• Mature • I. Shadows on a Cylus Moon

9th of Cylus 720

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Race: Mortal Born
Profession: Éminence grise
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I. Shadows on a Cylus Moon

9th of Cylus 720

"You're sure there's a cell down there?" Woe squinted at Fleaface, trying to discern some hidden motive, some hint that he wasn't entirely on the level.

Ever since his mother had sent him along with Woe, to later meet him in Ne'haer, he'd proven useful. More than useful, in fact. Really too useful. Woe was beginning to almost rely on the aged drunk as a crutch of sorts. Who'd have thought that such an unrefined rube would have so many talents?

"Thas right master. I saw ter Webspinner cell mysel'. Down there, beautiful music, just follow the beautiful music."

Woe quirked a brow but made no objection to his claim. It was entirely possible for a Webspinner to make beautiful music, or to come in any and all walks of life. It was a common misconception of fools and ignoramuses that Webspinners were all the sort to wear robes, carry sacrificial daggers, and hide their faces with masks and hoods. There were those sorts within the cult, certainly, but they were a minority. A distraction and a front, for the more ordinary spinners who walked among the populace every day, everywhere and in every walk of life.

It was a bit of sleight of hand, for the depraved figures in dark garb to beg and scrape at the altar of Sintra. All while the attractive man or woman who was next to you picked your pocket, or foisted incriminating material on you, to eliminate you. Another misconception, that spinners were necessarily killers. Every living soul was an asset that could be turned to the advantage. It was far more economical to discredit targets, rather than take them out.

So Woe had to wonder how well versed Fargis was when it came to the nature of the Webspinners. In the end, he assumed that his mother told him all she wanted and needed to, in order for him to fulfill his purpose. A purpose that still as yet eluded Woe. Yet he knew that Sintra knew what he'd done. He held no illusions that his mother wouldn't simply discard him if he continued to displease her. He'd spent much capital in Etzos, it'd been a costly excursion.

He'd cursed Sintra's name, lied to her face, and then proceeded to betray her. Doubtless, he was on his last chance, if he had a chance with her cult at all.

Perhaps this was the chance for him to make amends?

"And someone's been hunting them, you say? Abducting them without a trace? How do you know they haven't been disappearing of their own accord."

"Oyr mashter. Shjust whacher heard... Yer der whatcher wan' wif der." It was clear that Fleaface was in his bottle, by his speech alone. Usually, he was good at holding his substances, so perhaps he'd been hitting it particularly hard.

"I'll check it out then?" Woe said, throwing up his hands. "You can go relax on the couch. Can't have you walking home in this condition."

"Awrr yer too kind mashter. Thanker." So saying, Fleaface exited the office of Woe's Ne'haer apartment, and into the living space.

Woe meanwhile got ready what he needed for the little excursion. Cylus had brought an uncanny chill with it. If Zi'da had made it seem as if the world had frozen over, Cylus made it seem as if Faldrun had finally quit the world and gone to a chilly grave.

He slipped on his masterwork gambeson coat and buckled the straps to keep it shut. He wrapped a belt around it, cinched his blade and whip on them, and then took out a set of torches, which he also tucked into his belt. That's all he figured he'd need, really, to find these webspinners. Then he left the apartment and made the long walk toward the entrance to the Underground.

The cheap pitch on Woe's torch crackled angrily as he proceeded through the darkened tunnels, leading into he Underground of Ne'haer. All around, the chill from above had appeared to seep into the bones of the city, the undercrofts, deep cellars, sewers, and cisterns. Even those roiling pits of liquid were frozen over, stuck in the state of overflow. Rats scurried on the iced-over bits. Tunnels led in all directions. And Woe was hopelessly lost.

Breen was at his side, however, to encourage, and eat up his exasperation. He limped along quietly, beside the mortalborn. Woe was glad enough for his company. It was certainly more agreeable than Fleaface's, at times like these. While Fleaface was a perfectly capable companion and combatant, he was not someone Woe felt he could trust yet. Or ever.

Breen had proven a boon companion, as sad a sight as he sometimes was.

As they came to a cross in the tunnel works in the Underground, Woe opened his mind to the frequency of other Webspinners. Having a deeper connection to the cultists and Lethroda of his mother's cult, it was much easier to identify the notes and sense of other webspinners. He used the technique of dousing to search out those Webspinners and suss out whatever direction they lie in.

Breen spoke to Woe's mind, Master, do you think they're down here? Can we really trust Fleaface? Especially with a name like that?"

Woe's mouth twisted in consternation at his friend's doubts. "No, we can't. But he's given us good information before. I see little reason to believe he would steer me wrong on this issue. He would've done it earlier if that was the Webspinners' design."

So saying, he followed along the general direction that his inner compass showed him. Every step the attuned notes became clearer, and the way easier. He felt he would find those missing spinners, before long. His hand drifted to his belt as the torch crackled violently with the pitch that lit its end. The flames licked and lapped at the ceiling of the tunnel, as it dipped lower, forcing Woe to duck a bit.

