Post by Zaim al-Daleel on Feb 17, 2009 18:12:39 GMT -7
As Rasool set to his grisly work Waleed paced the cavern, studying its walls and crevices. Near the exit of the cavern, Waleed paused, something deep in the darkness caught his attention. Low voices intertwined, whispered dark, urgent, and unseen.
"the king... needs... the king... what to do the king... the king... we should see the king... the king..."
"Got it," said Rasool, loudly. Straightening with a grimace he held the mass of tissue in one hand, bloody axe in the other, rested on his hip.
"When I woke up this morning, this was not how I imagined I'd spend my evening," he said with a look of disbelief.
Waleed stepped back into the light, away from the whispering voices and then called out to them, "Show yourself, you who dwell back there in the dark, come out, now!" Waleed sent a burst of air and dust into the dark recesses where the voices hid, giving them a reason to come out of hiding.
"Yes, yes Taj, Please lead us to the temple." Turning to Rasool, "Wrap that up and keep it close, you're in charge of it's safety." Waleed turned and left the cave, motioning for the others to follow. "How far is this temple, Taj?"
Post by Zaim al-Daleel on Mar 3, 2009 7:21:22 GMT -7
Aboard the Freshwater Pearl you gather together to discuss the day's events. The roar of the falls and steady cries from the jungle become as background noise as you sit in a wide torch-lit circle on the deck after sundown.
Rubban Shabab scowled during part of your tale but held his tongue until the end.
"The goddess Ragarra? I doubt she exists, but her followers are real enough. I would avoid anyone who worships a bat-winged crocodile god. Especially one who's names include "the black tempest", "the Render", "the Winged Beast" and who they believe is the incarnation of the jungle with all its passions, chaos and violence."
When it came around to the discussion of travel, young Mamoun spoke, breaking a long period of silence filled with few ideas. "What of Saleh? Could he help us travel?"
"I am loath to use Saleh," giving a measured eye to Mamoun, "but it is a good idea. I don't condone the use of slavery, so I will ask Saleh if he can do this and his price. Excuse me." Waleed left those present and adjorned to a private room. "Saleh, come forth, I wish to speak to you."
Post by Zaim al-Daleel on Mar 3, 2009 14:45:15 GMT -7
The temperature within the small room rose rapidly, causing even more sweat to flow beneath Waleed's robes. Saleh's voice filled the room and spilled out to the deck, even before the fiery being appeared in a noxious flash as a tiny red serpent coiled around Waleed's hand.
"I serve," Saleh said, "until I am able to return what I have stolen."
The serpent lowered his unblinking gaze respectfully. "Prince Alurah, I bear gifts. Three masks, the work of my humble hands, with which to cover the faces of your servant warriors. Forgive my presumptuousness, Prince, but the eyes of common men should not partake of the beauty of your concubines."
Three plain circles of silk appeared in Waleed's other hand.
"You need but describe what form you wish each to take, and I will finish their creation."
"You've been reading my thoughts too, Saleh?" Waleed grinned, not knowing if it were true or not, what were his options either way. "A gift given, must be repaid, else I would be a pitiful excuse of a nobles hospitality. But then again, I don't consider myself noble." The thoughts of his past came unbidden to him, he remembered court life and although he could technically be called a prince, he never felt that way. "I accept your generosity Saleh," he said as he pulled out a sketch of a painting he had seen somewhere long ago. "These face masks should protect their faces, but no ensorcellments other than to craft them are to be cast upon them without my approval, understand?" A flicker of paranoia alighted Waleed's mind, a treachrous efreet cursing the masks to turn his faithful followers against him or use them to his own end.
Once the masks were crafted and Waleed examined them for any lasting or hidden ensorcellments (roll inbound), he asked Saleh about transporting them all to the temple, some 60 miles away and what his price was.
Post by Zaim al-Daleel on Mar 4, 2009 13:11:24 GMT -7
"The masks are a gift, Prince," Saleh said, becoming as coils of black smoke and drifting from Waleed's arm. "Veil what is yours from the eyes of the unworthy."
The smoke wormed forward and lifted each circle of silk in turn, doubling it to form a half-moon veil. Like a spider spinning a web, silk spooled from the darkness and weaved ornate designs into the borders, finishing them with braided straps to tie behind the head.
One by one the veils shimmered and twisted into the masks according to Waleed's desire.
A face appeared in the smoke as it coalesced before Waleed. "I can carry ten men upon my back for that distance, Prince. And though I understand not your insistence on payment, for it is my role to serve, I will accept it if you insist."
After a brief pause: "A seat at your table perhaps? During evening meals?"
"A seat at my table? Even Mamoun has not earned that priviledge and he has been my servant for years." Waleed studied the face of Saleh carefully and spoke again, "but you are a creature of unestimable power and have an uncanny intelligence about you and deserve better, yes?" It was a rhetorical question and Waleed continued before Saleh could hope to answer, "and you have given me nothing but loyal service, though I ask little of you. So I say, yes. So that we may learn to enjoy each other's company and that you can escape the confines of your prison and talk and cajole with others who may make your life. enjoyable."
Waleed's face turned stern as he added, "However, remember that I trust no one. You will be civil to my concubines and to Ya'qub's wife, but no more. If there is a repeat of what happened that caused your imprisonment, believe me when I say I will bury this ring far below the earths surface that none shall find it." Waleed held Saleh's gaze, if there was one thing the scholar-mage detested above all else, it was betrayal.
"Oh, and no magic, no showing off, you will appear as a normal human. You will have nothing but your wits to defend yourself with at my table. Understood?"
