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Primeval Thule - #1 Flowers in the Gardens of Midnight

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Gidum smirked, her lips twisting in ironic consideration. It was close to a smile but there was no joy in her expression. Her voice was soft as she spoke, easily missed if one wasn’t paying attention. “I did not say that Mithra had called me. I have been called, nevertheless.”

As the priest frowned at her, Eingar spoke, then Aridha and Neeva. They effectively moved the conversation forward, but Gidum knew that the priest would come back to her and question her further. He would be denied those answers, but he would try regardless.

If he tried to keep her from joining on the quest, he would find that difficult.

She waited for Pol to come to the point and explain why they had been summoned here.

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Malok enjoyed the food, made polite conversation that matched tone with the rest of those who had been summoned, and generally enjoyed himself. Even when the old priest scoffed at him he smiled and replied "Well met to you too, fellow professor. I am truly glad that Mithra guides the young to have respect for their elders. Too many forget, or just don't perceive, the guidance of the Nine in their lives." 

Then promptly ignoring that man as if he were the smallest of gnats Malok immediately turns for a bit more food. Waste not want not, that is the rule for the hour ... or at least until the free food stops. Some sort of divination magic had singled him and his companions out. No doubt the lady of shadows had a sense for it and had come of her own accord? Another soothsayer like Neeva?  He knew well that magical awareness, especially when gained without the proper training, could lead to certain kinds of mental and spiritual damage. Certainly Gidum seemed to distance herself. No doubt she had seem glimpses of things that should only be viewed through careful reflection. 

Now that he was off the streets he felt he could relax a bit, so he removed his hat and bandanna. Likely these people were not foolish enough to judge from looks, they seemed more competent in manners than at first, but in any event it did not matter for he was not negotiating with them. It did feel good to let his ears free once in a while, let his hair take a more natural shape.  A shame there was no breeze to enjoy.  

As he stowed his hat he smoothly checked his pouches, noting that he had not been pilfered by the fingers of a pick pocket today.  Perhaps they had learned from the last time, oh those fellows hadn't gotten the stains of seaberry juice scrubbed from their faces for a week!  Even the stolid east gate guards had taken to quipping 'Why so blue?' when those street rats passed by. 

Full for the moment, he set about making a few small rolls for later. He would easily use this food for his channeling practice. The new ritual and fast casting dills he had worked out were effective but did work up an appetite.  After that he would visit his two fine lady friends in the south quarter for his regular afternoon romp. Provided being chosen by Mithra didn't take too long.   



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Alberich let out a tired sigh when the priest began prevaricating and stretching things out with flowery speech. "If you cut the fancy words," the dwarf began, giving Pol the careful study of a veteran mercenary, "it rather sounds like the temple has a job they'd like to hire us for. One Mithra's priests can't do - or more likely, don't want to be seen involved in."

He bit off a chunk of meat, tugging with his teeth to clean it down to the bone. "So tell what it is, and I'll at least consider it."

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The towering woman ate the offered food with as much voraciousness as the Nimothan who was so near her size, though she did so with brooding attentiveness, placing meet and cheese inside split loaves of bread. Water was perfectly acceptable to clear her head of drink from the night before. The food was adequate, but not near as satisfying as meat hunted and seasoned herself, and she was have liked some roots, tubers, or fruit to complement the meat, though the sharpness of the cheese was pleasing. Among the jungle tribes, cheese was not a common staple.

Always sparing with her words, Tharra ate in silence, her turquoise eyes flicking around those sharing the meal with her and the bearded godsman who had brought them here, watching for any deception or danger that might require swift violence to deal with. It was pleasing to find a tribesmate here who had not been broken by the journey to Quodeth and she was willing to trust the competence of the fierce, tiny Ha'ney woman who came from the same jungles as the Katjaa.

Seemingly as powerful and large as herself, Tharra decided she would rut with Eingar come the night - he had the fierceness and intensity of her fellow Katjaa Hunters and Warriors, if being much louder than most of them. She found the round dwarf and the slight-elf boy strange, though she couldn't help but give Malok a sharp look when he revealed his ears. His were the only pointed ears she had ever seen beyond her mother's and her own in still pools of water. Given a closer opportunity, Malok could see Tharra's ears were near as delicate as any elf's, though she was formed with more muscle than any elf or half-elf he had ever seen before.

It was the two who were obviously witches to Tharra's eyes that she found most disconcerting. The man didn't not speak for no reason, which Tharra appreciated, but his silence wasn't didn't feel the same as the patient awareness of a hunter - it was more the ominous quiet of black clouds before a terrible storm broke. The tattooed witch though was more ominous still, her eyes too old and knowing for one of her youth. Tharra was respectful of the magics wielded by the Talespinners and Shamans of the tribes, but the powers controlled by witches were dangerous and unnatural.

"I listen to thousand thousand spirits of the beasts and the forests and the land," Tharra added after the others in her high, feminine growl. "Why should I heed the wants of a city man's God?"

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Aldor Pol lets those who have been chosen to speak before continuing himself. With one last look at the troubling Shubure, now Gidum, he sets to answering their challenges and to draw them to his side.

“No you are not Einjar Eamonsson of Arnarfjoror, you are many things but pious is not one of them. It is those other talents which the Nine have need of this day.”

Eingar is chilled when the priest speaks not only his name but his lineage which he has told no one gathered here.

“And you, little Aridha, vengeance is a lonely path and often one which goes unfulfilled. You will find that the Nine have already aided you this day, for in the company you now share there are others whose goal intersects with yours though they may not know it yet.”

Aridha looks askance at her new companions trying to read on their faces who the priest speaks of.

Aldor Pol meanwhile slips into Elvish. “Ser Malok , οι εννέα καλωσορίζω όλους , ακόμη και εκείνοι οι οποίοι κανονικά θα ήταν στην καλύτερη περίπτωση αδιάφορο. Αλλά εγώ προειδοποιούν δεν εχθρός μάρκα του εφημέριου . Αυτός είναι ο δεύτερος πιο ισχυρός practioner σε όλες Quodeth .”


Transllation- Ser Malok, The Nine welcome all, even those who normally would be at best indifferent. But I caution do not an enemy make of the Curate. He is the second most powerful practioner in all of Quodeth.

The in the common low atlantean.

“Your service and veneration has not and will not go unnoticed.”

