The Ossuary

Locales abroad of the city centers, from out of doors to the outer planes.
User avatar
Rebonack
Empowered Revenant Poster
Posts: 3686
Joined: May 16, 2022 3:14 am

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Rebonack »

[Headed Toward the Ziggurat]

Khannie tagging along as well would mostly be because this guy is dangerous (obviously) and vengeful (also obviously) and keeping an eye on him probably isn't a terrible idea. And maybe, just maybe, she can convince him that the 'vengeance via undead army' plan really isn't a great one.

At the gesture, Khannie follows too.

"I mean, being fair, most people think ghosts and undead and stuff are creepy. There's a reason I usually keep myself illusioned up. Especially when I'm not in one of the big cities where there are all sortsa people. People out in the villages get spooked really easily," Khannie says, assuming here that this guy was run out of town for raising skeletons.

Which, again, most people aren't super fond of.

"Are you sure getting vengeance on this count guy's a great idea? I mean, power is great and all but if you're just using it for stuff like vengeance you're probably gunna get clobbered. I've always been taught that the more power you've got the more responsibly you should use it."

Good ol' Uncle Ben.

Anywho!

Onward!

As our... hero and villain I guess? get closer to the ziggurat they'll begin encountering more and more shattered bones and sundered undead that are in the slow process of being knit back together by the foul, dark will that sleeps below the salt flats. Apparently someone came through here relatively recently and smashed a ton of skeletons.

Tags:
User avatar
Shadowcaller
Poster from Beyond the Veil
Posts: 2620
Joined: Aug 02, 2022 6:29 am
Location: Sweden

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Shadowcaller »

The Tome of Eliander

"Yeah, moon-spiders. Not sure if that's a thing but there's spider webs and this thing comes from the moon, right? So moon-spiders." Raheeda wasn't aware of any other creatures that produced webs so it seemed like a foregone conclusion to her.
At his second question she hesitates however. "But you were, uh, just praying enthusiastically." Raheeda nods to Harley as to reassure him of that version of events.

Then she turns her attention to the source of the voice. Or what she guessed was the source of the voice, the pod. Since it seemed to come from a whole lot of places at once. "Hey spider-moon-god. You don't happen to have seen any cultists around here have you? No idea what they look like but my guess would be robes? Kind of... occult-looking y'know?"
Image
User avatar
Earl of Purple
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1930
Joined: Aug 01, 2022 3:59 pm
Location: Amongst the Folk from the North
Pronouns: He/Him

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Earl of Purple »

Headed Toward the Ziggurat

"The Count has power. He's using it as he wills. His power is the power of soldiers and politics. Now I have power of my own, and I shall use it as I please. People called me creepy before he burnt down my house and drove me out of town. My name is Elvyra de Tejedor, and I am the Vile Necromancer." The Necromancer stops as she speaks, turns to Khannie and lowers her hood. Underneath, she is very ugly. She's a middle-aged woman, with too-close eyes, one of which is lazy, a broken nose that has healed very crooked, large gaps between her teeth (and she's got bad breath, too, though she's actively chewing mint her Name insists she be 'vile') and a furrowed tongue. Her face is puffy and bloated, but unevenly so. Her hair is short, an uneven cut, and a drab shade of brown.
Avatar provided by Happyturtle. Still using it, after all these years.

Don't run now, my eggs are hatching.
User avatar
Rebonack
Empowered Revenant Poster
Posts: 3686
Joined: May 16, 2022 3:14 am

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Rebonack »

[The Tome of Eliander]

Exactly what the 'safe, familiar space' actually appears as is difficult to nail down, but the dreamscape is meant to be reassuring.

Regardless of that, questions are being asked.

Important questions!

Probably.

~Who? That's a good question. It's always hard to remember when I've been lost in a dream. You called for help, didn't you? You must have been heard since I'm here now, wherever and whenever here and now is.~

That is an absolutely unhelpful reply.

The voice is a strange one for sure. At once a gentle, colorful, fluttering thing like a butterfly on the wing. But with a current of crackling power like a thunderstorm on the horizon.

~Spider? No... I don't think that's right. I'm no muse, weaving inspiration. But I haven't seen... or maybe I did? Did I dream them? Or did I witness them during my descent? Let me unwind myself; the chrysalis has almost waxed full.~

And then the glowing object, having grown to easily ten feet across racks open in a wave of moonlight and something crawls out of it.

When you hear the word 'fairy dragon' what do you think? Maybe a cute, colorful lizard with little pixie wings? Something both draconic and insectile?

