Turn 6 Thread

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:59 pm

If the sergeant is the only one of her squad left, Titebite tells her to go back to the Makuu, and tells her that "the people of Swaad rise up against the oppressors. Flee, bring news, tell those within the Makuu still loyal to the Emperor that they must ride out! The agents of Chaos are everywhere."

This is almost true, even - and possibly more true than Titebite knows, given he knows nothing of the events in Kifodini and Imani.

If the sergeant is not the only one of her squad left, then Titebite orders this to be made the case!

After this is over, the mercs and Titebite will presumably need to seek medical aid and re-group - it makes sense, probably, to return to the Villa

---

Meanwhile: I think I'll be seriously injured by the next shot I take. I've lost a lot of blood. Don't want to risk moving around too much in case a stray shot finishes me off... I don't know. Paranoia, I guess. I don't know what the enemy here are capable of. How are things with you?

Gracious is aware he has been in the same place for some time, and as such it is probably prudent to move, lest he be found. Listening at the door and waiting for quiet outside, he seeks another hiding place.

[If I have any spare XP to boost agility or otherwise make Stealth better, I'd like to spend it.]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:13 pm

The sergeant is not intimidated by the Aventine mercenaries. She is, however, intimidated by Titebite. He leans down and tells the sergeant what she is to do. Swallowing in fear, she nods, and Agosti leans in to provide medical attention before she bleeds out. The sergeant goes without the food packages, and Titebite watches her leave with satisfaction. Agosti, however, is less enthused.

"We lost three," she tells Titebite, "And Balboni is touch and go." She looks at Titebite's wounds, but she is unable to help him other than stop the worst of the bleeding, as her wounded man is picked up to take back to the Villa von Klossner.

Leonard breathes, happy for the fighting to be over. The losses were heavy on both sides, but the mercenaries undoubtedly won: the last individual sent limping back to the Makuu. He is frightened at the prospect of soldiers being provoked to attack his home, but Titebite and Agosti seem to know what they are doing. They start trekking back, the mercenaries picking up the food parcels as they go. At least they won't go hungry.

****

[Gracious only has 100 XP and so has none to spend.]

Gracious listens for what sounds like a quiet moment and takes his chance to slip out... directly into a patrol. The two soldiers stare back at him, a little surprised, and the satrophine is still pumping in Gracious' system. He could attempt to fight or run, but maybe fast-talking is a better option. He better do it fast, though, because they are already raising their weapons. On the plus side, they seem to want to take him alive.

[Gracious has used an Infamy Spend, sadly without success.]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:17 pm

Gracious talks fast. "Look, I don't know what's going on, please... it's all a mess here! We were attacked by some of yours, they looked possessed... and then there was some sort of wychery! Oh, it's awful - I'm Gracious, by the way... look, I'm barely armed, I'm not going to do anything, just put the weapons down a moment and let's talk, please. Tell me a little about yourselves, about what's happening. What am I going to do to you, right? I'm just lost and scared, and dying, and... oh!"

Essentially, peak Gracious patter - the fanatical soldiers of the Makuu are a tough bunch, but we'll see what we can do. This seems an appropriate time to try and use the "Serpent's Tongue" talent.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:24 pm

[Serpent's Tongue has been activated, for Peer (Military) (2).]

Gracious speaks quickly, and his apparent desperation is laced with cunning and guile. The soldiers look confused, expecting an immediate threat rather than a terrified civilian, and lower their weapons - though they still look somewhat cautious. Like everyone else Gracious has met in the Makuu, they seem tired and stressed.

"Why were you shot?" one demands, his eyes wide and bloodshot. "We should kill him," he tells his friend. 

The other soldier shakes his head. "We were told alive," he reminds the other.

"And you trust those orders?" comes the somewhat manic reply. The other soldier looks afraid at the suggestion, but clings to Gracious' performance, something he can see before his eyes.

"He is a civilian. He is no wych, or he would have bewitched us."

"Open your eyes, Chuma! This place is cursed."

"So you would spill innocent blood?"

The argument continues, Gracious largely ignored. It is somewhat curious: these soldiers seem downright insane, discussing at length their paranoid fixations and small-minded superstitions. They grow angry at each other, and they are reaching no conclusion fast. Gracious has bought himself time, but if he doesn't act with haste, more patrols will come, and their mob mentality will probably see him killed.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:27 pm

Gracious suggests that perhaps if the soldiers go into the nearby meditation room, and sit and pray, they will calm themselves: he will -- he says- of course wait outside for them to come out.

Assuming this bullshit works, he will then nip off, while the soldiers pray at the newly blasphemous icons...

If this bullshit doesn't work, he will ask them to pray with him right here at least, and use this as an opportunity to convince them of his piety. What he really wants is just to sidle off and leave these poor mad people alone...

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:36 pm

The soldiers do not allow Gracious to leave their sight, being too well-disciplined to abandon their duty on a suggestion alone. However, they do accept the notion of praying, and seem somewhat calmer towards Gracious as soon as he makes the suggestion. They seem deeply afraid, clinging to faith, and Gracious happily sits with them and prays while they murmur blessings under their breath. The heretic thinks he is acquiring some kind of report with the two men, before the angrier one, now weeping, draws his knife and jams it into his own eye. It happens very quickly, and even Gracious is shocked, not quite jaded enough to mentally process the inexplicable violence. The other soldier, Chuma, gasps in horror, whimpering as he collapses beside his comrade, his hands shaking. He barely seems to notice Gracious at all after that, and the heretic takes it as his cue to leave. Halfway down the corridor, he hears the crack of a single las-round.

[Gracious has failed a Fear Test and is at -10 for the below.]

Gracious gets himself to a new place just as soldiers come running to the sound of the commotion. He is near the nave, which is probably not the best place to be, and he takes his chances, moving quickly to go deeper into the cathedral. With the help of satrophine, he finds his way to the servants' quarters, but the drug is wearing off and Gracious can feel the side-effects coming on. He hides in a small bunkroom, designed to house six servants in cramped conditions, and considers his next move.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:41 pm

Marina and I are well, if not safe, Laval tells Gracious. I may be able to come to you and heal you if you tell me where you are, but that is a risk itself.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by wren on Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:50 pm

Titebite, meanwhile, hunkers down in the Villa - letting Leonard do as he wishes for now, perhaps get in touch with the Makuu - he really wants to make sure that Gracious is alright! - perhaps to spend a little time with Patrick...

Titebite re-assesses the strategic situation. The Makuu will hopefully respond in full force - and not just to the Villa, but indeed to the villages all around - the words he sent with the Seargent should hopefully create the impression that the Makuu needs to reach out everywhere - and hopefully overstretch themselves.

---

[Can you remind me on the rules for stacking drugs/taking another dose straight after first?]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:05 pm

Leonard contacts Corporal Kazi once more, but there is no news on his friend Gracious. It probably means that the man is hiding - after all, that's what he was doing when Leonard left - but there is a sinking feeling in Leonard's stomach like he has just lost another important person in his life. It reminds him of his son, and he hastens to check up on him. Patrick is still bed-ridden, and the servants tell Leonard that he has come down with some kind of fever in his grief. When Leonard enters, he has to stifle a sob. His son looks close to death, desperate in his grief.

"Fa-father?" he asks weakly. Leonard hastens to his side, grasping the young nobleman's hand. 

"I'm here. It's alright. I'm here."

"I-I-I can't..."

"... I know. Hush now, my son. Hush."

Leonard stays with Patrick for a while. The young man is delirious, confusing his sister for his lover, confessing dark things done in the family while Leonard was asleep. Leonard does not - will not - believe such things. A dark shadow has spread its wings over his home. It is only to be expected that Patrick is also assailed, weakened and lied to by the remnants of the daemon that has taken so much from Leonard's life.

Titebite considers what next might happen. If the Makuu responds in force, they would do well to attack one target at a time. Though they may have been provoked into an all-out attack on everywhere, their forces are limited in number and such a thing would be deeply foolish. By Titebite's reckoning, at peak they would have been around a hundred men for the platoon. With one squad just annihilated, and madness assailing the Makuu, their fighting strength could be less than half of that now. Such numbers are simply not enough to take on three targets at once.

The question is where they will attack first. The Villa von Klossner is the most obvious and verified military threat, so if Titebite was commander, he would start there. That would suggest that this place needs to be shored up on its defences. The mercenaries number eight and one injured, which would not be enough to repel the enemy off indefinitely. An escape plan, or some shift in strategy, would be appropriate. That is the worst case scenario (assuming they come at all), and it does not hurt to be prepared.

[Taking drugs in quick succession makes it increasingly likely that you will be Addicted, but otherwise has no ill effects.]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by wren on Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:07 am

Leonard continues to cradle his son, perhaps the last person he has left in the world, and - as he did when he was young - tells him a story of happier times.

[Legit so sad. LEONARD ;_;]

---

Gracious readies another dose of satrophine, but does not yet take it - it is to hand in case he needs to take it fast.

He messages Laval back, briefly describing his vague location - without being too specific - tell her to get back in touch when she is close.

If anyone - servants, soldiers - come in, he'll certainly try to get talking to them. It seems right now he's not got much purchase on his objectives - oddly because things already seem pretty corrupted! - but his overall intent would still to finish the process. He'd love to see the Drill Abbot compromised... if that hasn't already happened.

---

Titebite ponders. It would probably be easier - he thinks - to evacuate to a nearby town, or at least make plans to do so, and he decides to talk to the leader of the mercenaries to ask for local intelligence. In terms of defending the villa itself, it's clear that the fight wouldn't be won on numbers: is there any unused or subuvertable tech - some rich-person toys? - that could be leveraged to their advantage?

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:57 am

It is early evening, and it occurs to Gracious that the servants are likely to have late hours, and not return for some time to their private quarters. He could wait, and use his silver tongue to defend himself, but he also has ambitions on the Drill Abbot. He might get to her if he is able to make some inquiries, but that would involve exposing himself. What does he do?

*****

Titebite approaches Agosti, who is currently tending to her injured man. She tells him that there is no further weaponry in the villa that she is aware of, and agrees that they are better fighting as a guerrilla force than as defenders of the mansion. To Agosti's mind, Imani would be the safest place. Kifodini is filled with fanatics that might well side with the soldiery of the Makuu, whilst Sadaka is mysteriously abandoned and unlikely to draw the attention of the cathedral. Imani is smaller, with a population more likely to stay neutral, and hide, in the conflict to come.

The mercenary pauses, narrowing her eyes slightly whilst wearing an easy smile. "You suggested to la donna that chaos consumes these lands. But I am confused. You spoke to her as if you wanted her aid, and yet, you helped slaughter her men. Buon signore, would you explain?"