He starts toward the door but stops “Tharra, The Nine are not city gods they are the Gods of all, Mithra is Lord of the Sun and Sky and all things which lie under then and so to the others of Nine have their domains. They are the gods of all whether you choose to worship them or some other, makes no difference to them. But know,” his eyes shift momentarily to Gidum before returning to Tharra, “there is debt all the wold owe the Nine, for without them the world would be a darker place of madness and torment and man, elf and dwarf, would all be at best enslaved more likely extinct.”

He heads towards the door “You are right Albearich it is time, but it is also easier to show, please follow me.”

Aldor Pol leads them deeper into the temple complex and then into a series of cellars eventually coming to a guarded door etched onto the door about eye height is a symbol about 2 inches across.

The_Elder_Sign.png.6162c7b99d7f374b17449 Image of elder sign


Note – Those with Religion or Arcana can recognize the shape of the symbol as that of an elder sign. These symbols are alleged to protect from things of otherworldy origin.

Gidum – The symbol causes you apprehension until you pass through the door.

The Guards salute and stand aside as Aldor Pol opens the door and ushers everyone in, He makes eye contact with Gidum as he passes.

Inside is a large cellar room lit by numerous oil lamps, in the center of the room are four short-legged tables, on each table a nude body. Three are female one male, each is very pale, their bodies covered with symbols carved into their flesh. Cursory examination shows the symbols to be different on each corpse, except for one. One the abdomen of each corpse is the carving of a large flower.


The nearest corpse is that of a young girl no more than fifteen.

“These corpses were all found in the city canals over the course of the last 4 weeks. The bodies were found bloodless. As you can see by the marks on wrist and ankle, they were bound tightly, I believe in a hanging position while the symbols were carved, an they were let to bleed out while still alive.”

“Who did this?” Growled Eingar as the magic users studied the symbols. Gidum moves closer to the corpse of the young girl.

“I dont know. I believ that a Cult is casting a ritual, to what ends I do not know. The symbols are not known to me, nor their origin. But the symbols etched onto the forhead are numerals in the Serpent script. Four is not normally a mystical number so I believe there will be more. The only symbol shared is the flower...” Aldor's voice comes to a stop as he watches Gidum.

Gidum's hand has reached out and slowly and almost sensually her fingertips brush the the flower, her voice whispering in Elvish. “βρυκόλακας


Translation – Vampire

“What did you say? Gidum?” Asks Aldor also in a whisper.

For several seconds She strokes the flower carved into the flesh, the sight both arousing and horrifying. She looks up at the priest.

“The Vampie Flower. They were raised by Elvish Nobles who fed them the blood of slaves.” Her gaze travels to Malok. “Before Atlantis discovered Thule. What is this?”

She indicates a patch of skin missing from the girls shoulder.

Aldor steps closer to examine the indicated blemish. “It looks as if the skin has been removed.”

“Alright alright already with the mysterious muck! What is it ye want of us?” Interjects the Dwarf.

“Two of you,” his eyes again glance at Gidun, “at least two of you are sorcerers. The nine want you to find these cultist and unravel this spell. The Nine want the rest of you to kill them. All of them.”

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Though he will not apologize in a human way, Malok makes a traditional Elven gesture of peace to the curate and the other priests. His eyes are direct and the sincerity plain. 


At Gidum's mention of the Vampire Flower his visage darkens visibly, he nods and begins walking toward to evidence as he talks. "Those ancestors thought themselves the apex of nature, the rulers of all they surveyed. Some of my kind still hold to that fantasy but some see the truths. Of the serpent folk I do not have personal experience, save that my people and theirs fought. In my youth I learned only stories of that terrible civilization, saw the relics of that time on display. When in the lands where some of the serpents still live my group took pains to avoid them. Many works of magic use diverse sources of lore, however, so this could be anyone."

Malok wastes no time, as he sets about examining the bodies closely. He brings out his writing kit and begins to make shorthand notes and sketches of the symbols, careful not to accidentally conduct any sort of ritual or scribe any functional magical grammar by doing so. 

As he sketches he crouches at times and keeps quiet. His meticulous intensity of focus on each small task is absolute. He is looking for any traces of ritual components, ingredients, indications of tools used or perhaps particles and smudges picked up from locations where the cuts were made. With one of his thin writing quills he will slightly open some of the wounds for such traces, as so many cuts may have embedded clues.


He is conducting the start of a serious investigation. In his work Malok will ritually cast a detect magic spell, looking for any trace or even active magic on the corpses.

He is still listening to what people say and may speak but otherwise will continue working. 



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"The forest gods seem willing to assist, or at least humor, your nine, lest they would not have sent such powerful omens." Neeva said as she stepped forward, glancing at the bodies.

Neeva walked over to the tables and began examining the bodies, lifting limbs, checking joints, eyes, mouths and even turning them over to check their backs. She did not hesitate nor even ask permission. She was Dhari, and to her, if another asked for your help in something like this, then it was a given that you would do what you needed and permission was not required. Neeva started at a body beside the one Malok began with so as to not interfere with his... whatever he was doing.... and worked her way around (,but she certainly would have no difficulty manhandling whatever body he was looking at if he was too slow to move to another body before she reached whatever one he was examining). She looked over the symbols, but inspected the flesh for wounds and the like as well. 

With her swift inspection nearly complete she spoke, 

"They were strung up, upside down, by each wrist and ankle like they were a kill to be butchered." she said.

"They bled out, and then each had their neck snapped, like you do to bird or small game." she said as she held up one of the head by the hair and turned the head back and forth easily. She then dropped it back to the table with an unceremonious *thud*.

"Including the one on the forehead," she said as she tapped the numeral on the male corpse's head, "they each have fifty symbols on them, in no pattern I can see, but none of the symbols repeat on a single body, or even from body to body. And there was more than one hand at work here, carving these symbols though. The Dhari kill and butcher our own meat, so this is something we know well." she said, giving Tharra and even Aridha and small nod, assuming she did the same.

"The flower I do not know though." she said with a shrug, "That drawing is too simple to identify a specific flower by it, but there are plants in the Dhar Mesh that eat both man and beast." 

"Except for them all being Kalayan, I do not see anything shared between them. The women are still young and the girl is barely grown, with the man being the oldest of all." she said, prompting Aldo or speak up.