What emerges from the cocoon could be called that. But in a way that defies expectations. Something long and serpentine, covered in iridescent insect carapace. Something with six powerful legs jointed in all the wrong ways. Something with swooping horns that might be antenna. Something with great prismatic wings crumpled and folded that begin to unfurl. Something with a long reptilian face marked with mandibles and glittering sapphire eyes.

It moves with an effortless, fluid grace, the air filling with the sweet, dreamy scent of flowers.

~Oh. You're both very small. Please excuse me. I think I must have lost my body again somewhere.~
Last edited by Rebonack on Sep 17, 2023 6:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
quillpleasant
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1322
Joined: Feb 27, 2023 7:23 am
Location: Somewhere cold
Pronouns: Any

Re: The Ossuary

Post by quillpleasant »

The Tome of Eliander

Harley is, in fact, reassured. The praying was just a temporary bout of piety, and not any deep rooted psychological issues whatsoever. Yes.

For Harley, the dreamscape changes very little, since the most comforting place to him is a strange glowing dreamy moon. Because anything and everything from the moon must be trustworthy and good, since the moon is so good. Everyone knows that.

And this whimsically confusing moon creature feels quite familiar to Harley. Not because he's encountered it before, but because he was once something quite similar.

"I did ask for help," he replies, bowing his head respectfully, but thankfully not with the same confused reverence as before. "Me and my companion are on a quest of great importance, and received injuries fighting for our lives. Are you willing and able to offer us some aid?" Since that seems to be the reason for its arrival. Or so it claims.

As the 'faerie dragon' emerges from the chrysalis, Harley's eyes widen behind the mask. It's certainly an intimidating looking creature, and he has a healthy respect for dragons due to some prior difficulties. But still, he's not afraid of it. It's just unthinkable that any moon would send something dangerous in response to a prayer for aid.

"What do you mean, lost your body?" he asks curiously. Since it does seem to have a body, but when it comes to the moon, reality is often subjective.
horses can attack and eat me
User avatar
Rebonack
Empowered Revenant Poster
Posts: 3686
Joined: May 16, 2022 3:14 am

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Rebonack »

[Headed Toward the Ziggurat]

Khannie does a MOSTLY good job of not looking completely grossed out when the Vile Necromancer reveals her face.

Mostly.

A mostly good job.

Not a GREAT job. Or a perfect job. Just a mostly good job.

Because WOW this lady is really ugly.

Khannie doesn't know anything about Names. That sort of ye olde chosen one super hero kind of thing really isn't a style she's at all familiar with. She just knows that this is a lady that got booted from her home, whether deserved or not, and now she wants to cause some trouble about it.

But if nothing else the lady introduced herself so Khannie figures it would be kinda rude not to say something like, "I'm Khannie Vallarm and I'm just some kid lots of weird stuff has happened to. But I know that people using power however they want doesn't turn out great for most everyone. It ends up with folks getting broken. There's gotta be some way to make what happened better without, I dunno, sending an army of zombies after him or whatever."

Speaking of an army of zombies...

Getting near the ziggurat the travelers will come upon a great number of mummies and skeletons.

Each and every one of them has an exploded eye socket, the dry bones and leathery flesh near it having been reduced to fine ashes. Undead further away have been blasted totally to ash. But those closer have more precise wounds that were apparently no less crippling to the undead. If the Necromancer is sensitive to such things she'll be able to tell those ashes are sanctified. The corpses have been hallowed, too. Raising them would be quite difficult.

"Wow someone really went to town here,"
Khannie observes.
User avatar
Shadowcaller
Poster from Beyond the Veil
Posts: 2620
Joined: Aug 02, 2022 6:29 am
Location: Sweden

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Shadowcaller »

The Tome of Eliander

As the creature stepped out of the cocoon Raheeda immediately recognized it.
She hated to repeat herself but this looked an awful lot like a fey creature she had encountered once. Though this was was admittedly more dragon-y than mantis-y.

But fey also made sense with everything else around here so far. Meaning that this might a moon-fey? Was there even such a thing? She had never seen trees on the moon, that's for sure but since it was so far away could she actually be sure? Maybe the moon had weird white trees or something.

If it had spider-dragon fey it could have white trees after all.

Raheeda leans close to Harley and whispers. "I think its a moon-fey."
Image
User avatar
Earl of Purple
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1930
Joined: Aug 01, 2022 3:59 pm
Location: Amongst the Folk from the North
Pronouns: He/Him

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Earl of Purple »

Headed Towards the Ziggurat

Even if she isn't familiar with the world Elvyra is from, the Name is redolent with power, a title given to her by the world itself to recognise her importance in the ongoing narrative. "I don't deal much with zombies. I prefer skeletons, I find them easier to control." She reaches out at the new bodies with her Aspect, and frowns at what she finds. "This is the work of priests, or some other blessed by Above. The bones resist my power... but my powers are great, and I shall Raise these warriors once more." The Vile Necromancer waves her staff and pumps the bones with necromantic magic, boosting it with her aspect so she isn't relying on just one method of reanimating the corpses.
Avatar provided by Happyturtle. Still using it, after all these years.

