again. "You were rambling. So. You still feel pain, huh?" She reaches out confidently to prod at Ari's burns. The pseudo-daemon winces in response, looking at Marina with eyes filled with mistrust and fear. She deliberately moves away from Marina a little.
 
Marina flexes her fingers back and razor blades slide out from their sheaths within the tips of her fingers and lock into place. "Got nothing to say, huh?"
 
"I don't..." Ari begins, "Fuck... ah... fuck off. What would we even talk about?"
 
A bright grin flashes across Marina's face. "But how you gonna make me fuck off, huh? Looks like it's just the two of us out here..."
 
Ari looks down at her leg... "Hardly fair. You... I used to be able to run so well!"
 
"Yeah,” Marina retorts, “Well you tried to kill me twice, and I only got to pay you back once."
 
"… I died twice. You... that was your fault." Ari pauses. "We're even."
 
Marina snarls. "Only one of those was my fault. Other one was all you."
 
"Wouldn't have happened without you,” Ari responds. “Couldn't stop shooting."
 
"Yeah, sorry, 'I died because I got carried away trying to kill you' ain't gonna cut it." Marina steps closer again.
 
"So, what, you're going to kill me now?" Ari asks.
 
"Well, now's a strong word." Another smile. "See, I don't like it when people cross me." She reaches out to take hold of one of Ari's wrists - not quickly, almost as if trying to provoke Ari into pulling away. Ari withdraws her arm away.
 
"Scared of me yet?" Marina asks playfully.
 
"Sure. What do you want me to do? Retaliate?"
 
Marina shrugs, grinning. "I want you to roll over and take it. But most people retaliate."
 
Ari pauses, before raising a fist. Marina tries to grab her again, more enthusiastically, as the pseudo-daemon throws out a punch. Marina catches the fist mid-air, raking the charred skin with her claws. It doesn't wound, but it hurts, and Ari's arm is now caught in Marina's grip.
 
Marina goes for Ari's power blade with her other hand, aiming to get it off her before Ari can draw it. She positions herself over Ari's body as her other hand inches to the pseudo-daemon's blade. Ari tries to struggle free, without success, and is overpowered as Marina draws the blade and activates it with a hiss of its power field.
 
"Wanna get burned again?" Marina taunts. "Claws are cleaner, maybe you'd prefer that?"
 
Ari continues to struggle, but cannot break free with her missing leg. "When I die, I'll be free,” she tells Marina. “I am here to serve. You think you know torture?"
 
“You want to die, then?" Marina cocks her head. "I can oblige."
 
Ari wriggles out of Marina's grasp, pushing herself away from Marina. But she has lost her blade, and still at the killer's mercy. She takes a step back, steadying herself against the rock, trying to keep her balance.
 
"Honestly you kinda freak me out, so if you want to just give me your neck, I can make it quick." Marina's tone is peculiarly conversational, as if discussing tea or other trivialities.
 
"I can't do that,” Ari returns, “It is not willed."
 
Marina glances down at her hands, noticing her gauntlets slightly scorched just from touching Ari. She shrugs. "Well. I might not be as good as whatever you met while dead, but if you're scared of me anyway, I reckon I'm good enough."
 
Ari laughs. Marina looks at the power blade in her hand, purses her lips, looks back to Ari. She looks at the power blade in her hand, purses her lips, looks back to Ari.
 
"Fuck it, I hate you." Marina lunges.
 
The melee is over swiftly. Missing a leg, Ari is too slow to evade the coming blade, and it buries into her chest with terrible force. Flames wash over her body from the wound, transforming scorched flesh into little crisped scabs, burning away at Ari's face and sending her tumbling to the ground. Already injured, the blow is fatal.
 
Marina shudders, finding herself peculiarly relieved despite having had every advantage. The pseudo-daemon slowly dissolves into pink salt, scattered across the arid earth by some ethereal wind.
 

[Marina gains 2 Infamy and gains 7 Corruption.]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:08 am

Meanwhile, Gracious knocks on Laval’s door.
 
"Hello?" Laval calls, sounding a little nervous.
 
"It's me," Gracious responds. "May I?"
 
"Gracious, certainly." She answers the door wrapped in a towel, hair still wet from washing but tied back. Her face is elaborately painted with a dark ink in dramatic smoky designs which serve to partially camouflage her mutation.
 
"Well, that's a look," Gracious observes.
 
Laval smiles. "I would be dressed, but my clothes are still soaked."
 
"Good to see you... I'm glad you... you're in safe?"
 
She nods. "Come in? Or are you in a hurry?"
 
Gracious is dressed in newer clothes - a similar style to his old ones, but without the dirt and tattering of the Swaadi wilds. "No hurry." He steps inside. She closes the door, sits down on the edge of the bed. A light smile crosses his face, but his brow is slightly furrowed. "It's good, right?" He points around the room.
 
"Yeah... if still potentially haunted."
 
"Gerhild's, I think. Poor little innocent. Oh?"
 
Laval nods, shrugs. "Well we don't know where our 'ghosts' went."
 
"Ah, I thought you meant..." he trails off. "Yes."
 
"I nearly put my flak cloak back on, but I felt silly just wearing that and a towel," Laval smiles.
 
"Ha!" Gracious laughs. "Was talking to the Deacon. It does seem they're a right bunch, over there at the Makuu."
 
"Mm?"
 
"You know one of them's been alive since the Imperials took this world?"
 
Laval nods.
 
