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Author Topic: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt  (Read 114404 times)

Forge

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #350 on: September 13, 2015, 02:45:13 pm »

Heldric pulls back to between two of the statues to use a shields

"You manipulated our minds to give them those orders and have us fight eachother?" He asks quietly, just loud enough for his voice to carry as he scans the surroundings to try and locate their assailant.
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #351 on: September 13, 2015, 03:03:54 pm »

"What's your game?" Steeple asks, "Of what use are these trophies to you?"
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #352 on: September 20, 2015, 05:30:41 pm »

"I simply showed everyone those who had changed them the most in their time as living or dead. Maybe that is a manipulation, maybe not.

Trophies, trophies! Hahaha, these are no trophies my dear guests, these are my children all, and a poor necromancer who made the mistake of wandering into my domain. They live, each of them, frozen forever in worship of the Goddess."
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Forge

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #353 on: September 20, 2015, 06:02:04 pm »

Heldric does not like this. He likes the opportunity of escape and while the path he follows tells him to aid allies it tells him that his own survival is much higher on his priorities.

He keeps looking around the room for a way out "So you Trap them here facing that statue?"
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #354 on: September 20, 2015, 06:10:20 pm »

Heldric's gaze runs across the room and he quickly locates what appears to be the only way out, a small rounded doorway opening in the southern end of the room.

Still unsuccessful in finding his assailant, he listens to her next bit of dialogue - "Oh come now, are you trying to run already?"

All of a sudden Andreas wakes forcefully, leaping up and violently rushing Heldric - pushing him onto the ground with a painful thud, salt again filling the air. He looks madly into Heldric's eyes and then opens his mouth, his fangs out, his throat empty of a tongue - and screams - "DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU CAN HIDE FROM ME, LITTLE RAT?!"

Then Andreas is gone, as suddenly as he'd jumped from his magical sleep he is back in it, lying on the ground unconscious.


Steeple sees Heldric drop all of a sudden, apparently for no reason, looking with wide eyes at something that appears to be above him.
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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #355 on: September 20, 2015, 07:50:01 pm »

Heldric stands and checks himself for wounds before looking at Andreas "So you can even make Andreas Attack me? Or was that another mind trick because I saw the exit is back there?" He asks the voice while backing away from the crystals.
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #356 on: September 21, 2015, 06:35:20 am »

"The Crone I have heard of, but why are you?" Steeple asks, "And what have you done with my Nadia?"

Steeple uses Quickened Sight to scan around, searching for anything that might hint to who the spider of this web might be.
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #357 on: September 21, 2015, 04:57:33 pm »

Heldric appears to be entirely unwounded

The voice speaking changes up now, it's a young, familiar woman's voice. Where there had previously been nothing but disappointingly difficult to trace echoes and silence, now shadows streak through the shining crystal salt and clear, crisp steps are heard. A distorted humanoid form is seen moving through the salt walls, headed for the exit (and entrance) to the Crone's chapel.

"Why? Now that's a question I rarely hear. Whatever tickles my fancy, sweet guest. Hunger and sacrifice in Blood and Salt, tickle my fancy quite often."

Nadia steps through the entrance to the Crone's chapel, looking ragged, bloody and delicately holding a knife to her own neck by the tips of her fingers, where Steeple can almost hear the pulse of her heart.

Nadia runs the knife along her neck as she speaks, almost playfully so.

"I've been sleeping for a very long time, you see. I woke up quite recently - I believe to you it would be sometime in the 9th century - and i've made a quiet little home here for myself. I have little need for more. Should I want for more, Steeple?"
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 05:05:28 pm by Drakilian »
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #358 on: September 21, 2015, 05:25:10 pm »

"Nadia!" Steeple gasps; then clenches a fist and slumps a bit. 'How can something be so all powerful?!?' Steeple thinks to himself with a frustrated growl; 'Why can't I be all powerful for a change?!?'

Then speaking to the thing in front of him he says - "I'll presume that you really have my Nadia and that this is not just another manipulation - out of respect for what she means to me."