"All three women were whores. The man was a fellow priest who disappeared while he was investigating this crime, after the second whore was found. The girl is the most recent, brought to me only yesterday." Aldo interjected.

"Whores?" Neeva asked, thinking to herself for a moment before she recalled the term. "A woman who lays with another in return for your city-money? That is a profession here?" she asked in surprise, though not in morla outrage as much as the fact that it was a viable way to make a living within the walls of a city. 

"Humph. It is a place to start, I suppose." she considered.

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Tharra snorted as the priest proclaimed the prominence of the Nine and the debt owed them. In her opinion, city men were too quick to claim debts owed where none exist. But her turquoise eyes shifted to the girl-woman while Neeva, the elf-boy, and the witch studied the corpses and glowered. The leather straps preserving her modesty creaked with strain as her voluptuous, powerfully muscled figure tensed visibly in anger.

Not all men and women were equal - it was a truth some were greater than others, and many were not worthy of being their own masters. She had seen slavery break the will of weak men. But all should be given the chance to prove themselves of worth. Among the city folk, it seemed many were allowed to act the child to an unseemly age. In the tribes of Dhar Mesh, the youngest whore would have been acknowledged a grown woman, but in Quodeth, she was looked upon as hardly more than a girl.

And any potential or chance to make a mark for herself had been stolen from her. Stolen in the furtherance of some dark sorcery! The massive woman grimaced, revealing strong, white, gritted teeth. In forest and jungle, Tharra was confident of tracking down any beast or man, but a city was a different kind of jungle, and she did not know all of its mysteries yet.

Her grimace turned into a dark, vicious grin. She had learned of whores in Ilkath, though she still thought it bewildering city folk would pay to rut and fuck, and knew they claimed their own territory to hunt. Perhaps there, they would be able to find the spoor of the wizards and sorcerors who had done these foul workings of magic. She liked killing workers of dark magic.

"The whores, where do they hunt their prey in this city?" Tharra demanded forcefully. "I will kill the warlocks who have done this thing. But the debt for ridding this foul city of vermin falls to you, priest, and you will pay it."

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“Six,” Gidum said in a soft, dreamy voice. “There will be six dead, or are six dead, or might be six dead. Or they need six. Of four.” Her fingers traced the bloody flower on the girl’s stomach again, feeling her body tighten in response. It happened like that for her now; the wrong and the obscene could make her dizzy with desire. Had Eingar - or any of the men, but in truth he’d be the most likely - tipped her skirt and bent her over the corpse, they would have found her sex ready, and her moans of pleasure all-too-willing.

Her fingers ached to draw out her book and find more information, but she couldn’t risk them seeing. Soon, she silently promised the book. Soon I can touch you again.

It rubbed against her in a minute movement of silent agreement. See what is unseen, it advised.

Gidum’s reluctantly stopped her depraved fondling of the corpse as her fingers began to dance in the air. In a soft undertone, she muttered an incantation to open her eyes to the arcane energies of the space - and hopefully on the corpses.


Casting Detect Magic, too, as a Warlock Invocation


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The priest's knowledge of Eingar's heritage and origin was good for little more than a grunt of respectful acknowledgement.  The huge Northerner took for granted that the gods knew more than mortals, and those mortals who served the gods shared some of that knowledge, in the same way that he took for granted that fire was hot or that snow was cold.  Still, it served as a chilling reminder to the warrior that the gods had taken an interest in him.  Such interest was rarely a good thing.

The bodies at first left him unmoved.  Death was a constant, these were the earthly remains of ones who had been living, and the manner of their death was the only matter of interest to Eingar.  He did consider it somewhat tasteless that the bodies were on display in this fashion - bodies should be burned on a pyre so that the spirits within could be set free, not stored in the dank chill of a cellar.  He was quick enough of wit, though, to gather that the bodies were here so that wisdom could be gained as to their murderers, so felt little outrage on that score.  He folded his massive arms across his chest and turned away as the women examined the dead - tending the dead was honorable woman's work, and it was not right or proper for a true man to see a dead female's mysteries.  Priests, of course, were the exception, as they were servants of the gods.  The elf-boy, too, was excused, as all knew the elves to be effete and sorcerous cowards.  The mention of an unnatural Elven flower drew a grunt from him, his blue eyes narrowing as he restrained the urge to turn and look further.  The initial glance had been enough - he would permit the dead their dignity.  It might seem strange to those who had only a passing acquaintance with the bluff, wild northman, but there were standards even for such as he.

"The whores ply their trade in many taverns, many brothels."  he rumbled in answer to Tharra.  "Some walk the streets, though, if they can find no roof under which to hawk their wares, or cannot afford to pay for such."  He glanced at Aldo.  "Were these street whores or tavern wenches?  It seems that those who work on the streets would be easier prey for a murderer."  He thought of Taila laying there, uncleanly murdered with foul symbols carved into her flesh, and his jaw tightened.  There were ways of dying that were natural: to die in battle, or childbirth, or of an illness.  There were ways of killing which were despicable: to poison someone's food and drink, for example, was a nilthing's deed, as was the knife in the back to settle a score (which in turn was different to inviting an enemy to a feast and then slaughtering them while they were drunk, or stealthily killing an enemy sentry prior to a night raid - on the first example the victim would not have expected the treachery, on the other they should have been more wily or alert.  Barbarian morals can be complicated.)

To torture someone to death was for the most despised of enemies: to repay a blood debt or redress a grievous wrong.  But how many blood-enemies could a whore have?  What grievous wrong could a slip of a girl have committed, to be sacrificed so?  And so Eingar came to an awareness of something he had not, in his youth, considered before: evil.  A cynic, he considered 'evil' to be a word used by people to describe simply that which they did not like.  Pirates were evil, to the merchantman.  Thieves were evil, to the man who had lost his purse.  The northmen were evil, to the soft southerners who shrank from casual violence and hid behind walls.  Doubtless the deer would complain that the hunter was evil, too.  Evil had been just a word too easily uttered.  Now, in the cellar containing cruelly murdered whores with unholy designs carved on their bodies, he realised that there was such a thing as true evil.  Part of him wanted no part of this.  He would find a ship headed out of port and leave this wicked city and it's decadent, unholy denizens behind.

Cupidity stayed his flight.  The temples were rich, and if they wanted to pay him for ridding the world of such unnatural evil, he would do so.