Gracious suddenly falls silent. "Ari's dead," he declares. "I felt it. A few minutes ago. Since I saw her again I could feel the bonds... and they're gone."
 
"What?" Laval winces, puts a hand to her face. "Oh, shit."
 
"She was dead the minute Marina was alone with her, I guess."
 
"Gods damn it, I should have- argh!"
 
"It's alright," Gracious tells her.
 
"Fuck." Laval sighs.
 
"But honestly, she'll probably do the same to me, given half a chance," Gracious muses. "And now there's nothing stopping her."
 
"I don't suppose she'd survive a power sword through the heart," Laval responds.
 
"No, I imagine not. How were you going to engineer that?"
 
She looks up at Gracious, raises an eyebrow. "She carries a power sword."
 
Gracious taps his head. "Ah. I see."
 
"I'm not defenceless." She sighs. "Just nearly."
 
"More so than me. One of these days I really must learn how to fight." Gracious smiles. "But it's so much easier to have people do it for me... The deacon's in his... we're leaving for the Makuu tomorrow. Mercs, some of his will accompany."
 
"How much sway do you have with the Aventine mercs?" Laval asks.
 
"A little. But they'll hardly risk Imperial Treason, I think. Not just this job they've got to think of, it's all the next too."
 
"Well, not yet, at least,” Laval notes, “The galaxy's a big place, there's lots of potential employers..."
 
"Mmm. Honestly, I'm not sure even I have time to turn an entire squadron of mercs against the Imperium."
 
Laval smiles. "Oh come on, there's only twelve of them, and they presumably take orders from their boss... what was her name?"
 
"Oh, I've not counted them. Don't know it."
 
"Patrick said there were twelve, give or take."
 
"Well, perhaps."
 
Laval shrugs again, adjusts the towel slightly to secure it, then flops back on the bed with a sigh. "Peril at every turn..."
 
"Honestly,” Gracious admits, “I have an in into the Makuu right here, right now."
 
"No, I'm not saying not to take it,” Laval clarifies.
 
"If you fuck with the Deacon, it's going to shit on that for me..." Gracious trails off. “But, well..."
 
"I'll leave well alone then, aside from maybe introducing myself politely."
 
Gracious nods. "If you had some way of messing him up subconsciously, I thought maybe..."
 
"I'm not that good. I got the feeling sleeping people might be easy to tinker with, but... I've never tried."
 
"You know,” Gracious remarks conversationally, “You read stories of people having hidden triggers, placed there by rogue psykers."
 
"Yeah... I'd love to be able to do that. But I'd have to experiment."
 
"And it might well mess things up. Yeah..." Gracious watches as Laval looks deep in thought. "What?"
 
"Hm? Oh, just... staring at the ceiling, really. Pretty tired..."
 
Gracious smiles. “Well, you can sleep safe here...? Ah, safe enough, anyway."
 
"Safe?" Laval laughs.
 
"Apart from the murderous ghosts, yes."
 
"Apart from that, heh. At least Marina hates me a little less now, I think. So maybe we're making progress."
 
“She's transferred it to me, I suppose."
 
"I think she's capable of hating more than one person at a time," Laval wryly observes.
 
"She is probably possessed of boundless hate, it's true..." Gracious smiles. "I am really looking forward to another night in these beds. Might be the last for a while."
 
"It feels peculiar, to be honest, after all this time... not sure I remember how to relax."
 
Gracious breaks into a smile again. "Ah, you see, I never do."
 
"Hah, fair."
 
Gracious bounds across the room and lounges in a chaise-lounge. Laval rolls over and props her chin up on her hands to watch him. "So. Reckon your new friend will be amenable to another guest?"
 
"Marina?" Gracious asks.
 
"Oh yeah, her as well, I guess. I meant me and your ticket into the Makuu tomorrow."
 
"Right! It might take some smoothing over, but I could certainly try."
 
"I'm friendly," Laval smiles.
 
"You are!” Gracious grins, “I certainly enjoy your company."

"Ooh, the Church are big into interrogation and stuff aren't they? I wonder if we could get Marina a job." Laval laughs, shaking her head.
 
"She'd fit right in, I think," Gracious jokes. "I've met some Church types. Fonder with whips and chains than many followers of the Prince!"
 
"Ha!"
 
"Which, I mean, I'm not averse to." Gracious raises his eyebrow, a flash in his eyes. "But, you know, there's a time and a place, and I can't say I've ever found churches particularly erotically charged."
 
Laval snorts with laughter. "Really? Why ever not?"
 
"Can't say. Maybe it's all the skulls. You know, I just find them quite judge-y."
 
"Ha, well. I suppose I can't disagree."
 
"Especially if one was being whipped by a naked bishop in them. Hypothetically." He keeps his face studiously neutral.
 
Laval giggles again, shaking her head. "Do they usually get naked for that sort of thing?"
 
"Well, that one wanted to. Hypothetically. Anyway, he was off his face. What an odd job that was."
 
What's a nice respectable fellow like yourself doing associating with debauched types like bishops?” Laval playfully chides. “Tsk."
 
"What must you think of me?" Gracious plays along. "Have you travelled much?"
 
Laval smiles. "Some, mostly in company. Defenceless girl like myself needs an escort, see." She grins. "Otherwise how would people know that I'm not dangerous?"
 
"How could anyone think you weren't dangerous?” Gracious objects, “I knew from the moment I met you."
 
"Drat! You saw through my clever disguise!" She sighs, her smile faltering slightly and becoming wistful.
 
