In-Character E-mail 47
In-Character E-mail # 47
Emperor Ichtaca Matlál Ollín – played by Jared
Snowball – alternately narrated by Jared or Kristy
The Owl – played by Mike
Tayyid Aru’je – played by Arick
Zyrr Aduren – played by John
DM / NPC’s – Kristy
NPC names: Lali, Izél, Pashi, Xoco, Sarnoss, Mezeliar Wroth, Uremalach Árchal, Djai the Stone (goliath chieftainess, famed mother of ‘the blind kings’), Chief Itzonac (a former Chief of the Maquetl tribe), Xochitl (Uremallach’s wife, a spearmaiden of Caraquetularac), Mazati, (Stag-exarch of Sarnoss, made a deal with Wroth with good intentions, but is now corrupted with worms), Lequonimeh the boar (Boar-exarch of Sarnoss, slain by the PC’s), Gauren (the god whose symbol is on Zyrr’s chest), Ñandu (spider exarch of Sarnoss, slain), Iquitini (the weaver, slain), Nahualle (the druid, slain), Mazati (The Sovereign Stag)
Place names: Maricuälatán, the high realm, the material realm, the worldfire
In the worldfire, atop the hill where the adventurers just slew Iquitini, Ichtaca finds what looks like a small silken net like a spider-web in one of her pockets, like something a Mottan lady might pin her hair up into (a snood). It seems too small to be functional, but it radiates primal magic, and it’s likely the Ñandu’ti, stolen by Nahualle’s jealous sister as she descended into the madness of the corruption. Both she and her brother have been slain, freeing their spirits from the corruption, to rise again somewhere else in the vast primeval forests of the worldfire.
Ichtaca, The Owl, Tayyid, Zyrr, and Snowball are walking back towards the cliff, where Lali and the children are encamped under Nahualle’s spider-web dome. Only a single door gives access through the sticky strands, still open as Nahualle left it. His body, and Iquitinis, have dissolved away into the earth. It’s been a long day, and both Tayyid and Zyrr are once again infected with the tiresome corruption worms. Tayyid, however, has been pondering his medicinal formulation and his poison as they walk. He thinks he can tweak both formulas readily enough. Tomorrow, his poisons should cut through the galling immunity these worms give to their enemies. Tomorrow, anyone inoculated with his medicine should be immune to further infection by the worms. If they are truly to face this Sovereign Stag, Mazati, the others would be wise to accept his herbal drought.
Lali comes running out to greet Ichtaca with kisses on his face and mouth, relieved to see him alive. “I had the worst feeling you had come to harm.” She tells him.
Then she quietly explains that she’s done as he’s asked. All of the children have been warned not to speak with Tayyid, and not to believe a single word he says. She’s spoken to all five who fell for his lies, and made a list of possibly compromised enclaves for Pashi. As long as they can get to her in Maricuälatán before Tayyid can get to the Eithalim, the Avans should have time to evacuate and set up traps.
Zyrr approaches Lali and Ichtaca, he looks about to make sure Tayyid is not within ear shot. (17+19=36 perception). In his quiet voice he manages to say to them, “K.. Kithari.. I know where some live… Tayyid asked me about how I got my amulet.. I told him my grandfather got it from some Kithari near my village.. But I told him they weren’t there anymore, and I’m pretty sure he believed me” Zyrr casts his eyes down to the ground, knowing he had made a mistake in divulging the information.
Owl, meanwhile, is walking with Tayyid, his head craned over to the side and angled down to watch the assassin from overhead, though he bobs around rocks and trees with no difficulty. His elbow is bent, perhaps so that his hand rests near the hilt of his sword, though both sword and hand are so hidden by the wing-like arm of the feather-cloak that it’s difficult to say for certain.
“You court death by so provoking this man you were sent to protect, hunter-doctor. Just because he can’t read doesn’t mean he is not wise enough to see a predator among his chicks, or intelligent enough to destroy you without harming one feather of their heads. He’s an efficient man. Practical. He was always …” Owl chokes on that last sentence, as if saying those words hurt him, and as if he’s forced to swallow the rest of that sentence.
Tayyid looks up at the owl and lets out a shrill haunting laugh, “Oh how you love to stalk the eitharmos man. Scared he might kill the little chickies.” He lets out another shrill laugh and then goes suddenly quiet, with a menacing stern voice he looks at Owl with glaring eyes. “Do not pretend to know the will of Deamoth, or his chosen vessel on this World. His ways are not ours to question!” With these last hissed words, the owl sees Tayyid in his true elder form. Dark leathery wings, red burning eyes, and a terrifying scowl.
20 + 17 + 2 racial feature = 39 natural 20 to initimidate
Ichtaca embraces his wife, “Yes, it was quite dangerous but all is fine now. We are now working with Sarnoss to get all of us free from the worldfire.” Ichtaca replies deciding not to tell her the details of how he was actually eaten alive.