"And no; what more is there, than absolute dominion over your own slice of creation?"

"I do like what you've done with this whole salt theme too."

"As owner of this particular mine (the entry parts at least) - I mean not to imply any ownership of this, your sovereign domain - I could ensure that no one ever came down here to try usurping what is rightfully yours."

"I could close the mine if you like. Or perhaps continue to mine the upper regions - allowing the random miner or two to occasionally venture your way? A proper tribute to your exceeding grace in allowing four humble creatures, such as ourselves, to escape this marvelous web you have fashioned down here."
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 05:28:09 pm by BerkaZerka »
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #359 on: September 21, 2015, 05:58:04 pm »

A high-pitched laugh escapes Nadia's throat, beautiful where from the unseen hag's throat it had been a rotten cackle. Steeple feels his hands tighten when he sees Nadia almost lose proper hold of her knife, nearly cutting her own throat while laughing. No doubt a taunt of some sort.

"The flavour of your madness is invigorating little Malkavian; your words are nearly as sweet as your blood. But tell me, what stops me from doing all of that myself?"

Prince Maurice whispers into Steeple's ear, sensing his frustration.

"Because she doesn't want to. She doesn't do it for the same reason she doesn't rule Krakow, or rule half of Transylvania. She doesn't do it for the same reason the greatest Tzimisce ancients are no longer vovoides but hermits like Yorak, tender of the Cathedral of Flesh. She just doesn't care enough."

Another giggle sounds from the thing inhabiting Nadia.

"Well now, how far do you think you can trust the little voices inside your head Steeple?"
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 07:04:13 pm by Drakilian »
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #360 on: September 21, 2015, 06:41:12 pm »

"Implicitly!" Steeple declares - "My Prince (when it is really him) is beyond reproach!"
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Forge

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #361 on: September 21, 2015, 06:57:37 pm »

Heldric keeps quiet,best to keep out of the affairs of madmen and they both seem rather mad at this juncture. He also is getting more desperate to leave, having Andreas assault him, even as an illusion is unsettling enough without this... Creature flaunting it's even greater powers
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #362 on: September 21, 2015, 08:05:52 pm »

Nadia grins.

"Your confidence in your broken prince is wonderfully naive. Keep careful mind of what happens when others like myself use him against you."

The knife falls out of Nadia's hand and clatters to the ground.

"I find your terms for release... acceptable. You may operate the upper levels of this mine in return for a monthly tribute to be added to my collection of sons and daughters. I shall consider the necromancer and his two followers to be your first.

In return I will ensure that your pitiful sire's efforts do nothing to cease efforts at the mine."

Nadia says so with a sort of surprising finality - who is she, buried deep in the bowels of her salt kingdom, to halt the workings of one such as Vladivostok?
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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #363 on: September 21, 2015, 08:12:56 pm »

"Wait, where is Mr. Whitey!" Heldric bursts out with, then remembering who he is speaking with "He is an Important friend I cannot leave without."
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #364 on: September 21, 2015, 08:18:16 pm »

Nadia sputters out a last few words, still the wicked smile plastered on her face as the thing withdraws from her body.

"Perhaps we can speak on that matter more personally, little brother. Stay when Steeple leaves with his little mortal thing."

Nadia collapses then, unconscious onto the ground.
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #365 on: September 22, 2015, 06:22:25 am »

"Thank you your grace!" Steeple exhales in relief and wonder - rushing to pick up Nadia.

"Heldric, I don't mean to be in a rush my good man, but I'll meet you with will O' wisps out in the tunnels that go up."

Steeple then heads out with Nadia, well into the darkness, before taking a few minutes to cast Will O The Wisp to light the remaining way.

'What did she mean 'broken'?' Steeple asks Maurice, 'you have not so much as a crack or a chip!'
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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #366 on: September 22, 2015, 03:35:35 pm »

Heldric ensures he can see and awaits the... Whatever it is alone in the strange room, getting more than a little nervous knowing he has no choice in the matter.