"Seems a long time ago, yeah?"
 
"Yeah."
 
Gracious falls - uncharacteristically - silent for a moment. Laval watches him sleepily, smiling, seeming comfortable for once. He looks up and smiles back.
 
"Penny for your thoughts?" Laval offers.
 
"Just, you know..."
 
Smirking, she reaches out with her mind, not aggressively, to skim the surface of his. Gracious doesn't resist: he's happy, enjoying the chance to relax, nothing currently to do. He's feeling warmth - and slightly flirtatious? - towards Laval - though occasionally worries about betrayal still flit across his mind. Laval withdraws without pushing deeper, sighing happily.
 
"Content with what you see?" Gracious asks. "Such a wonder, that, I still wish... oh! Well, idle dreams."
 
"It's pleasant, feeling you feeling happy." A flicker of doubt crosses her expression, but she smooths it away quickly.
 
"And yet...?" Gracious ventures. "Ah, perhaps I shouldn't push."
 
"No, it's fine." She rolls over again, tips her head back so that she's looking at Gracious upside down. He laughs.
 
"You scare me too, you know?" Laval laughs. "Nobody's in a better place to hurt me. Yet, here I am happy. Funny."
 
"I think... maybe..." Gracious thinks. "I don't know. I feel like maybe letting yourself be vulnerable to someone might be part of letting them in."
 
Laval smiles. "Yeah."
 
"Maybe trust is about letting go,” Gracious suggests, “I don't know. It's... new."
 
"Well, I'm happy to provide something new for you."
 
"Experience, you know?"
 
"Mm."
 
"There's a reason I'm drawn to the Prince by nature. It's not all loud music and drugs..." he shrugs. "...I mean, it's a lot of that."
 
"Heh."
 
"Infinite sensation in infinite combination. It's why the Blood God is its antithesis. Very much about the one sensation, over and over."
 
"Just the same old, again and again." Laval nods. "I mean, I wouldn't have anything against the Blood God if it didn't have so much against me, but... I get you."
 
"And it's so strong!” Gracious observes, “Well, who do the Imperium think they glorify... not their skeleton on a rotting throne, that's for sure."
 
"Gosh, I sure hope nobody's listening at the door right now." Laval giggles.
 
Gracious looks pained for a second. He runs and quietly checks, but the hour is late and no one is there. He steps back into the room, closing the door quietly. "Don't do that to me! Gods..."
 
Laval laughs. "Just occurred to me, sorry."
 
"Nothing that can't be brushed off as a servant's fanciful imagination, I suppose," Gracious remarks.
 
Laval sits up, bites her lip slightly, watching Gracious. He meets her gaze. She grins.
 
“What?" Gracious smiles.
 
"Just... looking at you, all flustered there. Mm." She licks her lips.
 
He smiles. "You, ah... heh. I'm certain it's not as flustered as I could be."
 
"Oh I'm sure," Laval flirts. "Of course, I wouldn't want to upset you. Forgive me?" She smiles sweetly.
 
"Goodness, no," Gracious flirts back. "You've not done anything worth forgiving yet, I'm afraid... I think you should try harder."
 
"Are you asking me for something, Gracious? I seem to recall promising I'd make you work for it..."
 
"I can't help but notice I got you an entire fucking mansion,” Gracious points out. "Clearly not enough."
 
"Touché." Laval laughs.
 
"Fresh towels!” Gracious exclaims “A bath! And now I'm here standing like a lemon while you laugh at me; what more do you want? What do you want?"
 
Laval’s smile softens. "I should think that's obvious by now? I want you, Gracious. I want your body, and I want to pin you down and make you squirm. So why don't you get over here and take your clothes off?"
 
“I mean, I suppose, you know, with nothing better to do..." He grins widely, and the joint seduction is complete.
 
[I have been thoroughly enjoying these Interactions and it occurs to me that maybe we should have treated them like Seductions. In any case, I’m going to treat it like Gracious and Laval have both successfully Seduced one another. As both are player characters, both Gracious and Laval receive 5 Infamy each.]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:27 am

By the time they are finished, Laval is exhausted, satisfied, happier than she has been in... too long. Some part of her tries to tell her that there are still things to be afraid of, that it's not safe, but sleep washes over her regardless. There's a brief time when she wakes with the worry that Gracious will leave her alone here, but he doesn't seem to be abandoning her immediately, and she falls asleep again before she can form the words to ask what his intentions are. Oh well. At least she'll get some sleep before morning.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:24 pm

Laval dreams of thunderous battle, the roaring of a warrior fighting his last, climactic battle against the soulless, the daemonic and the damned. She sees a red blade in his hand, radiating with the rage of Khorne Himself, slaughtering dozens before the warrior dies. It is a strange omen, and the attention of the Blood God is never welcome for a wych. But it is not quite a nightmare, and Laval does not awake violently or in a cold sweat. Instead, when she opens her eyes it is morning, and Gracious is preparing to leave the Villa von Klossner.

Is it Laval's intention to head towards the Grand Makuu with the deacon, Gracious and guards? Or does she intend to make her own way there, on the understanding that she will have an invitation when she arrives?

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:10 pm

Laval intends to go with Gracious. Though she's aware of the risk of rejection, she is quite confident in her charms, and in Gracious'. Since he is her ticket in, she intends to hang on his arm (metaphorically), perhaps even play up the relationship between herself and Gracious if the Deacon seems the type to be sympathetic to such notions. She sends a thought to Marina to let her know the plan.

