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Game: Devious Machinations (Market Ward, Undersigil) RP- ANYone can join

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Trias's picture
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factotums
Joined: 2006-08-14
Game: Devious Machinations (Market Ward, Undersigil) RP- ANYone can join

The rain patters briskly atop the canopy covering Alyra's wares. Nearby a barmy Xaositect rants indecipherably at passersby. The evening fast approaches and underneath the canopy, a ragged humanoid in Collector's robes grows impatient. At a passing, he appears to be human. A closer inspection reveals bright amber eyes, inhumanly reddish hair, and a subtly forked tongue which belie his fiendish nature.

Alyra impatiently negotiates the price of fine lockpicks with a bariaur as the area slowly but surely, becomes isolated as cagers head back to their kips. This area of the Market Ward is not safe at night. She occasionally glances back at the fiendling with a tense, knowing look. Zerdan returns a glance of his own - helpless and exasperated.

Xanados should have been here by now.

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Game: Devious Machinations (Market Ward, Undersigil) RP- ANYone

Zerdan pulls the hood of his Collector’s robe over his head as the rain picks up – his entire body now covered in ragged brown, nose and mouth only visible. Underneath the flimsy robes, his Baatorian-forged armor tingles with warmth – running through the length of his body giving him a false, fleeting sense of security. Although Zerdan is better-armored than most Mercykillers, he has no reason to feel safe.

His hand rubs involuntarily across the pouch attached to his belt (hidden underneath his brown robes) cupping the oval stone inside. He passes across until he grips the hilt of his broadsword. He nervously glances back at Alyra, who seems to have driven off the bariaur. A single drop of sweat slides from his forehead to his cheek.

For two weeks now he has been holding the stone for Xanados, he had thought nothing of it at the time, just a favor for a fellow smuggler but he had not expected the assasins, nor the voice inside his head. Now all he wanted to be was rid of it.

Again –
MINDLESS FOOL. TAKE ME THERE AT ONCE. IT IS YOUR ONLY WILL. THE LONGER YOU DELAY – THE MORE YOU SHALL SUFFER. IT IS YOUR ONLY WILL.

Zerdan shudders and blinks hard. Staring at Alyra, he knows that she wont remain long. A sudden, searing pain shoots through his midsection, nearly causing him to crumple to his knees. Regaining his composure, he looks up at the street just in time to discern a shadowy figure approaching.

It’s not Xanados.

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Game: Devious Machinations (Market Ward, Undersigil) RP- ANYone

Patch hummed a "rain is falling down, falling down" tune quietly to himself. He drank the last swollow of wine from the bottle in his hand, then hummed the same tune backwards.

He took the empty bottle and stuck it on his left horn, the smaller one. Patch liked the rain. When Hivers need to sew up leaky tarps, they call Patchwork the Xaositect Tailor ( not to mention, Tiefer, Tout, Troublemaker and ... uh... Troubadour ) Sometimes he found work in other parts of Sigil too. He just unloaded a fine bolt of Athasan Silk ( they sure do grow some blamin' BIG silkworms on that lemon! ) and half of his jink was already spent on wine and cheese. Mostly wine.

Patch leapt gracefully over a puddle, well, almost. He picked himself off the wet cobbles and walked backwards for a block or two, just to make sure nobody was following him....

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Across town, the shutter's of a window begin shaking. After a quick pause, they BURST open, and through the portal stumbles the dust covered, slightly battle damaged Planar Half-Elf adventurer..Vallick Tendooran.

His name may have spread itself through the hive amongst lower bar folk, as a wannabe legendary explorer, always looking for the next big find, "To walk in the spotlight, is the greatest enjoyment"..say's the Half-Elf constantly.

Vallick pulls himself together when he hits the street hard.

"Damn.."

He reaches into his heavy cloak and pulls out a shiney crystal ball, the image reflecting inside is of an entirely different world.

"Finally, proof. Damn sensate's will have to believe me now!"

He puts the ball back into his cloack and wanders down the rainey street

Azure's picture
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Game: Devious Machinations (Market Ward, Undersigil) RP- ANYone

[ooc - i think Trias has forgotten about us, but i'm going to post here anyway, because i don't have time to join a real game...]

"Get off my stoop you thrice-damned addle-cove." An irate kip-owner woke Patchwork from his drunken stupor with several blows of a dusty broom. Patch did his best to ignore the first few, but once he stood fully erect, drew a shiv and impaled the haft, startling the chubby human on the other end.

"I mean just raining Berk it's because dirt doesn't cover you with your floor just want me to." Patch said with a smile. Nothing riles up the normals like chaos-speak, even though Patch didn't normally go in for such things. A quick twist and withdraw of the arcane steel and the severed broom head sailed into a puddle.

He dusted off his patchwork ramient as best he could (which was at this point a futile effort at best) and switched the black eyepatch from his left eye to his right, just to freak the berk out some more. The baleful red glow from his left eye had the effect he expected and the human quickly retreated back into his kip, slamming the heavy wooden door. Looking out both eyes at once was disorienting to Patchwork, especially when he was drunk, and he usually preferred the darkvision of his pale blue right eye to the infravision of his glowing left one.

The rain quickly matted his long black hair to his scalp, making him look even more the pathetic half-drowned underhiver. He felt around for his purse, scanning up the street for an open tavern or wine shop, but then remembered that he had given the last of his jink to a couple of beggars earlier.

"Time to start looking for a mark I suppose..." Patchwork sighed aloud to the dark and deserted streets.

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'Azure' wrote:
[ooc - i think Trias has forgotten about us, but i'm going to post here anyway, because i don't have time to join a real game...]

[ooc - indeed, he may have!]

As the shadows grew longer on the cobble-stoned streets leading to and from the Market Ward, Zerdan began to seriously wonder just where Xanados could possibly be. "It's not like him to be late or . . . is it?" he reflected to himself. While partially consumed in deep thought, he failed to even notice that Alyra had closed shop, packed up and headed off for her kip. In fact, his deep thoughts were only partially disturbed by the apparent sounds of conflict. Instinctively, his hand once again entered his cloak in search of a familiar hilt, that of his broadsword. The exchange doesn't last long and there is the soft sound of something hitting a nearby puddle. Dare he investigate?

A door slams, followed by a random, guttural hum. So as to not arouse suspicion, he slowly makes his way over to where he thought the splashing sound originated.

"Hmmm . . . just the business end of a broom." Zerdan glanced cautiously around but only noticed a shadowed figure simultaneously dancing around and through puddles some few blocks in the distance. "Bleeding barmies are everywhere" he muttered on low breath.

As he resumed his post near the far wall across from Alyra's Wares pavilion, a searing pain assaults his mind once again. The pain is so intense; he swears that blood must be exiting every orifice on his head. Subconsciously, he has taken a knee.

The rain, a slow but steady downpour, is the only sound heard besides his baleful moaning. The roads are dark and nearly vacant save for the occasional beggar calling out for jink.

A shadowy figure glides along the wall as if it were actual shadow. He doesn't hear its approach as he rubs his aching head.

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Game: Devious Machinations (Market Ward, Undersigil) RP- ANYone

Shiv Method: (1) Stab Berk in back. (2) Look through Corpse's pockets for something interesting.
-Advantages - Can be fun.
-Disadvantages - Can be decidedly NOT fun if Berk turns out to be a Cutter instead.

Sneak-Thief Method: (1) Sneak up on Mark. (2) Thieve.
-Advantages - If it works, nobody gets hurt except the Mark's finances. Can always fall back on Shiv Method if it doesn't work.
-Disadvantages - Not easy to do, especialy if the Mark is wary.

Friendly Stranger Method: (1) Bump into, offer aid, offer wine, or otherwise distract the Basher. (2) Thieve. (3) Smile, bow, and walk away.
-Advantages - Fun, often for hours afterward, thinking about the total Berk who fell for it.
-Disadvantages - Sigilans don't trust strangers, and nobody trusts Tieflings or Xaositects. Works best on clueless Primes.

Well now....choices, choices, thought Patchwork. He could see that the brown-robed figure wasn't very wary at the present time, kneeling in the rain-slick street. Probably drunk, or wounded. A perfect candidate for any thieving method, really. Shiving the Berk might prove difficult, as Patch could see heavy armor peeking out from under his robes.

Ah! Heavy armor! Perfect for the fun, funny, funnest method of them all.