Not satisfied with the notion that there is nothing salvageable in the mansion, Titebite goes through the affects of the noble family. Inevitably, he finds his way to the trophy room, and is delighted by what he finds. There is a weapon there, a relic of the old Swaad, the Swaad that were proud and did not believe the lies of the Ecclesiarchy. Titebite cannot specifically identify the weapon, but has heard the tale of even the most basic weaponry firing blasts of lightning that cut apart the fanatical redemptionist hordes of the Church. Such a weapon - especially if unexpected, could be a great boon in dealing with massed infantry.

He picks up the weapon, and examines it carefully for damage. It is badly scuffed, and seems bereft of ammunition. Titebite cleans it to avoid static discharge destroying the weapon when it is fired, re-powers its coils with electricity taken directly from the villa's generator. To his satisfaction, the power seems to provide the weapon with ammunition, and it lights up with a small cogitator display, reading in Low Gothic that it is fully operational, but safety is activated. It feels strange in Titebite's hands, with a bulky mouth from which it might spit its death, but it is now ready for use.

[This is an Exotic Weapon. Titebite might therefore want to consider buying Exotic Weapon Training (Umeme Gun) to avoid -20 to Ballistic Skill Tests to fire it. That would cost 250 XP.]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by wren on Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:10 am

Titebite explains: he believes - explaining what Leonard experienced, and the conversation with the Corporal - that those within the Makuu are already lost to madness. He had arrived only to find his friends Gracious and Twisby - it seems they have been embroiled it all this. [This is of course explicitly an attempt at a Decieve roll].

I will buy the Exotic Weapon Training for him at the first opportunity.

---

Gracious decides that nothing ventured, nothing gained - he decides to risk making some inquiries. Still shaken by the earlier suicide, it rings in his mind: but he realizes that, if things go downhill, perhaps someone could be provoked into it. The key is not encountering some large force...


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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:13 pm

Agosti narrows her eyes, and Titebite realises that she does not quite believe his true story. But she believes enough, and importantly accepts that something is very wrong with the soldiery of the Makuu. She nods, and the moment of tension passes.

*****

Gracious steps outwards, making his way carefully - though trying not to look too suspicious - down the corridor towards what sounds like the kitchens. Before he gets there, he meets another man coming round the corner. He is a wiry, Swaad man, his expression somewhat surly, and he pauses when he sees Gracious staring back at him.

"Who are you?" he asks, a little aggressively.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:15 pm

[Are you free for an Interaction?]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:20 pm

"Whoah...” Gracious replies, “Hey... no need for that. I'm lost, is what I am. And who are you?"
 
The man halts, still eying Gracious suspiciously, but with a little less hostility. "My name is Kuvunjwa. Are you one of them that they are looking for?"
 
"There's certainly been some dreadful misunderstanding," Gracious responds. "The soliders here seem... oh it's horrible, sir. I saw one of them kill himself right in front of me! Are you OK? Have.... have any of them hurt you? Yes, I think they're looking for me."
 
Kuvunjwa's mouth twitches slightly. "No, they have not hurt me. I am no threat to them, so they do not hassle me. They do not hassle any of us without power, without guns." He steps forward. "I think it the food," he declares, "They do not feed us well. Maybe in time I will go mad like them. In the meantime, they pay for their greed, perhaps."
 
Gracious frowns.
 
"You should not be here,” Kuvunjwa continues, “In the corridor."
 
"Where should I be, do you think?"
 
"I don't know what you want," the Swaad man replies steadily. "But if you do not want to die, you should not be seen."
 
I'm in the cellar, Laval tells Gracious.
 
Nearby?
 
Yes.

 
"Can you recommend me anywhere to hide?" Gracious asks Kuvunjwa.
 
"The Makuu has many places to hide," Kuvunjwa responds. "But in an hour or so this place will be very busy."
 
Don't let him poke around down there though, if you're headed that way, Laval warns.
 
“What do you want?" Kuvunjwa demands.
 
You can hear me? Gracious asks.
 
Not any more, you seemed fine.
 
Gracious looks up to Kuvunjwa with a sad smile. "So really I'd just like to talk to someone I can trust?" You were below me? he asks Laval.
 
It's complicated. If you get down here though, I can treat your injuries.
 
Do you know a way? I'm talking to this nice madman.

 
Laval gives directions, a mix of semi-verbal impressions and images indicating the route. Meanwhile, Kuvunjwa continues his conversation with Gracious, none the wiser. "You cannot trust me," he retorts. "We are strangers, and you do not know me. You are a wych?"
 
"Ha! You're right, I can't trust you. But I'm not a wych. You seem oddly sanguine about that possibility, though."
 
"I suppose if you were a wych, you could make me believe you are not," Kuvunjwa admits, in an offhand fashion. He grimaces. "I am a man with not much to lose," he tells Gracious. "Why are you here?"
 
"Ha! Well, I'll give you a bit of honesty. Perhaps I'm here to bring this whole corrupt mess tumbling down, eh?"
 
"That is what they seem to think," Kuvunjwa responds. He pauses. "We should talk elsewhere."
 
Gracious reads this man like a book. He is quivering with rage, unhinged to the point of sociopathy, but it is not directed at Gracious or enemies of the church. Alright, he tells Laval. I'm going to follow this lead for a bit, I think; but I may try and join you shortly. Keep me up to date? Do you know if they caught Leonard?
 
No, I'd thought he was with you until just now.
 
He couldn't hide. Too slow, too clunky, was going to get us both killed. I gave him some satrophine and a good luck and told him to climb for it.
Gracious expresses regret.
 
"Let's go, eh, tell me your woes," he tells Kuvunjwa.
 
"Where?" the Swaad man asks. "There are patrols looking for you. I could take you to the organist chambers, but it is near the nave. Are you light on your feet?"
 
"I could be." Gracious raises a satrophine, and takes it.
 
Gracious makes his way with Kuvunjwa towards the central nave. There are more patrols in this direction, but they pay Kuvunjwa no mind, and Gracious is darting fast on his satrophine-boosted reflexes. It is like a dance, and one which Gracious finds himself enjoying: a new sensation of grace and danger. As he’s going, he maintains contact with Laval, who too expresses regret of the news regarding Leonard.
 
I've some news, at least, she tells him.
 
I have to say, I do sort of care for him, Gracious admits. That dress... he has beauty in his soul.
 
We nearly have this place, Gracious, Laval urges. Their fighting force is only abut fifty strong now.
 
Wow.
Fear echoes through Gracious’ mind. I… I saw a man stab himself in the eye, in front of me.
 
Drill Abbot Forst has been taking the lead,
Laval continues, And Hasek has withdrawn somewhat since the poisoning.
 
We've done a number on this place. Any news on the Deacon?


Not since we left him shouting behind us. There is a glimmer of defensiveness in Laval’s response. I told you what the poison was. Madness, despair, betrayal.
 
No, I know.
His thoughts writhe in pleasure. When it happens in front of you, it shakes you.
 
Yes.
 
But you are marvellous.
 
Thank you. I think. This ordering us killed is probably out of character for the deacon. Maybe Forst could be convinced to look into his possession...
 
I've been trying to find Forst, vaguely. No luck so far.
 
I think Forst lodges near the top, near the Deacon.
 
I somehow think she'll be hard to charm,
Gracious muses. You don't live to ovesee the subjugsation of world and 300 years of tyranny without being tough stuff.
 
Mm. Fair.
Laval pauses. As for Hasek - perhaps not as fiery as the people outside - Lieutenant Mwenye thought him a coward, behind all the talk. We also still have the option of parleying with our enemy, though I can't say I'm keen.
 
Fundamentally this third factor is still present,
Gracious remarks.
 
Probably helpful to our goals here, Laval suggests. If hazardous to our lives.
 
This man I am talking to has reason to hate the church. And he's the organist. The organ...
 
Mm.
 
Well, I'll see where this goes.
 
Quite tempted to just start killing,
Laval admits.
 
Before the main entrance to the nave, Kuvunjwa takes Gracious up a side staircase which leads upwards to a grand organ. It is a vast, ornate instrument of gold and ivory, and Kuvunjwa sits down at the central chair, gesturing Gracious to a desk. On the table, Gracious sees scraps of half-composed music, the ink still drying.
 
"You're the organist?"
 
"I am," Kuvunjwa nods. "What are you?"
 
"An agent of greater powers. My name's Gracious Obscura."
 
"You are evil, I think," Kuvunjwa responds. "But these are evil times. There are no good men left."
 
"A sanguine view. I like you, I think, as much as I ever do. Ha!"
 
"My real name is Kibwe Sefu. I was not always the deacon's organist. I had a life. I had a wife. I had love, and a home."
 
"And then?" Gracious asks.
 
"Her name was Asha," he continues, his eyes flashing with madness. "There was a man. A man who wanted her for himself. We told him to stop, but he would not. We went to the church, for moral judgement." He smiles slightly, baring teeth.
 
"Ah, the famous morals of the Eccleisarchy."
 
"My wife was stoned to death along with her predator," Kibwe tells Gracious, without any emotion. "For adultery. And I was whipped for tolerating the sin. I was whipped so hard that I thought I would die."
 
Gracious stares at him, a serious face for once.
 
"I will have vengeance," Kibwe continues, calmly drawing a blade from his pocket. "Not even god will stop me. And you are going to help me, or I will kill you here."
 
"Put the blade away, and let's talk,” Gracious soothes. "I'm afraid I don't have much humour for surprise attacks right now. I'll help you."
 
"ENOUGH TALKING!" Kibwe suddenly screams. He picks up his chair and throws it bodily against the wall, making Gracious flinch. Ah, here's the madness, he remarks to Laval. I may have to run fast. He feels Laval’s worry. On satrophine again.
 
Call if you need a hand. We're not far away.

 
"I have waited for eight years..." Kibwe continues. "I have played that man's servant for eight years. The man who killed my Asha. The man who took my life away."
 
"The deacon?"
 
"You are an enemy of the church!" he exclaims, nodding at Gracious' question. "You are an evil man. And so you will help me in this desecration, in my damnation!"
 
"Do you want to be strong, and fast, and furious, as I am now?" Gracious asks. He makes an athletic jump to demonstrate. "Do you want the will to resist all they can throw at you?"
 
Kibwe blinks at the show, panting from his own exertions. "You can make this power mine?"
 
"I am primarily a peddler of desire," Gracious smiles. "What you desire, I can spin from the air and salt. I am a chymist."
 
"I only have one desire left."
 
"I will give you chymicals, so that you might kill. I can craft something that might be truly wondrous. Would you permit me a little time? More power than I possess now."
 
"If I handed you in now, I might get an audience with him," Kibwe glares. "It had better be good."
 
"If your will holds, this could allow you to walk through walls, to exist as a thing outside the world, for a short time. And strength. And will. And a poison that can kill the strongest man. These I can grant you. Do you want them?" Gracious tempts.
 
