Neslethea

(name of our keep)
Episode 18

The Lenai beat the shit out of Ariadna's demonic rival and stole his Keep, but not before his dumbass stole and/or killed Elwynn. Now we dem landowners. See you in two months.

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Fulfillment
Episode 17

Victorious and cautiously optimistic, the Lenai began exploring the rest of the keep. They first came upon a barn that seemed to have been used for hay and centipede storage – until the centipedes transformed into pathetically weak demons that the Lenai quickly dispatched. Kenzie politely asked Trinket to make certain that there was nothing mean or scary in the basement and Trinket did so happily, once again proving his value to the Lenai. 

There remained one last building and multiple points to breach, Liam and Alra moved to enter from each point – Claire and Vincent followed after Liam, Kenzie, Tinket, and Ariadna followed after Alra. Somehow Ariadna ended up in front of Alra, which ended up being a bad decision. The Lenai breached the building to discover the southern entrance led to a room full of zombie minotaurs and the western entrance led to a snake lady with six arms and – coincidentally – six longswords. Ariadna barely shouldered the six blows that rained down upon her, scuttling out of the way and praying to Haggar for intervention – to be free of the snake lady who had so injured her.

As Claire, Vincent, and Liam – with a certain amount of druidic(?) help from Elwynn – made quick work of the zombie minotaurs, Alra moved to block the snake lady and Trinket teleported to block the other side. Together, they kept the snake lady encircled within the confines of the hallway. Kenzie gave life to a divine aura that tore at the snake lady, but the monster persisted. Trinket's happy "I've got this!" of a moment earlier became dulled by apparent paralysis. Alra attempted to claw and sting the snake lady while the blades bit at her exoskeleton and eventually forced her back into human form.

When all of her minions had been dispatched, Trinket suddenly roused from his paralysis. The necrotic energy he always held prepared glittered into a bright white radiant light, and the same light began to radiate outwards from his body as well – most notably from behind his mask. His conjured light took the form of a sword of divine power, and he struck the snake lady, causing her to perish at the cost – realized a moment later – of his own life, the radiant energy consuming him as well. Kenzie was crestfallen. The danger had been real, even of having Trinket around, Liam attempted to say in private – but in Kenzie's mind, a true and proper friend had been lost. In the eyes of Alra and Ariadna, a being which had fallen to the temptation of necromancy surely at the cost of his own humanity had instead turned towards Haggar in answer of Ariadna's plea. Even Liam begrudgingly admitted that Trinket's death was heroic.

Caution to the wind, the Lenai pressed onward. Forced back into human form and a little beat up, Alra's hubris came to roost as she burst through a door – revealing four powerful necromancers bearing the sign of the Rotting Legion. She struck out with her most powerful spell, a beam of radiant light bursting forth from her hand — and was almost immediately forced backward by a blast of necrotic energy not that dissimilar, her body forced backwards against the wall she's positioned herself near, slumping down as she lost consciousness.

As was always the case when serious injury came to the Lenai, extra precautions as well as extra risks were employed in order to see to the deaths of the necromancers. They found themselves unable to heal Alra after multiple attempts – even Elwynn's – due to an aura emanating from the necromancers. It took the death of the final necromancer standing, bitterly persisting in his efforts, to finally bring the aura down and allow for Alra to be healed. The Lenai initially decided to take an hour and rest – Alra sat where she had fallen and refused to be moved. Ariadna stayed with her throughout the eight hours, praying – eventually joined by Alra, who prayed wordlessly. She had clearly had the confidence shaken from her by falling so easily.

Fully recovered, Alra acceded and followed the Lenai into the basement. Within there was a chanting, Ariadna felt she recognized it but it wasn't until Zara at last witnessed the giant demon from her vision that she fully realized just who was before her. She quaked, terrified. The Moriana sisters psychologically checked out, Liam moved forward and challenged the demon with his sunblade. "I believe you're in my Keep. I'm here to evict you."

The demon only laughed in response.

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The Ruined Citadel
Episode 16

The Lenai, accompanied by "Trinket," a deathromancer of some description Geas'd by Kenzie, the strange new companion, continued through Ashar. Setting up camp for the evening led to a remarkable exchange: Vincent asked Trinket for any rituals he – she? – ugh, not this again, HE might know which he could teach Vincent. Excitedly, Trinket began describing a ritual to absorb the life from someone. Kenzie's face beamed – poor Trinket didn't have a damn clue how magic worked, not one single clue; the poor lil' thing sure was tryin' though. Kenzie believed in him, and began to encourage Trinket to demonstrate the ritual. As the Lenai cycled through "volunteers," eventually Ariadna had stood to declare "I'll do it," and Kenzie was getting on the ground prepared to show that Trinket was harmless — when he revealed that the ritual involved removing the target's heart.

Ariadna found a squirrel. The ritual turned the squirrel into a zombie. Liam killed it.

The Trinket Guarantee: It Will Go Wrong, Just Not How You Expect It To.

When they at last came upon the Ruined Citadel to make camp for the evening, they discovered some ancient Asharrian weaponry as well as a gigantic ancient teleportation circle. With a little time to figure it out, Kenzie believed she could open it. A little teamwork and concentration later, and the Lenai had opened the portal.