Snatch Method: (1) Snatch. (2) Run.
-Advantages - Way fun!
-Disadvantages - Only if the Mark is fast. This one ain't.

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Creeping slowly, Patchwork was totally unaware of the shadowy figure floating just beyond an arm's reach of Zerdan; unaware indeed. As his muscles tensed for his anticipated snatch and run ploy, he felt an eerie floating sensation. He was feeling lighter than he ever felt. Truth is his feet were no longer on Sigil firmament. Patchwork went to lunge when then realized that he had nothing solid to base his momentum on. It was then with a startled yelp that he found him self dangling from one of the many blade adornments on the building nearest his intended mark.

Zerdan caught the yelp in the midst of the steady downpour of drizzle and attempted to locate its source. As he looked up into the dizzying combination of falling water with its prismatic array of broken light and the distant flickering lights on the far side of Sigil, EVERYTHING went dark. For just a second, he couldn't see anything.

When his vision returned, it was hazy at first as if he had begun to recover from a night of binge drinking. His first order of business was to ascertain his whereabouts. His uncertainty of foot caused him to stumble backward into the building wall. Upon gathering his coordination and wit, Zerdan took a quick surveillance of all things he remembered before his "episode." Aylra's shop was still directly in front of him, the streets were still somewhat empty, the roads were still damp but the rain had stopped . . .

"By the Lady's shadow . . . "

Something was terribly wrong indeed. The few people in the streets weren't scrambling to get to their kips, no they were returning for the next day's earnings! Zerdan's mouth dropped as the first thin lines of light began to cause the shadows to recede. In stunned silence he collapsed to his knees again, resembling one who'd drank his weight but failed to navigate his way.

Patchwork dangled limply from the blade. He had resigned himself to his fate and had fallen asleep. Even the apparent dawn wasn't enough to wake him.

"What . . . happened . . . to . . . me?" Zerdan began to question the fortnight's events. As a cold sweat began to form on his brow, his mind was assaulted once again by the piercing pain in his mind. He almost breathed a sigh of relief at the realization that at least one thing had remained constant.

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Game: Devious Machinations (Market Ward, Undersigil) RP- ANYone

"What . . . happened . . . to . . . me?" Zerdan whispered through the pain.

"Well first you knelt down in the street then I was going to rob you but this dark shadow snuck up on ME and hung me on a hook which was the most restful night's sleep I've had in a week and a half by the way and then you just stood there like a statue and the shadow looked like it was searching for something but I don't know if it found it because I fell asleep around antipeak but you still stood there for a long time and now it's morning and I'd like to get a cup of coffee but I'm still hanging here and I don't have the jink for breakfast." Patchwork yawnwed and stretched as Zerdan looked up, wincing with the pain and redoubled confusion.

Patchwork produced a small set of silver shears from one of his many pockets and cut at the cloth impaled upon the iron spike from which he dangled. He fell to the ground, landing directly on top of Zerdan in his confusion. He rolled off and defly came to his feet, then turned back around and offered a helping hand to Zerdan.

"Patchwork the Tailor." he offered as he got Zerdan back on his feet. "You can call me Patch if you want to use a shorter version." Seeing that the red-haired Teifling still swayed like a bubber, Patch led him to a doorstoop with a few stairs and sat him down. "Well now, about that coffee." Patch mumbled to himself. "That gentleman over there looks wealthy." He turned to Zerdan and said "Be back in three shakes of a Bariaur's tail, or more like twelve hundred and fourty-seven or so."

The pain in Zerdan's head was so unbearable he had no will to resist the aid of the unsymetrical Tiefling. He watched Patch slide off into the growing market crowd, then bit down as a fresh wave of agony washed over him.

-- FOOL! WEAKLING! I WAS ALMOST STOLEN AWAY, TWICE. TAKE ME THERE MINDLESS COWARD. YOUR SUFFERING WILL GROW EVERY MOMENT UNTIL YOU OBEY ME. MY WILL IS YOUR COMMAND. OBEY! --

Zerdan nearly cried out as the waves of pain broke against the shore of his mind. What was this thing that Xanados had given into his safekeeping? Oh, how he wished he could just be rid of the stone, Xanados be swollowed by the Nine Pits! But something, curse, compulsion, or the will of the stone itself, kept him from simply casting it into a storm drain and returning home to Torch.

Zerdan didn't mark the passage of time as the voice in his head psionicly scourged him, but eventually Patch returned with two mugs and a pot full of a hot, bitter beverage. The drink seemed to lessen the pain in Zerdan's mind somewhat, though the voice still raged.

"Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!" Zerdan finally blurted out.

Patch seemed completely unphased by Zerdan's outburst, and since he had hitherfore been silently sipping his drink, he took it as an invitation to start talking. "Those are nice robes you've got there, Tiefer. Just kidding of course. They're flimsy, stained with Sigilan rainwater, a hideous earth-tone brown, and torn in four places. I can fix 'em up for you if you like, 'cause I'm a Tailor, you know. Or I can make you something much better, which would match your armor, or clash wonderfully if you prefer. You aren't a Xaositect, I see. Well, rather I seeheartastesmellfeelknow you aren't because I am and we can spot other Xaositects at fifty paces. Plus you don't know the secret handshake and I can't show it to you because it's a secret. By the way, I'm Patch (did I already say that?) but you can call me Patchwork the Xaositect Tailor if you want to use a longer version. What's your name, Tiefer?"

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“Uh . . . Zerdan?” He sputtered as a child who’s just learning to respond to his name. Patchwork was rattling on so that he didn’t really take head to the response at all. “Well, I could call you Ole’ Tatterclothes, or Mr. Mismatch, or Johnny or Ragamuffin, or Shadowbait, or I could do for a nice pastry with this coffee. What say you?

Before Zerdan could even process that his name had not been acknowledged or formulate a response to the hastily uttered question, Patch was off again disappearing into the growing crowd with the subtle smoothness of skipping a rock across a placid lake. Burying his worry-worn face into his hands, Zerdan began trying to make sense of his present situation.

“How did I come to this torment? Surely this couldn’t have been a voluntary situation, right? Why me? How am I going to overcome this situation?” Some thoughts make better sense in the mind than being uttered aloud to open ears; a fact he became aware of when he realized a small girl was standing in front of his crumpled form replying to his last question. “The best way to overcome adversity is to pick ones self up by the bootstraps and get a job!” There she stood, no more than three feet at the shoulders with bright inquisitive purple eyes, pointed ears and freckles on her alabaster face.

“Whaa . .?” he began to reply as the booming sound of an irritated female rang out above his thoughts. “Caramae, didn’t I tell you NOT to speak with strangers? Leave that bum be and get back over here!” The woman obviously mistook him for some homeless clod cluttering the streets of Sigil. Surely she must be made to see the err of her ways; after all he was a warrior tried and true. He groggily made it to his feet while knocking back the last bit of Sigilian Java. The little girl hurriedly returned to her mother’s side. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve and prepared to yell some suiting obscenity in their general direction when he noticed two hardheads approaching. “Bah, she wasn’t worth the lumps they’d surely give me for yelling at a waif!”

A sudden thought gripped him like the realization of forgetting a daily routine. He quickly patted himself down to access if he was missing anything. “Hey Berk, Public scratching not allowed! Find yourself a bathhouse” snarled one of the Harmonium patrols. “Eh, what’s he on about? Said Patches at low breath as he eased seemingly out of a crowd of people. “Here, this Archonian flake pastry with mist sprinkles is to die for” He extended a half-eaten delicacy seemingly made of several layers of thin and browned bread with specks of a honey-like substance glistening in the waxing light of peak. As much as he’d like to refuse the left over pastry, the grumbling in his stomach indicated otherwise.

“Don’t feed the swine, they’d never leave!” muttered a passing nobleman as Zeldan made short work of the gift. “C’mon, lets’ get over to my shop so that I can make you presentable. After all, if you’re to be seen anywhere in my city, you’ve got to look the part. Figure out what that shadow thing was looking for? It seemed mighty attracted to you for a moment. My favorite color’s reddish-green. I think a little reddish-green would liven up your appearance; that and a good shave. A bath wouldn’t hurt either, not much call for soap where you’re from? A needle is to a tailor as a sword is to a warrior. As they began to walk off, Zerdan began to wonder if this blood ever shut his bone box.

