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 Post subject: Re: In the Horn (pbp)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:36 pm 
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[quote="WarDragon"]"Just being clear, here," Tasker says hesitantly, "taking my pay - in this case, my skin, I suppose - and leaving, instead of signing on permanent-like... that still on the table? I swear nobody'll hear a thing about you guys from me, honest! Given my druthers, I'd get off of this island as fast as possible."


Puella looks taken aback.

"You would give up the wealth, pleasure and security we can offer you, and instead leave here with your skin alone?"

"...Well, if you so choose, my comrades and I will send you on your way."

Quote:
"Everything we'd heard, from DeMarco's group, from the rumors, said the treasure room was up there... we thought we'd skip the hidden staircase that ***** was obsessed with and go straight for it."

She gives a small, bitter laugh. "If I am not to dissemble, then please return the courtesy. You must think me a fool if you expect me to believe you had our interests at heart."


Puella had been looking at Arissa with something like pity, as she delivered the news from above, but at this, the witch goes very still. For a long, tense minute, she says nothing. The silence becomes oppressive, and the smallest sounds from outside seem large. A distant series of metallic clangs, their purpose and origin unclear, carrying faintly through the halls. A muffled, indistinct cry, impossible to tell whether from man or woman, pain or pleasure. Perhaps both.

"A woman in your position should think twice before making accusations, least of all unfounded ones." Puella breaks the silence at last. "I take my words seriously, Arissa, and so I do not like having them put in my mouth. I said nothing at all about your best interests. My interest was in taking you captive - and your companions, if I could have - rather than seeing you all go to your death. Your condition in captivity remains to be determined."

"...as a matter of fact, it is this very conversation which will determine that. So mind your tongue, girl."

[Intimidate 25]

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 Post subject: Re: In the Horn (pbp)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:01 am 
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Coriat wrote:
Puella looks taken aback.

"You would give up the wealth, pleasure and security we can offer you, and instead leave here with your skin alone?"

"...Well, if you so choose, my comrades and I will send you on your way."


Tasker clears his throat nervously. "My skin and my stuff that I haven't rendered up yet, I hope. No offense, but, like I said, what you're offering sounds really... permanent, for my tastes." He says 'permanent' in a tone of voice that most would reserve for something like 'covered in green mold.'

"The whole swearing fealty, pretending he's giving me things that are already mine, stuff... I'll level with you miss, I'm really not a 'permanent,' kinda guy. You all seem like you're in it for a cause, or something," he says vaugely, "and that's great for you, but it's not me. You've got a pretty sweet gig though, and I'd like a piece of it, just not the whole 'formally inducted into your service' thing. Now if there's any throats you want slit or valuables grabbed, let's talk price."


Coriat wrote:
Puella had been looking at Arissa with something like pity, as she delivered the news from above, but at this, the witch goes very still. For a long, tense minute, she says nothing. The silence becomes oppressive, and the smallest sounds from outside seem large. A distant series of metallic clangs, their purpose and origin unclear, carrying faintly through the halls. A muffled, indistinct cry, impossible to tell whether from man or woman, pain or pleasure. Perhaps both.

"A woman in your position should think twice before making accusations, least of all unfounded ones." Puella breaks the silence at last. "I take my words seriously, Arissa, and so I do not like having them put in my mouth. I said nothing at all about your best interests. My interest was in taking you captive - and your companions, if I could have - rather than seeing you all go to your death. Your condition in captivity remains to be determined."

"...as a matter of fact, it is this very conversation which will determine that. So mind your tongue, girl."

Arissa, somewhat unexpectedly, begins to laugh, with a distinct hysterical edge to it. "Girl? Oh my, I haven't been called that in years and years. You yourself sound not much older than my son..." Her laughter turns to tears. "My son, whom you now tell me is dead."

As she regains her composure, her posture slumps, becoming less a refined woman at her ease and something more... defeated. "I meant no offense; were our positions reversed, I would be thinking of how you could be useful to me before anything else. I am sure you feel the same."


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 Post subject: Re: In the Horn (pbp)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:46 pm 
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Puella shrugs. "Do sleep on it, Tasker. But tell me of this stash you spoke of, first of all."

She detains him till he has done so, then claps her hands.

"Escort Tasker to his rooms."

Tasker turns to see a lithe, slender young woman, ivory-limbed and dark-haired, waiting with downcast eyes. Rich black hair tumbles down her back and meets her only garment, a sheer silk girdle clasped with silver. She nods, and then looks up, trembling.

"...and... must I?" Even her voice, hesitant, is sweet and low.