"Tharra of the Katjaa speaks truly."  he looked at Aldo.  "I redden my blades for the cause of none but myself - unless there is gold in the doing of it."

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As he works, Malok silently notes the observations of the others. A few short minutes later he says "I agree with your findings, fine ladies.  Excellent observations. The vampire flower, as I recall, was used in torture. Specifically as a punishment device, the symbol does indeed remind me of that plant. However, that plant is thought to have been extinct for more than a thousand years.  It could also be distilled into a mild anesthetic. Lastly, the patch of skin that has been removed from one of the girls - this patch here - is of special interest."

He points to the patch, continuing "This flesh has not been submerged, note the texture and coloration differences. This was not part of the ceremonial cuts made before. I suspect something was removed after the body was recovered from the water. Perhaps whoever recovered the body had something to hide, perhaps there was an identifying mark, blemish or something the like in this area."

He turns to face the assembled party and asks "What do we know of the whore-mongers in the city that would possibly relate? I am aware of the trade but have no need to pay for a romp, rather womenfolk are glad to reward me for the pleasure. So I don't have intimate knowledge of these particular womenfolk or businesses."   

When speaking of the women in the trade, specifically the poor women here, his empathy for them is plain. It is clear he cares deeply, even if his manner of speech is somewhat detached and cool. 

"As to payment for this, I ask nothing directly for I would gladly see that such foul acts do not mar the city again. I would ask, however, that at a later date of my choosing I be given preference for trade and guild contracts with the temple. You will find me a reputable trader willing to ensure the priesthood gets reliable service and quality goods at reasonable prices. Naturally, all of us may need to recoup expenses if this is something larger than it seems. Though it is only my speculation, the ritual or rituals being conducted here may be a part of something very dark." 


Pausing, he considers and says "I will need a few more minutes. There may be a way I can read the symbols, best to do it here and now while in the sanctified protections of the temple. I would ask that all here pray for me, as what is read can not be easily unread."

He proceeds to another ritual casting (comprehend languages) and examination, tracing and touching the symbols on the body of the poor girl at hand (the one with the patch of missing skin) in supreme silent concentration.  


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"Pray for you..." Neeva said, blinking a time or two in surprise, "..to understand the drawn sounds of the serpentmen??" her confusion and surprise were obvious.

Neeva shook her head and walked over to Malok.

"Truly you and others need not beg gods for succor to do such a thing. Stand on your own two feet. Trust in yourself." she said, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"Bothering gods with such trivialities can make your voice grow tiresome to their ears. They are fickle enough already." Neeva cautioned. 

"Save your prayers for when then is little hope otherwise" she added, giving him a firm slap on his arm with a smile.



Neeva is using inspiration words to give Malok a Bardic Inspiration die. (1d6)

"Once within the next 10 minutes, the creature can roll the die and add the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes. The creature can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Bardic Inspiration die, but must decide before the DM says whether the roll succeeds or fails. Once the Bardic Inspiration die is rolled, it is lost. A creature can have only one Bardic Inspiration die at a time."


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Yngvar circled the podium with the male priest. After a moment of inspection, he reaches into the folds of his cloak and withdraws a gilt tome, cover heavily scrawled in Runes. He flicks it open and begins to quickly sketch down a diagram of the body, scratching the runes upon it down in the appropriate area. He tuns the body over before repeating the exercise on the back.

He seems to calm as he works, his frown not quite as pronounced. He moves on to the next body before beginning another image, as he works, he addresses the priest.

"I'm not familiar with the script. It is curious though. Four corpses in as many weeks, with not a single Rune repeating barring the Vampire flower? With about 50 runes on each corpse, we're looking at a language with 196 different characters already. If Gidums prediction is correct, and it continues in this vein, that will be nearly 300 unique runes. Given that, it's probably based on pictographs rather than a traditional alphabet. In order for them to be utilised in a ritual properly, each of these runes must have a significant meaning, either separate or when put together.....

He lapses into silence for a moment. The scratch of his quill the only noise he makes.

"If I were to hazard a guess, and assuming, once again, the prediction is correct, the ritual would be occurring weekly at a particularly significant hour. Too few kills overall for it to be Lunar based, unless you are missing another four or 5 bodies and given its been 4 weeks, we've already seen a full cycle. As to where, it would depend on what they hoped to achieve, whether they have all been in the same place or spread throughout the city. The Blood and Skin.... awkward to say. The skin had to be taken. I've heard of some occult lore bound in the skin of various races, but from what I can see, given the size of the patch and assuming it's all sewn together, it would need to be small. Some offering perhaps? The blood I would need to know whether it was let spill or was collected. This might be a renewal ritual, offering life for life, many who dabble in such practices are tempted by the prospect of life beyond what is granted by the gods. This is all my gut response though, I'll need to think a bit more before I come up with something more comprehensive, confer with both Gidum and Malok. Tell me, though, the priest. Was he involved in the investigation at all, or was he a complete divergence from their normal preferred victim? If he was gone for less than a week, we can start narrowing down the days to when he was killed."

He pauses in sketching the third body, expectant eyes on the priest, previous temper all but forgotten.




The Cover of Yngvars Tome, from the brief glimpse anyone can catch of it

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Neeva listens to Yngvar and speaks up when he finishes.

"If what the elf says it true, then that skin was cut off after the body removed from the water. So whoever found the body, or somebody who has had access to it before us cut off that skin...  to hide something from us or others."

Neeva looks to Aldor, her expression clearly one of displeasure.

"Did you or yours do this? What is being kept from us?" she asks.

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Aldor Pol watched as the two foreign Sorcerers, the Dhari woman , and the young woman he knew as Shubure youngest daughter of a powerful ship building family, began to examine the bodies.

In thirty yeas of service to the Nine he had never seen anything of this like and moreover he had never been sent such vision. He was an archivist, nothing more and this was so far beyond his training. But it was hi calling and his duty.

“Every Alehouse has at least one Whore, and while other city-states have women who ply their trade for them selves, not so in Quodeth. There are four Brothels in Quodeth, each owned by a different Thieves Guild, and each Brothel operates a few smaller houses. Whores in Quodeth if the are not owned by an ale house work for one of these four.”

“Do you know which brothel they come from?”

“No. I have not been allowed to investigate that. But Todos,” He indicates the dead Priest, “indicated that the first two woman were probably prostitutes because no one was looking for them. That is where his own investigations were leading him before he was killed. And the person to delivered the last body confirmed that she work for the betrothal run by a man called Yellow Paa.”