Kibwe twitches. "I have the will. I will not fail her."
 
"I know. Now, assist me?"
 
The man steps forward to help.
 
Gracious? Laval queries. Still alive?
 
Yes. Busy, sorry.
 
Just checking.
There is warmth in Laval’s thoughts.
 
Gracious takes out the pink salt that was once Ari's twisted flesh, following the recipe of madmen and sorcerers. He grinds it into a finer powder, mixing it with a compound that will react more swiftly with the lungs and excite the blood in a mortal's veins. All that is needed is for it to be inhaled, like a line of medicane. He steps back. "So, Kibwe." He contacts Laval with joy. I am so very good at my job.
 
[Gracious has 3 doses of D-Dust.]
 
Kibwe looks to him. "Yes, Gracious?"
 
"This" - he holds up the nootropic - "is a drug that will clear the mind and heighten your will beyond mortal ken".
 
Kibwe smiles.
 
"This" - Gracious holds up the satrophine - "will infuse your body with incredible power".
 
The maniac nods.
 
"This" - Gracious holds up a dose of the super-obscura that killed Marcus - "will kill almost anyone. You inject it into them, you see the needle?"
 
"Yes."
 
"And these": he holds up two little vials in which lines of D-Dust are. "Each of these will, for a short time, grant you the power to transcend flesh, if your will holds. Use only when the time is close. I have given you two, just in case. Once you take this cocktail - excepting the poison - you will have but an hour. And less for the dust - perhaps a few hundred heartbeats,"
 
"You are the devil," Kibwe responds simply, taking the chems. "But I gladly make bargain with you. What do you ask in return?"
 
"Say a prayer, that I will speak, and you will follow with your own tongue, to a god who will watch over this action."
 
"So be it. My soul is already damned."
 
Gracious grins. "Then follow. I pledge myself unto the Prince of Princes, the Dark One, he, they, it which Dwells in the House of Pleasure."
 
The Swaad man repeats.
 
"My will is his. I am desire. My soul be rent. I am Slaanesh, Slaanesh is all I am. This immortal soul I have, I give freely, to satisfy my last desire." Gracious finishes and waits for Kibwe to repeat. "Now, speak your desire, and in Slaanesh's name go forth, and have it done."
 
"To avenge my Asha," Kibwe whispers, "To kill Deacon Alfred Brauer, and rip out his throat."
 
And with that, he goes forth. Still benefitting from the satrophine, Gracious makes his way to the wine cellar.
 
[Gracious gains 1 Infamy and 3 Corruption Points.]
 
So I'm going to need a face mask, then? Laval asks, as Gracious resituates himself.
 
How do you mean?
 
You're not getting drugs everywhere, then?
 
I am doing holy work, for once,
Gracious objects.
 
Ah, carry on then, Laval responds with humour.
 
And it is done. On my way.
 
After a short while, there is a sharp rap on the door in a whimsical rhythm. Room service.
 
There is a pause, then Marina opens the door onto total darkness, glaring suspiciously through her goggles. Gracious nods. "Marina."
 
"Hi,” Marina returns, “Don't just stand there, get in here."
 
He gets in. Marina shuts the door, cutting off the light. "So, you got a plan?"
 
"The Deacon will, shortly, no longer be a problem," Gracious responds. "I mean, I think so. I just gave a desperate man a pile of drugs, including one to give him daemonic nature, for a bit. Events will occur as a result, I am sure."
 
"Ooh."
 
"Certainly," Laval adds.
 
"...I don't suppose you'd like to be a demon, Marina?" Gracious asks.
 
"Yes,” Marina admits, “But I don't do drugs."
 
"Fair."
 
"Also I'm still mad at you."
 
"I thought maybe an offering for - well, yes."
 
"But we're busy, so..." Marina pats his shoulder in what might be meant to be a friendly way.
 
"I fucked up!” Gracious exclaims. “I'm pleased you're alive, and I apologise for my erstwhile associate. It may please you to know that the demon dust is made from what she left behind. If we can get to the Drill Abbot, break her, corrupt her, that's it, the game is over."
 
"I like breaking people," Marina agrees.
 
 "Mm,” Laval muses. “I can see some logistic issues."
 
There are two kinds of people in this world, Gracious observes with a smile. Laval chuckles. "Yes,” Gracious responds. “But if we could do it..."
 
"And Hasek?" Laval asks.
 
"What would be good is if we could draw out the rebellion in Kifodini," Gracious suggests. "Hardly a source of spiritual strength, it sounds like. But yes,” Gracious answers. “We should probably do for him too.
 
"There are soldiers there now,” Laval notes, “Looking for another tithe."
 
“Maybe that'll work. Maybe not..."
 
"I don't know what he'll do when cornered. But he's ambitious, there might be an in there... Also, our 'friend' the ghost might survive being evicted from the deacon."
 
"Yes,” Gracious accepts, “And of course, he has backup."
 
".... how much like a daemon does this miracle substance make someone?" Laval queries.
 
"Ah...” Gracious stutters, distracted by pain. “Could you have a look at my wounds...?"
 
"Yes, of course. Ugh, I almost forgot.." There is a quiet thud, then Laval lights a candle. Gracious sits down, heart still racing from the satrophine. The flickering light reveals what looks suspiciously like a ritual circle on the floor behind Laval as she steps forwards to look Gracious over.
 
"..." Gracious wordlessly points, and raises an eyebrow.
 
"Well, how did you think I know what's going on?” Laval chides.
 
"Yes, fair enough."
 
"Give me your hand. This might hurt anywhere from a lot to not at all."
 
"Sounds good to me." He puts forward his hand. She takes it, closes her eyes briefly in concentration. His hand has a jagged cut upon it, but as soon as Laval places her palm upon it, it heals in a strange, tickling sensation. Gracious winces as his wounds close up his side, still injured, but feeling much better.
 
"The drug will, uh...” Gracious begins, “It'll make you tough, like a daemon is, you know. It could let you walk through walls, even. Could even make it so that your knives are like knives from the warp itself. Or it might do none of these things. It's like... it takes a strong kind of mind, you know? You'd be fine, I'm sure."
 
Marina makes a sound of disgust, still concealed in the darkness outside the candlelight. Laval opens her eyes and gets to more conventional medical work, holding a candle to help her work. She stitches the gash together where it is still slightly open, considers giving Gracious something for the pain before seeing his eyes are already bloodshot on some self-medication, and concludes her work, satisfied.
 
[Gracious is fully healed.]
 
"Well," Gracious manages, "That feels... gods. Much better! Ah, thank you..."
 
"Wouldn't want you dying on me," Laval smiles.
 
"Yes ma'am." He sticks out his tongue. Marina makes exaggerated gagging noises. "Marina, your pain gives me strength. Let's chat. Any other plans or ideas?"
 
Laval answers. "In terms of other desperate souls, there's some in the dungeon, but I doubt any of them are in good enough condition to be of any use."
 
"Can we have a plan that doesn't have more magic in it?" Marina complains.
 
"I'm... not keen to do that again any time soon, so sure."
 
"So you want no magic and no drugs?" Gracious asks, a little bewildered.
 
"Other people can have drugs," Marina notes.
 
"Right."
 
"But I've seen where that goes," she finishes.
 
Gracious pauses in acknowledgement. "...We could give all the people in the cellar drugs? Yes, I don't normally partake much myself, but needs must. A problem for later."
 
"We could, I suppose... how much do you have?" Laval asks.
 
"I have a LOT of satrophine. I think."
 
"So we just need to get into this lady's room and ambush her, right?" Marina asks impatiently.
 
"'Just' that, yes..." Laval murmurs.
 
"I suppose we could send in a bunch of wacked-out prisoners on combat drugs in first,” Gracious suggests, “That seems like a flawless plan with no downsides. Wait, no..."
 
Laval chuckles.
 
"It does have a certain appeal, I will say," Gracious remarks. "But, as you say, logistics."
 
"I prefer sneaking,” Marina interrupts. “Are you any good at that?"
 
"I'm pretty good when I'm on this."
 
"Well then. We get in a box with her, barricade the door, get to work?"
 
"... box?" Laval queries.
 
Marina sighs. "Box, room, whatever."
 
"Mighten it not be best for you to do that alone?” Gracious remarks. “It's not like I'm good in a fight."
 
"I thought you'd want in on the fun,” Marina shrugs. "'Sides, I might need a healer..."
 
"It's going to take time to corrupt her, surely, even if all you're going for is to drive her insane..." Laval objects.
 
"Yes,” Gracious notes, but he still considers the notion. “If you could kidnap her and bring her here, without bringing the Makuu down on us. Another possibility: the organ. When that plays, everyone hears. Any of you two got a musical bent? Nothing like a good hymnal, eh. And I don't know any good hymnals."
 
"Nope," Marina shakes her head. "Not me..." Laval seconds.
 
"Damn. Feels like we should be able to use it somehow..."
 
Laval shrugs.
 
"Trouble with kidnapping,” Marina continues, “Is it's way hard to sneak when you're carrying an unconscious person."
 
"Yes, I can see that." Gracious thinks. "...now, I know you said you didn't want any more plans involving magic. … but surely there must be daemons who can play..."
 
"Not sure I could get one in here," Laval notes. "It's warded."
 
"Hmm. Sanctified?"
 
"Yes,” Laval tells him. “Inscriptions on the rockrete, inside the walls. Only reason I haven't been eaten, if I'm honest."
 
"Damn. So hard to subvert?" Gracious queries.
 
"Something powerful enough could break through,” Laval responds. “But it would need to be thoroughly motivated, or take a great deal of power from our end to pull through. And I don't fancy playing bait because you want an organist, so...."
 
"I mean, that's fair," Gracious admits.
 
"Although I am, apparently, delicious," Laval flirts.
 
Gracious studiedly looks at the wall. He has the knowledge to corrupt and break wardings, but he would need to get to the rockrete. With a lascutter it would be a fairly quick – if loud – job. With his power blade, and still high on satrophine, it could be much quieter, and perhaps not much longer.
 
"So. No daemons?" Marina asks.
 
"No daemons, hopefully," Laval sighs.
 
"I mean, that's good," Gracious remarks.
 
"You'd better not run off as soon as we're done here though," Marina warns.
 
"Me?" Gracious asks.
 
"Yeah."
 
"Marina, mind on the job, please?" Laval pleads. "We can sort this out if and when we survive?"
 
"Yes,” Gracious accepts, “I imagine you'll want some stern words, or worse. I agree we should table that discussion for now."
 
"Ugh, fine," Marina huffs. "But if you run away I will kill you. Just wanna make that clear. Anyway."
 
"Crystal!" Gracious tells her. "So where are their forces, exactly? Mostly up top with the Abbot?"
 