Puella's voice, as soft as ever, still seems rough by comparison.

"No, girl. He has not joined our service. So simply show him to his bed and attend to his things, no more."

Puella watches the pair go. She has been reorganizing the overflowing harems, into three castes, and this beauty, the prettiest catch of a dozen homesteads, is in the highest. The witch hadn't missed Elise's reference to Tasker's weakness for women. One last attempt to tempt him with the potential rewards of service.

------------------

"You will have to get used to being called that again."

Puella looks away.

"Your son. I thought perhaps..."

She gathers herself.

"So. How can you be useful to us?"


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 Post subject: Re: In the Horn (pbp)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:43 pm 
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Puella sighs, and writes a missive that she dispatches via messenger to Gaerlan, informing him that Tasker has reneged on joining the Knot's service and should be dealt with appropriately.

----------

"Very well, then. I see that I was wrong to treat you with excessive gentleness and sympathy." Puella sighs. "No matter what route I try, again and again, I am reminded of the inescapable truth of the Lord. Without discipline and punishment, no order can be built."

"Since you offer nothing but sullen silence, I will determine your fate according to the power of master over slave, for such will be your station. Remember that I gave you ample, and unearned, opportunity to convince me otherwise. On your own head be it."

The witch scowls.

"First, I will lay you under geas of honesty. I will not have someone so bold as to bear the name Lie-Smith in my service with her tongue unyoked."

"Second, you will lose your holy symbol and all trappings of your faith. They will be burned in holy fires or melted into scrap. I will not offer your heathen god any window into the Horn. Let him be blind to what passes here."

"Third, you will learn to pray instead to the King of Hell or one among his mighty vassals. I myself will supervise your education in this matter."

Puella rises.

"You will stay right here until I am ready to begin."

She snuffs the single lantern, throwing the cell into shadow. The witch looms dimly against the outline of the door, till it slams shut with a scream of rusty bolts. Arissa is left chained, alone, in pitch darkness.


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 Post subject: Re: In the Horn (pbp)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:32 pm 
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A hell hound pads alongside the slave, sniffing at Tasker curiously. Sebastien's hound is taking its turn guarding the door to Calliaste's cell, which means that this one is the witch's own.

------------------

Quote:
<Puella> It has been a long... how long has it been, with no light, no company for the bound woman save for vermin. When the door to Arissa's cell finally opens, the light of the torch is like staring into the midday sun.

<Arissa> "Forgive me, if I was uncooperative earlier. I had just taken a rather nasty shock, you understand."

<Puella> "I understand. Are you ready, then, to throw yourself upon the mercy of the Lord Belial?"

<Arissa> "Since I am bound to honesty, I find your demands rather excessive. My power is at your disposal, and I am willing to trade it for my life; Loki has has no more love for Talingarde than your Archdevils do. If my service is all you desire, there is no need for torture."

<Puella> "You're afraid." Puella remarks.

<Arissa> "Of being tortured? Let's just say it's not an experience I have any desire to repeat."

<Puella> "Who was your first?"

<Arissa> "A son of Surtr."

<Arissa> "I was a slave, to the fire-giants, for a time, years that I don't care to remember often or too closely. They were not gentle masters. Eventually, a high priest of Loki bought me from them, and made me his acolyte."

<Puella> "Show me."

<Arissa> Compelled by the geas, Arissa lifts her rent and soiled gown, and rolls up her sleeves. There are old burn scars on the inside of her thighs, along her forearms, her stomach, and buttocks. Nothing that would disable, or be visible when dressed, but they would have been greatly painful when made.

<Puella> Puella makes a note to track down whichever disobediently merciful minion restored the woman's clothes. "And you trust that that would inure you to my care? Or you fear that it would not?"

<Puella> Puella cups Arissa's cheek gently in her hand as the geas begins to force a reluctant answer.

<Puella> "There is no use fighting it."

<Arissa> "I... I don't want to find out. Whether it would or not, I don't want to go through that again."

<Puella> "You may throw yourself on the Lord's mercy to begin with, girl."

<Arissa> "You've taken everything else from me... you would take the faith that raised me up as well?"

<Puella> "It raised you up. Tell me when. How. Why." Puella changes tack abruptly.

<Puella> "What was the key moment?"

<Arissa> "What do you mean? I can think of several."

<Puella> "Tell me of them."

<Arissa> "When my son was born there in captivity, and no other god would answer my prayers. When the old priest bought me, challenged me to free myself. When he showed me the truth, that the gods help those who help themselves. When my prayers were first answered with Loki's magic. When I used it to gain back a piece of what had been stolen from me."

