Ximo smoothly interjected before the Baron could grow angry at the two rogue's impertinence, "These two men are some of the allies I spoke to you about. They assisted me in breaking up a den of the Cult's goblin allies. And share my concern for Vicent's disappearance. It would not harm your cause, milord, to have them accompany us."
Once the Baron had agreed, Ximo fell into a trailing position to speak to his colleagues, "Your appearance is quite timely, like something out of a Keoish comedy of manners. I wonder if a victim of one of your dalliances will appear from another direction just a moment after you depart. And then, of course, she (or he) will depart just before you return. I cannot wait to find out."
"But in all seriousness, have either of you learned anything it would be useful to know before this grand ceremony goes off?"
Post by scottenkainen on Jun 5, 2015 22:45:47 GMT -6
Day 9/Turn 2 for Ximo, Joaquim, Marcel:
"Ah, well, bring them along then," the Baron said, dismissively.
Ximo, Joaquim, and Marcel were present when Baron Cornett was bullying his way into the back rooms of the temple, demanding to see a high priest.
"What do you mean I can't see the high priest in charge?" Baron Cornett roared loudly. "This is on the matter of the death of my son, left in the care of this temple! I will have answers from the highest figure of authority here, beneath the judgment of the gods!"
"Please, your lordship," an archdeacon was saying calmly. "I can tell you all I know, or if you really must speak to the high priest, can you not let it wait until after the services? I am sure you appreciate how important it is the people of Verbobonc to have their spiritual leader at his best during the course of the services."
"Hmm...yes, well..." the Baron said, backing down a little. "Let it not be said that I have an un-religious man. Very well, I will wait -- but his answers had best be very good." He turned and made his way back to the nave of the temple, and it was understood that the adventurers who followed him were meant to come along.
Post by Ronny Serio on Jun 7, 2015 10:45:26 GMT -6
"In answer to your question," Joaquim said to Ximo while they were entering the temple. "Both the Church and Consortium have indicated that they have taken measures to guard against any threats today, but, as always, they divulged no details. Hopefully they are as good as their word."
After speaking to the archdeacon, the Baron clearly expect Joaquim and Marcel to follow him, but the pair drifted off on their own instead. They intended to survey the area, keeping an eye out for anything suspicious.
Ximo nodded at Joaquim response and added, " I wish I were more confident in their promises."
Then he went along with the Baron, intent to learn what he could from the retainers of the other nobility and influential commoners who would presumed lay be gathered in the best areas of the cathedral.
Post by scottenkainen on Jun 8, 2015 21:58:48 GMT -6
Day 9/Turn 3 for Caltaran, Ximo, Joaquim, Marcel:
Joaquim and Marcel stayed standing, out of the pews, where they could watch more people filing in. All the pews were filled and then others stood in the aisles near both men.
Ximo did find some other people who looked to be dressed as courtiers like himself and had a short time to try and speak to them. They seemed friendly enough. "Yes, my liege is heading to the meeting with the Viscount right after this too."
The ceremonies began. The clergy sang boisterous hymns to Heironeous as the parade of paladins led marched through the nave -- Caltaran among them!
At the end of the parade was a memorial service for all the members of the Church's First Army who had died in the days leading up to this Godsday. Caltaran did a passable job pronouncing them. The 'Heironeous portion' of the services ended with Michel and Alamilla performing a ceremonial duel with longsword vs. battle axe.
Next came the reading of scriptures by the priests of Delleb. Then the priests of Zilchus came out next and showered the poor with copper pieces. And later, the priests of Cuthbert came out in tartan kilts and crushed hats, pounding the floor with clubs and admonishing the faithful for being so stupid and ignorant. Though they were pretty insulting, they acted in unison and that was itself pretty entertaining.
Caltaran scans the crowd during the initial reading of the Delleb scriptures. During the readings he concentrates on those scripture words and sees if it applies to his vision. Once the reading is through he rescans the crowd during the St Cuthbert declarations. ("bring out your dead thump"). He keeps an eye out for the imposter, any body he knows, and also for any signs to his visions.
Post by Ronny Serio on Jun 9, 2015 10:30:10 GMT -6
Marcel was bored. And tired. And more than a little hung over. And he had to pee. Church always did this to him. Not the hang over bit, but bored and tired. Marcel had no wish to affront any gods, but their services were intolerable. He'd been momentarily excited at the prospect of a duel, but that had been disappointing as well. It seemed too well rehearsed. More stage-fighting than real combat. Man, he really had to pee...