Charging through, the Lenai found themselves inside a nature-reclaimed temple of some kind. It looked very similar to the Oracle in Esnya, which made Alra freak out to no effect. 

Following Elwynn's directional insight, they made their way through the forest – the land appeared to be untouched by human hands in quite some time, was full of animals, but seemed untouched by the sorts of things the Lenai had been up against so far.

And then, as promised by the Tower – the keep at the center of Liam's destiny. Vincent attempted to protest, but the Lenai waved him quiet. He insisted that this destiny nonsense was just that, that the Keep could be anything or anywhere, that Elwynn hadn't actually proven himself trustworthy, that the Lenai themselves (and Kenzie) were behaving like characters in a book — but none listened. Instead, they happily marched forward. Stealthily, of course.

There were some sleeping swarms of demons up ahead, and Vincent was getting ready to Shatter them. The Lenai had a lovely discussion about the merits of the strategy, encircling encroachers and being able to hold the forge as an easily-defensible

Alra got fucking sliced right out of her panther form, and as the glittering magic fell away from her, she looked much weaker. The multitude of demons that moved through the walls to attack got caught in a blazing wall of fire – as did beloved Zara – and the battle was on. Liam's sunblade tore through several of them, Claire beat the shit out of another – Alra's firewall caught the house on fire. She turned into a giant scorpion and ran to save Vincent and Kenzie, retreating from the melee – but by then all the good killing had been had.

At least one demonswarm had evaded their violence, so the Lenai weren't looking forward to the benefit of surprise. The Keep lay in wait.

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Trinket
Episode 15

[we drop the nuns off and then Kenzie brainwashes Trinket #giveyourdemonicritualstowomen]

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Honor and Glory; That Fucking Crow
Episode 14

that fucking crow

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The Outcasts
Episode 13

wip

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Make Like Bird, Da?
Episode 12

So this is story about how our quest became flipped around.

We are having dealt with the journey towards [destination B] and found ourselves approaching a giant military camp. This is the best – and thanks to my special eyes, I can see. Good guys, other good guys, finally. I excitedly rushed towards the camp! Haggar may not be with these strange people and their strange ways and "laws," but I knew it was going to be a good day with so many troops assembled. A charge against the assembled forces of the Legion? Perhaps a humanitarian mission that still involved beating the crap out of people? No. But they had with them the [Esnyan mercenaries] and that was good enough for me. 

Like many times, we were forced into the usual social graces and asking permissions for this and that, but long and boring story short: we made our way into camp on the honor of our past achievements, and the nature of the threat they represented. It was time to best this whale, but no one seemed intent on doing anything.

Most heartbreaking: the city before us had been quarantined. No one was presumed alive, the plague was so bad within. I only have the faintest memories of the war and post-war, but the plague is so fresh in all of our memories. So many people are dying – and why? Some idiots in service of some dark God? This daughter of Haggar will have none of that.

But this woman, this commander, I forget her name but she was very pretty, she gets grumpy with me but then says if I want to help even a LITTLE I have to sign a bunch of stupid forms, and of course they're all in fucking Oshariyan so once again I have to call on the prettyboy Vincent, the little wizard who wears his dress better than I do but doesn't fight but with magics, to help me even read. It is apparently "the usual stuff," but it is half of an hour to initial and sign and initial and sign and initial and sign… 

The rest get to eat and enjoy a small feast, but Sestra moves to pray. I think in the moment she is praying for my safety – what I'm about to do is foolhardy, begging for something to go wrong – but if there were survivors in the city, they deserved to have their story told. My smallest form, is little bug that can fly. Oshariyans do not like the druids, and I can see why they would not, but at my insistence the pretty general had allowed me to do this. It was very important. I change into little bug and I fly high, high, high up. My eyes are good. The disaster is terrifying, utterly different from the world outside: the smoke chokes, the bodies are piled, the plaguedoctors do their deeds to save as many as they can — but do you know what sticks out most to me? Guards huddling the poor in the slums, well-defended and boarded up buildings, and best of all – a handful of ships bound together; away from shore but together. 

Not every battle is honorable, not even every battle for one's own survival, but the survivors of [destination] will stick with me for a very long time. When I return, it turns out brilliant Sestra was not praying for my safety – but Haggar's direct and divine intervention – for them. There is light and for a moment it is blinding, but when it is over, there is nothing to do but tackle Sestra and pray with her, thanking our God of War for his many blessings.

The camp is very entertaining and malyutka is off wandering on their own, apparently they went to a brothel. I will have to remember to ask about lady parts. But in what can only be called a fucking coincidence, delightful Ma Mary is at the end of a short series of questionings. She only has the supplies for one of our resurections, but she has them. I try to get a little more out of her, but you know how she can be.

It takes us longer than usual to find malyutka and it takes me an evening to prepare to return life to the body of the mouthpiece: the choice of who to bring back to life first is of much conversation, but the thought that the mouthpiece might know more information about what had happened to the Sisters while we were being fucked with by Zoma and the rest of his cowards. She did not complain of her new body, but instead was very grateful to be alive. I did the best I could with what I know, and with what the heart of the world has shared with me. 

