Midnight RPG - Chapter 10.61
This conversation takes place during the eight-hour rest break that fell in between our descent into the hole and the beginning of our trek down the root. Durgaz will approach Kyuad and Zal'Kazzir, either separately or together, and lead them back to Eranon.
Durgaz: "Nobody else is saying anything, so I will. We need to discuss what we plan to do once we are inside the Spire. If we have enough time to do anything.
"I don't know what your intentions are, Kyuad. I know even less of yours, Sarcosan. I do know some of Eranon's, and that is why I have come to you. Eranon believes that he can break the curse on this marsh from somewhere within the Spire, and that it may have some connection to an artifact called the Sunder Shard. But he knows nothing of spells or curses, and neither do I. We are hoping that you do.
"Eranon can tell you more, as he has already told me. But I would like to know your plans as well. Neither of you is planning to actively seek out or attempt an audience with Vrolk, I hope. I have no interest in meeting the master of this place, and some of the things you have said make me worried."
- [A]: A question to consider... What is this "curse" that Durgaz is saying that Eranon believes can be broken? Are they speaking metaphorically or literally? Just a consideration for Kyuad and Zal'Kazzir.
- [A]: Bill... Assuming you would want to make a Lorebook check about this "Sunder Shard"...
ROLL: Kyuad (Lorebook +8) ROLLED: 18+8 = 26
With this roll - Kyuad gains Obscure, known by few, hard to come by....
Information moved to Kyuad's Lorebook
- *Rising and gently facing Durgaz*
Thank you for raising the issue, Durgaz; I have also been wondering what our approach to this endeavor should be, and I appreciate your boldness and concern. If our goals are to capture or disable several items and to rescue the shadowwall, we should go in with a cohesive and well-reasoned approach. Do we plan on fighting our way in, or back out if we are succesful in entrance? My skills as a warrior are poor and my judgements on such matters green and untried, but you, as a seasoned veteran of great strength might have wisdom to be shared to help us to plan. I, for one, have absolutely no interest in meeting with Vrulk, but that being said, given his prediliction for spying devices, I seriously doubt that we have any chance of taking him unawares, or keeping him fooled for long even if we do, which may lead to the possibility of violence.
We should be prepared if, and I believe *when* we come face to face with the master of the spire, and I believe that we should have a plan for how to handle that conversation. It seems as if Vrulk is potentially playing a dangerous game of politics, and his loyalties do not seem certain; it seems that if we must negotiate with him, we may be able to make good use of his self-interst and divided loyalties, though we have precious little accurate information.
- *Turning to Kyuad*
Kyuad, you seem to be knowledgable about Vrulk; do you have any thoughts that might help us to know his mind? If we should need to speak with him, I would rather not do him insult or give him cause to seek us harm unnecissarily. I am uneducated in the lore or histories of this place and it's inhabitants, and any knowledge you might impart would be much appreciated. I also would ask a kindness of you; this spire seems to be a haven of the walking dead, and I have no knowledge of them, or how best to fight them, or bypass or neutralize them, if such a thing is possible. Do you have any knowledge of the walking dead, and if you do, it would behoove us greatly if you would be generous with such knowledge.
- *Giving Eranon a warm half-smile*
Eranon, your knowledge of the wilds and of their magicks never cease to amaze. I had no Idea that the marshes here were under a curse, nor did I know the spire as it's source. Though my knowledge of woodcraft and elf-lore are sorely lacking compared to you own, I do have a question; why is the taint and cold so prevalent in the outer marshes not present here, near the tower? Is the magic of erathor somehow nullifying the curses' effect perhaps? It seems unusual that the foul corruption of the curse would fail to manifest so near it's point of origin, but I know little of such things. However, my questions aside, if we have opportunity to put an end to this foulness, then we shoul certainly consider taking it.
Eranon / Steve
- Eranon seems a little uncomfortable after Zal'Kazzir speaks*
Eranon "I would ask you to save your flattery, but I am beginning to beleive you can't quite help it. I agree that we should attempt to avoid Vrolk and make for the place on the spire where we beleive Walden to be. However, I also agree with Zal'Kazzir that we will probably not be able to avoid an encounter with the lord of the spire. If it were my choice, I would rather not speak with such a vile betrayer, but perhaps my personal prejudices should come after the rescue of Sir Walden, or at least preventing Vrolk from carrying out his plan."
"The curse of which I am speaking I know very little. What I do know is that we were allowed passage through the deep marshes on the hope that we could break the Vile's curse on this swamp. I was hoping Kuyad might know more about it. It is my suspicsion that Vrolk's legendary aquisition of this "sunder shard" is responsible for the growth of this spike from this splended old tree as well as the resulting curse on the swamp that has so blighted it and earned it a name such as 'dead marshes'."