The iced ceiling dripped with every lick of the flames. Breen shook the moisture from his fur and whined as he went along with his master, into the darkness.

As he proceeded, the light from the torch appeared to dim. Woe could not see four feet ahead of himself, the darkness of the tunnels was so oppressive, and the air very thin. It was suffocating the torch. His senses were telling him that something was strange... off. Yet he could feel the Webspinner signal getting stronger with every step he took. He activated his omnivision as the torch continued to sputter and grow dim. Yet nothing could be seen ten yards ahead of himself. He was alone in his sphere.

Then, the sound of music began to play. Woe homed in on that sound, trying to suss out the notes and intention behind them through a mix of Empathy and Attunement. Yet it was unfamiliar, he could hear a whimpering, this not belonging to Breen for once. But it was hard to identify who it might belong to with the subject still far out of earshot.

His footfalls fell on the stonework of the undercroft tunnel. One foot ahead of the other, until he hit something. He felt a sinking sensation in his foot, as it fell on something that sparked momentarily and then went dark, timed perfectly with the death of his torch. He drew his whip and felt someone entering the sphere of his omnivision.

Crack! Woe snapped the whip in the direction of the unknown figure. But the impact of his whiplash was absorbed by some dampening field. Not a physical impediment, but something arcane, it sounded like ether to his mind.

Crack, Crack, Crack. He sent the whip end over end, back and again until it became apparent that whoever was wielding the arcana was competent not only in conjuring those shields but in moving his arms to block his attacks.

Woe sent an unspoken command to his diri then, "Breen, retreat! I'll have need of you, you're no good to me regenerating in the beneath..."

"Master, I will stand and fight!" He shot back, but Woe could feel his apprehension and lack of confidence.

He shook his head as he cracked his whip again and again at the unknown, "No, I'll have need of you alive. Trust me."

So saying, the dog whined, but obeyed, bolting in the other direction as Woe held the assailant off.

Woe snapped his whip one last time, and it caught on something. Woe heard his assailant gasp in pain as he had grabbed a hold of the end of the whip. Then, with an abrogative push against the wall, Woe hit the second trap that the mage had set for him.

He felt weak through his entire body, slowed and weak. Between the chained runes of frailty and sluggishness, it was more than Woe's constitution could handle. He crumpled to the ground, helpless.

He only saw the face of his attacker when he was right over him. A face marked by scars and hard living, with prematurely whitened hair and a taut scowl across his face. "Webspinner...", It was the last thing Woe heard and saw before everything went black.
word count: 1578
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Re: I. Shadows on a Cylus Moon

Thread Review


Skill Points: +10 (can be used for magic)
Magic XP: Yes, Attunement.

Renown: None.

Injuries/Overstepping: Slight bruises from getting tossed around.
Wealth Points: None.
Loot: None.

Skill Knowledge:
[*]Attunement: Frequency: Webspinner
[*]Attunement: Dousing: Using a note to find kindred spirits.
[*]Attunement: Omnivision: A way of seeing in the darkness.
[*]Logistics: Getting prepared for a dungeon crawl.
[*]Leadership: Sending your underling to bed.
[*]Leadership: Sending a diri to save itself, so it can be made useful later.

Non-Skill Knowledge:
  • none requested.
Notes: If you haven't already, please make sure you have submitted the Abrogator NPC for approval in PSF.
Skills Used: Attunememnt: Competent; Detection: Competent; Leadership: Novice; Whip: Master; Meditation: Expert; Discipline: Expert; Logistics: Novice
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.

What a mysterious start! This was enjoyable to read, from the inclusion of Fleaface at the start and Breen, but it all centered around Woe (as it should). The first scene could have easily been glossed over and summarized, but I enjoyed the actual dialogue and interaction between Woe and his hobo waifu. It helped balance the arcane fight scene later, as well as provide contrast to Woe's relation with Breen now that Fleaface isn't his only close companion.

Also, enjoyed the explanation of the underground and the setting described. Would have liked a bit more narrative details involving the magic (e.g. how does it feel to Woe, to be channeling the ether like he does in certain spells?), though I understand the tricky nature of that and sometimes simpler is better when referring to spells. It definitely got very interesting when he started combining Empathy and Attunement, as well as his whip with the magic. I'd suggest that this sort of combination for the purpose of fighting goes under Tactics, which Woe has Competent in and is appropriate to level, but didn't get listed on the Skills Used.

Hopefully this goes well for Woe (or should I say, not too terribly), and it an interesting but smart choice that he told Breen to retreat. This is my first time reading anything with Breen and so far, he seems to be a great inclusion to highlight Woe's character more.

Great job and enjoy your rewards!

PM me if you have any questions, issues or concerns.

Total Word Count: 1586 words.
Review Request Link: viewtopic.php?p=148038#p148038

word count: 401
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