Unbeknownst to the unlikely duo, another figure also eased into motion in the same direction they were headed. Sporting what appeared to be layer upon layer of rags, this figure was all but ignored as it shambled after the pair. Only little Caramae even noticed that there were no footprints in its wake and her mother silenced her on being on about some such nonsense as that.

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Game: Devious Machinations (Market Ward, Undersigil) RP- ANYone

"There's a doorway to my shop around here somewhere...."

Patchwork and Zerdan walked down an alleyway so thin that Zerdan had to walk sideways in his plate armor.

"Its in Undersigil. Thereare a few doors there that open up in the Hive and Lower Wards, but this ... one..." Patches patted several pockets, seaching for something. "AH HAH!" He pulled out a carved wooden hasp for a cloak. It was intricate and accented in Jade. They passed under a clothesline, two stories above, and suddenly found themselves in a dark corrior. Inky blackness lay all around, except for a flickering glow far ahead.

Zerdan's warrior instincts suddenly jumped to life. He was no longer on the streets of Sigil, where an act of violence would have dozens or hundreds of bystanders. Here it was dark, and danger could come from any shadow without warning. It was like coming home for Zerdan. His broadsword was in his gauntleted hand, and the pain now seemed only to make his senses sharper.

Patch trode forward confidently. "Lets see if anybody felt like coming to work today."

As they moved towards the lighted area, Zerdan started to hear a noise. It was like heavy breathing, as if a dragon slumbered in the chamber beyond. Patchy swept through an archway, and Zerdan cautiously followed. A huge pile of fabrics lay in the middle of the stone floor, reaching nearly to the arched cieling overhead. The breathing became snoring, a thunderous sound that made Zerdan wince with pain. He could see one side of the pile moving rythmicly, as if some ponderous beast slept benieth. Patch tiptoed forward towards the pile. He pulled out a long needle, and shot a mischevous look back at Zerdan before attacking.

There was a great roar, and Zerdan retreated three steps and fell into a ready stance, his sword gripped tight. The pile of random cloth seemingly exploded, as a huge humanoid lept upward yelling. He was twelve and a half foot tall, with long black dreadlocks and hands the size of small shields. The floor shook as he jumped up and down, rubbing his left buttock.

"Buttons!" Boomed the towering figure, "Patch is friend very good." He wrapped one huge hand around Patcher's skinny frame and threw him into the pile of cloth (now much smaller without Buttons' bulk under it.) "Where jink Patch? I want jink from job. Buttons! I carried much silk. Good silk, yes. I told patches Athas has best silk anywhere. I was from Athas, where is best silk but no jink. Where jink Patch?""

A muffled reply came from the pile of cloth (which indeed did include a few sheets of the best silk in the known multiverse) "Humm, whll, hats da fing, hy hind of shent hall da jhnn hon fooze. ann feggers."

"Booze and beggers? BOOZE AND BEGGERS!?!" The half-giant raged around the room and kicked at the pile of cloth scraps, spreading half of them around the floor of the chamber. "Booze and beggars AGAIN?!? Say Patch brought some booze," Buttons shot Zerdan a look, "and not just a beggar."

Zerdan's voice shook with anger as he gripped his sword. "I...am...no...beggar! I have never begged, not for jink, nor help, nor mercy, not from anyone, not EVER." The half-giant was big, but unarmed. Zerdan hadn't killed anyone in days, not since the assassins. He waited to see if the ton-and-a-half humanoid was going to make a move, but he secretly longed for a good fight. A good stand up fight, he thought as a twinge of pain stabbed him in the back of the head.

Buttons scowled at Zerdan for a few tense moments, then yawned and started to re-pile the cloth. Patch threw off a blanket and appeared at the huge humanoid's side. "Where's Stitch?"

"Making jink in the Sandstone District."

"Oh. Well, what about Needlehole?"

"At her cousin's in Curlyfoot."

"Yes, charming little chap. He's got a comphy couch. How about Redcap?"

"Merc work."

"Cobb?"

"Buttons! Not seen Cobbler since Gladsheim job."

"Snippy?"

"Scragged by Sodkillers."

"About time, that. How about Template?"

"Went back to Xaos, said maybe to Limbo from there, maybe not." The half-giant shrugged his mighty shoulders.

Patches sighed. "How are we going to have a feared and famous hive gang if nobody's ever at the hideout? What if somone comes to steal the supplies?"

"Surprise?"

"No, I wouldn't be surprised if we got a rush. I guess you and I would have to handle any customers ouselves."

The half-giant just shrugged and yawned again. Patchwork sifted through the random fabrics still spread throughout the room. He turned to Zerdan as he worked. "I'll get started on your new robes, cutter. Lets see, was it going to be reddish green, or greenish red?" Zerdan still gripped his sword. He had fallen in with a bunch of blamin' barmies, that was for sure. The lopsided tiefling never even mentioned what Ward they were under, just that the "shop" was somewhere in Undersigil. Zerdan came fully into the room and sat down on a bare table on the opposite end of the chamber from the half-giant. He set his broadsword down next to him on the table, but he watched the darkness of the corrirors beyond with a sense of forboding, as if invisible enemies watched from the archways.

They did, of course.

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Tarnil might have been one of those enemies.

But he wasn't.

Panting, Tarnil arrived through the other end of the portal, finally appearing in an archway somewhere indoors, perhaps even underground.

Several minutes earlier:
Tarnil ran through the large forest, crashing his way through the trees and growth while the rain poured down around him, "It's close... I know it!" he thought to himself while tightly grasping a small piece of diamond. He could hear his pursuers right behind him... so close, and then suddenly, just as he was running, the portal appeared before him and he stepped through...

Tarnil pushed his long black hair out of his pale face and looked around the dark room that he appeared in, wondering where he arrived. He noticed three figures standing some distance before him- one a giant in size, the other wearing large plate armor and the last a begger in appearance.

((I'm sorry if this narration is a bit annoying :X ))

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Game: Devious Machinations (Market Ward, Undersigil) RP- ANYone

[ooc - welcome, enjoy!]

The quiet *pop* of a portal caught Zerdan's attention, but the others did not even look up from their work. Patch was measuring out cloth by the arm-length, while the Half-Giant, with his tongue sticking out the side of his lips, concentrated on threading a large needle that was nothing more than an insignificant speck compared to his huge fingers.

Zerdan spun about, snatching up his sword. "Who's there? Show yourself! And pray to the Lady that you are not assassins, for I'm in the mood to spill blood."

"Just don't get any on the silk, Zerdan," Patchwork said calmly, "At least not before I finish. Not that the shade of reddish-green will be wrong, mind you, it's just that it's hard to sew when its slick." He took out a set of large shears and started to cut at the cloth he was holding.

Tarnil stepped forward cautiously. Still dripping wet from the rain, and still pumped up from the pursuit, he knew not where he was, only that he had somehow arrived somewhere....else, and that those that were chasing him were gone. He cast a glace behind him into the darkness just to be sure, but no, he had not been followed. Tarnil breathed a sigh of relief, before tuning back toward the three strangers (and they were strange indeed.)

The red-haired warrior held his sword in readiness, but Tarnil could tell with a glace that he had not slept a restful minute for days on end. The huge one with the dreadlocks still struggled to thread his needle. The thin man with the mis-matched horns lay his work down on a table and swept around the warrior with an odd lanky grace. He wore an eyepatch, and his clothes were a strange conglomeration of leathers, silks, and cloth, patched together in odd shapes none larger than a hand's span. Though Tarnil had taken him for a beggar at first, as he approached he saw that much of the man's patchwork ramient consisted of top-quality materials, though stitched together in a rather chaotic and sundry manner.

"Ah, another customer! You will have to wait about a bit, basher, if you've come for a fitting. If you've not, perhaps this would be more fitting!" With that, Patch flipped his shears around and caught them by the blades. With a quick flick of the wrist he threw them at Tarnil, who narrowly dodged out of the way. They did, however, slice his sleeve. Patchwork gave him a sardonic sneer, and said "Looks like you'll be needing some new threads after all, eh clueless? Step into the shop and we'll fix you up good."

Was it an invitation or a threat? Tarnil could not really tell.

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Tarnil immediately felt for his dagger were it usually hung from his waist, but it wasn't there, "I probably dropped it while I was running" he thought to himself, not daring to move. His clothes might have once been very expensive, but now they were worn out and soaked, he might have been in his 20's or in his 40's... it was very hard to tell.