Joaquim did his best to ignore Marcel's restless shifting and keep his focus on that task at hand. Nothing had happened yet, but there was still a chance of the cult staging an attack today. Any large disruption in a crowd like this could cause panic. Panic that could lead to a stampede and people being trampled. People like him. It was likely that Marcel's bulk would save the both of them from such a fate, but it was still a frightening thought. Best to stay alert and be a step ahead should any danger arise.
Ximo found the services mildly interesting, revealing as they did divisions within the supposedly united clergy. He kept an eye out for trouble but for some reason expected the attack to come during the recessional. If he was wrong he planned to be brought along to the Viscount's audience.
Post by scottenkainen on Jun 9, 2015 20:47:50 GMT -6
Day 9/Turn 4 for Caltaran, Ximo, Joaquim, Marcel:
Caltaran saw nothing related to his vision in the crowd.
The half-day spectacle ended with the high priests of Rao entering, in their shimmering white robes. The highest priest of them all led the final prayers from the altar.
"The gods give us many answers through scripture, and for this we clergy devote a lifetime to studying and understanding. There are many uncertainties in life, things for which we wish for answers. It is the miracle of life, not that the gods have given us so many answers, but they have left so much unanswered. From this comes our curiosity, our ambition. We value surprises as much as we value certainties, perhaps more so. In the days to come, there may be many surprises that will make us doubt this is true, but do not despair. Remember to value even the moments when the gods do not seem to be there with us, for those are a gift from the gods too. They let us take a measure of ourselves...find out inner strengths."
It was a somber message. A warning even? There were puzzled faces in the crowd, who had hoped for more comfort.
"Finally," Ximo overheard Baron Cornett say. "My turn." But even now, the Baron was respectful and waited fairly patiently for his turn to approach the high priest.
A hundred people had cleared out of the temple onto the bailey grounds -- when there was a great mix of cries outside -- alarm, fear, panic!
Caltaran hears the cry of fear and moves to the cause if the disturbance. He yells while moving "citizens please do not panic and do not show fear. Everyone please remain calm and please step asside and let us handle this. "
Caltaran tries to move past citizens in a calm but fast moving pace.
Last Edit: Jun 9, 2015 21:33:15 GMT -6 by dtspurrier
Post by Ronny Serio on Jun 10, 2015 10:04:51 GMT -6
Marcel started to surge forward, but Joaquim grabbed his arm. "We need to go," the big man said.
"I know," Joaquim said. "But look at that crowd. We'll never make it through. There must be another way out of here. Something the priests use."
The pair looked around for any side exits or for any priests they were acquainted with who could direct them to one. If they did not find one fast, or if an opening through the crowd showed itself, Marcel would abandon the search and rush ahead. Joaquim would reluctantly follow him.
Ximo wanted to cast his protective spell, "Shielding Barrier," but decided under these circumstances that being seen casting a spell might have negative effects on his own safety. So he moved to the side of the nave and looked for a door out. He recalled some of the passages from his visits here and looked for one he thought might also lead to an exit from the cathedral.
Post by scottenkainen on Jun 10, 2015 18:16:40 GMT -6
Day 9/Turn 4a for Caltaran, Ximo, Joaquim, Marcel:
In the moments that followed, chaos erupted around the main entrance; people were rushing towards the doors to see what was happening, while at the same time people were rushing away from the doors back into the temple.
In this chaos waded Caltaran, calling for calmness before any of the other priests did. He made it 60% of the way towards the exit, but there was a crushing mass of humanity in his way.
Joaquim and Marcel found aid quickly in the form of Subdeacon Gutxi Azarola. "There is a back door to the gardens -- this way!"
Ximo wandered around on his own, looking for an exit. He found the southern east-west passage through the temple and wandered down it. Though he was not having much luck finding a way out, he thought he heard Marcel somewhere to the north shout "This way!"
Ximo also found himself being pursued by the priests Bureau and Danilo. "You! Go no further this way!" Bureau shouted as if he didn't recognize Ximo (they had met 4 days ago).
Joaquim and Marcel emerged on the northeast side of the temple (the main entrance is on the west side). They could see the castle from here, and soldiers issuing out of it into the bailey. They could not see the battle to which they were heading, but they could hear shouting and what sounded like lightning out in front of the temple, though the sky was clear.
"These are dark days," Gutxi said. "The Cult has returned in full force!"
"Fine!" Ximo answered, "Then which way to the disturbance? Where is there an exit?" Ximo gave the men a moment to answer before he started making educated guesses for doors or passageways that would lead out.
Caltaran takes a deep breath and continues to try to calm the masses he says to the people " everyone back to the worship area where it is safe. Please let me pass so I can stop this evil from attacking us. Everyone it will be alright. "
Last Edit: Jun 11, 2015 9:14:37 GMT -6 by dtspurrier
Post by Ronny Serio on Jun 11, 2015 11:24:59 GMT -6
Marcel turned to face the priest and something in his eyes told Joaquim that his friend had shifted into dramatic-heroic mode.
