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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • (Hey folks, just wanted to reassure you that I am not dead, and the next post is coming. It's been a very busy week so far.)


    On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

    Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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    • As you step through the gate, you feel a faint chill and a slight pressure on your skin, like you had stuck your hand into a pool of water. But the other side is as sunny and warm as it looks... and very dry. The air feels thin, and your head is starting to ache. You are starting to appreciate just how high up you must be.

      From this side, you can see you are standing on a landing situated halfway up a mountain. This side of the archway perfectly mirrors the one you passed through, only it stands freely in the middle of this landing like some kind of monument to travel. The gate marks the top of a long, wide staircase gradually descending the mountain. Several other sizeable landings break up the climb. Every step is laid with smooth, perfectly cut marble bricks.

      You hear the sound of the gong again and observe that the view of the buried chamber you just left is fading away. In a matter of seconds, the gate is closed, and this time there is no painting to show where you were. The gate's surface is nothing but smooth, dark stone.

      With no other options apparent to you, you begin the long descent down to the city below. Once, there might have been many people walking this path, and stations to service them on every landing. But now the stairs are quiet, with no sign of habitation until you approach the wide streets of the palatial city below.

      The buildings are even more magnificent up close. They vary widely in both size and style, but every one is finer than anything you every saw in the mortal world. Some are adorned with gold, silver, and platinum. Others are covered in gems, glass, or glittering crystal. Still more have fine mosaics, paintings, or frescoes on every wall. Fountains, gardens, and brilliant banners mark the boundaries between every manor, tower, and alcazar.

      But as remarkable as the city itself is, the people are even more so. You have to force yourself not to stare at the range of exotic creatures walking, crawling, or flying above the streets. Most have greater stature than you. A voluptuous woman with robes of brightly-colored feathers and the head of a songbird is having an animated discussion with a black bear wearing a red cape and circlet. An eight-foot nude humanoid with no hair, no genitals, pale blue skin, and glowing purple eyes nearly steps on you, then grunts and makes his way around like you are nothing unusual. You hear the clatter of hooves on stone, and the people on the street make way for a chariot pulled by four white deer, driven by a portly man with reigns in one hand and a goblet in the other. He is followed closely by some creature with the head of a man, but a four-legged body made of crossed and twisted bronze spears.

      They almost all ignore you, barely giving you a passing glance. The one exception you note is a thin, gangly figure dressed mostly in skintight black cloth... or perhaps it has naturally black skin. They wear a white mask with three circular holes in it corresponding to eyes and a mouth. The black one stands at the side of the road, possibly looking in your direction. Since it has no visible face, it is hard for you to tell.

      You take a deep breath and refocus yourself. You did not come here to gawk. You need to find wherever the death gods hold court.
      • Ask for directions. Strange as they may be to you, the gods themselves must know their own city. maybe they will show you where to go.
      • Get aboard one of those flying ships. You'd get a high vantage point to survey the land and a means of transport all in one.
      • Try to find your way on your own. It's best not to draw attention to yourself. There must be signs or something you can use.
      • Something else?
      Last edited by semicasual; 06-27-2016, 05:40 PM.


      On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

      Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

      Comment


      • Walk around and try to get the lay of the land. Stick to the streets for now. Don't go stumble that is obviously guarded.

        And don't forget the way back to the gate.


        I write things.

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        • Try to find your way on your own. It's best not to draw attention to yourself. There must be signs or something you can use.
          Well, no more than in any mortal city, but if you mosey along like you have all day you will see some divinity that likely fits the role or you can eavesdrop and pick up a clue from passerby.




          Like my Avatar? Courtesy of Jen! : Anybody want their characters to be experimented on ? post 98
          An Exalt is never unarmed.

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          • I like the idea of Finding our own way because Adventure.


            I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
            I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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            • Find our own way. What better opportunity to experience this wonderful new place?

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              • You square your shoulders and resolutely push through the crowd. There is no need to trifle with the gods in their own home, you reason. You will find your own path.

