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Bortar Side Quest: Veltom 10, 1513

  • Bortar: The morning of the 10th is cool, with moderate winds. The Comfy Chair is still on course for Patalputra, the last resupply stop before Nagrakata and the rendezvous with the caravan. Your actions please.
  • First thing, Bortar sends a light sprite the lightbearer office in Fortetsa Hebo about details regarding when the group is mobilizing and when Bortar should join them. Bortar joins the group for breakfast and goes back to his bunk until he gets word back from the office.
  • Bortar: You get a light sprite back from the Lightbearer dispatch office within just a couple of minutes. "Jaran's team is already in place. Are you familiar enough with Kratas to shift there?"
  • Bortar: "I should be able to do so on my own, as I've been to Kratas before. I will join them shortly, please inform them now so they'll be aware of my arrival. Thank you."
  • Bortar: I will finish breakfast quickly then shift to their location, after informing Vannin that I'm departing now. I will step into Astral Space and locate Kratas, and using my link to the Lightbearer's I will locate them and shift to join them. I rolled a 37 on locating Kratas, and a 43 on locating Jaran's group (that second roll is with karma).
  • Bortar: As you are finishing breakfast, and before you step astral, you get a light sprite back saying, "Are you familiar with the Warehouse district, Merchant's Row to the north and the Stables to the south?"
  • Bortar: I answer back "No, I'm not. Would it be preferable for me to get guidance since I'm not familiar with those areas?" If they answer yes, or something suggesting it'd be a good idea, I'll just shift to them.
  • Bortar: "Yes. Jaran's team is close to the theater. Shifting to them could cause a disturbance that the enemy might sense. We have an LZ designated elsewhere."
  • Bortar: ”Okay, I'll come to you now for direction.” I shift to the office.
  • Bortar: You shift in to the arrivals room at the Lightbearer dispatch office at the Temple. Before you can reach the door, there's three adepts there blocking your exit, with weapons and spells at the ready. One of them orders you, "Shift to the guard post outside the Stranger's Gate. Now."
  • Bortar: Although I'm irritated they didn't bother to explain, I shift there right away.
  • Bortar: You arrive on the road in front of the guard post outside the Strangers' Gate, the same place, interestingly enough, where Isaac was held when he first arrived at the city. Within just a few heartbeats, the Voznaiki are shifted in between you and the city gate. Ninulya is with them. Indrek, the Voznaiki's human Shaman, gestures to the guard post. "We should discuss this inside."
  • Bortar: Assuming you go in with them, they take you into what is euphemistically called an "interview room". Indrek comes straight to the point. "You're carrying a Horror Mark. T'Mor spotted it when you shifted into the city. You'll have whatever support you need, considering that you're one of His children and a Lightbearer, but you're banned from the city until the Mark is removed."
  • Bortar: "Oh, bother," says a voice in the back of your head, sounding a bit like the host of Masterpiece Theatre if he were a cat being strangled. "I had so hoped to keep that for the surprise in the third act."
  • Bortar: I faceepalm ”Thank you for everything.  Unfortunately, now I'm a tactical liability since it can listen in.”  I remove my face from my hand and look Indrek in the eye.  ”How do we want to go forward from here?”
  • Bortar: Indrek glances over at Ninulya, who has been conjuring, or spellcasting, or something - you're not a spellcaster, and you weren't paying much attention to her anyway. "We move you to Kratas. First, though, let's see what happens here."
  • Bortar: "Locked on," says Ninulya, and you feel a faint tug at your mind.
  • Bortar: "Oh no, you don't," says the Horror in the back of your head. "Not yet." And then you wake up, lying on a cot in what appears to be a holding cell, with a tremendous headache. You're not sure, but you seem to vaguely remember your head exploding. Trying to sit up makes you dizzy and nauseous, and fans the throbbing in your head from a fire up to a roaring blaze. Someone comes in and holds a cup to your lips. "Drink it. Hold it down if you can." Make a WIL test.
  • Bortar: I rolled an 11.  Assuming I don't throw up immediately, I say ” What...ugh... What happened?”
  • Bortar: Ninulya replies. She's standing at the door to the cell, which is hanging open. You also notice that your gear is stacked on a table in the cell with you. "The Horror pulled back its Mark when I tried to trace it."
  • Bortar: "The good news," Indrek says, sitting back in the chair next to your cot and putting the cup on the table, "is that you're no longer Marked. The bad news is that the Horror tried to take your brain with it. We were able to pull back, but the effort snapped some of the threads you had woven."