Tarnil looked carefully at the shears that were just thrown at him, looked back at Patch and decided to try to talk to this strange character rather than fight him, as he wasn't much of a warrior (not in his current situation, anyway).

"Clueless? What do you mean?", he asked in wonder, not understanding the irony of this question, "Who are you? Where am I?"

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[OOC - post edited in line with Azure's points, and reposted after Azure's for flow. Gotta love cross-posting... If it's all the same, I'd like to go with pre faction war - I'm more familiar with it.]

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"Why, you are here, that's where. I am Patchwork the Xaositect Tailor, but you could use one of the shorter versions of my name, like Patch, Patches, Patchy, Patched, Your Imperial Majesty, or Hey Berk! I mean you are obviously clueless, by the cut of your jib, for no cager would dress like THAT willingly. Clueless; noun, one without a clue, sigilspeak for a green prime, straight from some obscure lemon, who hasn't a clue as to where he's gotten himself. There, your questions answered, in order reversed. Any more FAQs, go buy a mimer, berk. Now, if it be a dry slop you're after, the place which is here is the place to be now. Just mind the que, for this hende basher is up by the astral." With that, Patch spun about and walked back to the table where he has set down his work, producing a small set of silver shears from a hidden pocket as he went.

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In a darkened alley a little way across the rain-soaked streets, a cloaked humanoid stooped over a second prone figure, his shoulders heaving slightly as he fought to catch his breath. It had been a long, winding pursuit through the cloying Sigillian murk, but the predator now stood victorious over his kill; the thrill of the hunt still coursing in his veins. This loathsome creature of darkness and oppression would plague the streets no longer. His second kill of the night - another victory for freedom and the light - but there was so much yet to do. His second kill. There would be a third before the night was out, he knew it.

Bastion’s nose wrinkled slightly in distaste as he knelt beside the fallen human and yanked a faction pendant from around the corpse’s neck; this wouldn’t stop the Hardheads tumbling to the identity of this one, but not knowing the sorry sod was one of their own might slow them down and take the initial fire out of their search for his killer. The rain, too, was his ally. The rain would hide his steps. The rain would mask his scent. By the time they knew the dark of it, Bastion’d be long gone.

He wiped the blood from his steel fighting claws on the corpse’s clothing and stood to properly survey his surroundings, taking in the sights, the sounds, and the smells.

Market Ward.

There had to be a safe house around here. If not, maybe one of the merchants would let him go to ground. Maybe help him into Undersigil so he could make his escape proper. He dropped his hood – peripheral vision is the hunted cutter’s friend – and set off at a run away from the scene, his padded feline feet making little sound as he made his way towards the hustle of Sigil’s busier streets.

Bastion slipped through the crowd easily, trying to attract as little attention as possible. Although the unusual was fairly usual in the Cage, his neat mane of silver-white hair and tall stature made a difficult task of being inconspicuous, despite his best efforts. The Hardhead patrol was a little way off, but heading his way with purpose, and a glint in their eyes that they always seemed to acquire when they spied a known Indep. He made a mental note that speaking at the Trianym was not conducive to maintaining the low profile necessary for the pursuit of his calling.

He made a show of not noticing the patrol and slipped down a back alley, accidentally knocking into a Dabus who was trimming razorvine. A flurry of angry symbols whirled around the creature’s head, but he did not stop to apologise beyond a brief wave of his hand. He burst into a nearby building, mouthing a silent prayer to the light that the Dabus’s remonstrating had not drawn too much undue attention. The familiar but unexpected all-over tug of a portal activation disoriented him for a moment..

The chamber in which he now stood fell silent as four pairs of eyes quickly fell on him. A tiefling, and three others, one of which looking like he’d been dragged through a hedge backwards. Bastion noticed the drawn weapon almost immediately; the muscles in his leonine legs bunched and tensed instinctively – fight or flight, the choice would be made in an instant, but for now he just stood ready, fighting claws ready to fend off any attacker, but otherwise deliberately held motionless and unthreatening. His pale human-looking features betraying nothing of his inner battle. He deliberately avoided meeting the gaze of anyone save Patches as he analysed the scene before him, looking for any other exits besides the portal he’d just come through, and working out how best to get there without getting hit if it turned nasty...

“Have I come at a bad time? If you cutters want to be alone, say so...”

The Aasimar’s voice was warm and calm. The only indication that he was anything other than calm was the gentle flick-flick of a lion tail beneath the rim of his cloak.

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"Alone? No I don't need a loan. Not that I've much jink now, but a business loan has to be paid back, otherwise you'd take your pound of flesh." Patch looked at the feline newcomer's blades, then turned to the Half-Giant. "You were right, this was a great place to set up shop, look at all the customers we've recieved. And to think Snippy complained that a nexus of portals all with a button, clasp, hasp, broach, or zipper as their keys would be too easy to enter. The man has no business sense."

"Had." The Half-Giant replied, "And niether do you. Booze and Beggars indeed. Buttons! I can't get this needle."

Zerdan looked at the celestial with a frown. He could smell the tang of blood from his blades. Fresh blood, though no visible evidence of a kill stained them. Suddenly, he winced as if struck by an invisible blow. An all-too-familiar voice raged in his head.

--- KILL IT! A WRETCHED SERVANT OF THE LIGHTED REALMS STANDS SCANT YARDS FROM YOU SWORD. OBEY ME AND I WILL GRANT YOU THREE HOURS' PEACE. KILL IT! KILL IT NOW!"---

Zerdan looked at Bastion. He was no fan of the upper-planars, and the offer of three hours' peace and quiet from the voice was tempting, but he was stubborn. Perhaps that's why Xanados had given the stone to him. Perhaps anyone else would have obeyed the thing, would have done it's bidding just to escape the pain. Zerdan is not a tool, he thought back at the voice. Zerdan is a warrior, a blood-war survivor, and if damned anyway, I'll be damned if I let some cursed artifact dictate who to kill and who to let live.

Zerdan shiethed his sword and bowed to Bastion. He then turned to Tarnil, and opened his mouth to speak, but then froze. He swayed a little and brought his hands to his forehead. Then the vertigo hit him fully and he stumbled forward and fell to the stone floor with a loud crash.

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Attempting to ignore the Aasimar that just appeared from nowhere, Tarnil hesitated, thinking that if he helps this man perhaps he might have a way to understand this place. That is the way you survive, he thought to himself. How, from being the servant of royalty, did he get to this position?!

He quickly snatched the shears lying only several feet from him and pocketed them. He approached Zerdan carefully and checked if he's still conscious.

He was, but still seemed to be quite dizzy.

Tarnil looked at Zerdan's face, trying to figure out his features. Then, he began helping him to his feet, "Can't have you lying on the ground, can we, sir", he mumbled only to Zerdan and himself.

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Seeing Zerdan sheathe his blade, Bastion allowed himself to relax slightly, although taking stock of the situation had revealed the presence of not one, but two fiendlings, so he elected not to let his guard down entirely. Things had improved, but only marginally, considering.

Zerdan’s collapse caught him somewhat by surprise, but one does not survive long on the mean streets of Sigil by throwing caution to the wind and rushing to help a fallen tiefling with no apparent injuries – that’ll get you penned in the dead book like as not. He shifted his shoulders, shaking the tension from them, and watched impassively as Tarnil hastened to help Zerdan, then his good nature got the better of his senses.

“Looks like your friend needs some help there, cutter.” He said, addressing the prime, but his eyes scarcely leaving Patches and the large humanoid for more than a second or two at a time. If there was to be an ambush, it would be while his back was turned and his attention on the fallen Zerdan. “I’ve got a healing poultice about my person somewhere if you need it.”

With that, the Aasimar took a cautious step toward the half elf who was attempting to help Zerdan to his feet. As he did so, he shrugged his brown leather cloak so that it completely freed his arms to move. Bastion’s upper torso was that of a human, clearly, but his lower half was the white-golden furred hind quarters of a lion or similar hunting cat. The studs on his dark brown leather jack were missing in places, and the armour was deeply scored and battered. Hardly the normal armour of choice for one of his blood; more that of some low knight of the post; but in any case the armour of one that was not afraid to get his hands dirty.

Addressing Patches, he said “Don’t try anything addle-coved, tiefer. I’ve no quarrel with you this day, unless you wish to start one. Allow me to help your friend if I can, then I’ll be on my way.” His words were again calm, but with a perceptible warning edge to them.