“Right now, I'm not sure,” Laval responds. “The soldiers are quartered below their leaders. But they are presumably on some sort of alert. Most of what I got, I got from Lieutenant Mwenye, who is no longer involved in that sort of decision making."
 
"Indeed, he looked...” Gracious trails off. “Out of the loop."
 
"He's been thrown in the dungeon." Laval sounds a little uncomfortable.
 
"You know, I still do quite like the plan of "give all the prisoners drugs and run away",” Gracious observes. “Might draw out the solidery.”
 
"And then we're trying to move around through a cathedral full of fighting and drugged up prisoners," Laval objects. "I'm not dismissing it out of hand, I just think it has some issues."
 
"It doesn't last that long," Gracious returns. "We need to reduce their fighting force, right?"
 
"Sounds like a good distraction to me," Marina chips in.
 
"Yeah, exactly,” Gracious agrees. “And I'm sure you could do a great job of picking off soldiers in all that, Marina."
 
"Sure could."
 
"It's also distressingly easy to...” Laval trails off. “Well, you saw what I did earlier."
 
"Take control?" Gracious queries.
 
"Provoke murder and suicide,” Laval finishes. “I only touched a couple of their minds directly, the rest was all on the poison."
 
"Right, yeah." Gracious smiles. "Throw more chaos in the mix..."
 
"So,” Marina takes stock. “Distraction, then...? You still want me to try and grab the lady?"
 
"Do you think you can?" Laval asks.
 
"I think we'll try and do that after, maybe?" Gracious suggests. "Or in the peak of the chaos...?"
 
"Well she's old, but if she's trained in fighting it might be hard to get her down without killing her..." Marina admits. "I like having a distraction, less risk of me getting shot and horribly burned. Don't like getting burned, hurts like crazy. Maybe even worse than drilling into bone." Her tone remains cheerful, as if making small talk.
 
"You can't be kidnapping and killing as many as possible at the same time..." Laval comments.
 
"True."
 
Meanwhile, Gracious is staring at a wall. Are you alright? Laval asks him.
 
"We're on the inside, here, right?" he replies aloud.
 
"Inside of what?" Laval asks.
 
"The Makuu. That's not an outer wall." He stares at his power blade. "If you gave me an hour next to an outside wall, I think I could break through to the wards. And bring them down. Not saying we then do anything..."
 
"Hm..." Laval thinks.
 
"But we should deconsecrate this place, right?” Gracious suggests. “It's the principle of the thing."
 
"Yes, fair,” Laval responds. “I'm certainly not going wandering again if we do that, though."
 
"Don't do that anyway,” Marina tells her. “It's creepy."
 
"The traditional way to deconsecrate is with sacrifice," Laval advises.
 
"Hmm," Gracious muses.
 
"It occurs to me that if we're corrupting anyone, Hasek will probably break faster and easier than Forst," Laval notes.
 
"I think I know enough to just change a few symbols and words, corrupt the meaning,” Gracious announces, referring to the ward. “Use the binding against it."
 
"Mm,” Laval nods. “I'll trust your judgement."
 
Gracious sits on the floor and gets out his chym kit, moving unnaturally fast, twitching under the Satrophine. "I have an idea."
 
"Mm?"
 
"The walls are made of sandstone. I don't know how much you know about chymistry..."
 
"Acid. Yes, of course."
 
Gracious' fingers, long and slender, get to work as the chymist puts his considerable intellect to work. Vials are mixed, hissing and bubbling under a low heat produced by a Bunsen burner. Sometimes, chemicals seem to move in the air, manipulated by an arm that no one can easily see. By the end, Gracious has four plastic tubes of a transparent, heavy liquid.
 
"Let's find a wall, get this done,” Gracious suggests. “Then let's move to the dungeon, sow that chaos - perhaps Marina doesn't need to be there for that, she can be up top? - and then regroup. This will take minutes, I think." Joy and pride radiates through the mindlink.
 
Laval looks impressed, the mind link echoing that impression. "What do you keep in that kit? Remind me never to be careless with it..."
 
"A lot of stuff. Mostly non-active reagents. It's getting a little low. The trick with chymistry is that heat and pressure produce wonders."
 
Laval chuckles. "Let's do this."

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:16 am

The group creeps out from the wine cellar, finding the corridor at the top of the stairs empty. The hour is getting late, past dinner, and the servants are making their way to their quarters under an imposed curfew. There are still patrols, but they are diminishing as it becomes apparent that they are not going to find anyone any time soon. Soon, perhaps, the grand organ will ring out to welcome pilgrims for the after-dinner service. Or maybe the organ will stay silent, the devil having done his work…
 
Staying on the lower levels, the group make their way to an external wall, evading paranoid soldiers and bustling servants when they come across them. Finding themselves in a secluded outer corridor, slit windows letting in the light of a falling sun, Gracious gets to work with professional speed. He funnels the acid into the sandstone wall, burning away at the surface with chemical precision. Beneath is revealed a small patch of rockcrete, covered in gilded letters of prayer and protection. Gracious reads the passage with a small smile of concentration, and gets to work, subtly changing the words to speak heresies and corrupt the faith that keeps the Makuu strong. To both Marina and Laval’s wych-sight, they see coils of dark energies spooling from the words, settling in Gracious’ ungodly soul as the Emperor’s Word is undone.
 
[Gracious gains 1 Infamy and 4 Corruption Points.]
 
"Haha!" Gracious exclaims.
 
Maybe this will even cause our 'friend' some trouble if evicted from his host... Laval communicates, Though I imagine he's already solved that problem.
 
Do you think...

 
Marina goes as if to rub her eyes, knocks her metal knuckles against the goggles, seems put out.
 
Laval, Gracious continues, Ff we could get a demon to play unholy music... I think that would be it. Is it even possible?
 
Last time I proposed summoning a daemon, you were against it.
 
Last time, victory wasn't in grasp,
Gracious points out.
 
I don't even know if daemons can play the organ, Laval returns. I mean, probably some can, but...
 
There will be a servant of my prince who could do it,
Gracious assures her.
 
Definitely requires sacrifice. At least one, preferably the appropriate number.
 
Would you consider it?
 
Being the sacrifice?
Laval responds humorously, No. Performing the ritual... I... would consider it, but it's not something we can just do without preparation.
 
Not being the sacrifice, of course.
There is concern in his thoughts. I wouldn't...
 
Laval responds with humour. I know.
 
Heh. Well, I think we should proceed as planned for now, perhaps we can pick up six sacrifices in the dungeon?

 
"Shall we?"
 
"What are you two chatting about?” Marina complains. “Actually, scratch that, I'm fine not knowing..."
 
"Marina, do you think you could find a way to the dungeon from here?” Gracious asks. “You're pretty good at getting around."
 
"I know the way. ... more or less,” Laval notes. We would also need quite a lot of other stuff. Possibly including a party. But we can bear it in mind. "I was in there earlier."
 
The first task done, the group makes their way to the dungeons. Laval remembers from her travels that the place is defended: two soldiers standing on guard before an iron wrought gate. One of them probably holds the keys, though, and the defences are far from impenetrable. After all, the people rotting in these dungeons are abandoned by the world, and no one is coming to rescue them. At least, no one with their interests genuinely at heart…
 
Once they are close Laval whispers, "Want to talk to the guards Gracious, or should Marina and I try and shut them up?"
 
"Ah, use a bit of violence, eh?" Gracious suggests. "I want to save my good words for now..."
 
"Can do," Marina grins.
 
"Hold that thought…" Laval cautions. She listens. Ahead of her, in the dungeon, there is a strange chanting: not in a high volume, but in a daemontongue not known to many. "You two hear that?"
 
"No," Gracious responds.
 
"Someone's beat us to the punch on ritual magic."
 
"Where?"
 
"Dungeon." A peculiarly enthusiastic grin spreads across Laval’s face. "Let's go mess it up!"
 
"… on the one hand, yes,” Marina replies. “On the other hand, I don't want to explode."
 
Gracious considers the situation for a moment. "Well, nothing ventured..."
 
"C'mon Marina,” Laval encourages, “Have a peek round the corner, see if the guards are still there."
 
Marina advances, her form concealed by her chameleoline cloak. She sees the two soldiers, as Laval predicted, shifting uneasily from foot to foot. Here, Marina can hear the sound of a low chanting, and the hairs on the back of her neck prickle with the touch of the warp.
 
We can totally get the guards on side, Laval urges. Everyone hates unexpected ritual magic. I'm going to try it.
 
Go for it,
Gracious returns.
 
*****
 
Behind the iron wrought gates of the dungeons, the deacon of the Grand Makuu has set out his weighty Imperial Tomes. The prisoners of the cathedral have been brought out in chains, Lieutenant Mwenye foremost among them, and a nervous-looking soldier stands by the deacon's side, flamer in hand. The deacon chants in a tongue not known to many, a daemontongue that stings at the tongue from which it is uttered. Two further guards wait outside the gates, shifting nervously from foot to foot.
 
Laval steps out, seemingly frightened, calling out to the guards in a hushed but frantic tone. "What are you doing!? Can't you hear the daemontongue? They're doing magic in there!"
 
The guards falter for a moment, confused and distracted as Marina begins dashing around the corridor, power sword in hand and the eyes of a killer. She sweeps at one of the soldiers, but he ducks just in time and there is are sparks as the sword clashes against the gate. The soldier responds by smashing the butt of his gun into his attacker, but it bangs off Marina’s carapace with little impact. The other soldier, reacting swiftly despite her confusion, opens fire with her lasgun, but in her panic strikes her friend, injuring him badly.
 
The deacon continues to murmur in daemontonuge, but at the end of a sentence turns to the commotion. "Do not listen to her lies," he commands, with an iron will. "She is a plant, installed by local forces to destabilize the Imperial Creed's hold on this place. Seize her!" The soldier next to him shifts his flamer nervously, waiting for the instruction to shoot on his own fellows.
 
As the scrum develops, Gracious joins the fray, wielding a beautiful sword. He engages with the other guard, keeping him occupied as the first woman stands in the middle of the corridor, apparently in thought.
 
Marina hisses as her sword scrapes across the gates, causing sparks but slowing her blade and missing her target. Her enemy slips past her with acrobatic grace, shooting at point blank range, but the killer is too fast, diving to the side.
 
"Set her ablaze!" the deacon roars, with powerful authority. "The Holy Cleansing cannot be interrupted!" He frowns as one of the soldiers, exposing his back to the well-dressed man, opens fire on the deacon, but the shots go wide as he continues to chant.
 
Meanwhile, the lieutenant has risen to his feet, a fire in his eyes. But when he sees the point of a flamer, he staggers backwards, defiant, but still afraid.
 
"Friends of the Makuu," Gracious calls out, with impassioned words. "I have seen one of your number - the loyal organist of the Deacon - make dread pacts with the forces of evil. The very prayers inscribed in the words have turned against you. Feel the air? Chaos is come to this place... this is no longer a place of the Emperor's Light!"
 