"Fear not, my friend," Marcel told the priest. "Let Heironeous's courage fill your heart. This cult has been bested before and we shall do so again."
The big man drew his dagger and made to run off, but Joaquim interrupted him. "Subdeacon, Marcel still bears wounds from our last encounter with the cult. Do you have the power to heal him before he rushes off to battle again?"
Marcel chaffed at the disruption to his moment, but he had to admit that getting healed before joining combat did sound appealing. He turned his gaze back to Gutxi to see his reply.
Once the healing was complete, or if the Subdeacon could not help him, Marcel would circle around north to find the fighting. Joaquim would follow, though with significantly less enthusiasm.
Post by scottenkainen on Jun 11, 2015 21:26:03 GMT -6
Day 9/Turn 4b for Caltaran, Ximo, Joaquim, Marcel:
Caltaran managed to convince enough people to move back out of his way that he could get through to the outside.
The subdeacon nodded; he did have a healing spell he could use to help and he did. For the first time in day, Marcel felt right as rain again.
Ximo tied to get the priests to cooperate, but they continued to make trouble for him. "No sudden movements!" Father Danilo said. "If the attack out front turns out to just be a diversion, then someone trying to sneak into the back of the temple could have a sinister agenda."
"We just have to be certain that's not describing you," Father Bureau said.
Meanwhile, Caltaran was allowing his eyes to adjust to the brighter light outdoors. He could see a giant black, winged shape landing in the bailey, dozens of people standing stock still, while scores more screamed and fled. A giant fireball exploded above the monstrous shape.
"Don't look at it! Don't look directly at it!" Caltaran heard a paladin shouting over the screams of panic.
Also meanwhile, Marcel came running around the north side of the temple. He could see knights marshaling on horseback outside the castle, at least two dozen of them. It was hard to imagine what they would be facing that they would need help with.
Joaquim, trailing behind him, spotted Ekaitz Escamilla, from the Silver Consortium, about halfway between Marcel and the knights (so maybe 100' away). Ekaitz spotted Joaquim and shouted to him, "Stay back! Don't look in its eyes!"
Marcel was just about to round the northwest corner of the temple and see just what was causing the commotion.
"Then let's all move slowly back to the front or wherever, what I really want is to get out there to help deal with the attack," Xim said exasperatedly. He began walking slowly back toward the clerics and the way to the front of the cathedral. He was careful to give them enough room and avoided spooking them.
"Father Bureau, have you forgotten me from our productive meetings a few days ago? I am Ximo the Humble."
Post by dtspurrier on Jun 12, 2015 10:42:52 GMT -6
Caltaran knew he had his mace and armor but that thing looked invincible. The ball of fire seemed to have damaged it. First the citizens need to be protected. He starts issuing commands to the citizens. " Citizens turn back and head back towards the courtyard. Let the knights and magic users defeat this creature. Do not gaze into the creatures eyes. Please follow me to safety. " caltaran starts to herd the crowd back like a sheep dog herds a flock of sheep away from the creature.
Last Edit: Jun 12, 2015 10:43:21 GMT -6 by dtspurrier
Post by scottenkainen on Jun 12, 2015 12:40:24 GMT -6
Day 9/Turn 4c for Caltaran, Ximo, Joaquim, Marcel:
Caltaran was a sheep dog with an awful small flock of sheep; only three people near him paid attention and were prepared to follow him to safety. As he turned to lead them back inside, he saw a frightened man stare up at the monstrous winged thing -- and turn to stone! It was then that Caltaran realized that the other people standing stock still nearby were also petrified!
Joaquim and Marcel cut north across the top of the hill, away from the temple towards the castle. People were running -- stampeding their way from the southwest towards them. Ekaitz Escamilla was actually running away from them, though apparently to intercept the knights before they charged as opposed to trying to get away from Joaquim and Marcel. And, to the southwest, behind the crowd, they could see the wings, tail and occasionally other parts of the body of a giant black monster that must have been 30' long, from tip to tail. That had to be the source of all the distress!
Joaquim and Marcel arrived in earshot in time to hear Ekaitz shouting, "It must be the Dracolisk! It should be dead, but -- do not look in its eyes! It will turn men to stone!"
More cries of horror came from those trapped between the "Dracolisk" and the crowded entrance to the temple. Joaquim and Marcel could not see the cause, 300' away, but Caltaran observed the monster vomit acid on a dozen men and women, killing them on the spot.
