1. Please help us cover the costs of Terra-Arcanum's migration to Xenforo, Guest! More information is available here.
    Dismiss Notice

Arcanum - Tenebris Ostium

Discussion in 'Roleplaying Forum' started by Wolfsbane, May 15, 2013.

Remove all ads!
Support Terra-Arcanum:

GOG.com

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!
  1. Wolfsbane

    Wolfsbane Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,486
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    It was a fine summer evening in Caladon. The crash of waves in the sea mixed with the singing of birds from the trees and the general sound of the busy city. The sky was almost completely free of clouds and currently displayed the prelude to what was almost certainly going to be a very beautiful sunset. People were strolling about, minding their own business, the great domes and towers of the royal palace playing scenery in the background. And in the midst of this was Manfred, standing by a fence and looking out over the water. It had been a long time since he had last been home, several years in fact. But even though he'd changed a lot in that time, the city had, to his surprise and relief, not changed in the slightest. Caladon was still Caladon, the greatest of free cities in Arcanum. Manfred found himself wondering how many of his old aquaintances still lived in the city, and if they would recognize him if they saw him. Or if he would recognize them. He probably would, he decided. At least some of them. Turning his gaze from the ocean to the city, he contemplated his next move. It was too late to seek out his employer at the current hour. He would have to find lodging for the night and seek the man out in the morning. But where to stay? Manfred tried as best he could to remember the names of the good inns in town, but it was hard. It'd been a long time since he'd been here, after all. Being unable to recall any of the establishments he sought, he decided to take the next logical step and ask for the way. It didn't take him long to find a constable who stood leaning against a lamppost.

    Good evening, officer, he said.
    The guard snapped to attention with a grunt and turned to face him, looking somewhat startled. Uh, ah, yes, a fine evening to you, citizen. How might I-
    I'm looking for an inn, to stay the night. Could you perhaps be so kind as to point me in the direction of a qualitative establishment?

    From their brief encounter, Manfred was able to piece together that the officer he'd just spoken to had been sleeping on his watch, but also that his knowledge of flophouses in Caladon was impeccable. It took Manfred no more than a couple of minutes to track down the inn from the guards’ description. It wasn’t as fancy as he was used to, but being considerately less rich than he normally was, he supposed it would have to do. The place was at least equipped with a saloon and a bar, which would have to do for the moment. It had a rustic feel to it, with its low beamed ceiling and glowing fireplace. There were other patrons in there, already enjoying the establishments’ beverages. Having paid for a room, Manfred strode into the saloon, ordered a drink, and sank down into a surprisingly comfortable armed chair near the fireplace. Sitting there, slowly draining the glass of cheap wine in his hand, he suddenly realized he'd been in that room before. He couldn't remember how old he'd been, but the features of the place spoke to his mind and memories. Perhaps he'd visited the place with his father as a child, or perhaps he'd stopped by for a quick drink before boarding the ship to Tarant all those years ago. He supposed it didn't really matter anyway. It was just another bar in another inn.
    As moments turned to minutes, Manfred was getting bored. His glass was almost empty and he didn't fancy another one, seeing that the first one had left a sour taste in his mouth. None of the other guests seemed like they were in a social mood, so he would have to entertain himself. He remembered then his old deck of tarot cards that he had, tucked away in the inside pocket of his coat. He'd forgotten that such items weren't frowned upon or laughed at here in Caladon, as they were in Tarant. People were almost afraid of magic over there, like if it was some kind of malevolent force or phenomenon. A silly thing to think, of course. Manfred had always thought of magic as just another way to power and understanding. Nothing more. By now he'd stacked and spread the cards out before him like his mentor had taught him in Tulla. Revealing them one by one, it seemed this would turn out as just another dull, ordinary reading. Fortune in this, failure in that, nothing exciting. But as he was about to reveal the final card, he frowned. Not at the cards, no, but his glass of wine. The fluid in it had turned to ice, and the glass was slowly getting covered by frost. Shortly after, he felt the air around him get cold and turned around, only to see that the rest of the customers had also noticed the odd phenomenon. There was no ice in the room, there was summer outside and no appearent source of the cold was visible. Manfreds breath came out in little clouds of smoke now, and he noticed to his great surprise that the coals in the fireplace were dying from the chill. The lights went out, suddenly, leaving the patrons of the inn in darkness. Someone gasped in shock, and someone else accidently toppled a glass or bottle which shattered against the floor.

