In-Character E-mail 48

Kristy
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In-Character E-mail # 48


Characters:

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, slain)

Note:
**
Guys, since we are not playing next week, we can do a bit more adventure this email if you all like, after this camp scene plays out. Feel free to make this an email to distract me from the family reunion. There might hypothetically be an epic fight near the beginning of next session, so action points would also be good.

The Scene:

This was once a wide, lush meadowland of rolling hills, bounded by rich forests. All of it is now a lifeless waste. The landscape meets oddly at times, elements cobbled together as if pieces copied from real wilderness in Vinramar were assembled out of order up here to make the worldfire’s inner landscape. The corruption worms are gone, seared away with Mazati’s fiery death, but the dusty earth and skeletal trees offer no comfort to an exhausted group making camp under the never-setting light of the worldfire strands above them. There’s a chill in the air, and about fifty Jharethil are gathered here in the lee of a hill, taking some shelter from the cool breeze. These are young adults, some barely on the cusp of reproductive maturity, but none older-looking than 22 or 23. Chatting with them has already told Ichtaca that all of these spirits are young Jhareth who died in or around the Norlythe, on their Marachel journeys, in the last 15-20 years. Most have no concept of how much time has passed; the worldfire wildlands seem a timeless place.

The Jharethil are struggling to light a fire, difficult to do here, but they know that once it gets going, it will burn with very little fuel. Others are making miserable beds on the bare earth. Although the spirits seem physical to each other, to the four mortals, only about half of them are corporeal enough to touch. The most fully embodied are coming out of the grasp of the corruption worms as if out of a dream, asking questions of their fellows in small groups. Most of the group still see Tayid as some sort of beneficent figure, but some are looking at him warily or with open hostility. Others, like Carmenith’s young cousin, look at him with relief, seeing him as a guide or a guardian. He’s the subject of quite a few hushed debates around the camp. Owl is also a subject of much discussion and awed or fearful looks. Ichtaca is known to many of these ones, at least those who died in the last ten years. They are treating him with respect as an authority figure they were taught they could trust, before they were sent out into the world. Before they died; most of them in his lands, most of them during his reign. It’s disquieting to the Emperor.

The heroes are at least two days away from Lali and the children, but Ichtaca can feel a general sense of well-being from their direction, through his primal connection with his faithful snow leopard companion. He gets the impression that the huge cat is lounging in the spiderweb doorway, her tail flicking lazily, but her senses alert for any danger.

Owl and Ichtaca have been conversing to one side, and Tayyid has just been deprived of his approaching group of admirers. He stands alone. Zyrr is surrounded by a crowd of curious young Jharethil about his age, asking him questions about his adventures, his traveling companions, how they got here, and how they just killed the corruption worms.

Carmenith’s young cousin, Ralithe (rah-LEE-th-ah), is a gorgeous young blonde girl who very much resembles her living relation, though her eyes are grey. She looks younger though, like a seventeen year old girl, where Carmenith looks to be about 20. She’s chatting with Zyrr and seems to find his shy conversational bumbling to be absolutely adorable, perhaps more than adorable, from the way she’s laughing and blushing at the things the awkward but handsome young man says. Their conversation quickly turns to serious things, and Zyrr learns that Ralithe is a trusting soul, but also sweet-natured and intelligent, as far as theory and book-learning are concerned.

From what she’s said to Zyrr so far, he thinks she died five years ago, though to her, it seems only weeks. She had never been out of the sacred city before she left it with three of her cousins to go to the Norlythe for her Marachel journey. The Norlythe was said to be a relatively safe place for the coming of age travels, so she’d cajoled her parents into letting her go early, at the same time as her older cousins Remozra and Alchin. She’d been out of the city gates for less than twenty four hours when she and the other two were killed, by some lone eitharmos hunter stalking the lands near the place they’d crossed into the material realms. She never even saw the face of her attacker, she only knows it was someone who attacked them in their sleep, and that although she and Remozra died quickly, Alchin had been hurt a long time before the hunter let him die. Alchin and Remozra are in the group as well, just coming out of the madness of full possession of the corruption worms. Both approach the little knot of curious Jharethil gathered around the stammering Zyrr.

“Your father is the emperor?” Remozra asks him. She looks about twenty four; a slim, grey-eyed brunette with wings to match her hair, a glossy black. With her comes Alchin, a tall, broad-shouldered, lightly freckled young man with blue eyes, about the same age, but a full head taller than his cousin or sister. Both he and Ralithe have hair and wings so fair a blonde as to be nearly white.

Ralithe takes her older cousins by the hands, drawing them over to introduce them to Zyrr. “Of course he is! Can’t you see the resemblance?” She smiles, looking over to where Ichtaca and Owl are conversing quietly, and back to Zyrr, with his cluster of admirers. “His angel friend has promised to lead us to our proper place, and Prince Zyrr killed all those awful worms to clear the path for us! Didn’t you!” She turns her enthusiastic smile on him.


John

Zyrr nods in response to Remorza’s question as Ralithe confirms it as well, though upon her mentioning of Tayyid being an angel he frowns and furrows his brow. “I… I don’t think I’d call him an.. an angel..” he pauses for a few moments, collecting his thoughts “No…..” he pauses again and shudders at the remembrance of Tayyid’s true form “Not an angel…”
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Kristy
Alchin looks suspiciously over towards Tayyid. “Ichrothal says he’s a …”. He trails off, looking at his sister and cousin. “But no. Emperor Ichtaca would not travel with one of them. Would he?”


John
Zyrr shrugs to Alchin. “I’m sure he has his reasons… He’s a wise man, my father is.”
________________________________________
Kristy
Ralithe frowns at her cousin. “He travels with him because it’s not true, Alchin. Why would an eitharmos hunter be here, with this group? Helping people?” She shakes her head, then turns to Zyrr. “You’re his friend. Tell us, what is he, exactly, if not an angel?” She puts a hand on Zyrr’s arm and smiles over at Tayyid’s robed figure. “He said he would lead us to our right place. Are you going to help him?”
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John
Zyrr frowns at Ralithe. “I saw him turn into what looked like a demon… dark leathery wings… red burning eyes.. and a look of pure evil,” he says with obvious fear. (Diplomacy 7+17=24)
________________________________________
Kristy
(What’s his goal here? Warning her off?)


John
(Yes.. well. To convince her that he isn’t an angel)


Kristy
Her face falls, and her hand drops from his arm. “A daemon? You’re sure?”


John:
Zyrr nods slowly. “I saw it with my own eyes,” he says quietly. After a short pause he adds in as if trying to balance out what he jsut said, "But he says he is sworn to protect my father.. And he has protected father on several occasions….. "


Kristy
Ralithe is suddenly very quiet, looking down now and not replying, but Remozra nods. “He could still be a good man, Ralithe. Many daemons seek to atone for their past lives.”

Alchin grunts. “But it proves my point, cousin. Eitharlim or not, you can’t trust him. Lord Jharus would not send a daemon to lead us out of this place. He is not who he told you he was, at the very least.” Some of the others around take up the debate again, pondering the identity of the hooded figure, debating his intentions and the reason he’s in such a strange group, and here. Why any of them are here.

Ralithe listens quietly for a while, head down, all flirtation and good cheer faded from her pretty face. “Excuse me.” She walks away from the camp, towards a stand of dead pine trees, lifeless skeletons dense enough to hide her from view as she walks into them. Remozra moves to follow her, but Alchin stops her with a hand on her arm. “Give her a moment. She really thought we might be getting out of here.” He looks nearly as bleak as she did, before she left.


John
Zyrr frowns at Ralithe’s leaving. He then looks to here two cousins "If anyone can get us out of here, it would be my father.. " he nods, in self reassurance. He then looks back toward where Ralithe went, trying to see her through the trees to no avail.


Kristy
She’s out of sight.

Alchin nods. “Of course. Forgive my pessimism. We are very grateful. It’s been a rough few weeks for us.” Apparently, he also is unaware that years, not weeks, have passed since he, his sister, and young cousin were murdered.


John
Zyrr nods, still staring off into the forest. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he already has some sort of plan…” He then turns back to the group, looking at Alchin “You’ve only been here a few weeks?” (I’m not sure whether or not Zyrr knows how long they’ve actually been here.. I’m assuming he has no idea..)


Kristy
The two exchange uncertain looks. “It’s hard to say.” Alchin says.

“Yeah.” Remozra settles her dark wings around her like a cloak, looking up at the interwoven strands of soft light that make up the sky here. “No sunrise or sunset for long enough, you lose track of time. What, five, six weeks?”

Alchin nods. “We were headed into Sundered Valley for that big pottery festival they do, you know. When we, um ….” He looks uncomfortable. “We ran into trouble.”