The air almost shimmers as the two personalities clash, the veil responding in anticipation of the serpent tongues duelling for power. The soldiers are confused and distracted, though they are still loyal to their deacon.
 
"The Deacon is not himself!" Laval adds, "Has he not been acting oddly? Surely your souls can feel that this is not right?" Please try for non-lethal? she asks Marina and Gracious. They might yet turn.
 
Yet the deacon's power is unquestionable, his robes of office bolstered with the personality of a man who must be obeyed. And all soldiers do obey him, but one. Lieutenant Mwenye, broken, beaten and intimidated, is emboldened by the words he hears. He runs at the man with a flamer with a shriek of desperation, restricted by his chains, but doing an able job at distracting.
 
Meanwhile, Marina switches strategy, trying to smash the hilt of her weapon into her enemy's face, but he proves annoyingly quick. He wriggles out of her reach again, firing at semi-automatic, but his target ably jumps out of the way of the shots. The other soldier distractedly attempts to throw the butt of her weapon into the swordsman's face, but he deftly parries with a grimace of concentration.
 
"You speak of Chaos and Dark Pacts!" the deacon continues, whilst muttering dark chants between sentences. "The wolves of dissent are at our doorstep and you seek to divide us!? You seek to undermine Holy Authority!? Loyal sisters and brothers, do not give in to these divisive words! Stand all in service to Him on Terra and bring them to Justice!" Beside him, the man holding the flamer smacks it into the lieutenant's face, knocking him down and stunning him as his nose breaks.
 
I could throw acid at the one with the flamer? Gracious asks. Or this one here? At what point do we give up on diplomacy? The words of the Deacon - or what's inside him - seem potent.
 
Laval's thoughts are barely words, a jumble of thrill and terror and the potent desire to win this battle of wills. There's little of tactical commentary, but a sense simultaneously of trust in Gracious' judgement, and still having tricks up her sleeves.
 
Gracious struggles past his opponent, ducking beneath a clumsy swing, and tries to throw something through the bars. It lands on the man with the flamer, hissing as foul fumes burn through his back. He screams as it burns through his armour and peels back the skin. Meanwhile, the lieutenant catches some to his bare chest, groaning in agony as a large patch of skin rips free. Blood pours from the terrible wound.
 
Laval has not moved from her position in the corridor, muttering something under her breath as she channels great power. The lasguns of the soldiers crackle and burn out to the power of the warp, the breath of all choked out and leaving everyone wheezing. Marina hisses in annoyance as she finally smashes her hilt into the forehead of her enemy, stunning him and knocking him back. He groans, sliding against the wall, as the other soldier swings clumsily at Gracious. And then, quite the unexpected occurs.
 
"Blacker than black," the deacon chants, compelled to switch to Low Gothic,
"Darker than Dark,
Four great hearts burn in the recesses of hell,
and by their will horrors shall manifest this day,
let the shackles be broken and those in bondage be set free."
 
The soldier with the flamer staggers forwards, consumed by pain but still hearing the words. He looks at the scene with terror and hatred, steps back, and covers all in flame, figuring the Emperor can sort sinner from saint. But he is confused, and the flames from his weapon spread in too high a sweep. Everyone but one of the soldiers dives out of the way, who, caught alight, starts screaming in agony.
 
Gracious reaches for another vial of acid, but this time pours it on the door looks, burning it open with a hiss as he is ignored by the burning soldier beside him. Meanwhile, Laval remains focused, channelling terrible energies of the warp.
 
Marina, bored with her stunned prey, dives through the open door and makes for the deacon. She drives her sword through his shoulder, sending him staggering back, shrieking in pain, but very much alive. The burning soldier falls to the ground, the acrid smell of molten flesh, as the deacon falls entirely silent, at a crucial moment of ritual. But he has said many of the words, and the warp cannot be held back by a final hesitation. Whether or not he can control the powers, meanwhile, is another matter...
 
The deacon staggers back, mute, but his arms reach up as the warp answers his unholy call. The cackling of daemons fills the air, finding weakness through the holy wardings of the Grand Makuu. Four embodiments of the fury of the gods come forth, cackling harpies of tooth and claw. With a smile, the deacon simply points at his enemies, and the daemons run forth. The earth protests at the intrusion, knocking the two guards, Gracious and Marina down.
 
The soldier with the flamer screams in hatred and fear, nonetheless remaining courageous in face of damnation. He angles his flamer more accurately, burning the deacon as the killer dodges out of the way. He casts a wide spread of flame, catching Gracious and setting him alight, burning two of the daemons at lighting them up in a whoosh of holy fire.
 
Gracious screams, burning on the floor as he desperately tries to put himself out. The daemons, snarling, fall upon the group, two flying forth to Laval. She desperately dodges their swings of claw and fang, trying to reach her friend, but Gracious is set upon by another daemon. It picks it up in his claws, tearing into his flesh with abandon, and tossing his apparently lifeless body against the wall. Another swipes at Marina, but she ducks under the blow.
 
Laval’s eyes widen as she sees her friend fall. Calling upon the powers of the warp, she lets out a terrible psychic scream. It is directed at one individual - the source of her pain - but the vestiges of the sound echo throughout reality. The deacon's head explodes, in an unspeakably appalling manner, shattering the skull and sending gore flying in all directions. His headless body staggers for a few moments, before hitting the ground. In response to the shattering of the mind and veil, the warp is exposed twicefold to those still alive to witness it.
 
Marina blinks in surprise, before turning and burying her blade into her daemonic foe. It is aflame, and when her sword drives into its chest, it explodes into hellfire, banished back to the warp. She ducks underneath the man with a flamer, irked by his constant stream, but turns. Her charge is still in terrible danger. Laval ducks, barely dodging the last swipe, as one of her attackers reels from psychic attack. The final daemon, done with Gracious, goes for Marina. She dispatches it with a single swipe of her power sword.
 
Marina advances, striking another, already injured beast and sending it back to hell. The other swipes at Laval, but she jumps back with determination. After a brief exchange of blade, claw and psychic will, the daemon is finally felled down by a mighty strike of the killer, Marina channelling her zealous hatred through the blow. It staggers back, before Laval reaches out, and destroys what is left.
 
The scene is one of devastation. When Laval and Marina look back to the man with the flamer, they see he has spawned, tentacles sprouting from his weeping eyes. There are rows of terrified prisoners, Lieutenant Mwenye among them. Gracious lies, apparently dead, on the floor. The deacon is gone, the other soldiers burned alive. In the near distance, there are sounds of shouting - the inevitable response of so much gunfire, even so far down in the Makuu.
 
Laval runs straight to Gracious to check for any sign of life. In her panic, she rushes to her lover, appraising his injuries. He is clearly dead. No one can survive this. She... she can see his heart, and it isn't beating. Numb, she goes through the motions anyway, applying medical techniques that clearly cannot help, hands working almost without connection to rational thought. She covers her hands in Gracious' blood, desperately trying to close a wound that she could bury her arms in.
 
Marina puts her power sword through the hopelessly mutated man, then sweeps a suspicious glare over the other survivors in case any of them are about to do anything stupid. They will do nothing. They are chained, terrified and cowed. "Right," she declares, "Well. Lucky break for you lot. Kinda. C'mon, boss, we need to move."
 
Ignoring Marina, failed by her knowledge, Laval manifests desperately.
 
Something... shifts. An unseen hand reaches out, and closes around Laval's wrist. As she watches, the flesh before her begins to knit itself together, skin forming out of the very void. It is not as it once was - a great scar is left on the torso, over the place where she saw his heart beat. But it closes. His eyes open. "..."
 
Laval falls backwards to sitting, starts crying. Gracious moves over to embrace her. She leans into it, but she is too busy shaking and crying to hold on.
 
"Great,” Marina observes. “Now stop doing the wychy thing and let's not be here?"

[Overall, Gracious has lost 15 Infamy and gained 6 Corruption Points. He has lost 5 Toughness Points permanently. He has, however, been Rewarded by Slaanesh and gained the Dark Prince's Mark. He gains Heightened Senses (All), the Unnatural Fellowship (+2) Trait and is at bonuses to Slaaneshi rituals (normally +30).]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:50 am

Gracious, Laval and Marina leave the dungeons, heading back to the wine cellar where they can plan their next movements, away from the incoming soldiers. They do not have difficulty getting back, and indeed the military response is smaller than might be supposed. Could some of their forces have left the cathedral for elsewhere?

[Gracious has gained 2 Infamy for helping another heretic complete a Secondary Objective.]

*****

Leonard finds his has fallen asleep beside his son, their hands clasped together. The tailor is exhausted, physically and emotionally, but his heart swells with love when he looks down at Patrick. He has always been a self-centred, pampered boy, but he does not have the cruelty of Leonard's other children. Leonard only hopes that he will recover from the shock. He would have called in a priest, but with what is happening at the Makuu, he doesn't know who to turn to.

He makes his way down the stairs, where he finds Titebite polishing one of the curios from the trophy room, deep in thought. Titebite looks back at him, without much interest. The warrior's mind is instead fixed on strategy. Agosti has advised that they relocate to Imani, but ultimately the call is Leonard's to make and, by extension, Titebite's. What does he decide?

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by wren on Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:49 pm

Gracious would like to think: what precisely are the things that would be required to summon a daemon from Slaanesh to play the organ? [I seem to have lost the description you gave me yesterday...] What key things are missing? What could he practically make? What do they need to fetch from elsewhere: sacrifices, certainly. He has not yet noticed the mark that is appearing red upon his flesh - but perhaps its power guides his actions and thoughts.

---

Leonard decides to evacuate to Imani. He spends some time putting some mementos that will not travel in the basement - the dress, of course, memories of his family - that might not survive an attack but that he will return to. He gently wakes Patrick and explains to him what is happening, helping his son put on armour and prepare himself to travel in danger. Meanwhile, Titebite communicates Leonard's decision to the mercenaries.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:12 pm

Gracious considers what is needed to summon Slaanesh's handmaiden. Looking about himself, he is pleased to consider that much of the prerequisites are already met, or easily achievable.

The ritual must take place in a location where great debauchery and excess has taken place, and requires an inscribed summoning circle marked out with invocations and symbols sacred to the Dark Prince. Braziers of hallucinogenic incense and vast quantities of intoxicating elixirs are spread around the ritual site. Six adult humans made delirious by narcotics must be slashed with anointed knives, and then murdered, as the ritual gets underway.

Gracious looks about himself. Marina has led a number of prisoners from the dungeons to the cellar, numbering more than six. They are in a wine cellar, torches can be used as braziers, and Gracious can construct hallucinogenic compounds with his own kit. All they really need is a scene of debauchery, and that, Gracious smiles, can easily be arranged...