"As for your question of where Vrolk's loyalties lie, I think I can help. I have recently realized that an old Elven tale is actually the story of Vrolk. Originally a fable conceived as a warning, there may be a lot of truth to it. I do in fact beleive this legend is a story of Vrolk."
"In this story, an Elf is duped with false promises of knowledge under the study of Sunulael to follow the voice of a false god, who turns out to be the Shadow himself. By the time the true nature of the voices became known to Vrolk, it was far to late, his mind had been warped by years of service as a priest of the shadow."
"In order to earn his prize of special, forgotten knowledge from the shadow, he was set the task of bolstering the position of the Priest of Shadow. He set out to the Spine of the World and found the Cadaverous Eye and the Sunder Shard, which I beleive responsible for the spire. I think you will find that his loyalties lie steadfastly with the Shadow and with Sunulael. However, you may find that the legates may be somewhat resentful that an outsider such as Vrolk has risen above them with such ease. They of course wouldnt' overtly stand against him, but are likely looking for opportunities to take credit, praise or honors in the course of their duty. I have no idea if we can or how to exploit that. This is your area, Zal'Kazzir."
Kyuad / Bill
"I'll tell you what I've heard of the Sunder Shard. I believe you are right that it is the source of this strange 'Spire, and indeed it did come from the Kaladruns, from the same source as the Cadaverous Eye.
"The Shard was found in a volcano, but if that was its origin I cannot tell. It was either made from a type of volcanic floe that is neither stone nor metal, and purified with the hatred of a vile denizen of the Depths, or it is an etherial production of off-shooting Aryth stone and energies, formed from the impact that caused the Great Scar in the North.
"Both origins suggest that this type of material was unknown in the ancient days before the Sundering. But in the nearly fifteen thousand years since the Sundering, this information could have come from myths and tales. If it does have some connection with the Shadow however, the corruption it may well have caused Vrolk and this tree would be substantial."
- *Sincerely, to Eranon*
My friend, I mean no flattery; all that I say is true, though it is also true that the truth that I say may be flattering. *A pregnant pause, followed by a chuckle* All I am is before you; I am a weak son of bleeding Sarcosa, and in this dark time we all struggle to find community and survival in our own way. Each of us uses our own different intelligences and talents to survive as best as we are able. Imagine if I attemped to overcome challenges by force of arms, as Durgaz does, or if I attempted to practice stealth, archery and wood-lore as you do, or even to practice the rigorous intellectual devotion of Kyuad; I have no talent for any of these things, and none of thee skills so poorly implemented would help a simple man such as myself to survive, let alone to find companions or success. My talents fall to the arts and interplays of words and feelings, and if I honey my words, it is not to mislead, but to build goodwill and to engender cooperation against our mutual foe, the black shadow in the North. Nothing could please the cold heart of the shadow more greatly than dissent among his foes. So gentle Eranon, please, accept my apologies if I raised your suspicions; flattery is a shallow and simple tool that adroit manipulators scarce use at all, but I believe that the Truth, especially when used to highlight the valuable and diverse skills, talents and abilites we all posess, is honorable, just and good.
Durgaz stares balefully at Zal'Kazzir for a moment. He looks annoyed, but then, he always does.
Durgaz: "Sarcosan, the more you flap your lips, the less it seems you actually have to say. I am sure your way with words has its uses, but not here, and not now. So, if you can, speak plainly. We have very little time, and I don't feel like wasting it listening to you say in fifty words what you could have said in three."
"What little you actually said, though, I agree with. Vrolk obviously knows that we are coming, and he has known where we've been nearly every step of the way. As far as I can tell, he wants us to come to him, and I doubt that he intends simply to kill or capture us as soon as we enter his spire, since it would have been so much easier for him to do that days ago. That does not mean he wants to converse with us, but it might. I don't know why else he would have allowed us to get this far.
"It was not my intention to ever come face to face with Vrolk, if I could help it. My reason for being here is nailed to the outside of the Spire a hundred yards up. But if we do come face to face with Vrolk, I will have no part of any deals made with him. He is a monster in thrall to the Priest of Shadow, and whatever he could offer you or Kyuad will surely serve him, and not you, in the end. Did you not hear Eranon's tale? He has walked the path that you tread now. He has made pacts with darkness, and been consumed by it. His very existence should be a warning to you, sorcerer.
"So I will not deal with him. Neither will I attempt to slay him, unless he leaves me no choice. Maybe another day, but I have one reason for being in this place, and it is not to end the pathetic existence of a betrayer elf."