(That places things for Zyrr. Some of the women in his village would travel to Iquetzalarátl, called Sundered Valley by colonials, for that big festival. It’s only held once every ten years, and the last was five years ago.)


John
Zyyrs eye widen at the mention of the festival. He stammers for a minute, “I.. I know that festival…” He looks back and forth between the two. “The last time they had it was not a few months ago…. It was five years ago…” He bites his lip, gauging their responses, he himself overwhelmed by this new discovery.


Kristy
Remozra seems to take that as unpleasant but not surprising news, but Alchin blanches. “That long? That long and no one’s come to bring us to our right place? We do not belong here!”

Remozra sighs. “We are not the only ones here that do not belong, Alchin. There are many dead in these wilds. Orcs, feykin, humans of all faiths and creeds. Perhaps no gods can reach us here.”

“Or perhaps we were consigned here as punishment, Remozra. Did you think of that? We let ourselves be killed, one day into our journey of testing!”

“That’s not our fault. We wouldn’t be held accountable-”

“I would be, Moz! My sister, my little cousin, in my care … I should have seen him coming. I should have …” He punches a nearby tree, hard enough to rattle the dead branches.

“Well, then we wouldn’t all three be here, it would be just you. But here we are, together, with these others. So that’s not it.” Her tone is reasonable, but he’s looking towards that stand of dead trees where Ralithe wandered off.

“One day. One day out of the city, and I got us all three killed.”


John
Zyrr watches the exchange between the two, still biting his lip. “I’m sure that since we got in here without having to die first… There must be a way out..” he looks over to Ichtaca and Owl and then back to the two.


Arick
Tayyid watches the young cousin of Carmenith with great interest. “Had to work too fast last time,” he mutters to himself under his breath. “Hmmm, yesssss… Not again…”


Kristy
“Yes, but where?” Remozra asks Zyrr. “Back to Vinramar?” She follows his gaze to Owl and Ichtaca. “Will they take us with them? What of the other souls who wander here?”

Meanwhile, Tayyid has lost sight of Ralithe in the grove of dead pines.


John
“I don’t know what will happen.. I don’t know if you’ll return there or go to the afterlife.. " Zyrr shrugs. "I suppose we should ask them? " he motions to owl and Ichtaca


Kristy
Alchin nods. “The emperor is said to be very wise. Perhaps an introduction?”


John
Zyrr nods and motions the two to follow him. He leads them over to owl and Ichtaca and introduces them. “This is Remozra and Alchin,” he says in his quiet manner to both Ichtaca and Owl, motioning to each as he says their name.
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Kristy
Each gives a sort of semi-formal half bow. “Verlothan.” Alchin adds. “Remozra and Alchin Verlothan. You know our cousin Carmenith, your Majesty.”
“Emperor.” Remozra says. “You saved some of our cousins in lost Karfallun. You are a hero of legend among our people now. It is a great honor.”


Jared
Ichtaca nods and replies, “Yes, I came to know Carmenith well in my adventures with her before my reign as emperor. I am glad to meet her relatives but I wish it were under happier circumstances.” Ichtaca pauses taking on a more grave tone, “You were murdered in my lands during my reign, were you not?”


Arick
Tayyid stealthily follows Ralithe into the pine grove.

17 + 23=40


Kristy
The two young Jharethil nod. “He was an eitharmos hunter, my lord.” Alchin says. “Your son says it was five years ago. I confess it feels only a few weeks.”

Tayyid sees Ralithe sitting on a stump, bent over with her face in her hands, crying quietly.


Jared
“A lone hunter you say? I’ve been trying to rid my land of all of those Daemothite bastards.” Ictaca replies, “They just keep sneaking their way in. Jhareth see the Norlythe as a place of haven but that
just attracts more eitharmos to come. It’s a difficult cycle to deal with.”
Ichtaca looks around to make sure no one else is listening and whispers, “Just between you and me, I’m working on a little plan to further cast out the Daemothies from my land. But keep that information quiet for now.”
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Kristy
Remozra nods. “Of course, my lord. Anything we can do to help.”

“Certainly. Though I don’t know what help a displaced ghost can be to you, if we can help, we will gladly offer it.” Alchin gestures around the camp. “Most of these are much like us, I’m sad to report. Killed on Marachel, in or near the Norlythe. Not that we blame you, of course. The Marachel has always been dangerous, and despite what you say, your lands are safer than most.” He looks around at the spirits, some trying to get to sleep on the bare earth, the rest gathered in small groups, talking in hushed voices. “A few won’t accept that we are dead, but most know. We gather more, from time to time.”


Mike
Owl cranes his head curiously, swinging it bonelessly back and forth it to look between the two young Jharethil. “Relations to the emperor’s friend?” He ruffles up his shoulders and neck, bobbing his head back and forth a bit and making a soft crooning noise under his breath.


Kristy
Remozra stares up at owl nervously, stepping a bit closer to her brother without seeming to realize she’s moved. “Yes ….”

Alchin puts his arm about his sister, inside her wings, but around her shoulders. “Um … relations to the emperor’s sister, really, sir owl.” He bows again to Ichtaca. “Again, you have given our family great honor. For one of our kind to walk openly in mortal lands, and be hailed as a princess…” His words trail off as he can’t help but stare at Owl’s disconcerting display of odd body language and head bobbing.


John

Zyrr stands quietly, observing the group and listening, the occasional nod to agree with what is being said to show he is indeed paying at least some sort of attention, though his thoughts consistently drift away to thinking about that beautiful girl that he believed somehow had an interest in his shy, awkward manner.


Jared
“Relations to my sister? Which one do you speak of?”


Kristy
Alchin looks at him with surprise. “Carmenith! She told us of the soul transfusion, and how people took that story, and then how you took her as your sister before all your people, before you even took the throne. She said the people are very kind, on all of her visits to you. Why ask? Is there more than one Jhareth sibling you’ve taken in such a blood-kin ceremony?”


Jared
(oh yeah, I forgot)

“Oh, no. I thought you were referring to one of my other sisters. Sorry for the misunderstanding.” Ictaca says nodding his head now that he understands.
________________________________________
Kristy
They chat for a moment about Carmenith’s yearly visits to her brothers in the unnamed secret city from which they came. They have some amusing stories to share about their mutual relation, and enjoy listening to his in return. Then Remozra gives Icthaca a plaintive look. “When you find a way out, what will become of all the souls trapped here? May we, at least come with you, Emperor?”

Alchin nods. “We will try to find a way to our proper place from Vinramar. I promise we won’t linger and haunt your palace.”


Jared
“We are on our way to meet with Sarnoss. I will speak to him about what will happen to those already caught here in the worldfire. I’ll make sure that you will all be fine.”

Ichtaca stops as he realizes something. A lone eitharmos hunter killed Ralithe and her cousins 5 years ago. Tayyid was showing a particular interest in Ralithe earlier. Ichtaca is beginning to believe that Tayyid may have been the very same hunter that killed Ralithe and her cousins. (insight of 19 + 20 = 39 to see if he is correct in this thought)


Kristy
(Success.) Ichtaca’s belief becomes a gut-instinct so strong it is nigh-unto certainty. Furthermore, one hunter, over ten years, could have killed all fifty of these young Jhareth.


Jared
Ichtaca looks around and realizes that Tayyid is nowhere to be seen which isn’t really unusual but due to his recent realization he becomes wary. He looks over to Alchin and asks him slowly, “Where is Ralithe?”


John
At the mention of her name Zyrr glances up, “Over in that grove, somewhere,” he motions in the direction as he relays the information. He then looks to Ichtaca with an inquiring look as to why he is asking, but then notices the look of concern on Ichtaca’s face. “W.. Why?” he stammers, the concern of his father transferring to him.
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Kristy
Alchin is looking incredibly relieved to hear reassurances that they will all be taken care of. He points off towards the dense grove of pines nearby. “She’s just over there, your highness. Needed a moment alone.” He smiles at Zyrr. “Probably wants you to go find her, eh?”


Mike
(Insight check for Owl to put together the same guess as Ichtaca, based on Owl’s own private knowledge, and to connect this to Tayyid and Wroth’s exchange back in the throne room. 27.)


Jared
“Come Zyrr, let us find her.” Ichtaca takes Zyrr with him to go find Ralithe. Once the other Jareth are no longer listening he looks over to Zyrr, “Ok, we must tread lightly now. Keep a look out for Tayyid. He might be trying to finish something he started years ago.”