*****

Patrick is bewildered, but gently coaxed into getting up by his father, slipping on his mesh vest and noble clothes. The group makes their way to Imani, not apprehending what they will truly find there. 

It is a small village, and when Leonard last came here, it was a primitive and quiet place with few features. But the village has changed. In the centre of the village is a great pillar of fire, somehow shaped into a symbol that makes Leonard's head spin. Around it, the villagers of Imani stumble about in desperate prayer, terror plain on their haggard faces, whilst levitating in the flames is a monster, a fly-beast of daemonic talon and sorcerous power. Titebite, at his side, narrows his eyes. The flames form the Mark of Tzeentch, not Slaanesh, and he cannot be sure that this is Gracious Obscura's doing.

"Um," Agosti manages. "What do we do?"

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by wren on Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:29 pm

[I think I will require an interaction.]

---

[#lols. I assume this doesn't affect the relevent Secondary Objective?]

Although Titebite's warband contains within it those of both Tzeentch and Khorne, it is often a fractious union, and actual sorcery is... not encouraged - as opposed to the holy inspiration of the divine weapon.

He makes an assessment of the situation and decides that what is required is murder. Shouting at Leonard to get himself out of the way, he takes himself forward, preparing to shoot at the appiration with his newly acquired weapon.


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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:02 am

Titebite fires the weapon. It shoots outwards like a bolt of lightning, striking the daemon square as arcs of electricity spark in all directions. The mercenaries follow suit, piercing it with hellfire, as Titebite waits for his weapon to recharge. It is a slow-firing device, but potent, and he spends the time aiming to compensate his lack of expertise with the gun. It fires with a disturbing lack of recoil, a wonder of technology that still takes some getting used to.
 
The daemon-thing cackles in response, pointing with a burning finger at the mercenaries and howling with warpfire. One of the mercenaries screams as he is consumed by the terrible flames, mutating into tentacles and tendrils, and the slaves of Imani rush forwards, bidden by their daemonic master. Agosti yells for the mercenaries to thin their ranks, and many slaves fall, but Titebite barks for them to shift fire on the daemon. The slave-things are nothing. All that matters is their master.
 
The air crackles with electricity and heat, hellfire rounds and literal hellfire casting sparks and fire across the village outskirts. Several huts catch aflame, the battle a reflection of hell, and war, and the endless laughter of thirsting gods. Soon, the slaves reach Titebite’s position, and it is a chaotic scrum, the hopeless villagers of Imani bound to serve the whims of their dark oppressor. Titebite grimaces as he pushes through them, trying to keep his aim on the monster as they grab and paw at him. Sometimes, their sheer weight of numbers slows him down, but he shrugs them off with a snarl as the mercenaries draw chainswords and make battle with the desperate mob. Many villagers fall, their emaciated bodies shredded by whirring teeth, but a couple of mercenaries die too, dragged screaming to the ground to be ripped apart by the mindless crowds.
 
Leonard draws his sword with a flourish, stepping backwards to protect his shell-shocked son from the coming violence. The slaves fall upon him, and he deftly parries the swing of a stick, riposting and instinctively burying his weapon in the neck of his foe. The villager dies with a scream, and Leonard has no time to process his own shock, spinning to parry another attacker before cutting her down on reflex alone. They are so many, scratching and clawing at his flesh, and Leonard can hear the pained chokes of Patrick behind him. He turns, slaying the man who was strangling his son, before turning with the courage of a man protecting his family.
 
Titebite grimaces as he struggles to keep his aim above these incessant attackers. In the distance, on another side of the village, he sees soldiers of the Makuu, engaging with the daemon and keeping it busy while Titebite tries to line up a shot. The daemon howls as it is whipped by lasrounds, but it returns with a torrent of flame that kills many of the battle-weary troops. Worse yet for the soldiers of the Makuu, three figures emerge from over the hill, lithe, unclothed marauders who fall, howling, upon the foe with knives and savagery. They carve their path through the soldiers, who desperately fight back, confused and outmanoeuvred. The battle is chaotic, with many sides, a true reflection of the chaos that is soon to come to the Grand Makuu.

Titebite pauses as he aims at the daemon. They could win this battle, right here. He fires, striking the daemon to its abdomen. It shrieks in pain as the flame pedestal on which it stands rises up, consuming it utterly. With it engulfed in the flames, Titebite thinks that the deed is done. As such, he does not react swiftly enough as the flames suddenly spin towards him, horribly scorching his flesh and burning his face with frenzied force. He roars in pain and anger, bringing up his weapon and firing at the monster again. This time, when the shot lands, it explodes into a thousand and one pieces, finally destroyed.
 
The warrior takes stock. The Imani villagers are still engaged in furious battle with the mercenaries, but when Titebite roars that their daemonic overlord is destroyed, they flee in terror before him. Only four of the mercenaries are left, Agosti bleeding heavily from a cut above her eye, but the Imperial guardsman in the distance are doing no better. The marauders are cutting them apart. But they are sustaining heavy injuries in return, and they have outlived their purpose. Titebite raises up his weapon and waits for it to recharge. He opens fire.
 
It is said, in long-prescribed historical texts, that the ancient Swaad wielded weapons of terrifying power, devastating the fanatical mobs of the Church sent to subjugate them. Titebite can already testify to the strength of the gun in his hand, but only when he aims at massed troops does he truly realise its ungodly potential. It strikes a soldier and immolates him into pieces, arcs of energy spasming outwards to catch others, sending them flying off the ground, killed instantly. Two of the marauders, unsuspecting of the onslaught, die in the blast, but the last dives back, darting forwards again to cut out a soldier’s throat. After a few volleys from the Aventine mercenaries, the battle is fully won, the soldiers killed to a man.
 
Leonard watches, holding his injured son, as Titebite sends soldiers of the Makuu screaming into the air. It is terrifying, watching him fight. The warrior is terribly burned, but it only seems to have made him angry. He fires without mercy, and Leonard shudders when he imagines the expression that must be across the killer’s charred face.

“Is it… is it over?” Patrick whimpers.

“Yes, son,” Leonard responds kindly. His face whitens when he sees the blood on his sword, the slain villagers dead on the ground around him. He gulps back his guilt. “It is over.”
 
[Overall, Titebite has burned 12 Infamy, gaining 1 Corruption Point in the process. He is now on 2 Wounds, and has lost 4 Fellowship due to his terrible burns. However, he also gains 2 Infamy and 10 Corruption Points. This means he is mutating! He does not gain a Reward of Khorne, but can choose from the following: Warp-Eater, Limb Loss, Magnificent Horns.
 
Warp-Eater: Titebite need not eat or drink, and sustenance turns to ash in his mouth. He feeds off the warp itself. After every month, he must take a Challenging (+0) Toughness Test or gain 1d5+1 Corruption Points as per a Failing. For every foe he has slain that month, he gains +5 to this Test.
Limb Loss: One of Titebite’s limbs is forever lost to the warp.
Magnificent Horns: Mighty horns sprout from Titebite’s forehead. He gains +10 Loyalty with Minions he has that are devoted to Khorne. When he makes a Charge Attack, he cannot be Parried.

Meanwhile, Leonard has been injured, and is now on 0 Wounds. Patrick is on 0 Wounds. There are four Aventine mercenaries left.]
 
Titebite makes his way over towards the remains of the Imperial soldiers, counting the dead. He is followed by Agosti and another mercenary, the remaining two staying back to guard the nobles. They approach the last marauder cautiously. He stands there, panting, his modesty covered by blood and gore, a humble, heavily stained knife in his hand. When they get within talking distance, he begins to laugh, a high-pitched, strained laugh of a young man who has completely lost his mind. He looks very thin, and Titebite narrows his eyes as he realises this is a teenage boy.
 
“I’m very hungry,” the marauder giggles, “So, if you don’t mind…” He falls upon the dead with the hunger of a wild beast, ripping the flesh apart with bare teeth. Agosti shifts slightly, slowly moving her gun upwards. What does Titebite do?

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by wren on Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:24 am

He raises his gun,and puts down this wreck of a person with Agosti (assuming she does so). Who needs to eat, anyway? Even as he thinks of it, his mouth feels ashen... [Taking the relevant mutation.]

He then turns to Agosti: "What now? Your masters are rather wounded, it seems, we've and this is hardly safe; and I'm no closer to finding my friends. Do you think we could hide in what remains of this village?"

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:48 am

Agosti is quicker. In a flurry of accurate fire, her hellfire rounds sear through the bone of the marauder's leg, severing it in a spark of energy. The marauder screams as he falls, scrabbling upwards, and Titebite blows him to smithereens with a single blast of his gun. Agosti turns to Titebite with a shrug. 

"Too far gone, credo," she notes. Titebite grunts in response, counting the dead. There are around three squads here, somewhere between twenty and thirty men. The Grand Makuu must be very weak right now, protected by no greater a number. Its fall is overdue.

"We could hide here," Agosti remarks, "But corruption lies heavy, no?" She looks with distaste on the shattered village of Imani. "I think we have seen the Makuu's response to your taunts," she notes. "I will return i nobili to the mansion."

Does Titebite attempt to convince her otherwise?

*****

The group have made their way to the wine cellar safely, prisoners in tow. It is dark, but Laval quickly lights a candle, guarding the light so it does not illuminate the ritual site. The prisoners are entirely broken, terrified and subservient, and the group need not fear them.
 
Marina is twitchy and on edge, listening at the door for danger. Laval is still subdued and tear streaked, but seems to have recovered from the worst of the shock.
 
So, she manages. That didn't go quite as planned. Does that change what we do next?
 
Gracious has not really said anything in the dash upstairs, but turns to her. Thank you.
 
Laval projects confusion, a sense of loyalty, a little anger.
 
I don't... Gracious attempts. I saw... The void. And then your face. I...
 
Warmth and support floods back. I'm here.
 
I... we need to finish this.
 
Yes.
 
I think... look.
Gracious shows her his chest, where not an hour before she saw his chest cavity wide open. On it, plain now he has revealed it, is a shimmering Mark - the Mark of Slaanesh.
 
Laval nods, seeming unsurprised. You deserve it.
 
Now, Gracious continues. I've always believed that the gods help those who help themselves. But this... it's a sign, surely. Look around. We have everything we need to summon one of the Prince's servants. Wine. Sacrifice. Everything has... the strands of fate! Sound and fury. It's just so perfect.
 
Laval responds with resignation, layered over a certain disgust. You think truths. I can't deny it.
 
But you don't like it.

 
There is dismissiveness from Laval. Only parts of me which don't matter don't like it. Some day I'll rid myself of it.
 
… sure. I even think I can get Marina on side, if we let her do the killing...
 
I don't think she'll participate willingly,
Laval worries. But you are very good.
 