After getting up, Laval contemplates the wardrobe unhappily. Her own clothes are ragged, and her attempts at washing them last night were not entirely successful. Not the kind of things one wears to make a good impression. But stealing Gerhild's clothes might not make the best impression either. She sighs. One more small offence on top of all that's happened here probably won't make that much difference. She's not entirely comfortable doing it, but she looks through the wardrobe for something relatively practical.

Then she folds her own clothes small and shoves them into her bag before contemplating breakfast. She reminds herself to pick something up for Marina, as a gesture of goodwill.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:14 pm

When Gracious is ready, he notes that Leonard Schneider is accompanying them. Laval feels somewhat awkward in the clothes of his dead daughter, but Gerhild's wardrobe is huge, and it is more than conceivable that no one will put two and two together.

Unfortunately, as soon as Leonard sees Laval, it is obvious that he recognises the clothes. He does not pass comment, but Laval immediately feels awkward. On the other hand, he does not seem to notice Laval's mutations, though his eyes do pass over in curiosity over the wych's elaborate ink patterns. Indeed, other than this slight awkwardness, the stroll to the Grand Makuu goes off without a hitch. The deacon, though old and complaining about his joints, seems amiable enough, and does not pass comment when Gracious introduces Laval as a fellow pilgrim. The soldiers and Aventine mercenaries keep to themselves, protecting the band without making conversation, and Leonard too is quiet and reserved. It is left mostly to Gracious to make conversation, but he is more than able for such a role, and the walk is saved any further awkwardness.

The Makuu la Dhahabu Kiti glowers at the heretics from atop its hill. Its walls are tall and constructed of smooth, sandstone rock, its gargoyles depicting agonised, heretical gods that have been toppled by the Imperial Regime. A heavy organ sound peels out to greet the returning deacon, and soldiers stand guard uneasily on the battlements. The portcullis shifts upwards, as the group is permitted entrance inside.

It is still mid-morning, and the grand nave is mostly empty, displaying hundreds of cold, hard pews. At the head is an altar, made from precious stones, and the coloured windows depict scenes of the despair of the subjugated Swaad. The deacon smiles, and turns to the group.

"You are to be welcomed as honoured guests," he tells them, "Perhaps some light refreshments while I review what has happened since I left?" He gestures at the two soldiers, who hasten forwards at his command. "The day room," he tells them, and the soldiers move on, expecting to be followed.

Laval pauses for a moment. Something is not right. Something is very much not right. She chokes back her terror so she can think straight. It is the gleam in the deacon's eyes. It is the intelligence behind the skin, that puppets the priest like a plaything. This is not Deacon Alfred Brauer. Two souls reside in him, and someone alien to him has all the power.

What does Laval do next?

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:11 am

Underneath the too-familiar fear, some part of Laval finds this situation inexplicably hilarious. Perhaps it's the similarity to her own thoughts on the matter of the deacon. Perhaps it's the way this changes all the dynamics and opportunities. Perhaps it's the thought that her job here is essentially doing itself - though of course, that is not exactly the case. Perhaps it's just hysteria. She hides both fear and amusement, choosing to keep her knowledge close to her chest for now.

Staying within her role, she follows the soldiers obediently, keeping her eyes and ears open for any hints as to the situation within the Makuu. She attempts to initiate small talk, praising the soldiers for their dutifulness and commenting dishonestly on the apparent wisdom and faith of the honourable deacon. If offered refreshments, she does not eat, claiming to have had too much at breakfast, but she will gladly accept water.

She wonders where Marina is. She had half expected the assassin to join them en route, but it did not happen. Still, she sends another mental message to update her on having entered the Makuu. Much as Marina scares her, she'd rather have the woman and her combat skills within arm's reach if everything falls apart here.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:33 am

Almost on cue, Laval sees Marina entering through the main entrance into the central nave, making the sign of the Aquila to a vaguely suspicious-looking soldier of the Makuu. Unperturbed, Marina walks towards Laval, but Laval subtly gestures for the killer to not approach, in case she is recognised by Leonard Schneider. With commendable subtlety, Marina changes course and kneels at a prayer mat at once of the pews, muttering something - almost certainly heretical - under her breath as if she were mumbling a prayer.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sat Oct 01, 2016 4:34 pm

The group is led to the day room, the deacon noting that he will be with them in just a little while. It is a pleasant, if somewhat dark, interior room, devoid of windows but filled with ornate portraits of the saints, painted in intricate detail. The stone walls emit little heat, but a plush set of furniture helps warm the room up, coffee tables in the centre where drinks are being prepared by a Swaad servant. The group - Gracious, Leonard and Laval - take their seats, as the soldiers step outside, closing the door.

[Waiting on Wren for an Interaction.]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sat Oct 01, 2016 7:14 pm

Gracious, Laval and Leonard are left alone in the lavish day room, the door closed. "Have you been here before, Leonard?" Gracious asks.
 
Leonard Schneider reaches for a cup of coffee and sips it happily. "I've been a few times to the Makuu, yes. They are always hospitable." He smiles slightly. "And yourselves?" He glances to Laval with a little apprehension.
 
"I don't know about, uh, Laval?” Gracious replies, “... myself, never."
 
Laval takes coffee as well, sips, seeming a little withdrawn. "No... it's pleasant though... lovely paintings."
 
"Everything here is beautiful," Leonard observes, a little wistfully.
 