Taking another step toward Zerdan, Bastion hitched his fighting claws to rings at his broadbelt, and reached for something under his cloak…

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As the two travelers tried to help Zerdan to his feet in his heavy armor, his body suddenly began to spasm. He let out a loud yell. Blood trickled from his ears and nose. "YAARRRG! Unhende prod! Lathly mibix! GrrAAA! No no no no NO! Torture me to death but NO! Find some other tool to flay, I'll never do your bidding, not for all the jink in Shurrock..." At this Zerdan rambled off a string of obscenities so foul that Buttons dropped his needle and covered his ears.

Patchwork seemed to ignore the entire scene, being once again hard at work by the table.

It was at that moment, when everyone seemed to be preoccupied, that the shadows chose to strike.

Strangely, It was Patch who was the first to react. He lept up, put one foot on the edge of the table and spun about, making a great jump right overtop the first shadowy figure that entered in the archway. He drew a shiv seemingly out of nowhere and landed blade-first on the second dark figure. Seeing his companion react, the Half-Giant surged to his feet. He swung a massive fist at the lead shadow, but it passed through the thing as if it wasn't there. The shadow struck out at the huge humanoid, and where it's blow landed, a frost formed and the skin blackened with instant frostbite. Buttons howled and retreated, but instead of pursuing, the shadow moved with speed towards Zerdan and the duo aiding him.

Hearing the Half-Giant's yell, Bastion looked up and saw a half dozen shadowy figures crossing the room towards them. Behind them, Patch got back up to his feet, his adversary already melting into the cobblestones beneath his glowing arcane blade.

Suddenly the shadows were upon them. The lead one struck at Zerdan, but it could not penetrate the Baatorian steel of his armor. If the shadow could have looked surprised, it would have. Bastion's claws sliced through it's head in retaliation.

[ooc: Moog, you must decide if the slice had any affect or simply passed through]

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Bastion blinked as his left claw passed straight through his ethereal assailant, but his right claw connected, raking through and leaving a black misty trail of vapour in its wake. The creature emitted an unearthly muffled howl of pain, and staggered back a moment; a moment Bastion seized upon to take stock of the situation.

A list of priorities swiftly sorted itself in his mind, first and foremost should have been self preservation, but he found himself unable to consider escape. He knew somehow he needed to be here. So, to win the fight; creatures are shadowy things of darkness, so it’s a fair bet they don’t like…

“Where there are lies, I bring truth…” started the Aasimar, squaring off to launch himself at the stricken Shadow. “…Where there is darkness, I bring Light!. The last word sounding almost like a lion’s roar as he sprang forward to attack…

[OOC – Daylight q.v. Aasimar racial, end of the “round” once Tarnil’s stated action and intent.]

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Tarnil was shocked and terrified; he was used to dealing with humoids, he's never fought something like THIS!

The moment the creature was upon them, Tarnil swiftly jumped back, his moves rough but graceful nevertheless, and the shears that he had picked up just minutes earlier were now in his hand as if by magic.

"I can't use my abilities now, it's not the time", Tarnil thought to himself, "I can still use these people, and showing them everything now will destroy that option".

He took careful aim while Bastion sprang forward and threw his shears at the shadow.

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The chamber lit up like a sun had decended into the corridors of Undersigil. The shadows screamed in unison, a horrifying sound, but music to the ears of the combatants. The shadows seemed to shrink slightly in the bright aura, and hesitated.

The shears Tarnil threw passed harmlessly through one of the shadows and clattered to the floor. Patchwork ran forward and scooped them up. He tossed his dagger to Tarnil hilt-first. "Here, clueless, this shiv will work better. Thanks for returning my snips, by the way." He ran forward and stabbed at one of the shadows with a small set of silver scissors. Evidently this smaller set was made of some arcane metal, for the shadow recoiled from the strike. Patch stabbed at the creature repeatedly like a homicidal maniac.

Blind with pain, unsteady on his feet, but hearing the sounds of battle, Zerdan stood and drew out his broadsword. The closest shadow was cleaved in twain with one strong stroke, but his swing threw Zerdan off balance, and he fell to his knees.

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Tarnil caught the dagger and briefly examined it. It wasn't HIS, but anything would do at this moment.
"Perhaps I will find a way to recover mine later on...", Tarnil thought to himself while swiftly and gracefully leaping forward and attempting to slice the Shadow with his new dagger.

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Meanwhile, Bastion was pressing home his attack; the burst of daylight seemed to have taken the Shadows quite by surprise, and may just have won back the initiative, if the living could capitalise on it and maintain the momentum.

Darting amongst the reeling Shadows, he feinted left, but was too slow as a flailing shadowy claw raked him through the chest. The Aasimar gave a cry through clenched teeth and buckled slightly as he felt his strength being wrenched out of him, but he managed to bring his claws to bear. He knew that both sets bore minor enchantment, and thus in theory both were capable of striking these foes, but incorporeals could be tricky at the best of times, and this was far from the best of times.

Desperately, yet somehow with precision, he raked at a shadow, praying to the Lords of the Light that he might prevail - He had to at least buy time for... buy time for who? Those weren't his thoughts...

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The shadows seemed bewildered by the speed in which the mortals turned the tide of battle around. Weakened by the light, facing fairly effective blades, and losing the element of surprise so quickly must have stunned them. Creatures of darkness, they were not bold combatants. Though they still outnumbered their intended victims, they moved about randomly and haphazardly. Two tried to flee back to the dark corridor from whence they came, but were confronted by a much larger shape in the darkness with slanted eyes the color of dried blood. At an unspoken command they turned and shot straight at the kneeling form of Zerdan...

Meanwhile, though only half of his blows were effective, Patches continued to slash away at his adversary with his silver sheers. The shadow's retaliatory strikes seemed only to whip him into an even greater frenzy, until he was literally foaming at the mouth and babbling incoherently, "Fitting! You! Get! How! A! Deadbeat! I! Jink! Want! Alterations! What? Do! No! You! Out! Fitting!"

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Tarnil knew now that he shouldn't have left Zerdan, and now his chance of understanding this world was going to disappear. He quickly dodged the Shadow that he was fighting, swiftly running towards the two that were attacking Zerdan.

Tarnil took very careful aim, making sure not to hit Zerdan himself, and threw the dagger, which ripped through the air at one of the attacking Shadows.

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Whatever was going on, it stank worse than a Hive sewer. Being a freedom-loving basher, Bastion didn't hold much store in fate or predestiny, but this whole affair suddenly reeked of it. Chance that he stumbled into the kip of these curious sods, halfbreeds all? Chance that these Shadows chose that precise moment to launch attack?

And something dark was out there, controlling them. They had look set to flee when the Aasimar's light had filled the room, but now they redoubled their efforts to get to the armoured tiefling. Zerdan was their target, Bastion was now certain, and some... unplaceable... urge... compelled him to protect this tiefling from these shadowy attackers, and Bastion really didn't like feeling compelled.

His thoughts returned to combat, and he realised to his folly that his mental ramblings had allowed his opponent to land another soul-wrenching blow. Furious at himself, but moreso at the shadow before him, he crossed his arms before him, and suddenly threw them apart, slicing through the Shadow's neck in a scissorlike motion. The undead creature let out a gurgling howl of agony, and dissipated, affording the Aasimar yet another respite to get his bearings.

"Why are these shadowy sods so interested in you, Tiefer?" He said as he circled round, narrowly dodging Tarnil's thrown dagger as it whizzed past his arm. "And what's that I sense outside the door? What hunts you?" He had to defend this tiefling, he knew, but he was damned if he would risk life for an unknown cause.

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"What...hunts...?" Zerdan speaks through clenched teeth, trying to focus through the pain. Then the shadows are upon him. The first to reach him, taking a lesson from earlier unsuccessful attacks, bypasses his armor and goes for his unprotected head. The creature's hand passes into Zerdan's skull, leaving hoar and frostbite on his scalp in his wake. Zerdan cries out, but the attack seems to break him from his vertigo like a splash of cold water in the face. He surges to his feet and lays about him with his broadsword. The attacking shadow is cleaved in twain several times before it can react to this turn of events.

The second shadow is hit by Tarnil's dagger-throw as it approaches. It screams as whisps of shadowy matter trail from it's torso in the blade's wake. Suddenly a wild-eyed tiefling with a pair of scissors is upon it. "Deadbeats! Bring some jink next time! This is a business! You want alterations for free? Here you go!"