"Marina," Gracious begins.
 
"Mm?"
 
They are right here, Laval warns.
 
I know, Gracious assures her, smiling at the apologetic feelings the wych sends in return. He looks up at Marina. "Could we have a quick word, quiet-like?
 
"Sure..." Marina puts her ear to the door again briefly, then saunters over to Gracious, standing a little closer than is socially acceptable.
 
He speaks in a quiet tone. "So I have a proposal. You're not going to like it, but you might like part of it. And it gets this done."
 
Marina cocks her head, the lenses of her goggles providing an unblinking stare.
 
"So if we summon a daemon of the Prince to play that organ, I think it's over,” Gracious tells her. “Have you ever heard a master at work, playing the sounds of hell? It's quite an experience. Now... this requires deaths, deaths in agony and delirium. I was thinking you might quite enjoy those."
 
Marina’s upper lip curls in a snarl of disgust at the mention of daemons. Her fingers flex, flicking her claws out and back in again.
 
“And I can sweeten the deal further, if you need it?" Gracious suggests.
 
"You're gonna do things for me, regardless," Marina promises.
 
"Afterwards, you mean?"
 
"Yeah."
 
"Well, I suppose that's up for discussion,” Gracious hopes. “Why don't we discuss it a little now?"
 
"Okay."
 
"It seems like then we're just discussing terms," Gracious adds.
 
Marina pauses. "... I don't like daemons."
 
"No-one's asking you too," Gracious assures her. "I don't even think daemons like daemons."
 
"Good, they shouldn't."
 
"But you can't deny they have power we can use. What do you want from me?"
 
Marina smiles. "I'm gonna take what I want, and I'm pretty sure you can't stop me."
 
"Are you sure?" Gracious asks. "What if I could make it better?"
 
"Sure enough. I mean, I like you, but you don't get to get away with crossing me,” Marina responds. "That's not the rules."
 
"Hey, I really am sorry about that," Gracious apologises.
 
"Not as sorry as you're gonna be," Marina warns.
 
"But the rules don't say you can do what you like. That's just simply not an equitable transaction, no?"
 
Marina seems to think about this notion. "What's ekitable mean?"
 
"It means it wouldn't be a good trade," Gracious explains.
 
Marina frowns. "Well, no, that's the point."
 
"Ah, but one cannot take too much, Marina. Look at Ari," Gracious urges. "What exactly do you want to do to me, and why?"
 
"She fucked up and paid the price," Marina shrugs. "I wanna hurt you, make you scream and want out. You can pay most prices in pain, one way or another."
 
"Exactly, paid the price,” Gracious continues steadily, “Now, I didn't hurt you - I was trying to save myself, after you put me in a sticky situation. If I'd only known you were there, I could have steered the servants away..."
 
"Nuh uh,” Marina objects, “You crossed me and got me burned."
 
"But I didn't know what I was doing,” Gracious adds, “And I'm sorry for that."
 
"Yeah, and I appreciate that,” Marina notes, “But, see, I still gotta take my piece. That's the rules. I'm not gonna kill you or anything unless you try and get out of it."
 
"Sure. I'm just trying to understand what your piece is, because then I can offer you a little more. What if I was on rose, so it hurt more? For instance, you see."
 
Marina shrugs. "I'd like that, yeah."
 
Gracious gestures to the fourth finger of his right hand. Marina cocks her head again, as Gracious continues to negotiate. "Have you ever taken the skin off a finger, layer by layer? I haven't. But I've seen it done. It looks like it hurts."
 
"Yeah, fucked it up though,” Marina remarks. “Fingers are fiddly."
 
"Ah, a shame you're not into drugs, that's very easily fixable."
 
"I've had more practice since. Might get it right,” Marina offers. "Don't really wanna slice a joint by mistake though. You seem like you need those."
 
"Ha. Yes, I suppose I do."
 
"You don't need to worry though,” Marina assures him. “I've got all kinds of fun toys."
 
"Listen, have you thought about Laval?" Gracious asks, taking a different tack. "Won't she try and stop you?"
 
"I was gonna knock her out first,” Marina explains.
 
"Even if you think you can get the jump on her,” Gracious objects, “It won't be neat."
 
"She's clumsy like a child," Marina returns.
 
Gracious pauses. "You're a strange one, Marina. I almost think if we hadn't gotten off on the wrong foot, we could be friends, of a kind."
 
"We aren't friends?"
 
"Ah, I had assumed... but I suppose, yes." Gracious blinks. "Transactions. Price."
 
"Rules don't work for you if you don't follow them," Marina observes.
 
"Who gave you your rules?" Gracious asks.
 
"Me. This is a really weird kinda bartering." Marina shakes her head. "What is it, exactly, you want me to do?"
 
"Help us out with this demon business. Not start a ruckus, make it go smooth."
 
"I... can probably not start a ruckus. What does 'help' mean, exactly?"
 
"Like I said. The people who die, need to die slowly, in pain, drugged up. You have expertise."
 
"How wychy is it gonna get?" Marina asks carefully.
 
"I'm not going to lie: it's going to get a bit wychy."
 
"..."
 
"If you can't handle it...?" Gracious slyly suggests.
 
Marina’s eyes narrow. "I don't like wychy. But I do like the notion of you trying to cooperate..."
 
"I was worried you're going to kill me or maim me, in some way that my body won't heal. The right to cripple my flesh rests with the gods alone. But it doesn't sound like that's your intent."
 
"Nah, I like you,” Marina smiles. “Just wanna get you proper miserable. If you try and wriggle out, I will kill you though."
 
"You mean, try to get away?"
 
"Yeah."
 
"No fear. But can we at least not do it while we can still see the Makuu?” Gracious requests. “I'm journeying back with Laval. Will you be joining us?"
 
Marina considers the proposal for a moment. "Mm, yeah, I can agree with that."
 
"If we're someone among, you know, friends, or friends-ish, then yes, fine," Gracious accepts. "I will be miserable, and you will see me in pain, and I'll want it to stop, and it won't end until you say so. And then we'll be square?"
 
"Yes,” Marina promises. “That's how it goes."
 
"And you'll help, right here and now?" Gracious asks.
 
"That's what I'm taking, though. You don't get to sell me that. But if you're gonna cooperate and help me out... I'll try and help you with this thing."
 
"But I'll cooperate, yeah," Gracious answers. "I will make it easy for you to take it."
 
Marina nods. "I'm backing out if it gets too wychy though. There's a limit."
 
"Well, I guess we'll see. If I think you've done a good job, then fair enough. No backing out at the first frisson of warp energy."
 
"Yeah, seems fair."
 
"Deal?"
 
"Deal." Marina offers a hand, realises her claws are still out, retracts them before offering again. Gracious takes her hand. Marina shakes vigorously, a little oddly, but not aggressively.
 
[Gracious gains 2 Corruption Points.]


Are my eyes deceiving me, or did you convince her to help? Laval asks in wonder.
 
The important thing is that the problems I've created are problems for me in the future, Gracious returns.
 
Laval responds with worry. What did you offer her?
 
I agreed to help her extract the debt she owes from me. It's not going to be pleasant. I owe her, I mean.

 
Laval seems angry. You're lying to her, I hope?
 
Obviously,
Gracious assures her. I'm going to find a way out of it. Worst comes to worst, perhaps I could make a drug to numb the senses, and then I could just put on a convincing show.
 
Well,
Laval sighs. As you said. Future problems.
 
I was sort of hoping you might have my back a little too,
Gracious notes. She says she'll knock you out first, as a warning.
 
Of course I do.

 
Gracious smiles slightly. "Right, then." He speaks at normal voice. He walks towards the prisoners. "Hello! I'm Gracious. How do you do?"
 
Laval's side of the link fills with disgust and misery again briefly, but she cuts it off short.
 
Steady, Gracious warns.
 
Sorry. Sometimes projecting is easier than keeping my thoughts to myself.
 
Gracious turns for a second, and smiles at her - it is a genuine smile. Project away. He looks back at the prisoners. Laval does not return the smile, but there's a hint of gratitude from her mind. "Now, what are your names?" Gracious requests.
 
A few of them mumble, afraid but emboldened by Gracious' kind demeanour. The lieutenant is the boldest. "My name is Mwenye," he murmurs.
 
"Ah yes, we met," Gracious returns conversationally, "So tell me a little about yourself."
 
The lieutenant's eyes widen for a moment in recognition, before he lowers his head in shame. "I am... was... a lieutenant..." he begins, but he doesn't really know what to say.
 
"My name is Tumaa," another speaks. "I was a prisoner here, because I complained about the tithe."
 
"Mmm? Sad, I'm really sorry that happened to... you know, it's hardly... well, yes."
 
"I asked for mercy when I was starving," another chips in, her voice a whisper. She looks emaciated, close to death.
 
"Save your breaths," the lieutenant murmurs. "You are not freed."
 
The mind link is utterly silent, the usual background hum from Laval's thoughts completely stifled.
 
Gracious smiles. It is very unlike the smile he gave Laval.
 
Another spits on the ground at the lieutenant's words, barely managing a modicum of moisture. "We don't care what the panya says. Are you here to free us?"
 
"Freedom, I tend to find, is a funny thing,” Gracious grins. “But I have no intention of leaving you in your chains."
 
The prisoners push towards Gracious, too weak to stand. Their desperate faces are filled with the glimmer of hope, for they have no strength left for cynicism. Only the lieutenant stays where he is, his face towards the ground.
 
Do you know what we need, Gracious? Laval asks. The thought is flat and empty of emotion.
 
Six, yes?
 
Yes. The others can be offered to the daemon on arrival, but it is important not to misuse numbers.
 
Oh, I was going to let some of them go.
 
That also works.
Laval pauses. I assume you can make a burnable hallucinogen.
 
Yes.
 
The location is not quite right though, unless this cellar has a richer history than we know.
 
I thought we might have to create our own debauchery,
Gracious smiles. Or get them into it.
 
Yes. Not ideal, but yes.
 
It is, however, a wine cellar, so there's no shortage of intoxicating liquids.
 
I should probably inscribe the circle before I get drunk,
Laval observes.
 
I have some old ritual tomes, Gracious notes. There might be some material in there you could use. That often helps, right?
 
Mm. Am I to lead this, Gracious, or will you?
 
I think the Mark wants to lead it,
Gracious returns.
 
Laval inwardly nods. That is the only reason I would contemplate letting you lead, yes.
 
I don't know the ins and outs like you,
Gracious admits.
 
I am less worried about that than the battle of wills, Laval notes.
 
Is that what is required?
 
Daemons do not easily confine themselves to a single task,
Laval explains. If you call it successfully, it will test its bounds, for it desires to follow its nature in a more immediate sense. Your will is what will turn it to the matter at hand.
 