"Some of the themes are a little, ah, grim...” Laval remarks, “But one must credit the artists for their skill."
 
"Well, what better way to inspire piety, I suppose," Gracious suggests.
 
Leonard sighs sorrowfully, but nods his head at Gracious' remark.
 
"I find a little kindness goes a long way..." Laval sighs. The Deacon isn't himself, she tells Gracious silently as she talks. So watch your back.
 
How do you mean?
 
"I suppose that the Ecclesiarchy knows their craft," Leonard points out politely.
 
"I suppose so,” Laval acknowledges, “One mustn't question, after all." Possessed. Possibly by a... person? I've never heard of such a thing, but....
 
But it might match with what happened to the Lady...
 
Yes.
 
Could he have been possessed since the exorcism?

 
Leonard pauses at Laval’s remark, smiling slightly, but his eyes fixed on Laval's clothes. He takes another sip of the coffee, and the silence is a little awkward.
 
"How are you holding up, Leonard?" Gracious pats his hand in a vaguely friendly manner. "At least we're out of the... you know, the mansion..."
 
Laval looks at her coffee mutely. During, probably, she communicates to Gracious. It's the easiest time, for daemons at least.
 
Then aren't we in danger?
 
Were we ever not in danger? It's a different threat.

 
Leonard smiles warmly, but sadly, at Gracious’ question. "I am a little less hopeless," he admits, his face grateful, "But it is so hard, so very hard. They were my life, after all."
 
"I know, I know. So very sad,” Gracious soothes. The Deacon - or what wears him - could well be bringing the forces of the Makuu upon us... It feels more immediate.
 
"I'm sorry for your loss," Laval offers. He or she presumably doesn't know that we know.
 
Oh what a tangled web.

 
Leonard nods slightly in recognition of Laval's words, but more warmly reaches out and tightly clasps Gracious' hand. A few moments of silence linger before he lets go. "Would you like a drink, Gracious?" he asks, reaching for the coffee pot.
 
"Yes, do, thank you."
 
In their position, Laval remarks. I would try to use us before disposing of us.
 
You're right, of course.

 
Leonard pours the drink, handing it to Gracious before sipping once more at his own. He turns to Laval, a little chastened by her condolences. "What interesting patterns across your face," he observes politely. "Where is it that you are from?"
 
"Anatess, originally. But I spent a portion of my childhood on Rund, and learned many things there. The patterns were taught me by the family who took me in."
 
Leonard nods, seeming interested. "I don't know Anatess, but I have heard of Rund. If you don't mind me saying, it is a somewhat odd place to be adopted...?"
 
Laval smiles shyly. "I... yes. My mother's family. She was very keen for me to remember her roots, though my grandparents were long since gone..."
 
"You grew up on Juno, Leonard?" Gracious asks.
 
Laval glances to the door a little nervously. It bangs open a second later. Standing there is Lieutenant Mwenye of the Makuu's Imperial Guard, surrounded by thirty of his fighting men. They do not seem interested in talking, and raise up their weapons to kill.
 
Laval acts first, diving for cover behind the furniture and desperately calling Marina telepathically for aid. The Lieutenant, chainsword in hand, rushes at Gracious and brings the weapon down, overhead, in a furious attack. The heretic hisses and tries to jump out of the way, but the chair arm slows him down and a nasty blow tears down his side, eliciting a cry of pain.
 
Desperately, Gracious appeals to the better natures of the soldiers, and they almost stop in their violence. But the order has been given, Gracious is the enemy, and the man who ordered them maintains an iron discipline. They lift up their weapons, filing in, but there is not enough room for them to bring all their numbers to bear.
 
[Their magnitude is halved for the purposes of them attacking]
 
A few jump forwards, clubbing Gracious and Leonard with the butts of their guns. Leonard shrieks in pain, not yet able to get to his feet. The shooting begins at Laval, laser fire piercing the cover, but protecting the individual behind. She focuses her power, and reaches out towards the lieutenant whilst nigh-simultaneously contacting the deacon who sent them. It takes great power, even if the lieutenant’s mind is weak, laid low by paranoia and confusion. Call off your men, please! she urges the thing inside the deacon, We can be useful to you, you have every advantage, we can work something out! Let us barter for our lives?
 
"STAND DOWN!" the lieutenant suddenly yells, ordering his men. As he does so, the world seems to shift, the temperature plummeting as hoarfrost creeps across the corners of the room. The air vibrates with images of cackling daemons and the kaleidoscopic taint of the warp is rendered visible. The men, though some of them scatter, are numerous enough to hold steady, but the lieutenant freezes up in terror. Gracious breaks off from the men, reaching Leonard who has risen to his feet and drawn his sword.
 
The men pause for a moment, and for a second it seems like the violence has ended. But then, someone yells "WYCH!" and the shooting begins anew. The lieutenant, deemed contaminated, is shot and wounded badly, whilst Gracious and Leonard fight back to back, dodging and parrying the butts of weapons. The fire continues on the sofa where Laval hides, some finding their mark and causing her to cry out in pain.
 
"Help! The wych is back!" Laval cries out from behind the sofa, gritting her teeth through the pain. The fear in her voice makes even Gracious pause for a moment, before he realises what an obvious lie it is from his own perspective. The deceit is aided by one of the soldiers, who helpfully yells "It's behind us!"
 
Meanwhile, Marina is running at the group at the same time. The soldiers turn, but Marina is upon them before they can shoot. She lands on one with a hiss, raking his face with claws and ripping apart his throat with a power blade. A few swing back at her, but she parries them with ease, cutting lasguns in two.
 