Inside the temple, Ximo was led back into the nave by the two priests. "You appear to be Ximo," Bureau said, "but we have had problems with infiltrators who can appear as anyone."
From here, Ximo could still not see what was going on outside. He did see the high priest trying to discuss the matter with his underpriests, but Baron Cornett was getting up in his face and distracting him.
Post by Ronny Serio on Jun 12, 2015 13:28:22 GMT -6
Marcel stared at the horrible creature, his dagger falling limply from his hand, forgotten, to land on the ground at his feet. "Nerull himself has come among us," he muttered, his words directed at no one.
Beside him, Joaquim's legs betrayed him. He landed on his backside and sat, transfixed, unbelieving. "We should return to the Free City. We were safe there. Safe enough, compared to this madness. What are we do about such an abomination?"
His friends words snapped Marcel from his trance. "Never. We are never going back there." The big man turned to the assembled troops. "I would join this fight, but I've no weapons. Would any man have something to spare? A bow perhaps? I'm a good shot."
Joaquim regained his feet and started to walk away. "Find cover," Marcel called to him. "Get out of the Bailey. Stay safe."
The mage shook his head. "I'm not leaving. I can't fight that creature, but there may be cultists around. Directing things, taking advantage of the chaos. I go now to hunt them."
His friend cast a spell that Marcel was not familiar with and suddenly vanished from sight. "And you think I'm the dramatic one," said with a grin, before turning back to the soldiers and his search for a weapon.
Ximo took advantage of the collective chaos in the room and headed toward the main exit. He jogged in a circular path around behind the high priest's knot of people and toward the wall of the cathedral flanking the doors out into the bailey. Once he got there he put his back against the wall and cast his shielding spell on himself.
Post by scottenkainen on Jun 15, 2015 8:43:09 GMT -6
Day 9/Turn 4d for Caltaran, Ximo, Joaquim, Marcel:
Caltaran's three charges were "safely" inside, but inside was not so safe -- people were getting trampled inside the entryway in the jumbled chaos!
Ximo, nearby, spotted Caltaran in danger inside the mob scene in the entryway, just as he cast his shielding spell on himself. Luckily, the suspicious priests were distracted and did not mistake this for some offensive casting.
People began to freeze, motionless, in the midst of the mob -- not turned to stone, but just paralyzed. Caltaran realized that the collective priests of the temple were burning through all their Hold Person spells in order to stop the trampling.
Out in the courtyard, a knight on horseback heard Marcel's plea and shouted back, "Run, inside the castle! Any man who can shoot a bow may be needed if our charge fails. Go!"
Joaquim, invisible, observed the scene from a safe distance. He spotted another wizardly figure in the bailey, to the west. This wizard and Ekaitz were bombarding the Dracolisk with magic missiles which seemed to dissipate before striking it.
The knights charged, just as Marcel moved into the castle to procure a bow. Much of the charge did not reach the Dracolisk -- five horses were petrified in mid-stride and toppled over, three tossing their riders, while two remained petrified with their mounts as if one statue.
The Dracolisk, which had been ignoring the magical onslaught around it as if it were raindrops, seemed concerned about the remaining charging knights. It took to the sky with great flaps of its huge, bat-like wings -- but too late. Two lances skewered the Dracolisk and seemed to do significant damage before it was out of melee range.
Post by Ronny Serio on Jun 15, 2015 9:50:08 GMT -6
"Bows, we need bows," Marcel called to anyone who would listen. "The dragon is taking to the air!" Once he had secured a weapon, Marcel would do his best to put it to use on the dragon.
Joaquim circled the battlefield, keeping a long ways away from the Dracolisk at all times. He'd keep his eyes open for any suspicious activity, particularly around the entrance to the prison or the other buildings in the Bailey.
Ximo called to Caltaran, "Caltaran! Is there another exit? I can offer no aid inside the cathedral!"
Ximo began skirting the edge of the fleeing crowd, careful to stay out of trample range, and waited for Caltaran to offer directions. If he came across any lowly acolytes he would tell him or her that he was a wizard of the Consortium and he needed an alternative exit.
Hearing Caltaran order the commoners to follow ((I assume)), Ximo intervened,"Whatever they are fleeing, it is probably safer for them to go deeper into the cathedral. It is our lot to face whatever danger lies without."
Post by dtspurrier on Jun 15, 2015 19:37:58 GMT -6
Caltaran scorts the three people and moves over to ximo . he says " follow me to the northeast garden there is an exit there. I can hopefully get us to safety." While moving he says to ximo "this creature that is attacking us is a dragon that breathes acid and turns people to stone with its gaze. I hope the knights can handle this."
Last Edit: Jun 15, 2015 19:56:34 GMT -6 by dtspurrier