(Stealth of 8 + 12 = 20 to get to Ralithe without being seen and a Perception of 2 + 16 = 18 to spot Tayyid as they approach) Zyrr can respond if he wants before we move in towards Ralithe
________________________________________
John
(Re do mine to after Kristy’s and to be)

At the mention of Ralithe’s name Zyrr glances up. A shy smile overtakes his face, revealing pearly white teeth to Alchin. He then looks to Ichtaca, an inquiring look on his face, but upon setting his azure eyes on Ichtaca he notices the look of concern on his face. The smile quickly fades as he stammers “W.. Why?” the concern of his father transferring to him.
(Everyone’s else’s that has jsut come in works after this still and so I will continue after Jared’s most recent)
Zyrr nods to his father and leads the way to the grove. When they are out of earshot and Ichtaca reveals his thought Zyrr gets a surprised look on his face.. “F.. finish?” He trails off, almost stopping in his tracks as it dawns on him just what he meant. Zyrr’s face contorts with an extremely rare seen sign of anger at this thought.

(Stealth 10+17=27. Perception 17+3=20 to assist Ichtaca)


Kristy
(Success for insight. Owl also intuits who may have murdered all these young jhareth on their Marachel. Mike, Owl can also put together the following from what he’s overheard. Jared, Ralithe’s strong resemblance to Carmenith, her particular fascination to Tayyid, is making Ichtaca re-review Wroth’s first teasing statement to Tayyid, the one everyone overheard. It was; “have you told the emperor about your special intimacy with his sister yet?”)

Zyrr and Ichtaca head off towards the trees.

(Guys, I’m going to let Arick reply a few times before I resolve what you see or don’t see, Tayyid has had some time for interaction, if that’s his intent. Then he can do his opposed checks. Meanwhile, if you want, you can narrate a conversation between the two of you, or the three, as you walk towards the trees, or as you look.)


Arick
Tayyid watches the sobbing girl from his concealed location with a sadistic interest. As his mind dwells on the things he wishes to do to her, he feels a very familiar rush of pleasure through his body,but it isn’t enough. He hungers for more, much more. Inside his mind, a fierce battle is playing out.

One voice of reason calls out, trying to stem the flow of passion, “Chorom Viln commissioned me to protect Ichtaca with my life. I cannot do that if he seeks my own head.”

With the shrewd reason of an Arrochulean trader, the next voice argues, “Ah, you were indeed commissioned by the Chorom to protect the Avan lover. And why do you think that is? Do you think Daemoth enjoys the Norlythin’s policies, or his sympathy for the whore worshipers? No. Daemoth has brought you here to finish what you have started. He has brought you here to gain precious information that will help crush the Avan order. This had nothing to do with protecting the illiterate half wit. He has brought you here to destroy the weak. DO NOT DENY YOUR TRUE CALLING!” The last words ring in his mind, spoken in the voice of his dameon form.

Without fully realizing it, Tayyid finds that he had subconsciously sneaked closer to the distraught Jareth. The rush of pleasure begins again to flow through his veins. With pupils dilated, he takes a few more steps and stops suddenly again. “Who am I to question or reason the methods of the Chorom? Am I the speaker of Daemoth? The buffoon of a King may yet have an important role to play, that I can’t even begin to fathom. No, I must let this one go.” He takes a few steps back and starts to head towards the others when he is almost knocked to the ground.

FOOL! Your mission was to finish what you started five years ago. Your mission is to bring pain to the worshipers of a weak goddess. You cannot deny what is in your destiny. This is the measure of your creation. To do otherwise for a supposed greater good is to deny your full potential. Besides, people have accidents in the woods all the time. There are dangerous creatures in the woods, none more dangerous than yourself. SHOW HER THE TRUE TERROR OF DAEMOTH!”

Tayyid finds himself right behind Ralithe with his dagger drawn. His body shudders in the anticipation of the kill. He can almost smell the faint aroma of innocence about to be lost, blood mingled with the sobbing screams of the pure. Losing all self control, he feels his knife rise, embracing his passion, he takes a deep breath…

(Perfect time for you guys to come crashing in)


Kristy
She doesn’t see him, right behind her, but she looks up. “Zyrr?” She calls softly.

(Arick, I’m sending you a separate, secret email.)


Jared

With the poor stealth check Ictaca made, I imagine that Tayyid notices them approaching before they actually get there.


Kristy
(That will be up to Arick and how distracted he thinks he is.)


Arick
Tayyid hears the group approaching in the distance, the harsh rocky landscape unforgiving of any their poor footholds. A look of conflict on his face, he peers first at the girl and then towards the noise he just heard, and once more at the girl. With a look of pure loathing, the knife is lowered quickly and stashed in his cloak. As soundlessly as possible he attempts to sneak away.

8+23=31 stealth


Kristy
(That’s opposed vs their perceptions. Ichtaca rolled one already. John?)


John
(Already rolled, it’s a fail. )
Zyrr emerges from the trees into the small clearing, not hearing or seeing Tayyid. He sees Ralithe sitting on the log and swiftly makes his way to her, glancing around as he does, looking for any danger yet seeing none. Upon reaching her he skills at her and asks, "A.. are you okay? "


Kristy
(You guys didn’t see Tayyid, but you can use nature to read tracks if either of you want.)


Kristy
She smiles tearfully up at him. “Oh, I thought I heard someone!”. She lowers her head again, speaking quietly. “I’ll be fine. It’s just been a difficult time.”


John
(nature 16+15=31)


Kristy
It’s clear from the tracks that someone crept up behind her and stood just inches away from her for minutes. They crept off through the trees.


John
Zyrr goes to sit next to Ralithe, but upon doing so he notices that the area behind her is disturbed, as if someone had been there. He looks over to Ralithe, tilts his and and quirks an eyebrow. “Was anyone else here with you?” He glances back to Ichtaca and motions to the disturbed brush before laying his eyes back on the beautiful blonde.


Kristy
She shakes her head, wiping tears from her face with her sleeve. “I didn’t see anyone.” She twists her hands in her lap, looking down. “Your friend. He isn’t really here to guide us? Why … why would he lie about that?”


John
Zyrr’s shoulders drop at her question. He frowns, and then shakes his head “I… I do not know..” he says softly as he sits down next to her, placing a hand on her knee. He stares at the ground in silence for a few moments, still unable to come up with anything, so he looks to his father, to see if he has any input.


Kristy
She flushes, then suddenly puts her hand on his, turning even redder at that. “You’ll take us out then? You and your father?”


John
Zyrr’s eyes momentarily widen at the touch of her hand on his. He stumbles for words for several moments before giving up and just nodding in response to her question.


Kristy
She sniffles involuntarily, then turns her tear-streaked face to his, the soft light of the worldfire catching her gray eyes and making them into colorless pools. “I’m sorry. I’ve been so frightened.”

She may be a partially embodied spirit, but her hand feels very solid on his, the warmth of her thigh very real against the side of his leg.


John
Zyrr nods “It’s okay.” He gently rubs the top of her hand with his thumb. “We’ll take care of all of you…” He looks over to Ichtaca for his input on the matter, knowing he has reassuring words, like the ones he gave Alchin.


Jared
“Do not fear. I will make sure you are taken care of. We are on our way to Sarnoss and he will be able to tell us what will happen to the spirits of those already here.” Ichtaca says distractedly. He scans the area for anything unusual. He searches for the tracks. (nature: 18 + 15 = 32)

As he finds the tracks he says to Zyrr, “Stay with her for a while. I have some business to attend to.”

He crouches down to touch the dirt. He rubs it in his fingers and places a small bit on the tip of his tongue. He proceeds to follow the tracks left by Tayyid.


John
Zyrr nods, reassured that his father is going to look into the disturbing tracks that he noticed as well. He squeezes Ralithe’s hand and smiles at her. “See? You’ll be okay” he says in his quiet manner.


Kristy
(Arick, he’s on your trail. You can narrate where and how he finds you.)

Ralithe nods at Ichtaca, murmuring thanks, but she seems entirely distracted by Zyrr’s hand on her leg.


Kristy
As Ichtaca leaves them, she nods, looking up at him as if she was about to say something and just forgot whatever it was. Then she flushes again and looks down. “Thank you. You are very kind.”


John
Zyrr nods and smiles. “D.. Don’t feel bad.. It.. It isn’t your fault… Th.. They are a tricky sort… Their lies… Their lies are so believable..” he softly admits as if he knows from first-hand experience, trailing off toward the end as if he was stolen away by some distant thought. After some time of silent reminiscence he finally begins to add, “I..” he abruptly halts, completely unsure of whether or not he wants to continue bearing his darkest secret to this beautiful and innocent blonde, yet upon glancing up and his deep blue eyes connecting with the pure, honest trust shimmering in her grey eyes he is compelled to move forward “I too have fallen… Fallen to their trickery…” upon his admission he looks away, as if in shame, his once tight grip on her hand slackening almost to completely letting go, discomfort and ignominy clear signs on his face.