Gidum begins casting a spell. Everyone pauses to watch as her finger weave hypnotically in the air, her body slowly enticingly swaying. She closes her hands into fist an looks again at the small body before he shaking her head. She has found nothing. It was then that the other two the elf and the savage woman began exploring her corpse.


On 2/10/2016 at 9:46 AM, Prof Flux said:


Pausing, he considers and says "I will need a few more minutes. There may be a way I can read the symbols, best to do it here and now while in the sanctified protections of the temple. I would ask that all here pray for me, as what is read can not be easily unread."




15 hours ago, Neeva of the Katjaa said:

"Pray for you..." Neeva said, blinking a time or two in surprise, "..to understand the drawn sounds of the serpentmen??" her confusion and surprise were obvious.

Neeva shook her head and walked over to Malok.

"Truly you and others need not beg gods for succor to do such a thing. Stand on your own two feet. Trust in yourself." she said, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"Bothering gods with such trivialities can make your voice grow tiresome to their ears. They are fickle enough already." Neeva cautioned. 

"Save your prayers for when then is little hope otherwise" she added, giving him a firm slap on his arm with a smile.


  Reveal hidden contents


On 2/10/2016 at 9:46 AM, Prof Flux said:


He proceeds to another ritual casting (comprehend languages) and examination, tracing and touching the symbols on the body of the poor girl at hand (the one with the patch of missing skin) in supreme silent concentration.  




Malok's hand hover over the corpse his lips moving.


Hands and arms wrap around him the Dhari woman and the tattooed witch come to either side touching him disrobing him they know no shame. The other Dhari comes behind him she is also disrobed her hands caress as her mouth finds his. The woman lay him on the pallet next to the corpse. The girl looks through him with dead eyes. The three woman caress, kissing bind his wrists and his ankles, they raise him up he floats spread above the beautiful corpse of the child whore. The dead eyes watching him. He looks at the beautiful body displayed before him at the beautiful flower blooming on the pale stomach. The flower blooms and the color red and blue and green suddenly the flower opens and shoot grow from ths stomach of the child corpse. Each shoot tiped with a bud, the corpses eyes flicker to life her moth opes and the same tendrils reach out, the buds open into tiny mouths with razor sharp teeth, they attache themselves to Malok the mouths carving into flesh drawing blood leaving strange symbols carved into his body his life flow into the flower the corpse kisses him the tendrils entering him....


Malok's hand hover over the corpse his lips moving eyes closed he sways then his lips close tightly he shakes his head violently from side to side and his eyes open wide a look of terror on his face then he collapses into unconsciousness.


The priest rushes to Malok's side Neeva already there the others crowd around all except Gidum. Gidum backs away her magic which revealed none until the simple spell the elf conjured is now revealing more. Her sight shows the glow of hell spawned blood oozing from the symbols of the corpses. Not just the child but all of them!



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Gidum halted, her back against the wall, she made no sound, not even a warning for those in her company. Instead she readies a spell almost without thought as she pushed her bag containing the Book behind her to guard it from harm with her own body.

Eingar was the first to notice the corpses moving as everyone else (except Gidum) was observing the collapse of the elf. His cursing, from a combination of surprise and superstitious fear, warned everyone of the abominable tableau occurring in their presence. As each of them became aware of the corpses rising from their repose, each mind was accosted by the hideous unnatural phenomena.

Tharra who had actually encountered the undead before but had been unaware of what she had faced now now found her mind incapable of excepting what she saw arising before her.

Eingar casting aside his barbarian fear took his hammer into his hands and with a fast step to the child corpse, brought it down upon the dead things head. The hammer struck the girl thing a glancing blow causing it head to cant at an obscene angle.

The sudden action of Eingar broke the hold freezing most of the others in place. Recognizing the assault on sanity Aldor raises the symbol of Mithra above his head and and calls to his God. “Mithra hear my plea! God of the Sun, Lord of the Sky and all which lies beneath it, Protect your chosen servants from these evil abominations!”

The corpses falter and the Horror and fear recede.

Taking up the essence of Aldor's prayer Neeva positions her self between the swooning Malok and snatching her whip from her side snaps it in a resounding crack which the corpses all look toward as she raises her own voice not in supplication but for inspiration. "These are naught but shambling, stumbling, hollow husks animated by uncontrolled, sorcerous power! Do not be deceived into thinking they have life once more. Fear them no more than the branches of a tree moving by the wind and strike them down like the straw men they are!"

Alberich's rasp was far far more annoyed than scared. "You elves and your damn flowers. One kind was bad enough." Frankly, he'd seen enough of monstrosities and magic to not blanch like a whelp. Moving as a steady but implacable wall of steel, he raised his shield and mace-axe and waded into the fray. The Male corpse was his chosen target and axe met flesh with a sickening thud, as the large blade easily carved through skin, muscle, and bone to bury itself into the things side. Then with a raised foot planted firmly on the undeads hip, Alberich rips his axe free, toppling the thing back onto the table in a sitting position with thick viscous yellow pus leaking from the massive wound.

In a blur of motion the small halfling, Aridha springs past he larger men and drawing her blade and slashing at the back of the child whores back drawing a thin line of the ugly oozing pus.

Back against the wall Gidum feeling a stirring inside as the chamber erupts into violence, utters the words of power sending a lance of bluish green energy from her raised hand into the nearest of the animated corpse. The impact smashes into the corpse sending it reeling into the table ahead of it.

Seeing the corpse lurching to attack Neeva utters in a sing song voice a spell, embellishing it with a further snap of her whip the three nearest corpses all lock their eyes on the flicking end as it whips about with deft movements of the Dhari hunters wrist.

With but a moments hesitation Yngvar Bites back a curse and snaps the tome shut, and backs towards the main party, never turning from the newly risen corpses, with a sharp gesture a small bolt of fire kindles itself into being and is sent flying towards the nearest corpse, That of the woman -child, whose body burst into flame, teeters for a few second before dropping to its knees where it continues burning releasing a foul smelling oily black smoke! Withdrawing his hand, he pulls his axe from his hip.