Don't run now, my eggs are hatching.
User avatar
Rebonack
Empowered Revenant Poster
Posts: 3686
Joined: May 16, 2022 3:14 am

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Rebonack »

[The Tome of Eliander]

For the record, this creature is definitely more of a moth dragon than it is a mantis dragon. But it's certainly a beautiful and uncanny creature. The more one looks at it the more its chimeric blend of traits seem as if they belong to it and it alone, and that the creatures it might resemble are nothing more than vague imitations.

The creature's body initially looked soft and white, like the gentle light of the moon, but it's steadily darkening into a pleasant shade of lavender. The horns on its head seem hard, though the back surface are covered in feathery projections like a moth's antenna. Maybe they're both?

~Lost in dreaming. Adrift in... um...~

The monster pauses giving its head a shake.

~S-sorry. My thoughts are all still muddled from just, um, from just waking up. You need healing? O-oh! I can-~


The creature pauses, looking at its still wet and crumbled wings.

~I... will? Be able to do that? My wings aren't ready yet, I'm sorry. W-what sort of cultists are, you had mentioned cultist? What sort are you looking for? I think... maybe? I felt something saw something terrible on my way down? I'm still not sure how I got out of Moirai. You said you prayed me down? Th-that's... um... I don't think you're one of Moirai's priests. I wonder how that happened?~

The creature's thoughts seem to jump from one thing to another. On might even say he's a bit loony.

~My lost body? Oh, I just died. It might still be around somewhere,~ he says, casting his glittering gaze this way and that as if expecting to find a dead dragon-moth just laying around somewhere. ~I hope someone killed it again before it caused too much trouble.~

What.

Clearly this creature is a moon fae. Raheeda should ask about those moon trees.


[Headed Towards the Ziggurat]

Khannie might not be aware of the Name system, but she IS familiar with heroic fantasy narrative. Narrative class is required for ALL PREP students because of course it is. If you're going to be a proper protagonist then you really need to know about narrative structure.

The only question is...

Is the Vile Necromancer a villainous protagonist?

Or just a regular old villainous antagonist?

Khannie frowns at the Necromancer's skeleton retort. "That's totally dodging my point. Undead revenge armies won't help you or anyone else."

But then not quite magic happens!

And not quite undead happen. A few of the less damaged corpses begin to stand, but then they burst in a spray of consecrated ashes. This isn't merely the work of some priest. This is clearly the work of a Hero. And not just any Hero, but clearly a Hero with a calling diametrically opposed to the Necromancer's.

Because Above always cheats like that.
User avatar
Earl of Purple
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1930
Joined: Aug 01, 2022 3:59 pm
Location: Amongst the Folk from the North
Pronouns: He/Him

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Earl of Purple »

Headed Towards the Ziggurat

"They will make me feel better. That is help enough for me." She frowns when the skeletons she had raised explode. "Somebody has gone to a lot of effort to ensure these dead remain useless. That is unfortunate. Be on your guard; they may be hostile." Alas, the Vile Necromancer is not a student of Namelore, and has never encountered a Hero- unless one counts Kothar. So she's got suspicions, but doesn't know what to expect, and remains quite confident. She'll ensure the human-sized mummy takes the lead, whilst the gate-guard follows behind and ensures there's nothing sneaking up on them.
Avatar provided by Happyturtle. Still using it, after all these years.

Don't run now, my eggs are hatching.
User avatar
Rebonack
Empowered Revenant Poster
Posts: 3686
Joined: May 16, 2022 3:14 am

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Rebonack »

[Headed Toward the Ziggurat]

"I dunno. I don't think revenge is gunna make you feel any better in the long wrong," Khannie counters.

But then popping zombies!

Khannie seems pretty intrigued by the effect. "Huh. I haven't seen that trick before. They've got a little knot of magic in 'em that blows up when you tried to do your thing. I guess that's pretty useful if someone doesn't want bodies to get back up."

Which is an understandable desire.

"It's probably just a hero exploring the ruins, too? One that's got anti-undead magic. I mean, that makes sense, right? This would be a good place to practice."

As they near the base of the ziggurat they'll spy beans of radiant flame lashing this way and that. The beams are tight, precise lines of golden fire that are punching straight through the eye sockets of the skeletons crawling out of the doorway at the base of the step pyramid. The source appears to be a young man in commoner's garb, wreathed in a nimbus of golden light with a disc of radiance behind his head. He's being careful to stay out of the range of the crossbows the skeletons are carrying and where the bolts get to close they get incinerated by the light surrounding him.