The shadow fled before the mad tiefer's onslaught. Patchwork tried to pursue, but stumbled forward and fell, the draining touch of his adversaries finally catching up to him.

There were now six shadows facing Bastion, an unarmed Tarnil, and a newly resurgent Zerdan. The armored warrior smiled and licked his lips. The pain was gone, and the voice was silent.

This was going to be FUN.

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The Aasimar moved closer to Zerdan, his fighting claws weaving, ready to parry any sudden attacks from the circling Shadows. He knew he was agile enough not to impede the Tiefling's attacks, and the armoured warrior would benefit from having his back covered.

It was then that Bastion noticed the half elf was unarmed, and darted a glance to where the dagger lay. Two shadows stood between them and the enchanted weapon, and Tarnil would be precious little use without it. "leatherheaded addlecove..." he mouthed under his breath as he contemplated their predicament. A plan was forming in his mind...

"Fiendling", he called, addressing Patches. "Reckon you could get to that dagger? Our friend here needs something more than harsh language against these things..."

As he said this, Bastion caught motion out of the corner of his eye and managed to react just in time to block a shadow lashing out at Tarnil. His counter-attack caught the shadow across the midriff, causing it to screech and recoil slightly.

"Any time now would be useful" he added, and turning to the prime he said "When you've only got one enchanted weapon, it's more useful in your hand, cutter. I've fought melee with an enchanted crossbow bolt before now."

His strength was failing him, he could tell. Much more of this punishment would pen him in the dead book for sure, and surrounded as they were, more punishment was certainly on the cards. He tensed, and readied himself to try and make a hole so the encircled trio could break out and reach Patches...

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His strenth nearly spent, Patch-up crawled along the floor. His vision seemed obscured by a thick mist. He heard a voice, seemingly from far, far away. It echoed as if shouted across a long expanse of empty streets.

"...harsh language...anguage....any time now...ime now..."

Zeran stepped sideways and spun, avioding the charge of one of the shadows. His armored form moved much faster and with more agility than one would have expected. The Baatorian steel plate armor he wore had been formed specificly to fit Zerdan the Mighty. His frame had shrunken significantly over the last three weeks, but the feel of the sword in his hand, the adrenaline rush of battle joined, caused Zerdan's strenth to wax every moment. His broadsword whisked through an opponent without harming it on fully half his blows, but half was all he needed. His armor was immune to the incorporeal attacks of his foes, and dispite its bulk he was too quick for another to hit his head again. Zerdan forgot about the travails of the past three weeks, forgot about the voice, forgot about pain, forgot all fear and doubt. He was in his element; battle! His enemies were many, and standing allies few, just the way he liked it.

With one last effort before his conciousness slipped away, Patch reached the shiv, and sent it sliding across the stone floor... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

The dagger skittered across the stones, bouncing off of irregularities and coming to a halt halfway between Tarnil and the now prone body of Patch. Right underneath one of the shadows.

Zerdan stepped lively, spinning again, then charged forward. He met his foe with a forward thrust that, though ineffective, carried him right through the shadowy form of the undead spirit. He halted and stomped on the dagger's tip with the toe of his boot. The dagger flipped up in the air and Zerdan caught it in his left hand. He stabbed it directly between the pale glowing eyes of a shadow. The dagger stuck fast for a moment, as if it had pierced the physical skull of a solid foe. The Shadow shreeked loudly for a few moments, then melted away like a morning mist in the sunrays of a cloudless day.

Zerdan wielded both weapons now, but his foes became wary of his blades. They danced around him, aiming at his vulnerable head when opportunities arose, meanwhile slyly cutting him off from Bastion and the still-unarmed Tarnil, who themselves now faced two shadows intent on keeping them from reaching the red-haired tiefling.

Zerdan shot a quick glance over his shoulder. He tossed the dagger to Tarnil, just in time for him to use it to fend off a shadow's attack.

Tarnil looks at the scene of horror, but notices that the unconcious part-demon with the eyepatch has a strange smile on his face. There, on the floor not three paces from Tarnil's feet, lay a small pair of silvery scissors, softly glowing hair-thin runes gracing the blades.

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(OCC: Hey everyone - when I first posted this - I didn't get a reply for a while so I forgot about it. The story you guys have made so far is really cool, I'll post later tonight, and def. check up on this regularly now!)

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Xanados slowly opened his heavy eyelids to stare at a jet-black, occasionally glimmering ceiling.

The pain in his skull was dull, but present.

He began to sit up, immediately falling back down following the sickening pain in his skull. The Mage/Psion tried again to view his surroundings. “Inside some-kind of holding cell,” he mumbled. The walls and floor matched the ceiling of the ovular prison while the door was made of stereotypical vertical bars.. Xanados sensed some kind of aura around them. Focusing deep inside his mind’s eye, he looked at the room again through his ‘All-revealing’ psionic vision. He now saw a bright red glow permeating from the warded prison bars. There was also a faint blue-green glow emanating from the rest of the room – an Antimagic field.

Xanados could not have possibly been caught by authorities of the Planar Trade Consortium. Then Who? The planar smuggling business is cutthroat …literally–if Xanados was captured by rivals, he would not live for long…unless...

Magnus and Salazaar!

The twin Aasimar warriors – also smugglers - shared a strange relationship with Zerdan and Xanados. The four of them knew each other from their old blood-war days. Hired specifically by the Baatezu for a series of assassinations, including that of a Risen Balor, they became somewhat of friends during their tenure. The four worked seamlessly together, and were paid exceedingly well by their employers.

After their contracts had expired; however, the group split into two (the twins on one hand, and Zerdan and Xanados the other). Having similar trains of thought, all four began to delve in the smuggling business, which offered even more jink than the ‘Blood-War Mercenary’ business. Magnus and Salazar were now the competition.

A strange relationship indeed thought Xanados. The Twins were not quite ‘bullying older brothers,’ and not quite ‘hostile enemies,’ but definitely somewhere in between.

Aaaah, you’ve awakened, came the telepathic call from Salazaar. We have much to speak of.

*******

Meanwhile…

The glowing pair of scissors came to life, rising from beneath Tarnil, and made a beeline straight for the foremost of the five shadows that now remained. The shadows had completely surrounded Zerdan, who seemed not the bit phased. He had been surrounded before by a crew of Greater Tan’aari bodyguards in the Outlands and had slain every single one of them.

Bastion viewed the scene incredulously - in the blink of an eye Zerdan had not one, but two broadswords, one in each hand. What followed made him forget about Patches’ animated scissors, and slightly drop his jaw. With inhuman fury, Zerdan whirled and twirled in a swords-dance. Although quite the spectacle, it was quickly apparent that the swords-dance was not for show. Ironically, it seemed now that each of the five remaining shadows were surrounded as they suffered a flurry of slashes and stabs from the ruthless, efficient, and dancing Mercenary. Bastion didn’t blink as not to miss a slash (or ten) from Zerdan’s fury.

Tarnil, fixated too, on Zerdan noticed from the corner of his eye that Patches (still lying on the ground with a far-off look in his eyes) was snickering.[i]

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[Well, welcome back! I'm glad you liked what came out of this thread.]

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The cyclone of dark blades made such a show that even Buttons was distracted from his hiding in the corner, and rose up along the pile of poorly-sewn fabrics before him. Whimpering from the decayed yet recent wound, he took out his Abishai dolly from the pile and snuggled it tightly. "Buttons! That berk smash better than you, Wump!", he moaned to the doll, somewhat stumped. While another pair of shadows was sent head-first to the ceiling by the duo of dark broadswords, and another pair decapitated altogether, Buttons finally got the nerve to stand up. "That not fair. Wump tough and buff. Wump ought to help. Jink lots to stuff a Ball Nilation into Wump. Wump do good with it, aye?" The abishai nodded, much to Buttons' joy and comfort, though the fact that Buttons himself had to move its head for this seemed irrelevant. "Good Wump!", he commended his plush friend, dodging Tarnil's awkwardly-flung scissors in the process - scissors whose arrival didn't seem to bother him a bit. Once the makeshift silver weapon hit the wall, the half-giant pulled it back out and stepped forth from the pile, bearing the miniature abishai in his free hand.

EXCELLENT, WEAKLING! RIP THEM APART!