Since the most nervous one always breaks the silence first "I am here alone now, you said little brother, does that imply Nosferatu?"
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #367 on: September 22, 2015, 09:22:51 pm »

"She's a damned wicked bitch is what she is, she doesn't know what she's talking about", Prince Maurice angrily mutters in response.

Steeple makes it out of the salt castle and sees that the light filling the cavern comes from dozens of softly glowing wisps flying through the ceiling of the immense cavern in which the structure is located. Pillars of Salt reach hundreds of feet into the air to the ceiling, clear as diamonds, sending wisp-light spinning outwards like the heavenly lights Anton would describe seeing when using his Dark Sight on a particularly black night.

The air here is, again, painfully dry.

Steeple quickly realizes he has none of the ingredients necessary for his rituals - he could try nicely asking the Salt Queen for it, perhaps...

Very luckily for him, however, one of the wisps flying high above the salt castle floats down to him - though as it comes closer Steeple comes to realizes that it is no wisp nut... Oh...

"God, didn't she say they were still alive?"

Kazimierz' ghostly apparition stands before Steeple, his body illuminating the surroundings. The Cappadocian motions for Steeple to follow him.

"I will lead you out of this mine, Steepleton."

---

Slowly, the faces in the room begin to change. Kazimierz remains the same, his face keeping the same monkish, prayer-enthusiastic features - however every other body in the room suddenly begins to warp and twist horribly. Most notable to Heldric is the horrible disfigurement that the two monks undergo - so she turned them?

A low, rasping voice then whispers into Heldric's right ear, "turn around little brother, look at me with your young eyes."


« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 09:53:56 pm by Drakilian »
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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #368 on: September 22, 2015, 11:14:48 pm »

Heldric turns slowly and with trepidation, luckily being a Nospheratu himself, very little could phase him in another's appearance.
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #369 on: September 23, 2015, 05:48:50 am »

"Uhm... yes, right," Steeple replies, following the ghost Kazimierz.

"Sorry about the whole 'not being able to save you' thing..."

"Maybe in a few centuries, I'll have become enough of somebody, to come back and barter for your release?" he offers weakly...
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #370 on: September 23, 2015, 06:37:14 pm »

"You could have done nothing, she would have dismantled you piece by piece in seconds. I only regret that you drew my two acolytes into this.

Perhaps it is best, nothing but a slow death awaited them without me." Kasimierz says, sad as ever.

"Whatever you do, never come back here Steeple. You might be tempted by her children, each sired of her own potent blood - but it is not worth it. Her pets alone are horrors enough to pacify an army, and she has tunneled her fortress so deeply into the heart of Krakow that she is untouchable within its confusing depths. That she contents herself with the occasional miner is a blessing. There are things so old as her who would sate themselves with entire villages. As for what would happen if her children were ever unleashed... Krakow would be in ruins within days.

Don't come back for me, Steeple. I am dead, consider this my warning from beyond the grave."

Kasimierz stops, and looks at Steeple intensely, as if to make sure what he's saying.

"I wonder if it's really him", Maurice mentions.

"I wonder if he'd really give up his only hope of rescue."

---

The smell of salt overpowers the room. For that, Heldric is grateful.

The Salt Queen's form is a grotesque parody of her mortal self. Her wizened, stepped body, twisted by arthritis and covered with thousands of wrinkles, is a sickly greenish-gray. A few strands of long, white hair hang from her scalp. Although her eyes are rheumy, Heldric does not doubt that her eyesight is keener than any hawk's. Centuries within the salt caverns have left her permanently encrusted with salt crystals.

A sudden, terrible thought pops into his head - Steeple loudly exclaiming (with a little dance) "Well my good lady! If the nossies had an ugly contest, I have no doubt in my mind that you would be the reigning champ!"

Steeple then nods to the air besides him.

"Indeed my good Prince! She makes Heldric look downright huggable - in fact, come here Heldric!"

The thought then drifts off into the realm of fanfiction, while Heldric realizes the Salt Queen still stands before him.

She laughs.