The youth catches sight of the bone giant out of the corner of his eye and sends a single ray of golden light searing through the air toward it's face. Of course, he doesn't know that the bone giant isn't being animated by one of the salt cubes and this concentrated attack shouldn't cause enough structural damage to destroy any normal undead.

"Ah beans he doesn't know we're not after him," Khannie sort of swears before vanishing in a burst of shadow. Or... not really vanishing. The necromancer will likely spy a fox-shaped shadow stretching from where she stood across the ground toward the Hero at an incredible pace as if the sun were suddenly low on the horizon behind the fox spirit.
User avatar
quillpleasant
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1322
Joined: Feb 27, 2023 7:23 am
Location: Somewhere cold
Pronouns: Any

Re: The Ossuary

Post by quillpleasant »

The Tome of Eliander

Harley nods at Raheeda's assessment. The creature does seem quite... fey-ey. And fey are usually dangerous. But they're not necessarily malicious, so he's willing to at least hear this one out. And he's definitely not biased in any way.

He addresses the moon dragon in a respectful tone. "I don't know who Moirai is, but there is a goddess of the moon that I still revere. Maybe my prayer to her was heard by someone similar?" He's heard of similar things happening. If a priest of a nature god goes to a different world, they might get accepted by that world's nature god due to the similarity of faith.

"You don't, uh... look dead?" This creature seems very confused, but then again, so is Harley. "We're looking for cultists that are using a book to conduct a terrible ritual. We mean to stop it." He's not totally sure the ramifications of the ritual, but it sure sounded bad.
horses can attack and eat me
User avatar
Shadowcaller
Poster from Beyond the Veil
Posts: 2620
Joined: Aug 02, 2022 6:29 am
Location: Sweden

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Shadowcaller »

The Tome of Eliander

One thing at the time. The moon trees had to wait.

She really wasn't thrilled about the possibility of being stolen into their tops anyway.
"Yeah, terrible ritual." Raheeda nods in agreement with Harley. "I'm not sure what kind of terrible but it ought to be stopped either way. Which is why we need to find those cultists."

Raheeda is pointedly not mentioning the actual reason Harley was praying. Which was healing her.
She did not want to owe a fey anything. Besides, the pain wasn't quite as bad as before and they could probably heal her up once they got back to the city, right?
Image
User avatar
Earl of Purple
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1930
Joined: Aug 01, 2022 3:59 pm
Location: Amongst the Folk from the North
Pronouns: He/Him

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Earl of Purple »

Headed To The Ziggurat

"He makes my eyes hurt." The Necromancer, then, stops looking at him, and instead pulls her hood back over her head and straightens up, launching a fireball at the skeletons shooting at the young man, as she directs the former gate-guardian to circle around towards the same crossbow-wielders without getting any closer to the Light-wielding man than it already is.
Avatar provided by Happyturtle. Still using it, after all these years.

Don't run now, my eggs are hatching.
User avatar
Rebonack
Empowered Revenant Poster
Posts: 3686
Joined: May 16, 2022 3:14 am

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Rebonack »

[The Tome of Eliander]

~Moirai are the weavers in the moon,~ the dragon replies. ~They're...~

Uh oh.

It sounds like maybe the fey dragon WORKS for big fey moonspiders!

No doubt they make their webs up in the trees.

~Trouble? They're... um... trouble. All the Old Gods are trouble. But Moirai are extra tricky. I'm not sure why they would have listened to you. Or... if they can listen? I don't... I don't know if the Old Gods really DO listen. I, I mean, they aren't. Like people. They aren't like people.~

Which makes answering prayers unlikely.

So what's going on?

At the comments on cultists the dragon straightens up a little and his (horns? antenna?) sort of wave around a little?

~Oh. Um... I think... maybe something is wearing the veil thin here? Between the, um... between the worlds. The thing that holds Tartarus away? Someone's digging. Maybe. Does that sound like what they might be doing?~

Several seconds of silence pass, save for the rhythmic sound of the creature's wings straightening themselves out. Then quite suddenly-

~I die sometimes. It's alright, I get better. But sometimes the body I leave behind makes trouble.~


[Headed To The Ziggurat]

Khannie doesn't really catch the comment about the hero being a bit too, bright, having gone zipping away already.

So!

Fireball!

The explosion really wrecks some of the skeletons pretty hard, the concussive force of the blast shattering bones and lighting mummifed flesh aflame. Preserved corpses are flamable? Who would have imagined.

Khannie, meanwhile, pops our of her shadow, the rest of her shadow suddenly snapping back to her. She immediately holds up her hands defensively. "Woah woah watch it we're not looking for trouble!"