                You wander through the unbelievably clean, smooth, and bright streets, trying to stay out of the way of divinities on private errands. The urge to stop and stare grows in spite of your efforts. A man enshrouded in green fire brushes against you without warming you in the slightest. A golden imp-like creature with a four-faced head buzzes over the road on dragonfly wings. A tall, pale woman wearing a tight black dress that fades into smoke around the edges floats a few fingers off the ground, softly singing a wordless tune. A lion sits on a street corner, like the stone one you saw before but made out of polished gold.

                In the middle of all this distraction, you feel a chill run down your back. Turning to look back, you see that black-clad figure from before. It is the same creature, you are sure of that. They are standing several feet away, motionless, facing in your direction. Godly pedestrians look away from them, and for some reason you cannot explain seeing them makes you feel apprehensive.

                You look forward again and start walking, occasionally stealing a look back. The black-clad one is following you, not just matching your pace but also mimicking your gait. When you stop, they stop. When you start moving, they start moving. When you stop again, turn, and walk towards them, they remain motionless.

                "Who are you?" you demand from a few feet away.

                The creature says and does nothing.

                "{Name thyself!}" you ask again in godstongue.

                Again, the creature says and does nothing.

                "{Canst thou speak?}" you phrase the question like an accusation, but at this point you genuinely wonder if they can.

                Now the creature shakes its head.

                "{What dost thou want of me?}"

                The creature raises its right arm and points down a sidestreet. From here, you can make out a fountain-garden surrounding a big, white sheet of canvas stood up like a sail in the middle.

                You cannot see the creature's face, but you get the impression that they are looking at you expectantly.
                • Go to the garden. You want to know what this this about.
                • Keep going where you were going. You won't follow where this suspicious thing leads.
                • Attack the creature. You don't know why they're following you, but there is one sure way to make sure they don't.
                • Escape. You don't know why you're being tailed, but you figure it's best to get away as soon as possible.
                • Something else?



                On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

                Comment


                • Go to the garden. You want to know what this this about, and maybe it is linked to the Death Gods. If not, there is always time to eat the spinach and whoop it up.


                  Like my Avatar? Courtesy of Jen! : Anybody want their characters to be experimented on ? post 98
                  An Exalt is never unarmed.

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                  • Garden, we have nothing better to go on.

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                    • Garden sounds good. Let's learn a bit more about Yu Shan.

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                      • Garden is a better lead than nothing. See if the thing follows you into the garden.


                        I write things.

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                        • Let's see what is in the garden, our curiosity is piqued.

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                          • Oops, double posted.

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                            • You take a few steps down the side street, then pause. Your sense of curiosity mingles with an instinctive distrust of the black-clad one. You turn to them and gesture down the roads.

                              "{Thou shalt go before me.}" You deliver the order quietly but firmly.

                              The black creature shrugs, then goes on ahead of you. Again, you note that they seem to be mimicking you - the way they walk slightly hunched over, arms ready, occasionally looking right and left. They even have that heavy stride you make to accommodate your armor and equipment, though they carry nothing.

                              It was a mistake to come here, you think. You've trapped yourself here with all these strange, powerful beings. You don't know where to go or what to do. Sooner or later one of them will realize you don't belong here, and then... You shake your head, try to clear your mind. Where are these fears coming from? You need stay focused on the present.

                              The garden plaza the black one leads you into is serene, quiet, and perfectly pentagonal. Carp-shaped fountains at each corner feed into a series of channels that form several smaller, concentric pentagons leading to the plaza's center. Between each set of channels are lines of small shrubs, perfectly trimmed into the shapes of animals. Small bridges cross the channels, and swept stone paths divide the garden patches. In the middle of the plaza are several devices. First a sundial, then a moon dial, and then large black bowl on a pedestal that you took for a birdbath before you note that it has no water in it. Finally and most prominently, there is a tall, oddly-constructed wooden frame supporting a wide pentagon-shaped canvas sheet. The sheet is bleached white and ripples slightly in the breeze.