He looks over to Zyrr, “Don’t worry my son. We will get all of this worked out in the end. The information Tayyid has been gathering won’t be used…” Ichtaca pauses with a grim look and then says, “I’ll make sure of it.”
Lali has her arms about his waist, leaning into his chest. She’s not thrilled to be interrupted by Zyrr in her greeting of her husband, but she seems to feel sorry for this handsome but awkward young step-son; her tone towards him is maternal and kindly. “Lady Pashi will help the water people, Zyrr. Don’t worry.”
Zyrr gives a solemn nod and then looks from Ichtaca, to Lali and back to Ichtaca. His hand goes to his armband, made of hair from his mother and grandfather that are wrapped in colored thread and woven together. “Also.. Sir.. Erm.. Father.. Umm.. Have you given any thought to helping me complete my armband?” He smiles shyly and then casts his azure orbs down to the ground, looking at the grass.
(Meanwhile, not far back from the others, with Owl and Tayyid)
Owl hisses like a snake, hopping a step backwards, spreading the winglike arms of his cloak and ruffling up his feathers to create the illusion that he’s become nearly twice his size. He scoops his head back and forth, clacking his beak and still hissing, and his eyes are huge.
“Question them I will! Dae- Dae-” Owl gives out an ear-splitting shriek that carries to Ichtaca, Lali, and Zyrr. “You posture like a trained guard dog, but you are rabid! I declare you a threat to him you claim to protect, hunter! I claim nest-rights over his breeding female and chicks, dog! Do not threaten them again!” Owls talon left hand and talon right foot are visible, hooked and awful. With a second screech, he leaps onto Tayyid, bowling him over in a flurry of flapping wings and tearing claws. The two of them are locked together in a deadly grapple, rolling right into Ichtaca and interrupting his next sentence by knocking him over in a tumble of flapping wings (both featherd and leathery) and screeching.
(That intimidate was terribly effective, but Owl is not frightened. Rather he takes it as the last straw in a strained relationship. Attack roll of 42 vs AC, 41 damage, and I get to push him 1 square, which I’d like to flavor as Owl tackling him and then they roll off locked together and rolling into Ichtaca, at each other’s throats. Owl wants to kill him, but as a player, I want them to be broken up before it comes to that, each having injured the other. Arick, is that cool? And Jared, Ichtaca heard that last comment about “secondary nest rights.” Those whole last three sentences of dialogue were shouted.)
Hearing the commotion, Zyrr’s eyes dart in their direction. He watches as the two of them tumble over toward the small group and he instinctively darts forward to help move Lali out of the way (acrobatics 17+15=32).
(Success!). Ichtaca takes the brunt of the collision. Zyrr pulls Lali aside deftly, startling a little cry from her.
Tayyid takes the blow hard and dives into Zyrr’s shadow. Before the owl can react, Tayyid flies behind him through his shadow and slashes him with a poison blade.( 14 + 21 = 35 vs AC 31 damage, ongoing 5 poison damage and if the owl tries to attack or move he will be immobilized and knocked prone.) “Rot in hell you mad bird!” Tayyid takes a step back and furiously gazes at the poisoned owl. “You dare attack the guardian of the protected! I am here to see that the King of the Norlythe lives, and you attempt to thwart that plan.” His voice sounds rattling and demonic. “You will not live to see your plan through!” (Banking on that last intimidate check to scare those around the general vicinity and hopefully the owl) Tayyid raises his sword for another strike, bloodlust in his eyes.
(Jared you can jump in at any time now.)
Tayyid is making quite an impression on those around him. In his daemonic form, he’s glowing with white light somewhat like the retina-searing after-burn of a lightning strike, shedding dim light out for a 25 ft radius. (He can deactivate that light as a free action.)
Lali is staring at him in terror.
A clear, viscous green fluid spatters from Owl’s wound, with traces of scarlet blood in it. “Predator!” Owl chokes out in his windy, whispery voice, between beak clacking and screeching. It sounds as if he’s losing the ability for rational speech. “Threat!” He shoves himself between Tayyid and Ichtaca, shoulders, wings and head fluffed out and huge, and screeches, as if certain that raised sword is meant for the Emperor. “Mine to protect!”
He falls on Tayyid again, heedless of that sword, to try to batter him into the earth with wing and talon. He rips into the assassin, grabbing him and rolling him another five feet away, then falls in the grips of the poison, unable to rise or move away, but still determinedly clawing and biting at Tayyid.