Thankfully the fact that she appears to be a regular human teen and the fact that she's unarmed (despite having just appeared out of nowhere, apparently) prevents her from getting holy lasered in the face.

"Are you another necromancer?"
he asks, still keeping a leery eye on the encroaching skeletons.

"What? No. Do I look like a necromancer?" Khannie inquires as she whispers a few commands to the shadows and makes a sweeping gesture toward the nearest skeletons, which immediately turn and begin ripping into each other.

"Liar! You command the dead!" the hero retorts, though thankfully blasting doesn't happen right away.

"Ugh. No I don't. Dumb undead are usually really simple and just attack living things nearby. I illusioned 'em up to show a spark of life so now they're going at it. Probably wouldn't work on smart ones," she admits. "I'm just here doing archeology."

The Hero none the less eyes her suspiciously. But at least he isn't focused on the Vile Necromancer now, right?
User avatar
Earl of Purple
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1930
Joined: Aug 01, 2022 3:59 pm
Location: Amongst the Folk from the North
Pronouns: He/Him

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Earl of Purple »

Headed to the Ziggurat

The Vile Necromancer lives up to her Name at this point and leaves Khannie and the hero to it. She's going to take her one mummy and giant undead construct towards where the skeleton archers were and try to raise those with her sorcery, to reinforce her forces before she departs, headed further in. It's now a race, whether Khannie and the hero knows it or not, between the forces of Below seeking power and those of Above seeking... I dunno, to help people maybe?
Avatar provided by Happyturtle. Still using it, after all these years.

Don't run now, my eggs are hatching.
User avatar
quillpleasant
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1322
Joined: Feb 27, 2023 7:23 am
Location: Somewhere cold
Pronouns: Any

Re: The Ossuary

Post by quillpleasant »

The Tome of Eliander

Harley listens with increasing apprehension as the dragon talks. Gods are already difficult to deal with, but old gods are usually worse. They may not be malevolent, but as the dragon says, trouble indeed.

"A thinned veil sounds exactly like something the cultists might be doing. Maybe that's why the Moirai heard me?" That still feels strange, for multiple reasons, but there's no other obvious explanation that Harley wants to think about.

The dying thing is confusing. Harley gives a look around, just in case some undead dragon body is stalking them. You never know.

"Hey, you mentioned something about healing, when your wings are ready. Do you know when that will be? My friend here got badly burnt." Of course, he's also questioning why this creature is interested in helping at all. "If you are willing to help us, I don't have much to give, but I'll owe you whatever's necessary to make us even."
horses can attack and eat me
User avatar
Shadowcaller
Poster from Beyond the Veil
Posts: 2620
Joined: Aug 02, 2022 6:29 am
Location: Sweden

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Shadowcaller »

The Tome of Eliander

Sounded like a bunch of nonsense to Raheeda. So many words to say next to nothing.

All they had learned was that the cultists dug. Which she could have guessed herself.
It wasn't that she wasn't appreciative for the help. It was the nicest being they had meet so far and she figured it probably wasn't in the best brain-space right now.
It was just that, well, she had hoped for more in exchange for being this close to a fey. Since it could be setting up a trap right as they spoke. The web closing around them before dragging them off into those awful moontree tops.

She just wanted to go back to finding those cultists now.

Then Harley suddenly mentioned that one thing she had been avoiding.
Crap.

She waves dismissively. "Uh, it's not that bad. I can just walk it off. No sweat. Or burns. It'll be fine." Raheeda gives Harley a nod as she hides her burnt hand behind her back.
Image
User avatar
Rebonack
Empowered Revenant Poster
Posts: 3686
Joined: May 16, 2022 3:14 am

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Rebonack »

[The Tome of Eliander]

~Maybe... maybe that's why. Oh? Hmm?~ the dragon begins, only to pause again, craning his neck to look at...

Well.

It isn't totally clear exactly what it is.

~There's so much silk. Did it come down from the moon, too?~

Then he spreads his front legs wide and makes a broad sweeping motions, gathering up some of the drifting strands before rapidly rolling it in his mouth parts. This causes the surreal shifting dreamscape to get hoovered up as if it were nothing more than a background tarp, dragging it toward the dragon until all that remains is the bleak surroundings of the Ossuary and a shallow crater nearby. The dragon is left with a glowing ball in his mouth shining with the light of the full moon.

Which he swallows.

Gulp.

Then he fans his wings a few times.

~I'm still soft and droopy. Maybe in a few minutes? This place seems very sad. There are regretful thoughts lingering here. You don't regret being burned, do you?~ he asks, craning his neck to get in Raheeda's personal space and waving his... horns? Antenna? at her. ~You don't want me to help? You're afraid of something. Is it... bees? No. Yes? Something. You're afraid of something if I help you. I can provide renewal, once my wings have strengthened.~

Then the creature begins wandering off in that start and stop way insects do.