Kristy
“Their trickery? Whose? Another Daemon’s? Not all of them are bad people, you know. Of course, I’ve never met one.” She traces the back of his hand with her fingertips. “Well, I mean, not until today, I guess.”


John
Zyr stares off into the woods, blankly. He then looks over to her “I.. I’ve only met one other before…” He frowns “And he tricked me much like you were tricked..”


Kristy
“What happened?” She asks softly.


Mike
Owl makes his farewells to the jharethil and ghosts up behind Ichtaca in the trees. “Predator.” He comments in his windy whisper, from right behind him. “Emperor. Your sister. Your sister. My—” He chokes that off in a grunt of pain.
(Stealth 28)


John
Zyrr frowns and takes a deep breath.. “He.. He gave me powers…” He lets go of her hand to pull up his shirt, showing her the writing on his chest “But I… I think there was a price..” After giving her sufficient time to look over the writing on his chest, he lets his shirt drop back down. “I.. I’m not sure what the price is, though..” he bows his head, looking down at the ground.


Kristy
She stares at the runes, and when he lets his shirt drop back over his skin, she catches it, looking at him for permission and blushing furiously again but wanting to look more closely. “May I? If you could take it off…”


John
Zyrr nods and takes off his shirt for her, watching her curiously.


Kristy
She puts cool hands on his skin, the soft glow of her further illuminating marks that smoulder a faint red-orange in his flesh. “I’m sorry. My zhoroch was never very good.” A shy meeting of eyes. “I preferred Norlythin.” Her fingers trace the larger, overlaying symbol. “This is Gaurin, Zyrr. God of Devils. I don’t think it was a daemon you met.” Her hands flat on his chest, she looks closely at the mark. “Sweet Jharus! Does it hurt?” Her eyes are filling up again.


John
He shakes his head. “Only sometimes.. Sometimes it burns..”


Kristy
She’s looking up at his eyes now, but her hands still rest on his chest. “Is he …is he going to take you?” A tear slides down her cheek.


John
Zyrr shrugs, “I.. I don’t know..” He takes his hand and wipes away her tears before placing his hand over hers, taking it off of his chest and holding it. “I’m not sure.. what to do..” He frowns again “My father said he would help, though…”


Kristy
Her wings and hair catch the light of the worldfire, soft pastel colors sliding over them both and casting odd shadows throughout the barren grove. Ralithe seems caught by his gaze; it takes several seconds for her to find words. “Right. Your father … he’ll … he’s going to ….”


John
Zyrr nods. " Yeah.. he knows a lot." He smiles as he looks her over, her beauty making him blush and look away, suddenly feeling embarrassed, he lets go of her hand to reach for his shirt.


Kristy
She looks a bit crestfallen, but politely averts her eyes while he pulls it on. There’s a long, awkward silence; seconds that seem like minutes.


Arick
Can I make some sort of check to see if I’m followed?
________________________________________
Kristy
(Perception vs stealth.)


Arick
13 +17=30 perception
________________________________________
Kristy
Ok, Jared and Mike, opposed Stealth?


Mike
(Stealth 17 + 15 = 32 for Owl.) Climbing high up into the trees, the Owl ghosts along nearly silently, gliding from tree to tree, and following the Emperor while searching ahead for any sign of Tayyid.

(Perception check of 14 + 18 = 32. Crazy 32s today. )


Kristy
(Mike, Owl was talking, so I assume this takes place after Ichtaca replies? Or did he see what was going down and clam up to take to the trees?)


Mike
(You told us to make a stealth check. =) So, yes, let’s assume that the Owl saw what Ichtaca was doing and zipped up to take to the trees.)


Kristy
(Ok, Tayyid does not see Owl ghosting after Ichtaca. Does he see Ichtaca? Only Jared’s roll can tell. Either way, with that nature check, Ichtaca can see what direction Tayyid went, how fast he was going, that sort of thing. You know, from tasting the dirt.)


John
After getting his shirt back on, Zyrr looks around. He then looks back to Ralithe and smiles, completely oblivious of the looks she had given him.


Kristy
Ralithe looks confused. “Zyrr,” She asks softly. “Do you like me? Do you think I’m pretty? You do like girls, right?”


John

Zyrr’s eyes widen at her questions as his face reddens and he grasps at words. "Wha.. Weh.. Well.. Y.. Yes… " he goes silent, obviously nervous and completely unsure of what to say “Y.. Yes to.. to.. to…” he stumbles, his face getting more and more red ""to.. to all of those.. y.. yes…"


Kristy
“Is it because I’m not human? I used to be able to hide it, you know. The wings. We can pass as human, but here, I’m always in true glory, ever since I’ve …” She trails off. “Wait. It’s because I’m … dead, isn’t it?”


John
Zyrr blinks hard. Still speechless. “Uhh.. well.. n.. n.. no.. I.. I don’t.. think so.. umm” he sighs and looks away from her, still beet red. " I just.." he trails off. He takes a few deep breaths trying to calm down, obviously uncomfortable. " I.. I just.. I just have never felt like…"


Kristy
Ralithe suddenly steps forward, takes him by the collar, and pulls him down, going up on tip-toes to kiss him. It’s a bit clumsy, taking him enough by surprise to nearly make him lose his balance, so his arms wheel before he can right himself. Her warm lips press against his for a few heartbeats, then she pulls back and lets him stand almost back up again, still holding his collar.

“There!” She says triumphantly. “Do I feel dead?”


John
Zyrr somehow goes even more red, his eyes wide as saucers. He stares blankly at her, taken completely by surprise. He stammers. " n.. n.. n.. nnnnno." He finally manages to utter. " n.. not at all.." He takes a few breaths, nearly shaking with some sort of both joy, relief, and complete panic.


Kristy
She stares at him, stepping back. “Oh. Oh no. Was it that bad? I’ve never … I’m so sorry….” She turns and runs off into the trees.


John
" n.. no" he goes after her, catching her by her wrist. " no.. ralithe, no.." he takes a deep breath. " not bad.. I just" her bites his lip" I’ve never missed a girl.. before.." her pauses " I.. I.. I liked it.." He sighs relief, finally his cheeks stop being quite so red. " I like you…. a lot.. I just.." he stammers " I just don’t know what to do" he lets go of her wrist so that her hand falls away.


Kristy
She bites her lip and looks down. “Me neither. I mean, until now. Not that I …I mean….” She stares at her hands. “We have a few minutes before we should go back, right? Your father wanted us to wait here? If you wanted, if you don’t ..I um …Maybe we could try to …figure it out?”


John
Zyrr nods and stares into her eyes, the redness of his face mostly gone. He smiles big and nods again. “y.. yes.. I.. I would like that…”


Kristy
She shyly offers him her hand.


John
He smiles and takes her hand in his.


Kristy
Ralithe looks around to be sure Ichtaca is still gone, then looks up at him, waiting for him to draw her in. Her generous lips curve in a small smile. “I may be new at this, but I’m pretty sure it involves your mouth.”

(Meanwhile, what are Tayyid and Ichtaca up to? While John is racking up the action points for Zyrr, I mean.)


John
Zyrr leans in and kisses her, semi awkwardly. He pulls back and looks her over, her hand still in his. “W.. what about when..” He pauses, thinking " When we leave here?" He pauses again" I.. I mean.. you’re not even supposed to be here….." at this realization sadness overcomes his face, his eyes now downcast at her hand in his.


Kristy
She lets go of his hand to reach up with both of hers and touch his face, tracing his jaw and lip and gazing at him dreamily. “If you come with me to Salvendom I’ll let you kiss me there, too.” Her face is still tearstained, but she seems perfectly content now she’s in the circle of his arms. “Or maybe the Emperor will find a way for us all to be alive on Vinramar again! He is a mighty hero, after all.” Her breath is warm on his face. “If it were possible, would you wish to court me? Learn my favorite color, perhaps?”


John
Zyrr smiles, his white teeth appearing through his lips. He nods slowly. “Y.. you make a good point.. i.. I’m sure it will all work out..” He chuckles quietly at her remark, "Y.. y.. yes.. I would like.. that.. " His azure eyes glisten with joy as he looks into her eyes. “Well…” he starts out, his eyes twinkling with a sort of entertained teasing, “What.. what is your favorite color… then?”


Kristy
She’s looking into his eyes. “Blue.” She pulls his head down to kiss him again, taking her time about it this time. It’s soft, experimental, and innocent.
Suddenly, Zyrr’s chest begins to itch, and he feels a burning along the inside of his forearm, as if small brands are sinking into his flesh, in a neat row from the inside of his wrist to the crook of elbow.