Still there was a Sister to save, so we continued towards [destination C.] The mouthpiece was prepared to keep fighting the war. So were we.

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Plague and Inspiration
Episode 11

[road]

[zombies – explode into plagueclouds and pusgarbage]

[we fight, they die]

[alra absolutely insists on cleaning up the pus and dani absolutely insists on not, eventually alra wins out – divine shit cures it. we leave the canopy without holes and stop a little bit of plague from potentially spreading]

[plaguetown and burning bodies]

[dude]

[tallyho]

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Riptides and Tent Guys [WIP]
Episode 10

[shitass town covered in corpse]

[investigation turns up fuckall]

[liam and vincent argue about opening a door??]

[ariadna tries to teach dani some medicine based on a body but isn't successful, dani is uncomfortable anyway]

[dani finds the bottom half of a dude next to a windmill, the top dude is up top blocking the windmill; alra grabs the guy w/ a thorn whip why not]

[ariadna caught in a riptide]

[alra go get – get amulet]

[liam was like "hey alra turn into this fish" and alra was like 'you are like tiny child, move']

[tentguy is named Darius pronounced Dairyus not Dare-I-Us]

["She's a wonderful companion but she has eccentricities." ????]

[tentguy gives us tents and sets up alarms]

 

[milestone?]

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The Silent Town
Episode 9

Once the Lenai arrived at the Bit and Bridle, there were a variety of moods. Some sought immediate recompense, some sought the pursuit of justice in all ways as quickly as possible, and others still sought just to get back to pounding face — one way or another.

The bartender at the Bit and Bridle was named Darg. He was a man befitting his name, owing both to the lackadaisical nature of his job and the nature of the town in which he lived.  He was a source of little information – the mercenaries were over there in the corner, constantly watching the Sisters. Pretty much the entire time the Lenai were down in the depths, doing the militia's job for them. At swordpoint. And then as a basic battle for survival owing to the cave-in. Dots began to connect themselves.

With the booth clean, there was nothing for CSI: Neslethea to seek – so they moved onto the bedrooms. They split into teams and examined as carefully as they could. One of the rooms is blacked and burnt. Liam, Vincent, and Dani head first for the other room, while Alra, Ariadna, and Claire head for the burned. 

Two things are discovered in the mercenaries' room – a token with the same symbol as the one found in Dogwood, and a map of Chayton with a black X in a southern spot of wilderness near the Oracle and the Pit of Madness. Based on the amount of time spent in Plainston, it is also clear that the mercenaries' packs remained in a single position during their stay – ready to depart at a moment's notice.

Alra discovers a note that wasn't burned entirely, but is surprised to discover it is in Sylvan. "Attack while those 'Lenai' are occupied. Give me information. Burn everything. Leave no trace. TS."

After reconvening, Dani discovers a spring trap that hits them with a possible poison, but it fails to take – still, they prick their finger on it. An errant finger is discovered with a distinct scar designating it as having belonged to the third nun – the one who was presumably still alive. Upon investigation and consideration, Claire theorizes that the Sister was likely still alive when the thumb was removed. Ariadna added that it was obviously a clear and clean cut. Vincent requested that he be allowed to carry the finger, and no one understood why despite his attempts to explain. (#vincent)

Zara began to squawk at the closet, pointing out that on the top of the ceiling is an indicator for a location in Ashar, 60 miles south of Dalein. Ariadna tried to get some information from Darg's wife, but she was about as useful as the rest of Plainston. Upon further interrogation of the bartender, Alra was told that there often appeared an eerie green glow from the Captain's personal home in Plainston. The last figurative lightbulb finally turned on, and it was agreed that in the morning, more investigation would begin.

Dani nodded, but did not verbally agree. Alra saw the gesture and grew suspicious, deciding to spend some of her time resting blocking Dani's doorway. She wasn't going to let them go off and do something stupid. The sound of a spell being cast reminded Alra of a variety of magics that could be used to leave the room without using the door at all. "Fuck."

Dani went out into the night, alone. It felt natural again. Like a spider, they moved away from the tower, avoided the attention of everyone, and successfully threaded the needle to the home of Captain Zoma. Once there, they discovered little of interest, apart from a room utterly dedicated to the Rotting Legion, communicating with them, and Zoma clearly doing so. They'd never set out to be an assassin – they'd never set out to shed blood on purpose – but the man before her was every bit the monster his masters were. A brief scuffle, strangle, silence, stab; the man was dead. In his closet were undead. In a fleeting moment of thought, Dani shoved the body towards the corpses to be consumed. They watched. When Dani returns, they refuse to fight with Alra, instead forcing the woman from invading their bedchambers.

The morning made clear what had happened, but investigations were largely fruitless. Plainstone was a shithole that intended to remain a shithole. On departure, a militia member attempted to stop them, but a few threatening words made the man step aside. Nobody in or out? Nobody in in the first place, as far as the Lenai were concerned.

Various rude gestures – oral, somatic, material – were cast towards Plainston upon the Lenai's departure, save for Dani, who sat quietly, mulling over the nature of what they'd done.

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