(As a player I’m not choosing to have owl be affected by the intimidate in the “scared, run away or cower”, but rather “furious, that’s a serious threat and I’m going to deal with it now”. Also, I resist 6 of ongoing damage, just cause I’m awesome. My attack was 42 vs AC, 35 damage and he shifts, pulling Tayyid along with him, but at the end of the attack, the Owl fell prone and is immobilized. Kristy says perhaps dazed too, save ends, if Tayyid used his “black charm” racial power on that intimidate as a minor action. Did he?)
Ichtaca’s tattoos start to glow and he shouts, “STOP THIS AT ONCE!” As he yells this he stomps the ground and vines burst up from the ground all around him entangling everyone. (Verdant presence. Since it is a primal power it is getting a boost from eating of the world fire ecosystem. I don’t remember the specifics so I’m just going to story mode this power. If anyone wants to break free, I’ll look up the specifics and make some rolls.)
Ichtaca continues to yell at Tayyid and the Owl, “I will not stand for any fighting between us! There are far too many dangerous and corrupted monsters up here. We need all of us together if we are going to survive the horrid corruption that surrounds us. Fight all you want once we are free from the world fire but for now I will not put up with your bickering. There will be no fighting between us up here. I forbid it!”
Ichtaca gives a hard look to both Tayyid and the Owl. He addresses the Owl, “I thought you were smarter than that. Don’t start that again.” He then walks to the entangled Tayyid and doesn’t say anything. He just meets Tayyid’s crazed look (I’m just imagining Arick’s wide eyed, smiling look here, hahaha) with a steely glare.
Ichtaca then turns back Tayyid and the Owl. He walks over to Lali and takes her away from them to speak with her. The spirit vines release their grip but remain for a while ready to take hold of them again if needed.
Ichtaca is doubtless aware that although Zyrr’s intentions were doubtless pure, and the lad saved his pregnant wife being knocked into, the corruption worms were very close to her skin when he held her …
L ali is still staring at Tayyid’s frightening true glory, the huge leathery wings, his skin and hair glowing, his eyes burning like coals … She’s shaking as he leads her away.
“Íhuia … what is he? The way he glows … it’s nothing like Carmenith!”
Owl staggers to his feet as soon as the poison allows it, giving Ichtaca a boneless half-bow and a sort of mournful sounding hoot. He then turns his head around backwards to glare at Tayyid, and scratches the ground around the Goltalair man, kicking dirt in his direction as if burying scat.
Zyrr swiftly moves away from the group after being freed, after getting a fair distance from them, he quietly sits down and observes from afar.
Ichtaca takes Lali to the side to discuss secret plans. On the non-secret side of things he asks her, “How are you? Zyrr was close to you. Did any worms get you? If so we need to have Owl purge them immediately.”
She shudders. “I …I don’t think so.” She’s still shaken, still looking back at Tayyid. She looks very near tears.
“Do not fear my love.” Ichtaca reassures her, “We will deal with him. He will not harm any of us up here unless provoked.”
He looks her over to make sure she doesn’t have any wounds, “Perhaps we should have the Owl check you just to make sure no infection got to you.” He then adds on a lighter note, “And maybe this time he won’t flip out about how beautiful you are”
Last two replies weren’t “reply to all” Here they are.
Lali seems free of the little entry wounds the worms make, at least those portions of her he can examine in a public setting. She submits to his inspection wordlessly, then looks at the owl hesitantly. “He’s very… you trust him?”
“Yes, he is very odd but I do trust him. He was sent by the goddess, which Sarnoss confirmed for me.” Ictaca replies.
“I am relieved to say that you are free from the infection. I will go back to see how the others are doing unless there is something else you need.” Ictaca says as he kisses her and then turns to see how the others are doing.
Meanwhile, owl is still “burying” the offensive Tayyid, still staring at him backwards over his shoulder, while his gloved eladrin-hand presses over his wound, sealing it shut with flickering colored lights that sink into the feathers and torn flesh. It’s as if beneath the feather-cape, that huge body is made of faintly phosphorescent green tissue, viscous goo, and violently green “blood.” The blood is stained with red, though. It’s strange.
“Only you, safe and whole.” She smiles, and goes up on her tip-toes to kiss him. Then she follows him, keeping hold of his hand, until he reaches the looming, broad-shouldered figure of the Owl. She barely comes up to the middle of what might be his chest, though it’s hard to tell with his feathery cape.
“Excuse me.” She says softly, holding her lower belly with one hand. “My husband suggested that you might look to see if I have become ill?”
Owl’s head snaps around as if on a rubber band, leaving off glaring at Tayyid so he can focus on the slender woman in front of him. He bobs his head in a dipping half-circle from side to side several times and ruffles up his chest and shoulder feathers a little, making a ruff around his head. His rasping whisper is even thicker with the sound of overlaying winds than usual. “Yes, fertile female. This would please me. In courtesy I remind you that you are quite attractive and politely express a desire to lure you away from your mate. You must not take these courtly courtesies seriously, however, despite the undeniable visual appeal of your generous female attributes and the pheromonal indications of your reproductive desirability. Excuse me. I will return momentarily.”