The Lieutenant is still frozen as Gracious and Leonard get to a defensible corner, holding their ground. Though many of the soldiers look around in confusion, others keep fighting, and one lands a heavy blow with the butt of his rifle against Leonard's head. The sofa continues to be pin-cushioned, and a lucky shot lands deeply on Laval's flesh. She hisses whilst contacting the doomed lieutenant: They hate you now. They'll burn you alive. Your only hope is to side with us.
 
Do you have a plan? Gracious asks desperately. I have part of one.
 
No, lying at random and hoping Marina saves us.
 
Is she nearby?

 
Laval sends a thought of affirmation.
 
Alright, Gracious registers. Do you want me to toss you a satrophine? That's my plan, that and running.
 
Through the crowd?
There is doubt, but desperate agreement in Laval’s mind. Her psyche swells with power as she directs her sorcery at the enemy, causing them to destroy one another. She winces as a gibbering of voices reverberate through her mind, the warp's parody of her own telepathic power. But, with force of will alone, she fights off the voices and keeps to the matter at hand. Warp ghosts fill the air, howling and cackling madly in the faces of local Swaad. They whisper of the subjugation, and the foundations of bodies that build up these terrible walls. Gracious begins edging to the door, pushing past those trying to kill him.
 
Almost as soon as Gracious reaches the door, Marina has bounded through. Her claws are outstretched and power blade unleashed, and she is causing chaos with her passage. The soldiers, through some madness of the warp, or deep paranoia upon their minds, are shooting one another, many falling while others quietly step back and shoot themselves. It is nightmarish, and the soldiers begin to flee, leaving their lieutenant frozen in terror in the room.
 
Thinking quickly, Gracious throws Marina and Laval a vial containing a pill of satrophine. Marina throws it back with a glare of distrust, but Laval downs it with a look of resignation. They begin to flee, leaving the lieutenant in the room. Their muscles expand, their heart pumping fast. They join the fleeing guardsmen, but the corridors are too thin and they are slowed by the horde, allowing for their enemies to mass in the nave. When they reach there, they will not have too far to run, but the last leg will be fraught with danger.
 
"And lo, the Emperor did appear to the Faithful!" they hear the deacon shouting from ahead of them, "To give them Courage in the face of Chaos!"
 
"To ground?” Marina suggests. “Easier to hide in here than out there. Find a storeroom?"
 
Gracious nods.
 
"Get on that," Laval recommends. "I have rope, I'll toss an end out a window, hope nobody sees we didn't leave?"
 
"Alright." Gracious nods. "Let's split up, use the mind-link to coordinate?"
 
"I don't want to leave you alone," Laval notes.
 
"I'll go with!" Marina offers.
 
"No," the wych responds firmly. She has already started pulling rope out of her bag, looking about for somewhere to leave it.
 
"Leonard'll be with me. Find me if you can!" Gracious flees.
 
Laval shakes her head but doesn't argue as she goes to her own task. Keep me updated?
 
The group splits just as the running soldiers begin to rally in the face of the deacon's charisma. They are quick enough to escape before the soldiers realise what is going on, but they hear the deacon's words echoing down the corridors. He tells his guests to come talk to him, that he willing to let them speak their piece, as requested. The group continues to split, not heeding the deacon's words.
 
[All told, Laval has suffered 12 Wounds as is on -2 Wounds. She has gained 1 Infamy, and 4 Corruption Points. She has gained the Steel-Hearted mutation.]
 
Laval drops the rope out of a window, subtly leaving it in just the right position to look like someone has used it for climbing. Then, with Marina in tow, they go to ground. They evade the desperate patrols and end up in the dark catacombs of the cathedral, a wine cellar stocked full with drink that could provide some respite for the Swaad people. They are safe, but surrounded by danger.
 
Laval breathes for a moment, applying her magical healing to her body. Tzeentch smiles upon her magical prowess, and the las burns are soothed and melt away into a strange, molten goo that slides painlessly off her body, leaving untouched skin behind.
 

[Laval does not need to use Medicae, having healed herself for 12 Wounds.]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:22 pm

[Did I end up in the same place as Gracious in the end, or not?]

That, at least, is a relief. Laval has come to expect pain from the abrupt manipulation of her own flesh. The absence of agony seems like a blessing. She kneels and prays, a desperate mix of gratitude and pleading and acknowledgement that the plans of the Grand Manipulator will go on without care or regard for her desires.

Marina looks on with disapproval for a moment, then ignores the wych, prowling the cellar to suss out the terrain for when they inevitably face combat again, and to choose the best places to secrete a helpless idiot or three in order to keep them hidden.

Prayer complete, Laval thinks on her options. Everything is whirling out of control. This moment, here in the heart of the enemy fortress, momentarily still and quiet despite the overwhelming peril on all sides - it feels like the eye of the storm, a pivot point, about which all that has come before and will come next spins on its axis. Plans. She needs a plan. Some lever to set against the axis and change the course of destiny.

Almost without thinking about it, she reaches out to touch the Lieutenant's mind again, if indeed he is still alive.

Live if they will let you, she tells him, I'll not hold it against you. But if you have nowhere else to turn, I could be a friend to you.

She does not truly expect anything to come of it. She is not willing to share her location and the man has no way of responding, even if he does not reasonably despise her for the horror she has caused him. But manipulation is what she does, and she will tug on any string she has available in this crisis.