  • Bortar: Go through the threads you have woven - to items, to whatever. Skip the thread to the Bearers group pattern, that one held. Roll percentiles. On a 50 or less, the thread has snapped and will have to be rewoven from scratch. If you snap half your threads before rolling for all of them, stop rolling. If you have less than half snapped after rolling for all of them, reroll the ones that held until half have broken.
  • Bortar: I rolled for my threads, I lost my bow, one of the two threads to my bracers, and one of the two threads to my lightning bolt earrings. That is half of my current woven threads.
  • Bortar: "And here I always thought pulling my brain through my ear would be painless... ugh." As soon as I feel like I can, I'm going to sit up I'm going to go over my equipment and see what threads snapped. "I feel like a fireball went off in my head... how long was I out? Don't tell me I missed my chance to take this bastard down." I personally don't know if Bortar can, but from now on he's going to be guarding against his spell defense being targeted from the Horror. He does have a Lightbearer ability that should help 'dodge' it, but let me know if thats possible.
  • Bortar: "Just a couple of candlemarks," Indrek says. "As soon as you can get yourself together, we'll get you shifted to Kratas. Although the element of surprise is somewhat lost now..." His mouth tightens unhappily. "The assault team hasn't reported any activity in the theater, although they've been watching passively and not using any detection spells, since those in turn can be detected."
  • Bortar: Unfortunately, Refuse Horror Magic only works when you're aware that the Horror is trying something against you. A Horror placing a Mark on you from a place of concealment, or through an item, can't be Refused, because you don't see it coming.
  • Bortar: ”Well, I can say that it was disappointed about the mark being revealed early.  Also, its nice to have the element of surprise but when it comes to Horrors I assume they know I'm coming.” I pop one of those berries to help recover.  Since I can't dodge, I'll put on my counter spell ring, too. ”So, as I understand it, we'll be walking into an unknown area against a Horror we know little about, where it has every advantage, AND knows my current resources...  Or, in other words, a normal day for us.  Still wanna come with, guys?”  I say sarcastically. Can I spend a moment reweaving the thread to my bracers while I'm recovering?  I want to bump that one as much as possible before I leave, since out counts for physical and spell defense.
  • Bortar: "No," says Indrek. "we won't be going with you. My team will remain here in the Promised Land, where we're assigned. Someone will be along shortly to guide you to the base in Kratas." He either totally missed the sarcasm or just didn't respond to it.
  • Bortar: Ninulya nods agreement. "Very typical for Lightbearers. Don't insult its aesthetics again. It will kill quite a few people for its next work, trying to get the reaction it wants from you."
  • Bortar: You don't have time for a thread weaving to your bracers. It takes half a candlemark to weave a thread to an item, and Indrek already sent a light sprite off letting people know you were awake and ready to go. Just a few minutes later, Jaran Ganbatar shifts into the hallway outside the cell. You've met him before, elf nethermancer, Slim's faculty advisor. He's dressed in light armor with nethermantic sigils and carrying a staff. "Bortar?" he says. "Let's go."
  • Bortar: ”Alright, thanks Ninulya.  I appreciate every thing.  Take care of yourselves.” With that, I face Jaran ”Lets get this show on the road.” I place a hand on his shoulder.
  • Bortar: Jaran shifts the two of you (very smoothly, you notice) to a small room in a wooden building. There's a couple of folding cots leaning against the wall in a corner, a makeshift stove using a heat stone and a wire rack, and a big table with a lot of parchment on it. Some of the parchments are maps - streets, buildings, and such. Two people are at the table, one a dwarf woman in old, battle-scarred armor, the other a wispy elven man in dark robes, who turns to regard you with an arched eyebrow. "So is this him?" he asks Jaran, in a somewhat put-out tone.
  • Bortar: "Indeed. The cause of our current trouble." Jaran gives you a quick wink, then performs introductions. "Taracillion of the Ninth Spire, Magda Thornwhistle, Bortar Lesarb."
  • Bortar: "The rest of the team," says Magda in a strained, raspy voice, "is on post right now, keeping the theater under observation." She pokes a finger at one of the street maps. "Hector is worried about the awning."
  • Bortar: "Of course he is," Jaran says, and steps over to the table. "It's almost in his peripheral vision if he lines up a shot on any of the windows on the west side."
  • Bortar: "Pleasure to meet you both." With names like those I'm sure I know something of their legend? I'll step up to the table and wait to be filled in on details. "By the way, are we going to be here long? I'd like to re-weave a thread. It managed to mark me at some point and T'mor noticed. After a trace was attempted on the mark, and a tug of war ensued, it caused some stress on my pattern and snapped some of my threads."