I understand. At that time, could you step in if my will failed?
 
Only in that I could try to kill it before it killed us. If still conscious at the time.

 
Gracious pauses. Understood. I assume your will is stronger than mine...
 
Experimentation suggests that that is the case.
 
Ha!
 
The Mark is a potent advantage,
Laval tells him, So I am not certain that you would not find it easier. I merely wish you to be fully aware of what is involved.
 
Yes,
Gracious acknowledges. I think it would only help a little if I assisted... In any case: are we set on this course, then?
 
A daemon is a potent force. This would appear to be an efficient route of achieving our goal.

 
There is concern in Gracious’ mind. Ah, Laval...
 
This will be intensely unpleasant for me,
Laval tells him, But I will cope. Misery is just as potent as joy, no?
 
And yet somehow I am pained to see it on you. Hope, eh? We need to choose the six. Should I, or...?
 
Go ahead,
Laval responds. She pauses. It is ultimately your decision: will you lead, or must I?
 
I will lead,
Gracious answers. I will not ask that of you. Thank you.

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by The GM on Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:44 pm

Gracious and Laval work efficiently to set up the ritual circle, marking out the summoning space with invocations and symbols sacred to the Dark Prince. Even in these initial stages, Gracious notes that the newly formed scar across his chest is tweaking. He reports a sensation between pleasure and pain.
 
As Laval begins selecting fine vintages for the decadence to come, Gracious sits down with his chem-kit and begins crafting hallucinogenic incense. He has been asked to provide such things many times before in his dark career, and he follows a tried and tested recipe. The heretic sets up the braziers just as Laval is finished selecting the amasec, and Marina brings forth six prisoners into the summoning circle. The rest linger nearby, handed bottles of expensive amasec and needles containing the finest obscura. With that, the ritual to summon Slaanesh’s handmaiden can begin.
 
If the ritualists have any fear or trepidation of what is to come, it is soon soothed by the debauchery that precedes the main event. Gracious self-medicates himself heavily with satrophine and nootropics, the former to withstand the punishment of heavy amasec and obscura abuse, the latter to grant the means to battle a daemon in a contest of wills. The prisoners, desperately thirsty and starving, drink the amasec at a rapid pace, accepting the obscura needles gently teased into their veins. They tell their tales of woe, but happy tales as well, drinking stories of times long past, a life they once knew, that can never be returned. In their haste to consume, a couple of the prisoners almost die, vomiting their guts out or spasming as they overdose on the potent chems. Laval, who has wisely avoided the obscura, assists them, saving their lives, and others laugh in debauched hysteria at the excess and the danger. But the good times cannot last forever, and Gracious, his mind dream-like but relatively clear, begins the great ritual to the Dark Prince Slaanesh. His mark burns against his chest, almost glowing through his clothes, as Marina leads six prisoners into the ritual circle to face their doom.
 
Gracious begins to chant, his head swimming but mind focussed on the task at hand. He feels the energies of Laval, swirling about the circle, and throws his soul into them, strengthened by her presence. He sighs in sweet ecstasy as he hears the slow, tortured screams of Marina’s victims, their pain burning against his mark. When they die, he intuitively feels it, and speaks the words of power that will summon one of Slaanesh’s servants.
 
The earth protests as there is a sudden, melodic pulse that booms across the cellar. It reverberates through the ritualists’ minds, stunning Gracious and Marina as oily, pink smoke drifts upwards from the empty bottles of amasec on the floor. They half-form in the air, a cloud of beautiful, pastel colours. It is entrancing to look upon, and barely visible are its baleful eyes and terrible crab-like claws. Taking advantage of Gracious’ overwhelmed mind, it pounces, the cloud descending on the ritualist who summoned it. Tearing, razor sharp claws carve deeply into Gracious’ leg, bringing him back to reality with a scream of delicious agony as the wounds knit back together again by Laval’s iron will. Looking into the cloud, Gracious sees dozens of long, slender fingers, a barbed, evil tongue and eyes of pure malice. His mark begins to bleed, shining forth from his clothes in agonising pain, but he reaches out with a hand and commands the daemon away.
 
The cloud hisses, recoiling and spinning as it is forced back to the edge of the ritual circle. Stepping forwards with confidence, Gracious bids it in the name of the Dark Prince to do as he commands. It thrashes, screams of discordant notes barraging the ears, but Gracious’ will has the favour of Slaanesh. Channelling the absolute authority of his dark god, Gracious disperses the cloud into nothingness, sending it towards the organ where it shall do its unholy work. Seconds later, they hear the booming, ominous tones of the Grand Makuu’s organ, played so loudly that it shakes the very foundations of the cathedral.
 
It is beautiful, haunting, but furious and fast, a piece composed in pleasure halls of the Dark Prince Himself. Screams of terrified ecstasy, dark abandon and excess are ripped from the throats of the lost and the damned, a clarion call for the destruction of all that is pure and holy. Gracious and Marina find themselves weeping, weeping at its beauty and sheer power. The remaining prisoners howl as their souls are forever damned, and Laval watches it all, a fulfilment of a compact that is not hers. The soldiery of the Makuu are devastated. The tithed villages, stoked to hatred and freedom, are not coming to help. The Villa von Klossner is in the hands of the treacherous, and the great guns of the cathedral – the last means by which it could be defended, are tampered with and useless. The Grand Makuu la Dhahabu Kiti has fallen.
 
*****
 
At the town of Kifodini, the people stare and stop their daily tasks as they look out in the direction of the Grand Makuu. Its organ is booming forth, but with a melody the likes of which they have never heard before, or will again. It speaks to their darkest desires, the mob mentality that has turned them against the Church and the Imperial presence. Savage and frenzied by their basest impulses, they gather. They pick up their improvised weapons, and march on the Makuu, to tear apart limb from limb those that are inside.
 
Meanwhile, in the village of Imani, its broken people try to reclaim what is left of their lives. Their Mkuu, the daemon Faruha, has been banished in a burst of warpflame, and their huts burn as the village counts their dead. So much has been lost since Laval and Gracious first made their way to the village. Barely any of them are left, slaughtered by the Nurgle priestess, brutally enslaved by daemonic masters, and cut down by mercenaries of the Villa von Klossner. Their homes burning, they beat their chests and wail as the organ music echoes across the Swaadi wilds.
 
And finally, at Sadaka, the cursed village, its streets remain empty, claimed by a darkness that none dare speak its name. Its buildings have been levelled by fires and exorcism, but the curse remains, and can never be undone. Sometimes, in the years that follow, visitors whisper that they still hear the moans of the dead, soulless ghosts calling desperately for life and salvation.
 
*****
 
When the organ peals out across the wastes, the Villa von Klossner is quiet and undefended. Its family is all but destroyed by possession and madness, its survivors broken and devastated. The mansion is a mere shadow of its former glories.
 
Leonard Schneider and Patrick Klossner stagger back to their home, pausing when they hear the daemonic music. They are badly injured, beaten and torn, and they smile at the sound, a soothing beauty in a day of ugliness and battle. The four remaining mercenaries pause with them, staring as one in the direction of the Grand Makuu. The last figure among them, a large, heavily armoured man with an ancient weapon, watches also, his search for Gracious Obscura finally over.
 
*****
 
Inside the Grand Makuu, there is chaos and desperation. A murderous madman, crazed by his lost chance at revenge, plunges his knife again and again into the corpse of the ancient Drill Abbot Forst. Elsewhere, a young preacher, Elias Hasek, cowers in terror, hiding beneath a table as soldiers fight about him. The soldiers of the Makuu, tempted for days to kill and act on their paranoia and fear, give in to their dark desires and begin the slaughter. Some kill themselves, throwing themselves from the battlements to plummet to the ground below. Others bathe in the blood of their former comrades, laughing madly as their faith abandons them completely. Soon, Elias Hasek is found, and he is dragged out, screaming, to face his horrifying end.
 
Elsewhere in the cathedral, the servants huddle and cower before a power greater than the God-Emperor of Mankind. Abused by the Ecclesiarchy for so long, the darkness has collected long in their souls. Some go forth with knives, to find the adepts of the Church who have starved and beaten them. Others whisper desperate prayers, keeping faith with the Emperor, doomed souls that cannot last long in the days to come.
 
In the next few days, it comes to Colonel Zuberi’s attention that the Grand Makuu has fallen to the predations of Chaos. She frowns deeply at the reports of maddened soldiers, the tithe villages in full revolt, and a daemonic music that drives men insane. Swallowing hard, the Colonel gives the order for her company to change course, abandoning the lost cathedral. Once done, she draws a pistol, places it in her mouth, and pulls the trigger.
 
*****
 
It has been only a few weeks since Gracious Obscura and the wych Laval came to the tithed villages of the Grand Makuu. Since then, they have wrought chaos through daemoncraft and honeyed words, their methods subtle, but leaving behind them a string of bodies. The village of Imani is devastated. The town of Kifodini is horribly culled by vicious conflicts. The Villa von Klossner is barely occupied. And as for the Grand Makuu itself: its soldiers slaughtered, its priests driven mad, its wards destroyed. The pair promised salvation to those they could convince, but, in truth, they offered only damnation and death. Such is the nature of Chaos.
 
Though Gracious Obscura and the warband who hired him, The Weapon is the War, claim glory in this savage blow against Imperial morale, the ritualist Laval will not be forgotten in the days that follow. The deeds of both, and those that died alongside them, are the stuff of legend, and they return to the fold of Chaos as heroes and liberators against the Imperial Creed. The great war for Swaadi continues, but it goes well. Thousands die in arid fields, cities burn to the flames of daemons, herds sicken and perish, holy men abandon their oaths of piety to dark temptations. The fanatical Swaad could withstand all this, and more, by the strength of their faith. Now, the Grand Makuu falls, and their faith is proved to be as impotent as their God-Emperor. In the months that follow, Chaos will claim this world, and millions upon millions will die.
 
[Gracious gains 2 Infamy for Completing a Secondary Objective to Spread Corruption in the Makuu. He also gains 3 Infamy for Completion of his Compact, and 5 Infamy for Completing his Tertiary Objective this Turn. He therefore gains 10 Infamy. He also gains 1 Corruption Point for his ritual.
 
Titebite gains 2 Infamy for Completing a Secondary Objective to Spread Corruption in the Makuu. He also gains 3 Infamy for Completion of his Compact. He therefore gains 5 Infamy.
 
I think it might be nice to have an Interaction once the dust has settled. Your thoughts?]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

Post by wren on Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:15 pm

[Yes: I think there are various hanging threads to resolve. The fate of Leonard/reuniting with Gracious, Gracious and Titebite meeting and accounting for Twisby's death, Gracious and Marina's looming conflict, and Laval and Gracious's future, one way or another. So stuff that sets those up sounds good!]

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Re: Turn 6 Thread

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