"Oh please, don't hurry to lavish such praise upon Gutka, she has heard so much already."
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #371 on: September 23, 2015, 07:05:39 pm »

"Perhaps it is best that they never lost their 'faith'", Steeple replies glumly. "Ah well..."

Then to Maurice he answers in thought, 'It is in the hands of She Who Dwells In Salt now. Either way, I suspect it would be the same.'
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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #372 on: September 24, 2015, 12:44:35 pm »

"It seems you can see not only my intentional thoughts but whatever pops into my head unbidden" he thinks at the strange appearance of an ancient salt Queen.

"Though as a nosferatu myself, I find appearances somewhat less important or astonishing." he adds outlook, trying his best to sound calm and collected.
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #373 on: September 24, 2015, 05:08:54 pm »

"Perhaps it is best that they never lost their 'faith'", Steeple replies glumly. "Ah well..."

Then to Maurice he answers in thought, 'It is in the hands of She Who Dwells In Salt now. Either way, I suspect it would be the same.'

"Maybe, maybe old chap. Not something they ever deserved, maybe their God will be kind enough show them some mercy."

"It seems you can see not only my intentional thoughts but whatever pops into my head unbidden" he thinks at the strange appearance of an ancient salt Queen.

"Though as a nosferatu myself, I find appearances somewhat less important or astonishing." he adds outlook, trying his best to sound calm and collected.

"Of course, of course, why else would I bother showing myself to you little brother? Now, you can take your adorable little lizard pet and go, he's waiting for you outside. I simply have important news. One of the Niktuku passed by 14 days ago. I believe it was either a young one or a childer of one of the original agents, for I was able to lure it into my mines and destroy it. I tell you only because you are the Prince of Balgrad and should know of such things."
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Forge

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #374 on: September 24, 2015, 05:16:14 pm »

Heldric's face instantly shows a mix of fear and awe, the Niktuku are the most dangerous enemy he could imagine, hunting his kind relentlessly, killing methuselah and childer alike in their quest. Yet she destroyed them and still had enough power left to toy with them like ants


He almost stutters as he speaks "I owe you greatly for this information as well as for destroying it. I shall be ever more vigilant and of course pass any information I gather to you incase more follow."

He then looks for Mr. Whitey, preparing to leave. He does not want to outstay his welcome, or be anywhere near a Niktuku, dead or finally dead.
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #375 on: September 24, 2015, 05:20:16 pm »

"The information you should mind is not that it is dead, young Prince of Balgrad. It is to watch for the others when they start coming.

There is a reason there are so very few Nosferatu princes, it is not because of our famously admired appearances. Consider an alternative, if you would."

Gutka fades from sight, and Heldric takes it as his cue to leave.

Steeple is waiting for him outside with Kasimierz' ghost.
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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #376 on: September 24, 2015, 06:47:43 pm »

"We should leave, urgently" he says as soon as he sees them

He then collects himself a little "Kazimierzs, it seems you have ways around your imprisonment? I have some questions regarding a helm and small mirror, but we really should leave here quickly, our host is... Beyond our current comprehension of abilities."
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 06:50:27 pm by Forge »
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #377 on: September 25, 2015, 02:59:01 pm »

Kasimierz starts leading the two up the mine tunnels, Heldric carrying Andreas slung over his shoulder, Steeple carrying Nadia.

"Not ways around it Heldric, I fear there is no way around my imprisonment here. She pulls our souls out of our bodies and has us wander the tops of the castle as adornment to her goddess' temple. I assume it is a ritual back from the days when she was still the mortal high priestess of the Crone. Helm and a mirror you say?"
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 09:34:26 pm by Drakilian »
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #378 on: September 26, 2015, 10:06:38 am »

"Oh yes," Steeple adds, "And I have your ghost girl mirror - who is she anyway?"

"And this," Steeple continues, pulling out the stone with the names on it. "My name is on it too."
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #379 on: September 26, 2015, 08:44:36 pm »

Kazimierz mutters something about thieves stealing from his tomb before he's even a few months dead before replying.