And now what? The deacon is clearly already compromised. The puppeteer may be a personal enemy, but they are fundamentally not a barrier to the falling of the Makuu to Chaos. Hasek and Forst, then, are her targets. But she knows so little about them. This cellar is not a terrible place to be, to meddle in the minds of the masses... but she cannot reach far enough, cannot operate without sight in so many cases. Perhaps there's a way of remedying that and allowing her mind to range further from the tethers of her body? She thinks on what she knows of ritual magic, and whether it might aid her in resolving this problem.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Oct 02, 2016 12:05 pm

[Laval and Marina are not currently with Gracious, but now that they are safe can start attempting to find him.]

Marina is content to find many places a errant wych might be hidden. The wine cellar is filled with shelves and rows of bottles, with storage cupboards besides where dried food is kept in case of a siege. It is dark down here, with nothing in the way of electrical lighting, and someone coming down here will most likely have nothing but a candle or glow-globe. As long as Laval is able to be quiet when some servant selects an aged vintage, they should be fine. If it comes to combat, there is at least a defensible choke-point on the cellar's one entrance. The enemy would not be able to bring their numbers to bear, but it would be a desperate battle, with no where to run or escape to.

Laval successfully reaches out to the lieutenant's mind, though she feels resistance from the soldier. Injured by his men, disgraced by incompetent command and touched by the power of the warp, the lieutenant's prospects seem grim. And yet, he knows much, and if he is simply demoted, he could be a valuable ally who is disgruntled against the Imperial Regime. 

If only she could interact with him more directly... Laval searches her mind for her knowledge of ritual. The greatest of telepaths, those whispered of in legend, are capable of astral projection: their souls floating free of the confines of their body and reaching out with magics over great distances. So it is possible. And yet, it is highly dangerous, especially on a world so touched by chaos. When the soul roams free of the body, it is unprotected, and like a beacon to sharks in the warp. But it is possible.

The Ritual of Astral Projection allows a powerful psyker to slip free of their mortal bonds and allow their immortal soul to soar unburdened. It is a relatively simple ritual itself, but success poses risks, and the psyker must be able to let go of their flesh and blood. The individual who is to astral project should be placed in the centre of a circle of candles, in an otherwise dark place. They should then meditate while the ritualist speaks the words of power that weaken the bonds between flesh and soul. If the ritualist is the one to astral project, then they should repeat the words of power as a mantra, and meditate upon them until they are able to let go of the world about them. If the target of the ritual is truly able to let go, then their soul will escape their body and roam freely.

[The Ritual of Astral Projection is an Unaligned Ritual. Once the prerequisites are met, the ritualist should take a Hard (-20) Daemonology Test or Challenging (+0) Scholastic Lore (Occult) Test, modified by Ritual Modifiers. This will give the target the ability to slip forth of their body, should they be able to let go. The target must take a Very Hard (-30) Willpower Test, modified by Ritual Modifiers. They gain +10 if they have Psyniscience, and +20 if they have the Meditation Talent. If they take efforts that would aid them in relaxing and meditating, this may produce other modifiers, whilst they might be at significant negative modifiers if in a loud or stressful place. If successful, then the target will begin Astral Projecting. Once Astral Projecting, the Heretic has the Incorporeal Trait (p.141 of Black Crusade). They cannot interact with the physical world other than through psychic powers - but, in the case of Laval, it allows her to be present to hear the response of those she communicates with. 

The cost of the ritual is 1d5 Corruption Points for all those involved. It is difficult to return to a body once one Astral Projects, and when the individual returns, they must take a Difficult (-10) Willpower Test. If they fail, they still return, but the experience is deeply unsettling and they gain another 1d5 Corruption Points.

Another cost is the dangers incurred by exposing your unprotected soul to those just beyond the veil. The longer the Astral Projection occurs, the further the individual travels, and the weaker the veil, the more the Heretic can expect to be assailed. Some lesser beasts will simply try to harm one Astral Projecting, but the more powerful entities may attempt steal away the individual's soul, or even attempt to Possess their body while they are gone.

The Price of Failure is two rolls on the Psychic Phenomena table at +10: the individual does not astral project, but the warp senses weakness and answers in kind...]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:34 pm

"Candles," Laval murmurs, "Marina, you can see... are there any candles down here?"

"What do you want candles for? Just trust me. You're better off hidden and blind. I won't let you fall down a hole or anything."

"... there are holes to fall down?"

"Nope, so you're double safe."

Laval shakes her head, confused. "I need candles for a ritual," she explains, "Not to see by."

"Ugh. You don't need to do that. I'll sort this out. I can start grabbing people, we'll work our way through the garrison. There's plenty of spaces to hide bodies down here."

"There's too many," Laval sighs, "And our luck can't hold forever."

Marina grumbles unhappily, but she recognises the awkwardness of the situation.

"It shouldn't affect you," Laval offers as comfort, "I'll need you to guard my body while I'm gone... if you would. But you don't need to participate, or put yourself at risk."

Gone? Marina nearly questions it, but she finds she does not care to know. Sighing noisily, she has a look for candles, as requested. While Marina searches, Laval thinks on the specifics of how she might set up the ritual. Wine, she thinks to herself with humour, might actually help for once, since she needs to relax. She has never done ritual magic while drinking before, but there's a first time for everything.

"Sacrifice," she muses aloud. "How easy do you think you'd find it to steal me someone?"

"Not that hard," Marina guesses optimistically. "There's a lot of people in here, it'll probably take a while for them to notice someone missing."