John
Zyrr jerks away from her, an expression of pain overtaking his face. He stares at her for a second, his breath gone, and then looks to his arm, rolling up his sleeve to reveal the new runes that appeared, still glowing, he gasps slightly, pulling up his sleeve past the elbow till he can see that the writing has stopped. He just stares at the writing, blankly.


Jared
Ichtaca moves stealthily through the worldfire following the tracks left by Tayyid. (Stealth of 12 + 14 = 26, so Tayyid sees Ichtaca approaching).


Kristy
Zyrr:
It’s a fine row of Zhoroch words, kindling with a soft inner fire. The pain fades as the last word forms. As Zyrr stares at them, they re-form before his eyes, into understandable Trentsmin.

Automated contract notification: Destroy this Jhareth girl to remove 17% of your current contracted debt.

Ralithe, gives him a worried look. “Are you all right?”

Owl, Ichtaca, and Tayyid:

Ok, so Tayyid can see that Ichtaca is tracking him, but he cannot see Owl. Ichtaca is hot on Tayyid’s trail, and is getting close, but he can’t see Tayyid. Owl, though, who is in the branches nearby, can see Tayyid.

(What does he see, Arick?)


John
Zyrr shakes his head, staring at the words on his arm. He then looks up to her and forces a small smile, “I.. It’s okay…” . He looks from his arm up to her, and then back to his arm. “j.. just more… words..”


Kristy
“That’s ok?” Then she smiles. “Oh, I see. Your father will fix that for you, right?” She slides her arms around his neck, turning her face back up to be kissed again. “Too bad he’s not back yet.”


John
Zyrr nods, “y.. yes.. I think so.. it was just an o.. offer..” he leans his head down and kisses her, “one… one that i don’t want to… to take”


Kristy
The words on his arm are beginning to fade.
“Your arm makes you offers?” She says, but she’s too distracted by what they are doing to sound as if she really wants to pursue that line of questioning.


Kristy
Zyrr’s arm burns again. It’s hard to look without jostling the girl pleasantly occupying his mouth.

Automated contract notification:

Power to raise dead already granted by contract terms. Raise Jharethil group from dead and present to shrine at place of contract origin to reduce contract by 50%.


John
Zyrr kisses her again, although upon the branding on his arm he breaks the kiss. He jerks his arm slightly, pressing it up against her side,, the words appearing in his skin putting off a noticeable heat through his shirt. He pulls his head back, a look of pain on his face.


Kristy
“Zyrr? What it is it? Your arm, it’s getting hot—” Then she cries out in pain, her fingers tightening reflexively into the fabric of his shirt. He smells something burning.


John
Zyrr lets go of her reflexively, gripping his arm and gritting his teeth. He pulls the sleeve up as the last few white hot words appear on his arm. His eyes dart over to Ralithe, and he stares at her, his face more overcome by concern than anguish. “A.. are you okay?” he asks quietly, pain flickering through his words.


Kristy
“It hurts-” She’s beating at the side of her dress now. The fabric of her dress is entirely burnt away under where his arm touched her, a char-edged hole still spreading in the fabric on her side, despite her efforts. An angry red burn centers on a long, narrow welt along the point where her ribs drop away into the curve of her slim waist. He thinks he catches a glimpse of the word “Jhareth” burned clearly into her skin, but can’t be sure, she’s moving too much trying to put out the fire burning her dress. His clothing is undamaged, unmarked.


John
Zyrr stares at Ralithe for a few seconds, bewildered. He moves to help her, but checks himself, the fact that this happened when she was touching him while he was getting burned himself making him quite convinced it was somehow his fault. “I.. I’m sorry..” he says, looking around for some way to help her. A few more seconds pass before he decides to help her regardless, the pain in his arm ebbing away. He moves forward to help her pat out the remainder of the flames, awkwardly patting her dress, though trying his best to be aware of where he is patting.


Kristy
“Not …not your fault …” she gasps, managing to put out the flames with his help. Her dress is a scandalous ruin on one side, a wide, burnt out rent from underarm to hip revealing an expense of creamy skin and the edges of curves that might draw the eye if that glaring burn and brand weren’t marring her skin. The letters are Zhoroch, he realizes, the word only seemed Trentsmin due to some magic of his contract. The pain in his arm has faded, along with the second ‘offer,’ but her eyes are streaming, and she’s shaking, looking ill. She’s trying to see the full extent of the burn, but it’s at an awkward angle. “Are you all right? My side, is it bad?” She tries to tug her dress down a bit to cover herself a little more, and another piece of the brown fabric crumbles away. “Oh gods. My cousin’s going to kill me.”


John
Zyrr blushes at the sight of her exposed skin and his azure orbs flick away, only to drift back and set on her. He nods his head ever so slightly as he answers her question, “Y.. yes.. I’m.. I’m okay…” he stares at the burn, trying to read it, but knowing he can’t.. Yet the impression of what he thought it said is burned into his brain much like the word itself is burned into her flesh. He shakes his head “It.. it looks kinda bad….. but… maybe it will look better in a little bit?” his shoulder move up in a shrug and he frowns “does it hurt?”


Kristy
She nods tearfully, reaching out for his hand with absolute trust, as if he had nothing to do with any if this. “I don’t want to go back to camp yet, though. I want to stay here with you, Zyrr.”


John
He nods slowly as he takes her small hand in his. He leads her back over to the log and sits down. He stares at the ground for what seems to be an eternity before solemnly spouting out, “He…. He wants me to kill you,” completely out of the blue. His hand tightens on hers, “But.. I won’t.. Not ever.” after these last words his eyes move over to look at her.


Kristy
She winces as they sit down, biting her lip to keep from crying out as they sit down, that motion straining her burn anew. She scoots close to him, still holding his hand, shivering as he gathers his thoughts. “Who wants you to kill me? Your devil?” Her eyes drift to his arm.


Mike
Owl darts back and forth silently through the trees, peeking down at the awkward young couple figuring out how to kiss each other, and rotating his huge feathery head back and forth in momentary interest at that. Seeing they are safe, however, he quickly moves on to dart ahead of Ichtaca.

(So, he sees Tayyid, but Tayyid doesn’t see him. Arick, what does he see?)


John
In his soft voice he answers her questions with a “..Yes..” and then his lips curl down into a frown as his eyes move away to the forest, at nothing in particular.


Kristy
She nestles in against his side, seeking his warmth. “If your father can’t fix this, what will you do?”


John
He takes a deep breath and holds it in for some time. He then lets it go slowly, his shoulders moving up and back down. “I… I do not.. know.. I haven’t thought about that….” He shakes his head. “I’m sure… I’m sure we will figure something out..”


Kristy
She’s leaning against him, her burned side away from him, holding her arm back at an awkward angle to keep from touching her tender skin. Looking down, he can see the top of her blonde head, not her face. Her reply is very soft, the lilting accent to her Norlythin suddenly a bit thicker. “If you do what it wants, will it release you from the contract? Would you be free?”


John
Zyrr shakes his head as he responds, “N.. No… Just… Slightly less indebted…”


Kristy
It’s a long time before she replies, and at first it seems merely that she’s content to be here, under his arm, avoiding the questions her burned dress will cause back at camp. Then he notices how blankly she’s staring at one particular tree. When she looks up to him again, her pupils are huge, and when she speaks, her accent is even thicker, slurred at the edges as if from too much drink, and she sounds a trifle confused. “Want to help. Zyll. Zyn. Zz… You can kill me if you want. Already dead, remember?” She reaches to put her arms about his neck again, lifts her face to his, lips parting, then gasps, moaning in pain as her movement strains her burn again. She arches back, and he gets a clear view of that burn in the shifting pastel lights of this place.

The skin is red from hip to underarm, from navel to just under her left breast, and around to her back, almost to her spine. For the most part, it’s like a bad sunburn, with blisters and small white welts. Right around the branded word, however, it looks worse, blistered, wet-looking, and a more intense color, with each letter rising up in a swollen, waxy-looking white shape. The burned edge of her dress, just below the burn and her exposed hip, is growing damp. In fact, the burned skin under that word is entirely damp, he realizes. The letters are seeping. Have they been seeping the whole time? Did he just not notice the extent of the damage, in this poor light and the distraction of his own condition?

Her hands on his neck are cold and clammy, her shivering is growing, and her eyes are pale gray rings around huge black pupils. She’s leaning more and more of her slight weight against his chest, staring up at his face, and, even in recovering from that wave of pain, her breathing stays rapid and shallow. “You have the prettiest eyes. Zy… Z… tell me your name again? I love it. It’s my favorite, favorite name.”