~The thin place is this way, I think? That's what you're looking for. Something about cultists.~


[Into the Ziggurat]

The moniker 'Vile' just doesn't lend itself to being personable, does it?

Anyway, once again raising the archers is pretty tough for a very important reason. They all have one of those black salt cubes lodged in their eye sockets. So long as that's the case they're connected to whatever dark will lurks below the Ossuary and breaking that hold is a real task. Of course, the salt cubes could be removed but that would take time and it would appear as though the Necromancer is in a bit of hurry to reach whatever foul prize waits below.

So!

Into the zigguart!

It is pitch black in there.

Like...

Absolutely pitch black.

No light sources to speak of. Though there IS a dry rustling sound that speaks of undead climbing out of niches in the walls. Thankfully this main tunnel is large enough to accommodate the bone giant.

Meanwhile!

"Are you a wizard, then?"
the hero asks, still leery.

"I mean, not really? It mostly comes naturally," Khannie retorts. "I just do hero stuff and-"

His expression lights up! "Oh! You're one of the Named, then! A champion of Above! I'm sure I could have overcome whatever foul darkness clings to this place on my own but aid is never unwelcome!"

He strikes a suitably heroic pose.

"I am the Virtuous Consecrator!"

"Umm... I'm Khannie Vallarm?" Khannie replies uncertainly. Then a look of realization passes over her. "OH! I get it! It's a title, right? Like how that creep called herself the Vile Necromancer?"

"A villain no doubt," the Consecrator replies. "Probably here to misuse the evil power instead of destroying it."

"Umm... I think she ran into the pyramid while we were talking,"
Khannie points out.

"Oh no! We have to hurry then, Below knows nothing of honor or fairness!"
User avatar
quillpleasant
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1322
Joined: Feb 27, 2023 7:23 am
Location: Somewhere cold
Pronouns: Any

Re: The Ossuary

Post by quillpleasant »

The Tome of Eliander

Harley gives Raheeda a sharp glance. That burn looked painful, and she seemed interested in healing until the dragon showed up. Maybe she's nervous about asking for help? The actual reason for her reluctance doesn't occur to him.

And then the dragon is swallowing up the moon threads, and with it the comforting dreamscape. Harley shudders involuntarily. Despite the circumstances, that scape was the closest thing to home he's felt in a long time, and he can't help but remember how it felt to lose that feeling the first time. He closes his eyes for a moment, breathing heavily.

Better to focus on the here and now. Eyes snapping open, Harley inclines his head at the creature. "I'd be most grateful for the renewal when you can manage it," he says, as he moves to follow the creature.

"And yes, the thin spot is as good a place to look as any. It's about time we find those cultists, our visit is long overdo." Reality may be bleak, but at least they're not wandering blind now.
horses can attack and eat me
User avatar
Shadowcaller
Poster from Beyond the Veil
Posts: 2620
Joined: Aug 02, 2022 6:29 am
Location: Sweden

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Shadowcaller »

The Tome of Eliander

Raheeda was honestly glad that the creature ate up all that white stuff. Their surroundings might look creepier now but this place was supposed to be creepy. A place that was all dream-y and safe just felt out of place here.

She gives Harley a cautious look. Of course he would trust it. But it wasn't his moon. Not his dragon.
But a bunny dragon would be an awesome creature. Raheeda would have to give him that. If he ever returned to the moon he should make one of those.

In that brief moment of daydreaming the dragon has started to walk off so Raheeda starts following as soon as she stops thinking about bunny dragons.
"What sort of 'renewal'?" She inquires with a hint of suspicion in her voice. "Since, uh, I got no way to repay you. My people's gods already owns our souls from birth." Or so the stories went at least and Yul had said nothing to dismiss that notion.
Image
User avatar
Earl of Purple
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1930
Joined: Aug 01, 2022 3:59 pm
Location: Amongst the Folk from the North
Pronouns: He/Him

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Earl of Purple »

Into The Ziggurat

Taking another of the salt cubes would slow the Vile Necromancer down, possibly more than she can afford... Yet she does it anyway, and directs her mummy to grab a crossbow and quarrel of bolts from one of the others, as the second salt cube is added to a pouch with the first, and she Raises this other skeleton, using her aspect rather than sorcery- it's quicker, and time is really of the essence. Elvyra hurries after, tempted to leave the newest skeleton as a speed bump, but she doesn't think it would slow the hero down much if at all. The gate guardian might be a better choice, but without knowing what lies deeper she decides to keep it with her for now, and leave it only when she must.
Avatar provided by Happyturtle. Still using it, after all these years.