The remaining corpses two of them under the effects of the Neeva's Bane casting, rush forward, the dead priest lashing out at Alberich as it fumbles to its feet. The experienced Dwarven warrior easily leans back from it clumsy blow. The unharmed female horror throws her self bodily at Aldor who also side steps the thing a look of pity and disgust clouding his features. The whore knocked down by Gidum's eldritch blast struggles to it's feet and charges at Eingar who blocks its attempt o slam into him.

Tharra whose mind seems to clear readies herself to join the fray.


None of the party are injured, one corpse the child corpse with the missing patch of skin is destroyed and burning. the remaining three are still active with two being damaged and the third unharmed.

please stat next combat actions in the combat thread. malok is still unconscious but Tharra may act normally all disadvantage is now gone.


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Outside the cellar chamber the two guards react to the muffled sounds coming from within. They try the door but it had been looked and sealed by Aldor upon their entry. Hearing unmistakable sounds of conflict inside one of the guards continues to try and break down the door while the other runs to summon aid.


Meanwhile back inside the cellar the undead abominations continue their mindless assault.

Tharra brought out of her stupor by the prayer intoned by Aldor, snarls with rage and disgust at the travesty of corpses not staying decently dead, and bolstered by and the priest's exhortations and the actions of the others, frees her mighty great sword from her back and stepping forward between the corpse and Eingar, wields her blade underhanded in a mighty swing which cleaves the dead prostitutes body in twain. But it is not just the corpse that is cut in two to Tharra and Eingars horror for nestled inside the dead whore was a thing now also cut in two. It was made of a bulbous half formed flesh with small stubby tentacles, from it comes the yellowish pus and the stench of death and honey. The two warriors reel back in horror.

Aldor after intoning his prayer and dodging the corpse rushed to Maloks side there he falls to one knee and grasping the sunburst symbol of Mithra intones a new prayer while laying his hand upon the writhing elfs forehead.

With afoul curse resigning the dead whores souls to Nergal, Alberich slams the pick end of his axe into the neck of the corpse and working it furiously back and for the rips the things head clean off. Spewing pus the body crashes to the ground.

The halfling and the witch attack the remaining corpse , that of the unfortunate priest. Aridha's blades whipsawing into the dead flesh as the bolt from Gidum slams into it causing the unholy thing to explode in a gory mess of human body parts and alien flesh.

Actions stop in mid swing as the remaining fighters see that all the foe are down and destroyed.

Then the clangor at the door draws their attention.

Aldor leaps to the door and makes a second casting bolstering the door and puzzling the rest of the group.

“Come quickly.” He rushes to the wall where Gidum stands. “When the see this they will hold all of us for questioning. YOU must go This must be stopped!” He fumbles with the wall and a secret door opens. “Through here this will lead you to a street near the harbor. The man who brought the last victim said that she worked for a brothel run by a pimp named Yellow Paa. IU will take care of this and keep them off your trail as long as I can. Now go! Find Answers and put an end to this!”


Th tunnel door shuts behind you and eventually you come to the harbor. Malok still a bit out of it has enough wits to lead you to a safe harbor tavern where you can clean up and plan your next move. This is where find your selves. In a back room of a tavern in the harbor district. You are basiclly fugitives of the Church and all hope of clearing yourselves and collecting any reward lies in putting an end to this evil plot. you have one clue Yellow Paa. Use this next set of posts to RP among you since you have not had a chance to talk and to plot a move.


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Malok insists on walking when he can, but is still staggered and lapses into fits along the way. He has enough lucid moments to utter "The Sail ... the Sail and Barrel on the south side ... of the piers district. Hakken, Thados Hakken ... owes me a favor.  He ... will put us up in the private back room if he sees me."

In his fits he seems to be fighting something, as if desperately trying to free himself from a trap or a grapple. When his eyes are open, it is like he looks beyond the people and place around him. It is as if he is trying, with grim determination, to see ... something ... terrible. 


Thados indeed does put all of you up in the somewhat seedy but also fairly comfortable back rooms of the tavern. It seems that more than the occasional high stakes card-and-dice game happens here. He tells you that at least one of the three back rooms are available at any time, you all just have to clear out if there is a game in a given room. Maybe later he can put you up in the bunks upstairs, but when Malok looks this bad trouble usually follows ... so it's safer to stay in back.  There are three back doors, two to each alley out either side and one into sewers, though it will be a tight fit for the taller in your crew. 

Thados doesn't look pleased to see Malok in this condition, but the big bar man isn't surprised by the fact all of you are in trouble. He is tight lipped about things, but will say "I owe Malok a great deal, he's been very generous in my own times of trouble." 



Malok is stuck in this hallucination, but he isn't about to let this chance go. He will make sure he knows the enemy. Even if it means reliving the trauma a few times while the circumstances of magic and mind persist, he will fix this beast in his mind. When the time comes, he will be prepared. 


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Malok's instance on walking when he could did not impress Neeva. He was not well, and that was clear to all.

"You need not try to impress with your fortitude, I think that battle is well and lost for the time being. You are better served by sharing what burden you can." she said as she grasped his wrist and pulled his arm across her shoulders with one hand, while the other went across his back to shoulder the elf and help him along the tunnel.

At the end of the tunnel she stopped and took a moment to tie Malok's bandanna around his head to conceal his ears. She was not quite certain why he took such measures to conceal what he was, but she could see that it was something he did and he was in no state to even think about it himself. She then stuck his hat on his head and shouldered him once more, giving the others a nod that she was ready to continue.

She helps him through the alleys and streets, occasionally annoyed by him fighting against her until they finally reach the Sail & Barrel  She nods to Thados in thanks as she and the others make their way into the back room. She sets Malok in a chair and looks him over with a small frown on her face.

"Well... best to see what else in store for you." she said as she grasped his hand firmly. On her other hand she a crude ring with an eagle talon fastened to it. , scratched his palm, leaving a small trail of crimson, causing his hand to reflexively jerk, but not out of her form grasp. She then closed his hand into a fist and squeezed it, letting a few drops of blood fall from it. 

Neeva watched the blood drops intently as they fell, noting the shape, spacing and distribution of the drops. She nodded to herself with her eyes still transfixed on the drops.

"Good enough." she said and reached into her back to withdraw a small cloth which she pressed into his palm as she kept a vigil over him while they all spoke.

"Do any of you have knowledge of this Yellow Paa?" she asked the others, though she looked at Eingar, apparently assuming he had some applicable experience.