  • Bortar: You don't know anything about Taracillion, but from his nickname, you can safely assume he's from Sereatha, the CIty of Spires. Magda Thornwhistle is a Warrior of Master Circle, bordering on Warden, from Throal, with a rep that goes back forty years or so. Her voice is the result of an old throat injury. There's a three-beer story right there. "Depends on how long before the Horror makes its next move," says Jaran. "Let's go over the situation and then we'll see where things go."
  • Bortar: "Right," says Magda. She directs your attention to the table. "We're here, a block north of the Dream Spire warehouse, far enough from the target area to keep the Horror from sensing a Lightbearer presence and the astral shifts. The playhouse is here, a block and a half north of the Grim Legion -- "
  • Bortar: Taracillion sighs. He sounds so very tired. Magda favors him with an irked glare.
  • Bortar: "Here," she continues, poking a finger at the map, "a little closer to Merchants' Row than I'm comfortable with."
  • Bortar: "Merchants' Row is the least of our concerns," says Taracillion. He waves a languid hand sort of generally toward the west. "We've kept out of sight of the Walking Windling thus far, not that it's all that terribly difficult, but we really don't need her band of fanatics blundering into a real operation."
  • Bortar: "I keep telling you not to underestimate the Grim Legion -- " Magda starts.
  • Jaran raises a finger and immediately has the other two adepts' attention. "Berry Blossom is a strong believer in frontal assaults. Her unit is very effective at that sort of tactic. We need this to be a quiet operation. Keeping them in the dark is a necessary evil at this point. We may need reinforcements on short notice come nightfall, and, if so, we'll bring them in on my authority."
  • Bortar: Taracillion doesn't seem pleased by this - he frowns and purses his lips - but he doesn't interrupt again.
  • Bortar: "So we have people stationed here, here, here, and here," Magda goes on, indicating points around the playhouse. "We're doing passive monitoring, watching the astral and the physical without using detection spells or active Talents, so as not to provide any signature that could be spotted. So far nothing's happened. We're not picking up any taint from outside the playhouse, any more than you generally find in Kratas."
  • Bortar: "Which does present a difficulty," Jaran says. "Kratas was ravaged by the Horrors during the Scourge, and there's residual taint throughout the city. As if that weren't bad enough, there's the old slave market here, right in the middle of the Warehouse District, and hundreds of years of pain and suffering ground into the stones there. No wonder the Horrors spent so much time and effort on Kratas. That would have been a signal beacon to them."
  • Bortar: "So right now," Magda says, "we wait and watch. Come nightfall" -- she glances out the window -- "about three candlemarks from now, you go in the front with the ticket, with our team encircling the building and ready to go in hot and hard."
  • Bortar: I keep quiet for most of it, then say ”Forgive my ignorance, but I do not know much of the Grim Legion.  I assume they represent a risk, annoyance, or hindrance to us?  I haven't had the chance to ask more before. Also, I assume I'll be entering alone.  How might I signal the team when I need to, aside from yelling out?”
  • Bortar: Taracillion rolls his eyes and says "All of the above."
  • Bortar: Magda harumphs in his general direction.
  • Bortar: Jaran gives Taracillion a quick glance, then tells you, "It varies. The Grim Legion was founded with the same goal as the Lightbearers - to track down and destroy the Horrors. There's a few differences between the organizations."
  • Bortar: "A few?" says Taracillion incredulously. "Those ignorant brutes -- "
  • Bortar: Jaran points a finger at Taracillion with a sharp look, and the elf subsides.
  • Bortar: "The Legion," Jaran tells you, still watching Taracillion, "is very dedicated to their quest, perhaps, and this will sound odd coming from a Lightbearer, a little too much so."
  • Bortar: Magda nods agreement. "If you look up hardcore in the dictionary, and flip a couple more pages, you find the Vorst. Keep going to the end of the chapter and there's the Grim Legion. You're either with them or with the Horrors."
  • Bortar: "They slaughter the innocent!" Taracillion matches Jaran's gesture, and the two of them lock eyes. "The Grim Legion is directly responsible for Aardelea's psychoses. You can't deny that, and I don't see how you can possibly work with them when you know good and well that they kill children on the suspicion of Horror taint!"