Don't run now, my eggs are hatching.
User avatar
Rebonack
Empowered Revenant Poster
Posts: 3686
Joined: May 16, 2022 3:14 am

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Rebonack »

[Into the Ziggurat]

Now the Vile Necromancer has a big skeleton, a little skeleton, and a mummy. Her collection of undead minions is steadily growing now that she's figured out the trick to wrest them away from the control of the Ossuary.

So.

There's an immediate problem with the interior of the ziggurat, as mentioned earlier.

It is absolutely dark.

Fortunately, the Necromancer can conjure a fireball in her hand and heighten her senses. This gives her a pretty decent view of the surroundings! The hallway she's in now stretches off into the darkness out of the range of her meager light. The inside of the ziggurat isn't very complicated, which isn't TOO shocking if she's at all familiar with this style of architecture. The important feature for the time being is the fact that the salt-block walls surrounding her are filled with niches and the niches are filled with skeletons. Skeletons that are all touched by the malign presence. But they aren't moving.

Yet.

In the distance, though, there is a rattling, rumbling sound that's growing rapidly closer.

Meanwhile!

Khannie and the Consecrator take off in a sprint-
-only to immediately find themselves checked by skeleton crossbow wielders appearing on the second tier of the ziggurat.

Both are forced to backpeddle when the hail of bolts come whizzing toward them. One stray bolt gets incinerated by the Consecrator while another goes whizzing straight through Khannie, causing that portion of her body to swirl like mist.

"Keep going! I've got this," she insists, her shadow rising off the ground and forming a screen above them to intercept the incoming fire. "Go! Keep running! I dunno how much punishment this thing can take."

Heroics sure does involve lots of running.

"Your powers are a bit troubling," the Consecrator admits, firing off a few rays at several of the archers. "Above doesn't usually deal in darkness."

"Look, I'm not sure where you think you are but what I do isn't some kinda divine gift. It's just what I do."



[The Tome of Eliander]

~The physical kind? The healing sort. And invigoration. And protection otherworldly sources,~ the dragon replies to Raheeda.

That sure SOUNDS like the sort of protection they could be using.

~Do I need payment? I don't... do I? I don't think I usually ask for any. Um... I'm not sure. I'll have to think about that,~ the creature muses.

There's a good chance he'll forget.

Regardless!

It isn't long before our heroes approach a concerning looking ring of standing stones. A fire has been built in the middle of it and a group of robed figures stand around the fire, their arms upraised. Above the flames a sickly green mote of light is slowly growing larger, tendrils of greasy darkness slithering through it.

Definitely seems malign.

One guy holding a large book speaks, then the rest of the cultists repeat the words. Though what the words actually ARE is difficult to make out.

This sure LOOKS about right.

~I think I can help,~ the dragon says, giving his wings a flutter and causing glittering moth dust to fall from them. ~But my skin is still soft. I can bless you, but I don't think I would be very useful if this becomes a, um... if fighting starts.~
User avatar
quillpleasant
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1322
Joined: Feb 27, 2023 7:23 am
Location: Somewhere cold
Pronouns: Any

Re: The Ossuary

Post by quillpleasant »

The Tome of Eliander

"If a payment is needed, I'll be the one to pay it," says Harley decisively, despite Raheeda's protestations. The way he sees it, he already owes so much, what's a little more? Not that the dragon is even asking for anything, but still.

He is certainly biased towards trusting beings from the moon, but beyond that, it seems like part of being a better person is to put your faith in those around you. So for now, Harley will continue to put his faith in this strange moon dragon whose name he doesn't even know.

And this choice seems to be paying off, as they've been guided to the right place. Standing stones, check. Creepy robes, check. Green light, check. Big eldritch tome, check. Yeah, this is definitely the cult.

"Give us whatever blessing you can," says Harley grimly, pulling the knife from his belt, "Because a fight is definitely going to start."
horses can attack and eat me
User avatar
Shadowcaller
Poster from Beyond the Veil
Posts: 2620
Joined: Aug 02, 2022 6:29 am
Location: Sweden

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Shadowcaller »

Raheeda reaches into her robe and pulls out a shiny gold coin. "What about you get this cool magical coin in exchange?" She inquires while holding it up to offer it to the dragon. "You can exchange it for stuff at any store."

A beat.