John
As she starts to fade away he grabs hold of her hugging her close to him. Panic in his voice as he begins to cry, “No.. no. no, no, no no!” He runs his hand up her back, to her head, his fingers entangled in her hair, and lifts her from the log to lay her down on the ground. He stares into her eyes as they begin to grow more and more cloudy. Tears begin to well up in his eyes. “Ralithe! No, no no.” He looks down at her side where the wounds are and places his hands over them applying pressure to try and stop the bleeding.


Kristy
Her limp wings are making it difficult to maneuver her properly without hurting her; he’s never had to manage a semi-conscious girl before, much less one with wings taller and longer than she is high. She stares glassily to the side now, murmuring nonsensically.

He’s so handsome, he is, with his eyes so blue against that pretty tan skin and dark hair. So much she’d like to kiss him again, please. Would he? She’s been meaning to learn how to kiss someone properly, will he practice with her?

She turns the side of her face into the black, ashy dust of the grove, and doesn’t seem to notice or care. The waxy white skin he’s pressing down on tears under his hands, making a sickening wet ripping noise, and the fluid seeping out of the burn increases in a sudden rush from that rupture, tinged with red now. Little bits of burnt fabric got into the wound in his moving her, and as he settled her down on her unburnt side, the dress tears farther, revealing a scarlet mark on her lower left back, with a perfect impression of his hand a waxy white concave mark right in the center of it. It’s another seeping burn, just above her left kidney, where he gripped her without meaning to, as the words seared along his arm.

The wounds are still warm, radiating heat. Is the hellfire of his contract still at work here? Or is this normal for burns? He just doesn’t know … (with his passive healing score, that is…)

(Make a healing check for more info, for now I’m assuming the character is just clueless about the proper way to treat second and third degree burns involving prolonged fluid loss, shock, and in a slightly chilly environment… :)


John
(Passive 26+8=34. Healing 16+19(light crit)=35)


Kristy
(I have his passive healing score at 17? Not sure what that first 34 represents. But a 35 healing check is a success here, although I’m limiting it to what the character could reasonably know. Tayyid would know more on this.)

It’s taking Zyrr a moment to get his head on straight, but he’s remembering something about how direct pressure on burns is not a good idea. He’s no doctor, but she’s shivering and much of her skin is exposed. Keeping her warm may be a good idea. His grandfather always covered his own burns with lard, but Zyrr remembers that when he picked up a hot coal as a child, the Norlythin woman who was the village midwife had scolded grandpa for trying that, and had instead wrapped his hand in a cool, wet cloth. The wound is still burning, and as he touches it, the heat of hellfire slides back into him, but he can’t be sure he drew it all out. She might be burning inside, for all he knows. If she doesn’t get help or magical healing soon, she might die, he fears. Again. She will dissipate into green mist, and reform thousands or hundreds of thousands of miles away, a disembodied spirit, alone and separated from her kindred, and easy prey for the great hunt.

Ralithe is oblivious to the pain at this point, still staring glassily off into the distance, and whispering into the ashy dirt, nearly incomprehensible now, but still along the same lines.


John
Upon remembering this Zyrr gets up quickly, though making sure to leave her as comfortable as possible. He dashes away and finds a stream, taking off his shirt and dipping it into the stream, he runs back and applies it to her burn.


Kristy
She shudders as the cold water trickles down her skin, moaning his name.


John
He holds his shirt in place with one hand and uses the other to move her hair from her eyes. “Y.. You’re going to be o.. okay.. j.. just.. hand in there… don’t let go..” He bites his lips as he stroke her cheek with his hand. "I.. I need to go get help…
________________________________________
Kristy
She’s staring off into space, her cheek against his hand cold even as the flesh of the burn still puts out too much heat under the wet shirt. He can feel her lips moving against his hand, but he has to lean in close to hear her. “…angel lied. Why did the angel lie, Zyrr?”


John
Zyrr leans in close to listen to her and frowns at what she is saying, “b.. because he wasn’t… an angel.. but he did know the ways of healing…” he pauses in thought for several moments “and I’m sure he could help you… if he was here”


Kristy
She has dirt in her mouth, he notices, but she’s still murmuring nonsensically, her voice in and out of audibility in the breeze. “…like kissing you…” He catches among the string of faint words. They are getting fainter.


John
Zyrr looks around wondering what to do, when he look back at her he notices some dirt in her mouth and uses his finger to pull it out. He then leans down and presses his warm lips against hers, which he notices are growing colder, yet are still soft. He then repositions himself so that he is laying next to her, to try to warm her up. He checks his shirt on her burn to make sure it is still cool enough to be helping. He closes his eyes to try to help himself think, not sure whether or not he should leave he to go look for help. He knows he can’t help her as much as someone like Tayyid or Owl could, or probably even someone back at the count.. But he worries that if he leaves, she would have dissipated by the time he returns, perhaps never to be found again.


Kristy
She’s fallen silent, and lies very still, except for her faint and rapid breathing, the rise and fall of her ribs under the wet shirt. The lights of the worldfire twist and burn in the sky above the skeletal pines, and the cool breeze stirs the dust into little skirls that rise and fall around them as they lie there in the barren grove.

If his father or Owl or Tayyid or anyone at the camp are about to come and help him, he sees no sign of it in this moment. He’ll have to decide.


John
Zyrr puts his lips to hers, for what he knows may be the last time. He then gets up, makes a small fire, wets his shirt and puts it on her burn again and then runs back to camp as fast as he can.
Upon arrival he hunts down Alchin and Remozra. He says in breaths " R.. Ral.. Ralithe.. she.. she.. she is hurt.. need help.."


Mike
(Ok, so I rolled high enough that Owl is going to find Tayyid, and see what he’s doing without Tayyid knowing he’s being observed. But Arick, do you want me to let you get a reply or two in with Kristy before I narrate that? So Owl finds him at a certain time convenient to plot?)
________________________________________
Arick
Tayyid can hear the large norlythin man coming at him from a mile away. “All that time in the secure throne room has really made him brazen and loud,” Tayyid thinks to himself. “If he’s following me though, it can’t be for a good reason.” Tayyid stops dead in his tracks as an inner voice speaks to him. “FOOL! He knows… That isn’t the march of a man looking to greet a friend. He’s stalking you. Go back and finish her while you still have time. You have been compromised.” Tayyid begins doubling back when another timid voice squeeks, “But what what of the will of Daemo…?” The deep booming voice cuts off the timid one before it can finish. “SILENCE! I grow tired of your sniveling. You cannot protect him if you are dead. Go and finish your work and then watch him from the shadows.” A big grin forms on Tayyids face and he looks in the direction of the girl. To avoid detection he begins to shadow step from tree to tree, making his way back to the Jareth.
________________________________________
Kristy
Tayyid sneaks back around to the same grove, in time to witness much of the above scene between Zyrr and Ralithe, all while Owl and Ichtaca are searching for him. (Mike and Jared, you will still find him, he just needs a bit of time to narrate what he’s been doing while you were tracking him. Shadowstepping around bought him some time, but didn’t shake Ichtaca, just slowed him. Owl is about to find him as well, from a treetop vantage.)

Tayyid sees the awkward kissing, the burn, Zyrr running off for help, and is let with Ralithe lying on her side in the ashy dirt of the dead pine grove. She’s been badly burned on her side, and a scandalous amount of her dress is missing round that burn. (See previous description.) He can clearly read the branded word “Jhareth” in a tilting line along the lowermost rib of her side, in Zhoroch letters. She moans softly.


Kristy
Meanwhile, with Zyrr in the camp:

The two Verlothan cousins are crouched near the fire. They look up in alarm, standing up. “Where?” Alchin looks around among the other Jharethil, most of whom are sleeping now. “We should find your doctor friend. The one who gave us the medicine. I’ll go with you, Remozra, you go find the doctor, or the emperor, he’ll know where the doctor is. I’ll go with Zyyr to see where she is, then he can stay with her while I run back to the edge of the grove to wave you in the right direction, as soon as you have him.”

Remozra nods, tells another campmate where they are going, and takes off in the direction she last saw Tayyid going, also into the dead pine trees, though not at the same angle where Zyrr is leading Alchin.

Alchin lopes alongside Zyrr. “What happened?”

(John, as Mike is doing, let’s give Arick one or two replies to portray what happened while Zyrr was away, and before Owl and Ichtaca catch up with Tayyid. So John, feel free to answer Alchin, but just don’t say that you arrive back at Ralithe’s location yet. I’ll tell you and everyone else when they all converge.)


John
Zyrr lifts a hand to point but shakes his said to what Alchin is saying, “N.. no.. My father is off in the woods.. Tracking… something….” he pauses “And no one has seen Tayyid, the doctor, in quite some time now..”