  • Bortar: Jaran sighs. "Some of them do. Bortar, you and Taracillion both need to remember that the Grim Legion has no central command. Each group is independent of every other. All you really need to do to join the Grim Legion is put on their badge and swear to kill the Horrors. This results in bad apples in the barrel. Berry Blossom's team is one of the better ones. Yes, they're fanatics. But they're here, and we have to take them into account, and may have to work with them. As to how you'll signal us, you're a Lightbearer. Send a sprite."
  • Bortar: ”It sounds like a very complicated organization.  However, on the side of practicality, we can't change the way they do things right now and extra forces don't hurt.  Especially when it comes to Horrors.  We use them if we need to, but lets pray to Garlen it doesn't become that complicated, right? That aside, is there any thing else I need to go over battle plan wise?”  After any review I'll put my energy into weaving to my bracers and bumping it up.  Lemme know how many times I can bump the rank after weaving please.  Then....onto the main event?  >.<;
  • Bortar: "Complicated ain't the half of it," says Magda. "But yeah. So besides me and Taracillion and Jaran, we've got Hector, he's an Archer adept, set up here." She indicates a building on a nearby corner. "He's the world's biggest worrywart, but he's a great sniper. Got a lot of patience. We've got additional people here, here, and here," indicating spots completing a square around the playhouse. "Got regular troops in these warehouses on either side. We didn't want to put too many adepts in the neighborhood for fear of being noticed."
  • Bortar: "The plan is simple," says Jaran. "If we sense that the Horror has shown up ahead of curtain time, we'll rush the playhouse from multiple directions and try to pin it down before it can shift out. Otherwise, you'll stroll in the front door with the ticket in your hand, and we'll close up the distance once you're inside. From there, we'll expect you to call us in when we've got a clear shot at trapping and killing the monster."
  • Bortar: "Be on your toes," advises Taracillion. "This one is a nasty tricksy little bugger. We already know it can bring Name-givers back to unnatural life and dabbles in Nethermancy. Passions only know what else it's capable of."
  • Bortar: You have time for four thread weaving tests. It's up to your dice whether they're successful or not.
  • Bortar succeeds at all four, restoring the second thread to his bracers, providing him with +6 to his PhysDef and SpellDef total between the two threads.
  • Bortar: Come dusk, there's been no reports of anything major in the playhouse. One of the monitoring adepts thought she spotted something, but it was small and transient and definitely not a Horror showing up. Jaran gives Bortar directions to the playhouse that go around the Grim Legion's building instead of past it. Bortar heads out.
  • On the way, Bortar manages to avoid tripping over a recently dead body in a back alley.
  • Bortar arrives at the playhouse without further incident. He's met by the ghost of an usher. After his ticket is punched, the usher leads him into the theater and up the stairs to a box seat. There's the ghost of an elven woman waiting for him – his blind date. The curtain rises. There's a clown, and a backdrop of scenes from Bortar's life. The play begins, with living marionettes strung up on ropes and moved by clockwork. The music sounds like a gypsy wedding band that died of asthma. The play proceeds to a point where the young woman has nothing to wear to the dance, and the clown indicates that Bortar might be able to help. Bortar takes the green dress up to the stage. The players are alive, with the ropes threaded through their limbs. Bortar gives the young woman the dress. She shows it to the clown, who claps and does a little dance. Bortar looks up and sees clockworks driving the ropes. The young man dances with the young woman, then pulls her heart out, and the curtain starts to come down.
  • Bortar returns to the box and tries to quiz the ghost about the location of the Horror. She doesn't know anything useful, and tries to force him to dance with her. He pulls away and swings All-Biter. She's disrupted, and howls that she just wanted him to dance with her before she vanishes.
  • Bortar finds his way backstage. He hunts around for evidence of what happened in the decaying costumes and dried-up makeup and aging props. He finds evidence of lots of people dragging lots of other people. Bortar sends a light sprite to Jaran saying that he's found the way under the stage. Jaran and his team shift in, leaving sentries outside. They go under the stage. Bortar cuts the actors loose. Jaran asks Bortar why he didn't cut the actors loose during the performance. Bortar says he didn't want to spoil the chance of the Horror revealing itself. Taracillion shouts at him that the Lightbearers are not the Grim Legion, they save the innocents first, and stomps off back upstairs.
  • Up in the proscenium, there's a construct, metal and clockwork and living flesh, containing the spirits of the actors. After a brief confrontation with the Grim Legion, who have barged in and are shouting up from the stage, Jaran and his team shift out the construct. Bortar shifts after them.
  • After a long discussion with Jaran, Bortar shifts back to the Comfy Chair.
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Page last modified on September 26, 2012, at 11:35 AM