Buttons charged into the action. Patch's half-conscious corpse was in the way, but oh well. It was more kind of a jump than a charge, in any case, so his friend was safe. Tarnil, however, had more than the half-giant's clumsiness to deal with. Three shadows had pinned him down, and several more had been streaming from the shop's walls, where a crack was now vaguely apparent.

In all the commotion, the sound of the bashing and grinding outside was completely omitted by most of the combatants. Zerdan alone had to deal with eight flocking shadows just to stay on his feet. Yet he felt his blows surging with purpose, ablaze with intent... More precise than they'd ever been. Something was guiding him, doubtlessly. And that something was screaming profanities at his mind, barely beyond his awareness.

THEY ARE AS MANY AS THE HOLES IN YOUR PATHETIC INTELLECT! EXTERMINATE THEM!

"Hey prime!" (the half-elf was, sadly, too busy dislodging a shadowy claw from his throat to respond to the half-giant's call.) "I help and bash!"

Bashing is quite an appropriate description for what the half-giant did with the scissors, ramming them into the closest of shadows repeatedly. His punch did more of the work than the scissors themselves, flying across the nightmarish shape of the creature for half his attacks, and shoving its nigh-insubstantial form sideways the rest of the time. It was as though he was weaving a noose without threads, winding and winding it slowly along the thing's neck. And that neck snapped and went poof well before the noose was completed, much to the chagrin of Buttons and Wump.

BELAY YOUR INCOMPETENCE UNTIL I AM BROUGHT SAFELY TO MY OBJECTIVE! YOUR WOUNDS ARE IRRELEVANT! YOUR PAINS ARE IRRELEVANT!

The prime crawled back to a crate in the corner, rolling to dodge the persistent leaps of the two shadows still chasing him. Agony fueled his flimsy retreat. The cold in his chest, set in by two sudden blows, had been spreading... And he had nothing to defend him against further ravages. The magical knife, fallen behind, wept with glimmers that went on unnoticed by most. He would scream for someone to grab hold of it and toss it his way, but it was all useless: everyone else was too busy destroying the rest of the shadows. Even as Bastion strode to relieve him, another shadow waylaid the valiant aasimar, and fought on for just long enough that the pair striking Tarnil could slip in another series of jabs. It was only by sheer effort of will that the prime heeded his reflexes to evade their assaults.

Zerdan had cleft through the shadows by then... It was as though a tapestry of insubstantial darkness had surrounded him, and was now being torn to nothing. Oddly enough, the attacks of the shadows had grown more strategic, as though something were now directing them closely. Even the foes that had yet to be shattered in Zerdan's vicinity seemed to fight more intently, retreating whenever the whirlwind of blades would approach. A crash could be heard in the background, from behind the wall where reinforcements had been streaming earlier, through the battle-bound warrior found the whole sound eclipsed by the screams blasting ceaselessly in his head...

ERADICATE THEM, YOU SPINELESS FOOL! FASTER!

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Salazaar had not seen Xanados for at least a decade. He was… different. The Aasimaar –also a Psion - remembered the Human as a vigorous young man with a muscular build and a seemingly irrepressible gleam in his eyes. Before him, however, stood a frail, and tired looking man with a sunken face exaggerated by a stubble-beard. He still looked handsome, but his beauty had been eroded like a canyon by the winds of time.

“You look…different” Xanados ironically grunted.

“Time has taken its toll on you as well, old friend.”

‘Friend’ was not the correct word to describe their current relationship. ‘Estranged Friend’ was more fitting. Both had ample opportunity to revitalize their friendship after their Blood War tenures, but neither side took the initiative.

To say that the Aasimar twins were peculiar would be an understatement. Neither fitted the stereotype. An Aasimaar would normally be inclined towards goodness and virtue, whereas Magnus and Salazaar were sporadic at best. Not truly evil, but more opportunistic was their lifestyle. The same could be said for Xandos and Zerdan, but the humans seemed to be opportunistic only to the extent such that they could live comfortably. They did not profit simply for the sake of profit. The twins, on the other hand, had made a sport of it.

The Aasimaar had other idiosyncrasies – Magnus somewhat of a mage and Salazaar somewhat a psion. Despite their dabbling in these arts, both were superb fighters. Zerdan had learned much of swordplay from the twins – who also favored the two-sword fighting style. Combined with Zerdan’s pure fighting ability and Xanados’s advanced psionic powers, the four had tasted the blood of many fiends during the Blood War days. Their abilities were bolstered by the artifacts each had in possession. Indeed, Salazaar still sported a Baatorian chest plate like he had a decade ago– an identical one to that of Zerdan. Each sword carried by Zerdan and the twins was ripped from the carcass of a Marilith overlord – one of their targets – in Gehenna.

“Before we have a reunion, let us attend to Zerdan. It seems he has found himself in quite the predicament. The cursed sensory stone he carries seems to be wanted by more than just the two of you.”

“How did you-” but even as Xanados asked, he began to reestablish the Psionic link with Zerdan which had been lost along with his consciousness for the last two days. Realizing he was in the Lady’s Ward, he reached across the Ring to Undersigil beneath the Market Ward. He located Zerdan and attempted to form the link. He was met by fierce resistance by Zerdan (who was paying attention after all to Xanados when he lectured him on Psionics)… eventually the resistance faded, and Xanados allowed Zerdan to lower his mental wall as he felt his friend’s familiar prodding. Not that it mattered if he did or not– Xanados could have easily forced himself into a glaberizu’s thoughts if he wished, Zerdan was comparatively childsplay.

Xanados could tell that Salazaar had tried, unsuccessfully to enter Zerdan’s mind a few moments before, but only managed to get the general weal of Zerdan’s thoughts and emotions, not fully enter. There was also a foreign presence…hostile. The cursed sensory stone screamed inside Xanados’s mind – commanding him to be gone. He wasn’t going anywhere. As he delved deeper inside Zerdan’s mind, Xanados saw what he saw.

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And what he saw was carnage - pure, unfettered carnage being spewed from Zerdan's blades. Their tips carved straight across a pair of charging shadows, causing one to disappear in an instant, and sliced boldly through the air to keep their blighted kin at bay. Three more entwined about the warrior, tumbling and reaching for his throat, yet always did he time his movements to step backward and elude them. One, however, got behind him after his last slash... As its siblings reached his gauntlets to disarm him, the third clutched his throat, sending a torrent of inhuman chills into his flesh. A hiss of pain clawed its way out from Zerdan's throat, and the shade's claws soon followed, as the warrior spun back, releasing himself from his captors, and delivered both his swords hilt-deep into the creature's guts. Pulled back, they ripped through its dark confines and dissolved whatever life still kept the thing together. Its peers, however, seized their chance and struck the weak-points in his armor, seeping through with their ethereal fangs. Though they bit deeply, he could feel nothing at all within the wounds - it was as though a void had nestled in his shoulder-blades, and slowly bloomed to encompass his back.

Xanados!, he briefly thought, losing his focus on the battle. Get this thrice-damned stone out of my hands! It's driving me-

A crash that shattered the far wall, and the immediacy of the shadows at his back, prevented Zerdan from completing the succession of his thoughts.

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(OOC- Hope no one minds this thread necromancy. Actually I'm hoping someone will appreciate it and continue this thread. Smiling )

"AAaaahhh ow- Aaah ow- Aah OW!" The dark haired human in loose fitting clothing stared at the piles of refuse strewn around him in shock. "By Illater's fractured third right rib! What have you done to me Zilthos? Zilthos? You accursed wizard! You can't hide from me! I can sense.... you... ?" It was then that Gonze realized that he did not sense his opponent anywhere. "That bloody servant of evil has teleported me! But where in the realms am I?" He glanced again at the piles of unknown refuse. "Somewhere in Amn?" At least he hadn't landed in any of them, and those awnings above had stopped his fall... "By Illmater's swollen shut left eye! Where the hells am I?!" He stared slack jawed at the sky. Or at least what would have been the sky had it not instead been an upside down city above his head. He stood there for several minutes blinking very rarely, when suddenly he sensed it, hostile intent. He body moves to deflect at attack he could not see, and then he turned and looked down again to see his attack stumbling past him as they suddenly found themselves without a target to stop them. "Zilthos!" Gonze shouted; "Thought you could sneak up and stab me in the back did... you?" The person who had tried to stab him was not Zilthos. It was not an arrogant thick browed wizard at all.