Neeva performing a Fortunetelling on Malok:

"Foretelling (1st level): You can perform a foretelling for one ally within 30 feet. This requires one minute, and you cannot foretell for yourself. Roll d20 twice and record the results. You can substitute one of these d20 rolls for a d20 roll made by the target ally or made by an enemy attacking the target ally. The target ally need not be in sight, and you do not need to be able to take an action or even be aware of the ally’s situation—you performed your foretelling earlier, and now it is unfolding. You can create a foretelling once per day, and substitute up to two d20 rolls with each foretelling."

[Noir] 9:48 pm: I'll roll now if you can witness (and Ideally Jer)
[Noir] 9:48 pm: or Sun
Noir *rolls* 1d20: 8: 8
Noir *rolls* 1d20: 17: 17
[Noir] 9:49 pm: so yeah, that 8 is gonna replace a natural 20 or something an enemy rolls against you. lol
[Prof Flux] 9:49 pm: sweet
[Prof Flux] 9:49 pm: thx
[Noir] 9:49 pm: I cannot wait till I do it and roll a natural 20
[Noir] 9:49 pm: having a natural 20 banked would be awesome
[Jeremy] 10:07 pm: Noir: Yeah, a nat 20 would be so awesome.



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The sight of the unnatural parasites hiding within the animated dead filled Tharra with utter disgust. Most of the peoples of the Dhar Mesh well knew the dangers of diseases and parasites afflicting the flora and fauna of the jungle, since for many, their lives depended on them, and they took every step necessary to curtail their spread. The... things growing within the viscera of the dead was a great deal more worrisome.

So while she didn't fear the danger posed by the god's men pounding at the door, she did agree with the priest that stopping the squamous parasites was more important and they couldn't waste the time engaging Aldor's brethren. When the priest revealed the concealed passage, Tharra sheathed her great-blade and was the first through, ducking her head and hunching powerful shoulders as she navigated the cramped tunnel.

Once outside on the streets, Tharra stretched mightily, then took the lead with the Nimothan Corsair, while Neeva supported the slight elf. When their sheer size didn't provide them a clear path, Tharra and Eingar used brute strength, of which the two massive barbarians had in excess. They made good time to the Sail and Barrel, despite Malok's almost incoherent directions.

The back room of the tavern was rank with old smoke and stale beer, but it was away from prying eyes and would give them a base camp from which to begin their search for this Yellow Paa, a shepherd of whores. She glanced at Eingar, then shrugged a powerful shoulder at Neeva, who was reading the tale in the elf's blood.

"No." Tharra answered her tribesmate with taciturn brevity, not uncommon among the Dhari, not bothering to use two words where one will do.

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Yngvar silently followed along as the group made their escape, lost in thought as they made their way through the city. Was it Necromancy? Hard to tell. The symbols could have either been to raise the corpse or sustain the plant growing inside. Was it Magic animating the things, or were they puppets to their Parasite? He wished he had studied Necromancy more in depth. His talents had always lain in more blatant showings. Frost, Fire and Lightning. The Dead were beyond him at the moment. Something to perhaps look into once the current situation was dealt with. The perpetrators were unlikely to be doing all of this from memory, so odds were good that there was some Tome with instructions. Formulae, rituals and words of power. Maybe he would get a chance to peruse it before someone took offence to it's existence and sought its destruction.

Settling at the table in the room, he opened his tome back to the page, he began to scratch down his findings thus far, the spidery script with its strange curves and angles flowing easily from long practice. He frowned in frustration at the lack of knowledge, scribing the final symbol for fire onto the page. At the smaller Dhari's question he looked up, listening to the other responses.

"Nor I. If you seek knowledge of the brothels of this place, Eingar would likely be most knowledgeable. Else, we need seek someone local."

Piece said, he returned to perusing his tome. Is it the corpse or the plant that reacts so badly to the fire? He would need to expose it to some frost at their next meeting. Poison would likely do near nothing, though the Chromatic Orb could eat at things as an acid would. He made an idle note to cycle through them when he got the chance. Knowledge being power.


Language Yngvar writes in is Mi-Gou.


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Eingar frowns. "The girl I was with she would know this Yellow Paa. I will go to her, the rest of you wait here. The churchmen will be looking for us as a group i can pass more easily alone. When I return we will go see this yellow Paa and end this travesty."

Eingar leaves quietly and the rest of the assembly clean themselves of the filth of the battle with baths and wait.

Hours pass, one meal then two and Eingar has not returned. The Tavernkeep is questioned. He has heard nothing of Eingar, and when asked about Yellow Paa he admits to knowing the name but naught else, but he does know someone who does and will send for him.

In a short time a man called Laytho comes, Neeva recognizes this man as the one who passed hand signals to the fiddle player in the market that mornign she also makes note of a strange tattoo on the man's hand running from the base of his thumb  up the side of his right index finger.





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  • 2 weeks later...

Thados, the tavern keep followed the newcomer in and went to the elf, leaning close he whispered into his ear, then departs.

Malok heaves a sigh then stands. "There was trouble at Eingar's woman's rooms. The city guards became involved, there was bloodshed. The Northman was overcome and taken to the city gaol, beyond this his fate is unknown." Turning to Lythos he continues. "Thados say you know of Yellow Paa. What can you tell us about him?"

The big man rubs his stubbled chin thinking before answering. "He is a fat flesh merchant, slaves and whores, he operates a brothel near the Stonquay nearest the western Isle.he's rich counts himself a true merchant but he isn't not really. His true masters are the Seven Knives. "What business do you have with him? You don't look like your interested in slaves, perhaps...whores?"

The look and the tone of his voice suggest that he knows things but will not speak freely.


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Lythos scratches his chin some more and his brow furrows. "I witnessed you being taken by the priests of Mithra this morning, and now those same guards and priests are searching the streets for you. it will not be long before they come here. Yellow Paa cannot help you I think. But perhaps my mistress can."


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Waiting for Eingar to return, the immense Dhari woman began pacing in agitation, finding the small room confining. When the man told them Eingar had been taken by the guardsmen, her Tharra's irritation sharpened. Not so much due to the account of bloodshed or Eingar being taken to the gaol, but because her plans for the night now had to be changed.