"Well, don't take any risks you're not comfortable with. I don't think I really need one, but it would help."

"I'll pass," Marina declares.

"It would really help if I could see, you know. Are you sure I can't borrow-?"

"You can't. But if I find these dumb candles, you'll be able to see."

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:40 pm

[Just to clarify: Marina is looking for candles but not a sacrifice?]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:46 pm

[Correct.]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:09 pm

Marina breezes out of the cellar like a ghost, silently moving past a servant who is busying herself with washing silverware. Soon, she is on one of the corridors of the cathedral. The walls are lined with portraits, statues and candles, and there is no deficit of candles to choose from. Applying good sense, Marina chooses the stolen items carefully, taking candles from places where they are unlikely to be noticed missing when it gets dark. She returns to Laval with a small pile, and waits to see what happens next.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:40 pm

"Stay by the door to give me warning if we're about to be interrupted? Please?"

Marina nods, then remembers that the wych can't see in the dark. "Sure," she agrees. "I'll stay way over here." She puts an ear to the door, listens out for danger.

Laval lights a single candle, uses its light to find herself a suitable corner to sit in. She counts the candles to see how many Marina has brought her. Thirty is probably too many to hope for, but there must be at least nine.

She marks out a ritual circle on the floor and inscribes an eight-pointed star within the circle bounds, whispering heresies and the names of the gods. It's not as good as a sacrifice, but it's something to carve out a little place for Chaos here. She begs twine from Marina and ties loose symbolic shackles to place by her hands and feet to represent how she wishes to slip the bounds of physicality. She pours herself a cup of stolen wine, sets it down within easy reach before setting up her circle of candles.

If she has as many as thirty candles, she will arrange them in groups according to the sacred numbers, allowing her to pray before each in turn. If she has fewer, she will merely pause as she lights the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth to ask the blessings of the gods.

"For the experiences I yet hope to have. For Gracious, and the pleasure we have shared. Slaanesh, whose temptations I cannot deny, I beg your blessing.

"For the despair I cannot quite escape. For the poison that saved my life above. Nurgle, whom I have struggled against in ultimate futility, I beg your blessing.

"For the blood I have shed, and will yet shed. For the blood in my veins. For my hatred of the Imperium and the war that I fight in. Khorne, whom I fear, I beg your blessing.

"For hope. For change. For magic. Tzeentch, to whom I give my everything, I beg your blessing."

Laval sits in the centre of the circle, drinks deeply, and begins to chant.


Last edited by Jewelcast on Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:15 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Oct 02, 2016 5:25 pm

The ritual begins, Marina doing her best not to witness the unholy rite. Laval drinks deeply of the wine, directing her physical senses to oblivion as she weaves the magic of the gods. With her nine candles, she offers each of the darker powers in turn, drinking deeply and chanting the mantra that weakens the bonds of the veil. She feels the power flowing through her, that gives strength to her and mastery over the worlds of man. She allows herself to let go of her body, her gaze shifting and viewing the back of her own head, floating slowly from her flesh. But she must let go of everything. Of Marina, and the disgust she thinks of her. Of Gracious, and the warmth she felt from his body. And of Vex... Vex, her truest companion, her closest friend.

Tears, unbidden, spring from her eyes, rolling softly down her cheeks. For Vex, for Faruha, for all the others that have died and will die in the name of the Compact. It is so hard to let go, to transcend the mortal coils, to become something both more and less than human. 

And yet, the warp turns her heart to steel. She ascends, or descends. Her soul unshackled, she journeys forth.

[Laval used an Infamy Spend to succeed. She gains 5 Corruption Points.]

Her soul floats free of her body, rising upwards. The world burns hot with the excitement of the veil, a reality Laval sometimes sees but rarely feels so undiluted. She looks down upon her body, which remains in meditative pose, head slightly drooping. It fills her with fear, the dangers that she must face, and the veil ripples in anticipation of her terror.

[Laval is at -10 to all Tests when encountering the dangers of Astral Projection, due to a failed Fear Test. She can use an Infamy Spend to re-roll if she wishes.]

Marina hears Laval give out a soft sigh, and cannot help but look back to the ritual circle. She sees a pale, ethereal figure rising upwards, like a ghost orb in a pict, and with her true eyes she sees the soul of Laval, burning bright like a beacon in the warp. It fills Marina with distaste and fear, and she shuffles slightly in her place.

[Marina gains 1 Corruption Point. She has failed a Willpower Test relating to her mental traumas of the warp, and should act accordingly.]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:19 pm

Laval, even when disembodied, finds the voice of Gracious coming to her from across the void: Where are you? I need your medical help, can you... We may be being listened to...

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:30 pm

Marina's claws flick out unbidden. She is not sure what use she intends to put them to. But the ghost of Laval is leaving, slipping away into the wall as if Marina were totally unimportant. Perhaps she is. It's an uncomfortable thought. Some part of her wants to go over and kick over all the candles, but she recalls terrible tales of the explosive consequences of interfering with rituals in progress. Unsure what she can possibly do, she feels very small and vulnerable. She remains crouched by the door, skin crawling.

Eager to test her newfound mobility, Laval slips out of the cellar. She does not know where she is with respect to any of the people she might be looking for, so exploration seems like the first point of order. And time is of the essence.

Medical help might be awkward, she confesses to Gracious. How bad is it? I don't know of a way of listening in, but... anything's possible. Why do you think we are overheard?

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