                              Your black-clad guide walks straight across the bridges and paths, making for the contraption in them middle. He stands in front of the wood-and-canvas contraption. You move to join him.

                              Even here he mimics your stance. First he looks up at it with his arms crossed. Then he shifts stance, placing one hand on his hip, moving his other hand below his masked head as if stroking an imaginary beard. Then he abruptly vanishes in a puff of white smoke.

                              You stare at the place he formerly occupied, then shake your head and return your attention to the canvas in front of you. If the black one meant to do some kind of pantomime, then he clearly intended for you to examine this. You look up at the sheet with your arms crossed.

                              On closer inspection, the canvas is not perfectly white. There is a dark smudge in the center. As you study it, the smudge begins to grow in size. The growth is almost imperceptible at first, but soon a grand oil painting emerges, rapidly spreading to cover the whole canvas.

                              The spontaneous artwork resembles a map, although it is far more ornamented than any map you have seen before. Fine images of buildings mountains, rivers, and plains mingle with minute writing in gods' tongue and sorcerous sigils. In the center is a marker with a series of concentric pentagons, presumably showing where you are standing.

                              You place one hand on your hip and use the other to stroke your beard. A glitter at the edge of your vision draws your gaze to the westernmost tip of the pentagon. A vast plain, dotted with scores of tiny markers, fills that part of the map. At the very edge, right in the corner, is a purple sign that you recognize as the sigil for "Death" or "End." The mark sparkles in the sunlight - metallic flecks in the paint, perhaps.

                              Words are written below the mark, across the plain. You pull the talking mask from your satchel and stretch to hold it up to the spot.

                              "Fields of Eternity," says the mask.

                              You put the mask away and smile to yourself. Then you look over the map again, trying to get a sense of your route. When you are satisfied that you understand where you are going, you leave the map and the garden behind.


                              You walk westward several miles, making tolerably good time on Yu Shan's streets. You do not spy the black-clad figure again, however much you look.

                              You find yourself on a long ramp, climbing upwards between high walls that separate godly palaces on either side of the hill. You can hear commotion ahead of you, but from your angle you cannot see above the end of the ramp. Then a large group of people appear at the top. Two dozen boys and girls dressed in scarves come down first, dancing, twiring, and tossing flower petals from baskets in their arms as they go. A cavalcade comes next - scores of horses entirely filling the road, bearing armored figures who carry horns that they will occasionally pause to blow.

                              It occurs to you suddenly there are no godly folk on the ramp beside you, but a sizeable crowd is gathering at the base. Cheers and whoops come from below.

                              The light around you changes, shifting quickly from white to red. Looking up, you can see a cloud - a wine-colored cloud - is passing in front of the sun. Then there is a crack of thunder, and it begins to rain. Red, ferment-smelling rain.

                              One of the advancing dancing girls reaches you, pulls a small clay bowl from her basket, and thrusts it at you. Unthinkingly, you take it.

                              "{Praise be to Caasi Noid!}" she cries as she twirls away. "{All hail the god of revels, and rejoice!}"

                              "{Praise be to Caasi Noid!}" cries the crowd below. "{Let there be wine, dancing, and song!}"
                              • Join the revelry. You can't resist. You catch the rain of wine and drink, and lose yourself in celebration. Praise be to Caasi Noid!
                              • Jump the wall. Whatever this is, you shouldn't get in the way of it. Better take a detour before you get caught in the middle.
                              • Leap over the advancing party. No detours, no delays, no patience. You'll rush the armored cavalcade and jump beyond them.
                              • Something else?
                              Last edited by semicasual; 07-11-2016, 07:04 PM.


                              On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                              Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

                              Comment


                              • Wisdom says to press on but it's been a very long time since our last party so I say "Praise Caasi Noid, or whoever is poring the wine!"

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