She wanted to hit something. She stepped up the Lythos, looming over him by half a head or more despite his size, her turquoise eyes hard as stone. "We care not for Yellow Paa or his masters. There are those killing whores in this foul city. We wish to find these killers and..." A faint, fierce, grin tugged at her lips. "... kill them. If your mistress can help us find them, then take us to her."

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Everyone looks at each other then Malok opens the pouch at his belt and extracts several coins while stepping up to Lythos. "Can you give us a few moments good sir, please let me buy you some refreshment, in the tap room." He holds the coin out to the big man who looks at everyone else then takes the coins and heads out to the main room.

"I shall await your convenience."

Once the door shuts Malok shakes his head and looks at his human companions. "I'm worried about our Northman," he catches Yngvarr's look, "our other Northman. The loss of his mighty arm while not a disater does weaken us some what. and I need to give warning. When I cast my spell it did not go wrong. What I saw will haunt me for the rest of my days. And baring misfortune that will be a long long time." He sits in one of the more comfortable chairs. and pointing at Yngvar continues. "I know you have been copying those marks from the bodies and trying to find some reference in your books. But i am afraid your efforts are for naught. What we thought were symbols were created by the bite of the most horrid creatures I have ever seen." He shudders a little and swallows before continuing."I saw from the point of view of the victim, suspended in a strange garden of plants and flowers i have nver seen before. There were many people there, my vision was lurid to say the least, the cultists were lewd and performed sexual acts on me while a priest of some sort cast his ritual. Then from the earth below me things arose. They were neither plant nor animal but some queer amalgam of both. The things had tendrils with sharp mouths they bit into me and drained my blood the marks were made by the mouths. I lost my senses as my blood was drained. but that is what i remember." He rubs his head. "There is one more thing. I remember crumbling walls and the moon was full and could be sen clearly as if from great height."

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"..... you are a wielder of Arcane power. Please refrain from gesturing at me so."

He is quiet for a moment.

"A strange creature, that bites like that. I suppose though that they are not typical. Either way, not pertinent at the moment. You say that you saw things from a great height and that the walls were in disrepair. Did you perchance see any buildings surrounding you? Or might this place have been outside the city proper? It would be a simple enough action, to get into and out of the city. Further, the garden itself. Was it walled on all sides? Or was it behind the building in question?"

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Malok ponders the question.

"I saw no other buildings, other than the wall, I do not think it was a very tall wall in it's day. I do not recall seeing anything beyond it save mist now that i think on it. And there was a small building close behind where i was being murdered. I remember that I saw a door there with a guard wearing a mask and holding a lance. I'm sorry I cannot be more precise but the spell overcame me."

He shrugs apologetically.

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Neeva listened and nodded as she thought to herself as well, considering the words of Malok and the others.

"Finding Yellow Paa on our own would be laborious with out lack of knowledge of this... place.. Lythos wishes to take us to his Mistress to speak about him. If the Seven Knives are so powerful, then it would be best not to anger her or them and meet. She may know of the ruined garden and we can always go looking for him on our own if our meeting with her does not bear fruit." the blonde Dhari woman proposed.

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Gidum who had been sitting still as a statue suddenly stands. "I will go inquire about the Northman.  They would not dare trouble me about it."

This sudden proclamation surprises everyone with it's abruptness. Malok speaks as she heads toward the door.

"I don't know if that is such a good idea, we may need your magic."

She stops at the door and looks at Neeva and Yngvar "You have plenty of magic. The Northman has none. And I think he will need some. I will send Lythos in." She opens the door and stops again. "Wild girl, his mistress isn't one of the seven knives, she is much, much worse. she is an idealist."

Before anyone can say anything else she is out the door and gone.

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A few moments later Lythos enters the room followed by the Bar Keep. Thados, the aforementioned barkeep goes past the group and opens a door to a store room. Turning back to them he ushers them forward while hastily explaining. "Come this way quickly. The Church Soldiers are on this street and searching for you."

The group moves into the storage area where he opens a trap door. "Down here there is a boat Lythos can take you somewhere safe."

In moments, everyone is in the row boat. Lythos takes the tiller.

"Where are you taking us?" Asks Tharra.

"To a safe place where you can rest easy. while you wait there I will fetch my mistress. she won't come until after dark, though. You will need her and I think she will need you. The girl was once a ... friend of my mistress and she feels that she is responsible for what happened to her. That is why Yellow Paa will be of no use. She has already put him to the question. The girl, Lundi, bought her freedom from Paa the day before her death. He did not know where she got the coin, but I think my mistress does. That is why she will help you." he pauses a bit. "I think"



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The massive woman stayed low in the boat, so her muscled mass did not overturn it and dump the group of them into the water. The Katjaa were not a water-faring tribe and had little experience with boats beyond personal kayaks. Tharra found this tiny ship much less stable than the one she had taken to cross the Golden Sea.

Her turquoise eyes darkened, learning that the dead whore-girl had acquired her freedom just before her death. Silently, Tharra promised if this Yellow Paa had any hand in this foul travesty, she would take his manhood. Her glower turned to Lythos. "Your mistress will help or will pay for wasting our time." Her dark brows crinkled questioningly. "The Witch accused your mistress of being an Idealist. What thing does she believe in?"

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Lythos studied the barbarian woman for several hart beats, gods it must be so nice to live with simple thoughts he thinks before answering. "The witch said that did she? That will interest my mistress. I do not speak for Dayse Varr, she is a woman of many faces with many passions. She opposes tyranny and oppression but she also sees how the world works and that some are naturally born to serve and that some are made to rise above. And some , like Lundi are just born for misfortune."

The boat slides through tunnels filled with stagnant foul smelling water, a single torch at the bow lighting there way.

"Dayse came upon Lundi when she was a child, maybe ten, probably younger it is hard to know. She was already a whore selling herself for pennies or scraps of food. Dayse took her in, cleaned her up and tried to give her a better life. For three years she tried to train her in any number of professions, both legitimate and illicit, anything to keep her off her back, but Lundi was not able to learn. Dayse believe in responsibility and self reliance so her charity could only go so far. In the end she took Lundi to Yellow Paa, all lundi knew how to do could do was whore. Yellow Paa while a whore monger is not a bad one as far as they go there are many worse. he keeps a clean house and treats his charges well, even cares for them in his own way." He guides the boat into a new tunnel. "Lundi did well there. Dayse had found a place where she could at least do what she seemed good at and support herself. Her death has angered her. And that is a dangerous thing."

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