"The stone's a petty little thing I use in a finding ritual, useless to you even if you were to learn the proper magic as you have to write the names in blood yourself. Essentially, you write the name of a person you know in blood onto the stone and then the spirits whisper their location into your ear, if they are capable of finding him. They almost always are, very few people think to hide from ghosts. They could give me your location with unfaltering certainty."

Kasimierz pauses a second to clear his throat - though he couldn't possibly have any need to do so in his current condition.

"As for the mirror... well, I think you'll find Seelie to be a lot more trouble than she's worth, at least if you don't have the power to reign her in properly. I call her Seelie but that's just what she calls herself, she doesn't actually know her own name."

Steeple grasps the importance of this almost immediately - many rituals involving necromancy rely heavily on usage of the spirit's name. If the girl addresses herself as "Seelie" it might still have some power over her, but not that of a proper name.

"She's bound to the mirror - I didn't do that to her, it's her fetish. I found her after a duke begged for help when the mirror his wife had bought had left her possessed by some sort of demon. She protects - or at least, used to protect my haven.

It's good that I'm dead, if she was still seriously protecting my haven I doubt you would have made it out. You looked into the mirror right? You really shouldn't ever do that. It gives her complete power over you, only a skilled necromancer or a man of extreme will can break out of it, otherwise you'll be nothing more than her playtoy.

She can only affect an area of up to a 30 foot radius around her mirror. Don't, uh, don't break the mirror. I'm not sure what would happen but she'll either be let loose or she'll be banished back to the shadowlands. Not really worth risking it to find out.

If you plan on taking her, tell her... tell her "pater est mortuus". She'll understand."
« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 11:38:09 pm by Drakilian »
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Forge

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #380 on: September 27, 2015, 12:15:46 am »

"You've been dead hundreds of years" Heldric mumbles back before asking properly "And what of the helm and small mirror?
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #381 on: September 27, 2015, 12:22:14 pm »

"So you've been stealing from my haven as well, hmm? Of course. Courtesy is dead."

Shaking his head in disgust, Kazimierz answers Heldric.

"The helm is a keepsake of Liahm, a british tribesman who died fighting the armies of Rome and current general to the armies of the Laughing Lady - Deathlord of the Penitent Legion of Stygia. While I am sure none of those words mean anything to you (they don't), suffice it to say that it is a notable artifact from the shadowlands that belonged to a mad, powerful wraith before I had cut a bargain with him for the thing. It bestows the wearer with the ability to communicate with wraiths and see into the shadowlands. It also has a tendency to drive them insane - the constant whispering and suggestive voices take a toll on the sanity of the wearer. I would suggest using it sparingly.

As for the mirror - I'm not sure which you are referring to, I have a good deal of mirrors I use in my rituals. The only one of any particular note, however,  is the mirror holding Seelie in place."
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 12:35:59 pm by Drakilian »
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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #382 on: September 28, 2015, 07:12:10 pm »

Held roc nods along careful to make a mental note "Well I will take care of them for you incase you ever get free of this place." Heldric replies "It will be good to get out of here now though and see what mess awaits us on the journey home.
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #383 on: September 29, 2015, 06:23:15 am »

"Agreed! I wonder how long we slept," Steeple replies, quickening his pace.
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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #384 on: September 29, 2015, 11:54:51 pm »

Heldric happily keeps up "I am not sure but I assume not too long, she did not seem to harbour me I'll intent. Though either way I think I will enjoy returning to my haven soon."
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #385 on: September 30, 2015, 06:01:44 am »

"Yes, well, thanks for your help in all of this sordid little affair haha!" Steeple says to Heldric.

"I can tell the workers to come back to the mine; work the upper levels; It's a dangerous profession with some natural attrition; It won't be unusual for a miner or two to disappear from time to time..."

"Pretty crazy spooky down there though, right, haha!"
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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #386 on: September 30, 2015, 10:31:01 am »

"Very, I'm and sure I will remember almost being a salt crystal for many centuries to come." he pauses searching for words, he hasn't had many talkative companions so far "Allies help eachother out, it is how our kind survives and furthers our dream."
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BerkaZerka

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #387 on: September 30, 2015, 11:32:05 am »

"Allies yes," Steeple agrees, "And Adventure Buddies for Life, or unlife, or whatever may be, HA!"