"As for what Kyuad said about the Shard ... the history is interesting, but I can make nothing of it. Can we break the curse by stealing the Shard, do you think? Does the old Shard still exist, or did it grow into the Spire? I don't expect that you know the answers to these questions, and if you did, I would wonder why you did, and probably doubt whatever else you had to say. But you have studied magic, yes? You know about signs and symbols and all that, right? If you don't know how to break this curse, where in the Spire should we seek our answers?
- [A]: Does anyone need/want any sort of rolls to be made for anything? I spoke with Bill tonight. He'll likely reply here soon. So there may be a flurry of conversation through Saturday. We won't be PLAYING Saturday but we will be doing some "game maintenance" and possibly finishing any conversations like this. Otherwise if I can help with any info here, let me know.
Kyuad / Bill
"Zal'Kazzir, you bring up a good point. I shall do some study of the undead creatures that Vrolk seems to favor so that we are better prepared if we encounter opposition of that type.
"I have some other thoughts about Vrolk's intentions. It is almost certain that the warg who escorted the skeletal bull-men did not send the beasts to drive us off or to slay us. The intentions of Vrolk should be evident: he is sizing us up.
"The best purpose I can deduce is that he thinks he can use us somehow. He has the means and resources to have finished us off in the woods long ago, as you say Durgaz. The warg could have brought a score more than three skeletal beings our way and we would have stood no chance. He has no reason to wait for us to come into his home before killing us, other than perhaps to have our corpses more immediately on-hand. No, it is clear that he wants to know how strong a force we can muster and whether our strengths will be enough to set against some foe of his own.
"I may have some more insight into Vrolk's greater purposes, though it is only through an educated guess. My.... "friend"... who studied with Vrolk was once of a like mind as myself, and the pursuit of knowledge was his greatest ambition. He chose the coward's path and I did not, but his goals are likely still the same. If it is Vrolk he studied under, then Vrolk's resources of knowledge must be considerable. Perhaps it is Vrolk's greatest purpose, in fact.
"How this may be of use to us is unclear, but it is something we should keep in mind, especially if we encounter him ourselves. Our tongues should be held with shackles of control at all times." As he says this he pointedly stares at Zal'Kazzir. "Be wary of what you hear and of what you say, for either could be our undoing.
"Now is the time to begin a regimen of herbalistic bolsters, Eranon. I have been imbibing the clear-thought oil you gave me, and I suggest the rest of you do all do what you can to likewise ensure that wisdom prevails in the face of someone who expects to be able to elicit our services.
OOC: Kyuad is going to use his Foe Specialty ability (it's one of the h. channeler's tradition gifts or Lorebook powers) to gain special knowledge of undead creatures. Kyuad is also beginning to benefit from the +1 Int oil soon. Does Kyuad know of any reference to an item like the Shard, or similar material, causing a curse? Anything about the curse in the swamp at all? (I haven't cought up on everything, so it might be answered already, I'll look.)
- [A]: Bill... For the *Foe Specialty check about the Undead herein... According to the book:
It says to make a "Knowledge check", I'm guessing this would fall under "Know: Spirits" for the check. We can discuss this if you think differently... but for now I will assume that you would not necessarily "trust" the chance of rolling less than a 10 (as it notes you CAN take 10) So I'll roll for you and go with the higher of Taking 10 or the Roll...
ROLL: Kyuad (Knowledge Spirits/Undead +11) ROLLED: 11+11(+1 Int oil) = 23
Okay... Not much better but you get... "Uncommon but available, known by only a few people in the area....." to gain special knowledge of undead creatures.
See Kyuad's Lorebook for details
For note on Foe Specialty: "This power may be chosen multiple times; each time it is chosen, the hermetic channeler may use the foe specialty ability on one additional creature type per day. The hermetic channeler recognizes the value of knowledge as a weapon. At the beginning of each day, he may choose one creature type as he peruses his book. The channeler may take 10 when making Knowledge checks to identify creatures and their special powers or vulnerabilities. Additionally, the channeler can rattle off what he knows about such creatures by rote. In game terms, this means that he may communicate any knowledge he has about such creatures to his companions as soon as initiative is rolled, assuming his companions are within earshot.
- [A]: Bill... Does Kyuad know of any reference to an item like the Shard, or similar material, causing a curse?
ROLL: Kyuad (Lorebook +8) ROLLED: 17+8(+1 Int oil) = 26
With this roll - Kyuad gains "Obscure, known by few, hard to come by...." to gain info on the Shard or a similar item causing a curse.
- [A]: Bill... Anything about the curse in the swamp at all?
ROLL: Kyuad (Lorebook +8) ROLLED: 7+8(+1 Int oil) = 16
With this roll - Kyuad gains "Common, known by at least a substantial minority of the local population...." to gain info on any curse in the Dead Marshes swamp.