<Puella> Puella sits for a time, and compels Arissa to describe these memories in detail. As with Posca, the witch takes notes.


There is silence for a time from the witch as she listens and writes. When she looks up, it is to start a different tack again.

"You had little or no idea what would await your group within this place." she observes.


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 Post subject: Re: In the Horn (pbp)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:43 pm 
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The half-orc describes a small quay where the Raiders' ship - a small but sea-worthy cutter named the Seventh Voyage - is docked, and where to find the chest of emergency funds in the main cabin.

Tasker tries to do three things simultaneously; stay away from the hellhound, ogle the comely slave, and keep in mind that he does not want to get sucked into these peoples' wierdness, no matter how much shiny they offer. He succeeds admirably at the second, middling at the third, and not at all at the first.

The lissom slave emerges, shamefacedly, from his room, in the dark hours before dawn. Tasker, by contrast, comes out with a wide, toothy grin late the next morning. He approaches Puella with a swagger in his step. "So, uh... I think I might have changed my mind. What's signing on with you guys entail again?"

Coriat wrote:
There is silence for a time from the witch as she listens and writes. When she looks up, it is to start a different tack again.

"You had little or no idea what would await your group within this place." she observes.


"Martel did, or thought he did. He had Ly... Lycheas..." She stops with a sob for a moment. "...lift the book from Traya, after she outbid him, and read most of it before their half-orc lech stole it back. Whatever he learned, he didn't share it with the rest of us, except that the treasure room must be on the top floor."


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 Post subject: Re: In the Horn (pbp)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 10:57 pm 
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The messenger never makes it to Gaerlan's room. In the hall outside, Puella's hound blocks the way, a low growl issuing forth from his throat. The beast advances on the poor minion till the man flees back to the witch's protection.

Puella receives her message back with faint satisfaction. Her hound had been set to listen outside Tasker's door. He would not have intervened unless he heard something to confirm the witch's trap had sprung.

"There will be no need for this message after all. You are dismissed."

She tosses the missive into the fire as the confused minion withdraws, and steeples her fingers. Perhaps a discreet contraceptive. It seems best to assign this girl permanently to the rogue, but the witch has no intention of breeding a generation of young Taskers.

-------------

"Indeed."

The witch reviews what she had told Tasker before. She skims over the requirements this time, and spends more time on the rewards - including the reward that the orc has already begun helping himself to.

-------------

"But why didn't you know?"

Puella pauses for a moment, watching the priestess's reaction.

"Let me explain what I mean. Nearly a week before you arrived here, my Lord first warned me of your coming. By the time you came, I knew all about both group - numbers, names, even some weaknesses."

"But this god of yours never warned you of the fate that was waiting here for you. Or for your son."


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 Post subject: Re: In the Horn (pbp)
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:31 am 
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Coriat wrote:
Indeed."

The witch reviews what she had told Tasker before. She skims over the requirements this time, and spends more time on the rewards - including the reward that the orc has already begun helping himself to.

It seems that after the "sample," Tasker's greed overwhelms his distrust of authority. He swears to whatever is required of him.

Coriat wrote:
"But why didn't you know?"

Puella pauses for a moment, watching the priestess's reaction.

"Let me explain what I mean. Nearly a week before you arrived here, my Lord first warned me of your coming. By the time you came, I knew all about both group - numbers, names, even some weaknesses."

"But this god of yours never warned you of the fate that was waiting here for you. Or for your son."

"I..." For the first time, Arissa looks unsure of herself.

"I didn't ask. Lord Loki is known to be coy with such things. Prophecy is Odin's gift, not his; he answers such prayers but rarely, and often makes a joke of it when he does. I've always thought it was his way of encouraging his followers to improvise."


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 Post subject: Re: In the Horn (pbp)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:51 pm 
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"Ah yes. A joke from the god of treachery you put so much faith in. Tell me, Arissa, is your son laughing?"

"I shall not bend the terms I set one whit, but you have had one day and night to think upon that discipline which answers disobedience. You have felt it already, and tremble to feel it again - though I warn you, if you fancy yourself inured, I will soon teach you otherwise. But first, take one day and one night also to consider the rewards of obedience. I should think that in your state, a woman would come to appreciate even the simplest pleasures for their true worth."

Puella rises, turning to go. A last line over her shoulder.

"I know I did."

The door slams shut, and the prisoner is once again plunged into darkness.


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 Post subject: Re: In the Horn (pbp)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:30 pm 
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Outside, Puella slides a wooden cover over the grates in the cell door. She turns to the guards.

"No visitors."


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