"Let's see, that would be A.B.F.L/UL.O.W.M.B. maybe? Hmm... perhaps if we used Greek letters instead..." Steeple begins to ramble off on a tangent...
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Forge

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #388 on: September 30, 2015, 12:07:33 pm »

Heldric is happy to let his companion ramble as they exit the mine...
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Drakilian

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Re: Steeple and Heldric - Pillars of Salt
« Reply #389 on: September 30, 2015, 11:04:51 pm »

Kazimierz leads the two young thieves through the mines to the surface, listening intently as Steeple rambles on about Greek letters, occasionally stopping as the voices in his head chime in to give their opinion on the situation - usually greeted with great enthusiasm and respect.

He also watches Heldric's similarly intently listening face with great interest. The Nosferatu doesn't say much but he takes everything in; not uncommon of their kind.

I wonder if they'll try to save me anyway.

Perhaps it is best. I will regret throwing away my only hope at salvation in a few years, but at least I was strong enough to do it now.


The soft glow of moonlight starts to light the caves, Kazimierz lowers the intensity of his soul's glow.

Heldric's happy cry when Mr. Whitey slithers into the cave to welcome and assault him gives Kazimierz pause, bringing a smile to his face. The sight of the albino crocodile gleefully crushing and rolling about with his master is a happy one - perhaps one of the last he shall ever enjoy.

The necromancer cocks his head to the side, listening to an unheard voice. His thoughts race quickly, and the words are out of his mouth before he can reconsider.

"Gutka has given me permission to roam for a short while. I will follow you to the tavern, I wish to say goodbye to Seelie personally."

---

Steeple and Heldric are both incredulous - seemingly, not a day had passed since they went into the mines. Both wonder at how Gutka managed to make the salt crystals grow around them in such an amazingly short amount of time. There should be about 2-3 hours of night-time left, and they wonder briefly at what to spend the rest of their night doing.

They also marvel at their lack of a need to feed - where did Gutka get the blood to feed them?

The realization that the ancient had almost certainly begun a first step blood-bond on them strikes Steeple first, but Heldric realizes it soon afterwards. It is not a pleasant realization.

While the two discuss their situation, Kazimierz deals with his own business. Inside the prison world made by the mirror, he holds Seelie's head to his chest in a gesture of comfort.

"Then you understand what I need you to do girl?"

"Yes Father Kazimierz. Are you sure about this?"

"Yes, I am certain. But... before you do, how about we have Heldric try on the helm, hmm? I've always wanted to see for myself what you described."

"Of course father. I'll be sad to see you go."

"Don't worry about it girl. There are worse fates; among them yours. Be good to Steeple, he is not yet a bad man. Perhaps he will stay that way."

"Yes father."

---

Kazimierz' request comes as something of an oddity to Heldric but the Nosferatu was dying to try out his new awesome ancient relic so, well, why not? Heldric grabs the Helm by the side and slides the thing onto his head. He notes with apprehension Kazimierz' sudden gasp.

---

Blazing flames surround the fierce warrior standing before the necromancer. Holes adorn his broken armor, memories of the spears that were driven through into its occupant. The helm glows fiercely with terrifying power, almost blindingly bright. A thousand whispers fill the air with every shaky movement the warrior makes.

Kazimierz laughs, clapping all the while.

"The Helm of the Penitent General suits you quite well Heldric. I never quite believed Seelie when she told me this but it changes you when you put it on - your ether changes into that of Liahm, with quite a few theatrical additions. You cut a rather intimidating figure!"

Kazimierz sobers up quickly from his brief, almost childlike joy at the discovery.

"My companions, I thank you for your efforts, however unsuccessful, to save me.

Steeple, Heldric, before I go, I wish for you to assure the head of the Tyniec abby that myself and the brothers died combatting some evil dwelling within the mines. But it has been cleansed now. Do you understand? I cannot bear for those good and holy men to cast my name and those of my companions aside in evil disdain."