Arick
Tayyid is surprised by what he sees.

Perception check to piece together the scene that unfolded

12+16=28


Kristy
Arick, Tayyid wasn’t close enough to read the letters on Zyrr’s arm, but he could see them appearing. He saw the burn happen, and with that perception score, it was pretty clear that the glowing letters forming on Zyrr’s arm caused it. He watched the attempted first aid. A medical exam will tell him more than what he could have observed from a distance.


Arick
Tayyid walks towards the passed out girl with an unconstrained relish. His eyes betray his malicious intent, narrowed and cold. As he reaches her, he does a quick medical assessment to see what damage had been done.

12+18=30 healing


Kristy
She’s in shock, and has burns ranging from first to third degree. Furthermore, the flesh underneath the two worst areas (the handprint and the branded Zhoroch word “Jhareth”) are putting off too much heat, indicating that some of the magical heat source is still burning her internally, below each of those respective burns.

She’s not unconscious, as she appeared to be on his approach. She’s barely conscious.

Ralithe looks up at him in confusion, her eyes focusing enough to see who is leaning over her, although, with Tayyid’s deep hood and long sleeves, she has still never seen his face, or even the tell-tale bandage over his left hand. A look of faint accusation mingles with the confusion of shock.

She struggles to speak, and when she does, the words are so faint he can barely hear her. “Lied. Not angel. Don’t want you. Want Zyrr.”


Arick
His eyes narrow as his grin widens. “Gooood,” he says with a long drawn out lilt. “You would be a foolish girl to want my services.” He sets down his pack and begins to rummage through it. “You see, my services come with… A Price…” his eyes widen momentarily as the last two words are whispered into her ear."


Kristy
“Zyrr.” She whispers. “My Zyrr.” She’s slipped into the hallowed tongue now, her native language.


Kristy
Alchin whistles to Remozra, calling her back from the alternate trajectory. “We’re both with you then.” He says. His Norlythin is far less accented than Ralithe’s is. (Retcon, a third Jhareth youth came with them, at Alchin’s request. A skinny young man with lank brown hair, dull brown wings, and a hawkish nose, named Bazrin, who was training to become a healer at the time of his untimely demise.)

“And me!” Bazrin protests, making his presence known. He’s huffing and puffing, but keeping up with the two more athletic types. “I’m coming!”

Alchin and Remozra haul him along by the arms to speed him up. “That Owl creature is a healer, too.” He gasps, out of breath. “We should hoot for him or something.”

“Shut up and run, Bazrin.” Remozra snaps.

Alchin speaks easily as he runs. “Bazrin will have to do, Zyrr. You know how unreliable divine healing has been this last century. Jharric magic is no exception. I won’t have my cousin blown up or turned inside out. Bazrin here, he’s a wizard, aren’t you Baz?”

The youth winces. “Bard.”

“Whatever. Save my cousin’s life, and I promise her first kiss to you. Mozra’s too.”

“Too late.” Remozra notes dryly. “At least on my part. Sweet Jharus! Hurry, Baz!”

Alchin claps Zyrr on the shoulder as they run. “What are we dealing with? Some animal bite? Did she take a bad fall? We’re city people.” He explains. “She’s not used to the woods.”

Owl and Ichtaca:

Meanwhile, Owl finds Tayyid, and Ichtaca, hot on his trail, is about to catch up with him as well. Owl arrives in time to see Tayyid leaning over a burned Ralithe, examining her injuries with what appears to be professionalism (he’s hooded, so facial expressions aren’t visible, especially from above) and administering some sort of treatment. Ichtaca arrives just after that.

(You guys can narrate your respective arrivals, as soon as Arick is done narrating whatever treatment Owl is about to witness. If email timing makes it so you arrive later than your roll should have granted, I declare you the winner of a free re-roll with a +5 for your next important roll.)


John
Zyrr sets their pace, wanting to return as quickly as possible. He continues looking forward as he responds to the question, “Sh.. She was burned…”


Arick
Tayyid pulls out various herbs and potions from his pack, all the while whispering in Ralithes ear. “You know, you should feel privileged. I spent a large majority of my life perfecting this procedure. Soooo many failures.” He mixes a few herbs in with his potion and it turns an acrid green. “Now drink up, I need you awake for this.”

12+20=32 natural 20 to make her fully conscious for about 10 seconds and then to become paralyzed, but with full consciousness.


Kristy
(Success. What language is he speaking? Hallowed tongue? Also Owl is about to see him, so roll up your bluff check.)

Ralithe doesn’t want to drink it, but in her condition, it’s either that, or choke. A bit of color blooms in her cheeks, and the medicine actually restores her strength and coherence a bit, along with all the pain of her burn, as shock fades mostly away into nearly full consciousness. She thrashes against Tayyid’s grip, screaming out for her cousins, Alchin, Remozra, and even Carmenith, a sign that she’s not entirely out of the grips of the shock. More than the others, she calls out for Zyrr, calling his name again and again. He has to hold her. But ten seconds pass quickly, and then her wings, arms, and legs twitch, and she gasps. Paralysis creeps over her, stealing all but the faintest movements of her eyes and lips, so she’s entirely limp in his arms. Her eyelids flutter, and her mouth still forms Zyrr’s name, but the whisper she is able to make is so faint, that no one without an ear to her lips could hear it. Tears slide down her cheeks, and the clear gray eyes staring up at Tayyid over his hand on her mouth are full of fear.


Kristy
(Ok, Owl can arrive now.)

Meanwhile, with Zyrr -

“Burned?” Alchin sounds confused, but doesn’t question the how. Not for now, at least, when reaching her is the priority.
They hear what sounds like a scream coming from the woods; it’s Ralithe calling out Zyrr’s name, in a voice full of panic or pain.


John
Zyrr quickens his pace hearing the scream, not carrying whether or not he loses the cousins in it. (Is there some kind of roll I should make to when I arrive or whatever? )


Kristy
(After Arick narrates his next reply, you’ll be likely making insight vs bluff.)


Mike
(Ok, so let’s say the reason Owl gets there first is he just happened to be close enough to hear the scream. I’ll bank that beefed up re-roll bribe for later, Kristy.)

Owl hears the girl scream, and realizes that Tayyid has doubled back around behind them. “Emperor!” He calls back to Ichtaca, hoping he can hear him. “He looped back! The glen!” Then Owl swoops through the trees towards the sound.


Arick
Tayyid stares at her eyes with relish and continues in the hallowed tongue. “You see, I couldn’t figure out how best to perform my operations. Give them nothing and they scream and thrash, and make things… Messy… Give them anesthesia and they don’t feel a thing. You might as well operate on a tree. Tsk tsk tsk no fun at all.” He picks up a bottle and sloshes the contents back and forth in his hand. “Then it happened by accident, as most great discoveries do. I was performing a surgery, a simple mundane field assignment, when I accidently gave a patient two forms of anesthesia. Something remarkable happened. The patients eyes opened and looked at me pleading, those beautiful translucent windows into the soul. I could see him begging me to stop with his eyes. You see, he could feel everything I was doing to him, but he couldn’t do a thing to stop it. Trapped in his own body of agony.” he lets out a subdued chuckle. “What a great night that was, and I’m just getting started with you.” He throws back his hood to reveal his markings surrounding his creepy grin. " The last time I met your friends I had to rush, this time it will be under their very noses." he begins to laugh in a nasally chortle and he replaces his hood.


Kristy
Ralithe stares in horror at the face of the man who murdered her 5 years ago; an eitharmos hunter. “No.” She mouths silently, but the wild pounding of her heart, and her rasping breathing, are all the response her body can muster.


Arick
As he looks on at the paralyzed woman laying before him, his mind drifts off to the forbidden fruit on his mind. “Yes,” he thinks to himself, “The forbidden always tastes the sweetest.” He had only two days with Carmenith and he never got to finish the job. Sure the torturing was enjoyable, but only a foreplay for the final act, despair and then death. There is a natural order of emotions expressed in people as they slowly die. Tayyid smirks as he thinks of them, “First panic, then pleading, that leads on to the pain and screaming, more pleading, and eventually acceptance.” He shudders in ecstasy as he thinks of the last stage. In his mind he can see the light of hope fading from the eyes of his numerous victims. That is what he lives for. But it doesn’t end there, “No not at all,” he thinks to himself. It is one thing to accept death, but he makes them beg for death. Once the light is extinguished from their soul, they are capable of more intense pain and suffering than before. This is his chance to be creative, to experiment with the mind and body. Unfortunately for him, those opportunities were snatched from him. He never did have the chance to watch Carmenith beg for her own death. Still he keeps a watch on her from a distance, waiting patiently for the order to be lifted on her life. Until that time, he has been making do with what he has.