"Saleh," motioning to the unremarkable looking new member of the crew, "will take us to the temple. I, my bodyguards three and Mamoun comprise my party. Ya'qub, anyone else but you coming? Saleh can take 10 of us. My party makes 5, with you friend, 6." Looking to other members of the crew, Waleed asks, "Anyone amongst you care to come along? We could use the help, but it will be dangerous. I'll ask only for volunteers in this matter, but the rewards may be great. Quickly, answer now."
Post by Zaim al-Daleel on Mar 5, 2009 16:35:20 GMT -7
Galeel stepped forward, leaving a pot of half-peeled potatoes. "I would go." The tall sailor smiled as he wiped the water from his hands onto his red shirt. "Too long have I listened to the adventures of others!"
"Sit down Galeel!" laughed Rasool. "You attend to the vegetables, I will have the adventures. Besides, I have been chosen as snake-bearer."
Rasool smiled, "Unless you would carry my friend Taj for two weeks through the disease ridden jungle and into the nest of cultists..."
Galeel paled and returned to his chore.
"It will be me then," cried Rasool with great mirth.
"And I will be at my husband's side," Sahra said.
Adila raised her hand, "Here."
"Don't forget me," Shari said, stepping forward with a show of forced bravado.
"That's ten," Saleh said. He swung over the rail and disappeared... momentarily.
"Fear not, the journey will not take the two weeks," boomed a great voice that could be heard clearly over the falls. Beyond the rail, Saleh was coming into view, swelling to such a size that it was required he kneel in the river for you to climb upon his broad shoulders.
Post by Zaim al-Daleel on Mar 5, 2009 18:13:50 GMT -7
Seeing Adila step forward, Shari hurried forward. "I'll go first and help you up..." Grasping the white robes of the giant, he pulled himself on to Saleh's back. "Hardly seems enough room for ten," Shari muttered, as he climbed upward.
To the amazement of the onlookers, Shari was shrinking...
Post by Zaim al-Daleel on Mar 19, 2009 14:41:07 GMT -7
You brace for the impact of tree branches that never occurs.
A wave of heat rolls over you like a dust storm. Dry, ash filled air stings your eyes and lungs. You blink and squint in the suddenly orange-yellow light. The jungle is gone, replaced by a vast broken land that rumbles as if in motion. Above an angry sky glows from light reflected off roaring rivers of flaming lava. In the distance a burning lake, fed by belching mountains beyond.
Saleh strides across this land in his true form, his inhuman face unreadable and staring steadfastly forward. Your attempts at protest die in fits of coughing and gasps. Doubled over, you notice for the first time the mighty brass slave collar welded around Saleh's neck. From it extends a length of chain to the ring which imprisons him.
No roads break the bleak landscape, no bridges cross the flows. Still you feel malevolent eyes upon you. Glancing down you see long shapes keeping pace within the burning river. Then, your flesh feverish and red, the jungle welcomes you into its wet embrace. Saleh slowly begins to shrink as the life around you reacts to your sudden appearance. Monkeys howl and flee, flocks of birds take flight.
You leap to the approaching ground, taking stock of your surroundings.
"I tire..." mutters Saleh, before fading away.
After a moment you catch the smell of moist, burnt timbers. A little further into the jungle the ground is littered with the skeletal remains of dead snakes, hacked to pieces by edged weapons.
Ahead a white, plaster covered temple seems to be losing a battle against the creeping jungle growth.
Post by Zaim al-Daleel on Mar 22, 2009 17:47:07 GMT -7
The temple is of a design unlike any you've seen within the Lands of Fate. As large as a sheik's palace but without the graceful curves of minarets, it has vine choked walls a giant couldn't look over. Each corner has a simple square tower staring down the jungle with unblinking arrow slit eyes.
In the middle of one of the short sides of the rectangular temple a entryway protrudes; two heavy doors stand open. Milling about aimlessly are eleven men, full of malevolent potential.
Atop the bare bones and shredded flesh of each man sits the long toothy head of a crocodile.
Wrinkling his balding brow, the merchant thought for a moment. "I can but try. However, would it not be a thimpler propothition to launch a volley of flaming arrowth at them? I am sure I can do that with little effort....."
All around him noted that the lisp was creeping back into his speech, a sure sign that he was growing nervous....
Ya'qub nodded, his eyes never leaving his intended targets. "I shall try...." he murmured.
He began the fierce concentration required to summon the elements of flame to his bidding, eventually directing them toward the...undead...crocodile...things.
(using the "Dabbler in Fire Magic " cliche [not pumped], Ya'qub rolls [ from random.org]: 1 4 3 [Timestamp: 2009-03-23 20:03:03 UTC], with a Lucky Shot roll of : 3 [Timestamp: 2009-03-23 20:04:43 UTC] for a total of 11)
Post by Zaim al-Daleel on Mar 23, 2009 18:09:02 GMT -7
Ya'qub's hands trembled as he snapped the spark. Perhaps it was his brief time within the plane of fire, perhaps it was only desperation born of fear but the pea-sized roiling ball he summoned was full of dreadful potential. He hurled it toward the creatures with a shout.
Waleed's winds followed with a leaf-filled roar, pulled from the still air of the jungle and summoned by his will and directed by his hand.
Guttural cries rattled from the creatures as they turned toward to the noise, only to be lost in the whooomp! of exploding flame. Scraps of flesh began to char and smoke, turning quickly to black as Waleed kept the flames a spinning around them in a blazing pyre.
Then the flames were gone in a rising plume of smoke.