Kazimierz feels a tug on his soul as Gutka grows tired of his freedom. Before either vampire can answer, he says out loud - "Now Seelie. I'm sorry girl."

Kazimierz gasps as the very essence of his soul is torn apart by a sudden blast of obliviating power that spreads out from Seelie's hand. The girl is crying her blood tears, her hand shaking where his shoulder had used to be - though be it from sadness at his destruction or because of the pain caused by use of the Obliviating Arcanoi he is unsure.

Kazimierz hears Gutka's howl of rage as his soul comes undone before he can be pulled back to her lair. His last thoughts are of satisfaction at her failure, and gratitude towards Seelie.

---

Nadia wakes with a flutter after Steeple drips a tiny bit of blood into her throat, his life force merging with and augmenting her own. Waking, she immediately sits up and pulls Steeple to her after a short, choked cry.

She asks questions that he answers slowly and patiently, and then she pulls him to her and asks him not to leave her for the rest of the night. He gladly complies.

---

Andreas wakes much less gracefully, coughing up small salt clouds from the crystal vial of Gutka's blood that Heldric surmises had been hidden inside of Andreas to break or melt and wake him. Andreas looks about and first grabs his blood brother, pulling him into a brutal hug that pops more than a few bones, before doing the same with mr. Whitey.

Andreas mutters something in a low series of growls, and Heldric knows what he means before mr.whitey ever tells him.

"This place is hell. Let's get out of here brother."

---

The abbot at the Tyniec abbey understood Heldric and Steeple's mentions, and promised to give the brothers and Kazimierz an honourable final ceremony. He invited the two to stay at the abbey for a few more days but the Prince and Seneschal had to return to their individual cities. They both received blessings for their efforts.

Leaving the city the next day, the two have a happily uneventful trip back home. The howling of wolves in the countryside might unsettle some, but neither of their carriages are assaulted by the roaming packs of Shadow Lords.

It's almost as if something was watching over them. Or perhaps looking up at them would be a more appropriate analogy.

---

April 19th, 6:00 AM,
Salt Mine of Krakow
Domain of Gutka the Salt Queen


Dimitri coughs loudly.

The air in the salt mines was always very dry, terrible for the lungs and worse for the eyes. Not as bad as a coal mine but not good nonetheless.

He puts aside his pickaxe and takes a long swig from his canteen, and hears his friend calling down from below; excitement filling his voice.

"Dimitri, come down here! You won't believe what i've found! I think there might be gold here! Come on, hurry!"

The miner stumbles while running down - if there was gold down here then they might be able to sneak some ore away before more stringent measures were put up. Gold in a salt mine! Who would have thought?

Then again, miracles were always possible after what Mr. Trevesky, Heldric, Nadia and Andreas had done. He'd been sure they would die when he saw them off but lo and behold, miracles of miracles, they and Father Kazimierz' two disciples drove the demons from the mines. Good men there.

He comes to where he'd heard his friend call out and starts looking around, turning and searching for the man.

"Daniel, where are you? Dan-"

Gutka stands inches away from the man, her wrinkled, haggish, salt-encrusted face burning itself into his brain.

She speaks slowly and deliberately, her voice mimicking Daniel's exactly.

"Mr. Trevesky lied."

She strikes before he has a chance to scream.

---

Deep within the salt mines of Krakow, there is a temple made from crystal salt shaped by the skilled hands of the high priestess to the Crone. At the center of it about 40 of her childer stand in a circle, their petrified bodies frozen in abject worship and fear of the ancient goddess and her earthly incarnation. The most recent addition is a man whose twisted body is covered in the scars of his mortal combat with monstrous creatures - most notably a scar coming from his left shoulder down to his right hip, five long marks, like those of the claws from an immense beast.

The temple dwells within a cavern lit by the souls of her children, the only sound being the whistle of a cold wind that shouldn't live pushing through the empty, dry air.

The souls circle the cavern, the glow they make made into a sparkling display by Pillars of Salt.

End Sidequest

« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 10:13:58 pm by Drakilian »
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