He snaps back from his mind and looks again at Ralithe helpless on the ground. “How alike she is,” he thinks to himself. “How naive, how trusting. So many similarities shared with the forbidden.” Last time he had to dispatch her before he got a good look. Once he was privileged a proper inspection of the corpse he was enraged, taking his ferocious fury out on her male companion. How he would have relished the torture, imagining the forbidden in her place. Once again he is rushed, but he will still enjoy his time with the girl. He looks again at her eyes, scared and pleading. “Yes… the eyes will tell me everything I need to know.”

He begins pulling out medical instruments and potions readying his covert torture.

Bluff 12 + 17 = 29


Kristy
(Ok, so all viewers of Tayyid’s “medical” practices can roll insight against that bluff.)

Ralithe’s eyes track to the row of bottles, and she tries to shake her head, he can feel that feeble movement with his hand over her mouth. Her lips move against his palm, some soundless pleading. He had to hold her and clamp down hard over her mouth to prevent all but that single first scream from escaping. He probably has moments before the others arrive, before his charade begins.


Arick
With a feeling of malignant elation he pulls out his first vial. With a forced push he forces the contents of the vial down her throat. She feels an acidic burning in her mouth and all the way down her throat. It’s more pain than she has ever experienced in her life, but the other potions are forcing her to stay awake despite the pain. Tayyid gets real close to Ralithe’s ear and whispers, “This is only the beginning my sweet winged beauty. You will yet know what real pain is.”


Kristy
Tayyid’s victim trembles in the firm grip of his arms, still staring up at him with mute, pleading eyes. “Please.” She mouths in the hallowed tongue. “Please, no.” She chokes a little on this last, shuddering, then her eyes fly wide and her body arches slightly with the onset of rising, excruciating pain that she can very much feel, but that her body can not respond to with more than minimal conscious movement, in between the involuntary twitching, gasping, and trembling. Spasmically, she manages to grasp his collar, her grip white-knuckled and shaking with tension. Her awful burn is contorting interestingly with her every small movement, and he knows the pain of that burn is being enhanced by his drug and driven home into her brain. “Hurts!” The ripe lips shape. “Please!”

Tayyid has found that with these drugs, pain alone can kill his victims. He’s never met another man who can replicate this delicate art. Of course, for the cruder methods of torture, the victim blacks out before death by such method can be achieved. To to inflict that level of pain takes an expert with all the right tools, keeping the victim conscious, out of shock, and preventing a heart attack or aneurism along the way with just the right drugs and a touch of divine favor. Tayyid could do this over days, building his doses up gradually, if he had the time, but he doesn’t. He’s had to give her a higher dose, so that she’ll appear, to his companions, to be dying of the magical burns and the fluid lost from them. For poor Ralithe, this means the next few moments are going to be very unpleasant, indeed.


Kristy
Zyrr out-paces the Jhareth, reaching the grove to see Tayyid with the fallen Ralithe, holding her in his arms over his lap as if to calm her or keep her from hurting herself in some convulsive fit. He’s administering a dose of something to the semi-conscious girl, and whispering something to her. His cloak hides his face and hands from view. Ralithe is in bad shape, pale and barely breathing. Her eyes are tracking around, though, and she sees Zyrr, mouthing his name.


John
(Insight 11+9=20)
Zyrr runs into the clearing and stops just short of Tayyid and Ralithe. He stares at the two, taking in the situation. He looks from Ralithe to Tayyid and takes a step forward. “I.. Is she.. okay?”


Arick
Tayyid looks up at Zyrr with a look of contempt. “This was you wasn’t it!? I’ve been doing my best to save her, but it’s not looking good. These burns aren’t normal, they’re from divine magic. What happened!?”


John
Zyrr looks at Tayyid, then Ralithe, and back to Tayyid. He then lifts his shoulders anddrops them. “I.. I.. I don’t.. K.. know..” He then walks over to them and kneels down, taking her from Tayyid’s lap as he asks, “I.. Is she gonna… Gonna be… Okay?” He looks down at her, holding her in one arm, and using his other hand to move her hair from her face, stroking her cheek gently while doing so. “C.. Can you… help?”


Kristy
She’s trembling, but limp. She looks up at him, eyes full of some unspoken , immense, agony. Her lips trace his name, and tears well up in those gray eyes and spill down her sweet face.
She looks as if she’s trying to tell him something, but all that’s coming out is erratic, gaspy breaths, and he’s having trouble reading her lips beyond to catch his name again.


Arick
Tayyid sighs, “I’m not sure at this point. I can try, but it will be very painful for her. I’ve given her a sedative to relax her for now, but I can’t relieve all the pain. You need to tell me exactly what happened.”


John
Zyrr doesn’t look up from Ralithe and shakes his head. “I.. don’t . Know..” he pauses. “My arm started hurting .. then.. this”
________________________________________
Kristy
With immense effort, Ralithe manages to arch a little, drawing Zyrr’s attention to the fact that she’s mouthing one word, over and over. He can’t make out the word. (Sorry, insight too low.) Her clear gray eyes are gripping, so full of agony that it’s difficult to look away.

Tayyid, however, knowing the true situation, can make out the word easily. It’s “Poison.”


Mike
Owl swoops down from the trees, striding over to lay his talon and gloved hand on the girl. Glaring suspiciously at Tayyid, he lets multi-hued lights flow into Ralithe, twitching and beak-clacking as the touch of her skin burns him. “Dying.” He says, sounding disturbed. “Dying too fast for healing magic to keep up. Pain. Too much pain in the girl.” He casts a sharp glance between the two. “Divine energies here, burning within. Conflict of magics. Will require concentration. Hold her steady.” Owl tries harder, sacrificing his own life energy with each healing prayer he channels into the girl, but to no avail. His healing is ineffectual; she’s dying faster than he can heal her.

(Insight check 37, healing check 32.)

(Kristy says the ongoing poison damage is doubling every “round”, and that Ralithe still has ongoing fire damage, also growing incrementally. Owl knows something more than a severe burn is up, but he’s not sure if it’s Tayyid’s actions or Zyrr’s that caused the respective ongoing damages. He suspects malice and murder from Tayyid and an innocent mistake with fire magic or just sheer cursed bad luck from Zyrr. I’m having him too distracted with trying to save her to figure it out this second, but that insight roll means he will figure it out shortly, however. Kristy also says the healing check is high enough that Owl can keep her alive a few extra minutes. He will realize later he was just prolonging her agony, and figure out what happened.)


Kristy
The cousins arrive, with an out of breath and puffing Bazrin. The ghostly young bard tries to aid Owl, with his own healing magic, but runs into the same problems. Remozra watches with her hand over her mouth, while Alchin paces, his face stark and pale.

Owl’s attention is entirely caught up in the conflicting energies within Ralithe’s body. There’s more than one type of divine magic here, and diagnosing the true issue with the magic of a sometimes mad goddess is difficult. Treating it is even more difficult. He’s losing her.

(These three new arrivals speak hallowed tongue, but won’t hear a whisper, if Tayyid says something else while administering a final treatment.)


Arick
Tayyid grimaces as he watches Ralithe. He’ll have to end this more quickly than he’d like. He pulls out a potion and smiles. “This is our only shot at saving her, but it’s risky. I’ll hold her down and you administer the dose.”

He moves to hold her down and he opens up her mouth. “Now, you fool!”


Kristy
Her raspy gasping grows more labored at once, and she’s arching again, mouthing words at Zyrr. All he makes out is “Please.”


John
Zyrr stares at her lips as she mouths the word over and over. He has no idea what he is saying at first, but then he thinks he understands. She is mouthing please, much like she was earlier when she was more lucid. He leans down and presses his lips to hers, one last time. He lingers in the kiss for several moments. He then straightens up, takes the vial from Tayyid, and puts it to her lips. He notices a strange look in her grey eyes, one he has never seen in them before. It doesn’t register what her eyes are attempting to plead to him. He tilts the vial and the contents runs into her open mouth.


Kristy
Ralithe shudders, arching, fingers clenching on his shirt. She gasps his name, but within moments, she’s dead in his arms.


Kristy
Zyrr has a long moment with the limp girl in his arms, then her body fades into greenish-blue mist, floating up in the vague shape of her body, then drifting away.
Remozra cries out and tries to follow, but Alchin holds her, keeping his sister still against him. “No. She’s gone.” They’re both weeping openly. Baz looks shocked, and is staring at Tayyid with some suspicion. “What was that you gave her?”
(Rest done in session)

Episode Fifty One – Ichtaca’s Tale – The Sovereign Stag

In-Character E-mail 48

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