In fact, it appeared to be a young human woman with long brown hair, tied into a pony tail, wearing leather armor and a dark gray cloak. Though she had a strange aura about her like... a celestial? Why would a-

"So, yer not quite as much of a berk as I'd hoped eh Clueless? No matter, I'll still nick you, less you wanna give me yer jink first." His contemplation over the strange woman was interrupted as she spoke to him in a strange mostly common accent.

"W- What? Why do you attack me?" The woman smiled, she was quite good looking once you got over the whole trying to stab you in the back thing.

"Blah, it's too much trouble to 'splain it ta a clueless berk like you. I'll just take it after I've put ya in the dead book." With that same smile she lunged at him again with her dagger. He easily dodge the attack however. He had not fought an opponent this inept in a long time. Usually he would not have even bothered, but her etiquette was quite horrible, she had not even offered a challenge. So he had no choice but to deal with this.

On her second miss she turned around again, his face contorted with anger and frustration. It was actually slightly humorous. Apparently she did not quite understand just how completely over matched she was. "Uh... miss..." he dodged another lunge. "Miss?" and again. "Miss!" this time she nearly stabbed herself with her own dagger as she slammed into the wall of the alley. "What berk?! Stand still so I can nick ya!!" She whirled to face him, her face red from the exertion as well as the frustration and embarrassment of repeated failure. "Please stop that. You're going to injure yourself." somehow her expression became even more enraged and she flung her dagger at him in rage, not even noticing him knock it aside as she charged him barehanded. Then her charge abruptly stopped as Gonze's fist collided with her midsection. At first her eyes shot wide open at the intense pain, but then, slowly the lids drooped shut as she slipped into unconsciousness and slumped forward. Gonze sighed as he held up the limp body of his would be mugger, looking around for well... Anyone. There wasn't anyone.

He sighed again and lay her down on a relatively clean spot of ground, then turned to walk down to the end of the alley and take a look into the main street. Seconds later he was sprinting back down the alley again fighting down a heart attack. "Where... In... Illmater's name am I?!" He screamed in his own mind

"Hm, pretty Aasimar, not a deader yet... I'll fix that..." Gonze looked down to see a rag clothed figure leaning over his would be mugger with a rusty dagger in it's hand.

"Ey! Get away you filth! Are you such a coward that you must slay a sleeping victim before you rob them?!" He planted a solid kick into the center of the pass of rags. There was a sickly crunching sound and the ... creature... recoiled and fled, whimpering down the alley. "What hideous place is this?" Gonze pondered, looking down at the apparent Aasimar, though she sure didn't act like it. "I guess I'll just have to ask her, when she wakes up, but I ought to find somewhere safer to wait if I can." He knelt down next to her and methodically searched for any hidden weapons, removing another dagger and some darts. He press with one finger on the armor over her stomach. This was not thick enough that it would provide her much help should she awaken and decide to attack him again. There was no need to remove it as well. He picked her up and slung her over his shoulder like a sack. "Now what?" Looking back one way he remembered to terrifying vision he had seen when he reached the end of the alley. So many creatures he had never seen in his life, there were also demons, and devils, and every other creature he could think of. He decided to go the other way, after the scavenger.

He took a few steps and a light flashed around him. Then he was somewhere else...

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Game: Devious Machinations (Market Ward, Undersigil) RP- ANYone

[It's alive ... ALIVE]

20 Bonus for fun to do
I rolled 1d20+20, the result is 40.
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[Exclusively due to Azure's natural 20 on a Fun Roll, I will consider jumping in on this game! Laughing out loud ]

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He was looking down a dark tunnel of stone cobbles. Light spilled down behind him, for it was as if, instead of walking down the alley, he had just exited a large well-lit room. Sounds of battle echoed off the stones, and when Gonze spins around he sees an armored warrior surrounded by shadow-creatures, and conquoring them.

The room is large, with at least a dozen entrances all leading to darkened hallways like the one which now held Gonze and his 'prisoner'. A few large tables were pushed against the walls, and these were cluttered with lights, tools, and materials.

At one end, a pile of cloth nearly reached the cieling.

At the other, closer end, the armored warrior fought the shadows.

Three more defenders were in the room. One had already fallen. A man who looked like a lion, with steel claws strapped to his wrist, fought back-to-back with a human armed only with a small pair iof scissors.

Suddenly, one of the archways facing Gonze collapses violently, and a huge, 12' man crashes through! He is armed with a large round shield. The shield would cover a normal warrior knee to chin, but he has it in one hand and punches the shadows with it. He, too, is remarkably effective.

Yet the odds, though dropping, still stand at four warriors against ten shadows, as a few more charge from an achway darker than the rest.

Dire Lemon's picture
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Gonze stood stock still. Unable to comprehend the situation before him. Who were these bizarre warriors who fought these creatures of death. Still, if they were living, and their opponents were undead, a clear choice of which side to take. With amazing speed he dashed across the battlefield, avoiding conflict with any of the creatures until he had reached the large pile of cloth. There he dropped the strange aasimar not particularly gently, and then rushed towards the largest group of undead surrounding the armored warrior. He lauched himself into the air and sent a solid kick through one of the shadows' heads, causing it's form to disapate. (critical hit!) He landed in a readied stance, daring the shadows to attack him, and shouted to his new ally: "What in Illmater's name is going on here?!"

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I guess I'm not really creative enough to start this up again. Oh well.

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Jaspar made a beckoning gesture to the tawny catgirl fawning over the silks and sheer fabrics of the vendor to his left. Come along, Duranna. We will return for them later. Nodding, she thanked the fabric merchant for his patience, and took her place at the grey-skinned alhoon's side. I know you desire those things, but I have a pressing engagement with a few of the movers and shakers of the Cage, and it would not do to be late. She nodded, but thought, rather than spoke, that perhaps she might hang back, so as to not be a bother, and to buy a few meals and peruse the Market for things she might like. Very well, to unshield your desires so is little better than asking out loud, though. More discipline in the future, child. Very well. I will retrieve you later. You have the diamond ring I found on the gish raider. Trade it for what you want, and more food for the ship, as well as a replacement for that broken railing. She smiled, and hugged the "old squid-lich", as she liked to refer to him internally, and headed out into the stalls.

Jaspar straightened his robes from the unsightly grapple, and thought clearly for the first time in months, free of the constant buzz of Duranna's flickering attentions. The two yugoloths first, Shemeska, then A'kin, then to the stronghold of the Fraternity, then, armed with what knowledge I can glean among them, to the Cartographer's Guild. They must know of the coming Realignment. I have seen these dread futures, and they must be averted swiftly, before all is lost. He gestures, realigning the weave of personal defensive spells for a duration among the citizens and travellers of the Cage, focusing on augmenting his spell resistance, awareness, and resilience against weaponry. Psionic manifestations slide around arcane glows and settle around him like a second cloak...and he moves through the Market Ward, seeking those who might know of the coming "Unravelling."

The alhoon mind mage proceeded until he reached a portal, one that should deliver him swiftly to the neighborhood of Shemeska's residence, and stepped through, absorbed in his own thoughts...

...only to arrive somewhere quite different than expected, the middle of a combat it seems, betwixt shadowy warriors, and by the thoughtscape, a bunch of near-complete strangers similarly dumped by ill fate into such situations. Before he could raise a hand or tentacle to defend himself, a blade sank -deep- into his side...and lodged solidly. He scowled, and looked at the armored warrior as his protective magicks pushed the blade back out of the wound, sealing it as it went. Not carrying a blade of Power, I see. And now you will wish you had spent the effort to visit Union before your arrival. He raises a long-fingered hand, and gestures, analyzing the nature of the combatants in the room, on both sides. Ectoplasmic forms flicker in purple around his brow, lit with magelight as he modifies a firebrand spell to explosive sonic damage and undead bane on the fly, as well as focusing it's matrix so as not to harm the innocents in the room and releases it, shredding the shadowy creatures and blowing the armored warrior across the room.

"Now then..." he gurgles through tentacles slickening with illithid mucus and not a little saliva at the thought of ending this fight with a meal, "If you would test yourself against me, come at me, else, take this chance to rethink your position." As he speaks, an illithid psiblade, silvery mithril, traced with glowing psionic circuitry, flickers into existance in his hand.

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Struck with a fit of

Struck with a fit of insanity and/or boredom, Dire Lemon casts Animate dead on this thread to see if anyone posts something in it!

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