"Though you also need to promise to not steal us away into the treetops."
Image
User avatar
Earl of Purple
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1930
Joined: Aug 01, 2022 3:59 pm
Location: Amongst the Folk from the North
Pronouns: He/Him

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Earl of Purple »

Into the Ziggurat

The fire does help, though she's careful not to disturb the resting skeletons. She's here to explore, at the moment at least. She won't know if she can usurp whatever effect is controlling these undead until she's found out what it is, so for now disturb nothing and hope. She's keeping the two salt cubes close, in hopes that they mask her living nature to whatever senses the entity here has- or perhaps just to the corpses lying in state against the walls. Her newest minion is directed to the front, to take the brunt of any traps they might encounter, as the giant skeleton provides rear guard duty and the mummy a reassuring hand to hold.
Avatar provided by Happyturtle. Still using it, after all these years.

Don't run now, my eggs are hatching.
User avatar
Rebonack
Empowered Revenant Poster
Posts: 3686
Joined: May 16, 2022 3:14 am

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Rebonack »

[The Tome of Eliander]

~Treetops? Are there trees here? This place seems desolate I don't, um, what? I'm not sure what you mean? I won't do that?~ the dragon replies a bit disjointedly.

That...

Counts.

Probably?

Maybe.

Sure, we'll go with that.

Either way, the dragon fans his wings and fills the air with glittering moth-dust. Those standing in it will feel... invigorated! Free! Like they're really ready to get it done. Whatever it may be. The sparkly dust will cling to them, warding them against destructive magic which is definitely going to be handy in the near future. It also provides some minor healing. Not the MOST impressive healing in the world but hey it's something.

So!

That just leaves how our heroes are going to choose to approach the weirdo cultists doing cultist stuff.


[Into the Ziggurat]

The source of the rattling comes crashing into view quite suddenly, giving the Necromancer relatively little time to react.

It's a giant rat.

Made of bones.

Like someone took a bunch of human skeletons and assembled them into the rough shape of a giant rat.

A giant rat inside a ziggurat.

A ziggu-rat, if you will.

The construct's mode of attack isn't particularly sophisticated. It simply rushes forward at great speed, aiming to trample everything in its path.

The Necromancer has a few options here. If she has wards that can stand up to the large rat that might work. The bone giant might be able to stop it, but the rat takes up nearly the whole passage so the giant may be over-run as well. Or she could duck into one of the niches, but that might disturb the skeleton inside it.

Meanwhile!

Khannie and the Consecrator enter the ziggurat!

"So, what is your Name?"
"I already told you, I'm Khannie."
"No, not your given name. Your Name from Above."
"I don't think I've got one? I'm not a cleric or a paladin or whatever."
"But you said you're a Hero?"
"That sounded like a capital H Hero. I dunno if I get what you mean by that. Now hush, it sounds like there's something up ahead."
User avatar
quillpleasant
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1322
Joined: Feb 27, 2023 7:23 am
Location: Somewhere cold
Pronouns: Any

Re: The Ossuary

Post by quillpleasant »

The Tome of Eliander

As the moth dust settles on Harley, his eyes widen and he bobs up and down a couple times, punching the air as energy flows through him. This is nice. And the sting from his salt wound is lessened enough for it to stop being a distraction.

Man, he should pray to the moon more often.

"Okay okay okay. Let's do this thing. I'll circle around to the other side, and when you give the signal, we both charge in. You go for the guy with the book, I'll keep the other ones occupied. Unless you have a better plan, because I don't really know what I'm talking about," says Harley, his words coming a little faster than usual due to adrenaline. An astute observer of his plan might note that he hasn't clarified what signal is supposed to be given.
horses can attack and eat me
User avatar
Earl of Purple
Reborn Elder Poster
Posts: 1930
Joined: Aug 01, 2022 3:59 pm
Location: Amongst the Folk from the North
Pronouns: He/Him

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Earl of Purple »

Into The Ziggu-Rat

The Vile Necromancer's put them all in the wrong order for this. The bone giant may well be most useful to her, but it's at the back, uselessly. So she ducks into one of the alcoves and stays very still, masking her body with necromancy to hopefully hide the spark of life burning in her breast. She has other options, if she must, but would prefer not to need them. The skeleton and mummy also are instructed to hide in alcoves, as the bone giant gets out of the way as best it can.
Avatar provided by Happyturtle. Still using it, after all these years.

Don't run now, my eggs are hatching.
User avatar
Shadowcaller
Poster from Beyond the Veil
Posts: 2620
Joined: Aug 02, 2022 6:29 am
Location: Sweden

Re: The Ossuary

Post by Shadowcaller »

[The Tome of Eliander]

"I meant the moon-trees." Raheeda clarifies as she was pretty sure she had already mentioned those.
She is not quite ready for the dust-storm conjured up by the dragon however. They hadn't even said anything so how would she know if this was the blessing or something else?

"Ahh!" She spins around and attempts to shield her face from the spores with the sleeve of her robe. "What was that?!"
Image
Post Reply