The Owl hop-steps off to the stream, washing himself entirely clean of his and Tayyid’s blood. It’s strange to watch, a process involving him sinking into the water, puffing out his feathers, rolling and flapping, then clambering back out to shake vigorously until every feather has settled back into place. The flowing feather cloak pools out about him in the water as it does on land, longer in the back, like tail-feathers, but coming all around the front as well, often giving the impression that he has no lower extremities, but merely floats. The lower feathers spread out around him on the ground, but never seem to collect dirt. He treats the flowing feather cloak like his own skin, not a garment. No one has seen him take it off. Except for the rarely protruding booted left foot or gloved right hand, except for the long-ghostly flowing of his body and vaguely humanoid cast to his torso, he might truly be some sort of Owl.
Lali gives Ichtaca a hesitant look, but waits for Owl to return to her. “I will be very grateful, of course.” She says quietly as he comes back.
Ichtaca knows her well. Seeing the familiar way she draws herself up straight and tosses her long glossy hair back over her shoulder, then waits with near-motionless patience, he’s reminded of her taking that same pose hour after hour in court, or in endless meetings; the quiet counselor at his side. She’s shy with people she doesn’t know well, at least when it comes to personal matters. Where Empress Izel manages people with commanding authority and a demeanor that demands instant obedience, and Lady Pashi simply looks at people and those people find themselves scrambling to obey, the Lady Lali’s quiet reason, articulate speech, and sweet face inspire obedience in a more subtle manner from the court, her vassals, and the servants. Everything she says is so intelligent, so reasonable, why wouldn’t they comply? She obviously has their best interest in mind. Here, though, without a clipboard full of official court business to discuss, or an official “messenger” role to step into, she’s twisting her fingers together nervously. Add in that she’s in a dangerous place, and addressing a seven-foot-tall supernatural entity with shoulders almost as wide as she is tall, and how close the terrifying daemonic Tayyid still lingers, and it’s admirable how she’s still standing up so tall and motionless, not flinching back from either him or Owl.
“No gratitude is needed, shapely female.” Owl reaches out and takes her by the shoulders, hissing under his breath in pain as he touches her bare skin. His gloved hand and talon are mostly obscured by the draping feather sleeves of his cloak’s “wings,” but soft light shimmers around his hands as soothing healing magic flows into her body. His large head bends at a direct 95 degree angle above her, looking straight down at her with those bottomless black eyes, as if looking through her head and skull and right into the core of her body. He lingers longer in channeling the magic into her than he has before, despite apparent growing pain in touching her, making sure there is no trace of corruption in her body. “Little lives.” He rasps, beak clacking. “Two small lights. Healthy.” His hands are gentle, but the pained grating in that wind-filled voice is growing the longer he touches her, and he clacks his beak as he kneels to press hands to her lower belly. “Safe. Unharmed.”
He turns his head bonelessly to look up at Ichtaca from his kneeling position, hands still on Lali’s belly. “Congratulations, Emperor. You cannot possibly know how much joy it gives me to—” He screeches suddenly, a soft sound, releasing Lali and doubling over again, holding his own stomach now, and clacking his beak and rocking. “No. Not. Can’t. Please forgive. Must …” He staggers to his feet and heads towards the spider-web dome entrance. On the way past Zyrr, he reaches out as if to pat the young man’s shoulder, then snatches back his hand just before it makes contact with Zyrr’s shoulder, holding it with his talon hand and muttering to himself, what sounds like prayers in Losandrae.
(Owl is spending two healing surges here. For mysterious reasons of his own, protecting Lali and her unborn children are apparently worth pain and personal sacrifice to him. He’s using up two uses of lay on hands, just to be absolutely sure she is not corrupted. She’s not injured, so instead of restoring HP, can he be giving her her a healing blessing of sorts? I’d like to re-flavor the lay on hands power with an action point to prevent her from becoming infected if she is touched again, so mechanically what I’m asking for is temporary HP equal to two of Owl’s healing surges, and a fat bonus to her next disease or poison based saving throw.)
(Mike, that use of lay on hands is fine, just keep in mind that if he doesn’t take his full extended rest for whatever reason, 2 out of your daily uses of that are gone. And the surges.)
Zyrr cranes his neck to look up at Owl. He tilts his head to the side as a look of concern crosses his face. "A.. are you okay? " he asks as he stands.
“Forbidden. Must not …” Owl grunts, walking past him through the spider-silk door and into the camp, then stopping. “Fine.” He points towards the separate fire he set up for Zyrr last night, indicating that the infected young man should not mingle with the children this evening either. He’s still clacking his beak and hissing. “Take murderer’s medicine, but don’t trust. Lie down. Rest.”