    What is the meaning of this? An elderly mans voice asked of the darkness, I demand to know wha-

    The sentance was cut in half by a deafening bang which shattered everything made of glass in the room at once. A painful wave of cold swept through the establishment, and an inhuman growling suddenly sounded from somewhere in the darkness. Samwell Quillby, a voice whispered from nowhere and everywhere. No! Someone called in return, It's them! No! I don't want to-IIIAAARGH! The gut wrenching shriek was accompanied by the sound of tearing flesh and snapping bones. Whatever it was that had growled before now roared with a voice not of this world. Something wet spattered Manfreds cheek and immedietly turned to ice, causing him to quake with disgust and fear. He wanted to hide, or run, but he found to his horror that his legs wouldn't move. Someone cursed loudly and a mechanical click came shortly after. A gun was discharged several times, the flare of the shots illuminating the room for short moments. Moments was all Manfred needed to see the monstrosity in their midst; talons, horns, skin like oil and eyes like the sun reversed. The gunman was murdured with impossible speed, his bubbling scream cut off as the creature tore apart his throat with a single slash.

    A few moments of terrible silence followed. Manfred was at the verge of screaming out loud or crying like and infant when the warmth suddenly started to return. The cold disappeared entirely after only a few moments, leaving him dumbstruck and scared witless in the darkness. It felt like an eternity before he finally managed to muster the courage to speak.

    Is there anyone still out there? he squeaked, cringing in anticipation of being eaten alive.
     
  2. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Pigdog was camping on the outskirts of Caladon when the scream echoed over the rooftops.

    His impulse was to find the wounded creature and help it, but on second thoughts, it was a human and probably a victim of urban crime; a wild looking ork is not usually welcome in these situations.

    On third thoughts, humans are a kind of animal, and Pigdog had earned some measure of respect and tolerance in Caladon. He decided to investigate.

    He found the inn by the sound of horses in the stables; they were distressed. The humans inside were as well. He entered the door and announced himself.

    "Blessings be upon this house.

    "Is everyone alrigh..."
    he began, before the sight and smell of liberally splattered blood met his senses.

    "Um, is everyone else alright?"
     
  3. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    26
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Maurice Gregory most certainly was a comfortable gentleman. It was therefore very reluctantly that he'd chosen to stay the night in a lice-ridden flophouse. It was a disgrace! However, he was coming straight off the ship from Tarant, and seasick, as Maurice apparantly was prone to become, he simply had to rest at the earliest possible convenience. Maurice had left his home, the great city of Tarant, for the first time in his life in order to take in some country air as he put it, and quaint ol' Caladon seemed to be the perfect place do do so.

    They don't even have a railway system,, he had laughed in a discussion with Chairman Willoughsby and Councilman Braithe a few years past, in which the latter had told him that the Caladonians embraced both technology and magick equally.

    Bunch of backwards buffoons, he had muttered in between the emptying of stomach content on the trip.

    Having been recognized as a man of worth Maurice was offered the very best room that the flophouse had to offer (and by Kerlin if that wasn't lice-ridden too) and he finally managed to get some rest after the excruciating time at sea. His rest was violently disrupted though as a sudden chill went down his spine and various shouts reached his ears from downstairs.

    Would you keep it down? Maurice yelled, but he received no response. Then he heard a sudden scream followed by gunshots and he immediately flew out of bed and started reaching for his gun. He couldn't find it and suddenly recalled that he'd left it at home.

    No, no way, he said to himself. I'm not dying in a bloody flophouse! He cautiously opened the door and peeked outside and down the stairs. There he saw something standing before the front door that ran chills of even greater magnitude down his spine.

    A bloody ork!
     
  4. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    I think you mean 'a bloody corpse', sir.

    Now, since none of the survivors can explain anything, let's ask the victim.


    *casts conjure spirit on the dead body*
     
  5. Wolfsbane

    Wolfsbane Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,486
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    It wasn't strange at all. It was a quite natural reaction, when you thought about it. Apart from the horror in the darkness, a ragged orc bringing back the cringing soul of a recently slaughtered man was probably just the thing to get people screaming and fleeing for their lives. Needless to say, the saloon emptied rather swiftly, leaving only the three gentlemen and the soul left behind. Manfred still hadn't revealed himself to the orc; he'd planned to but his attempt had been interrupted by some gnome. He had therefore settled with merely observing the scene as it played out, for the time being.

    The soul of the recently deceased man was terrible to behold, it's sudden spasms and cries of pain nausuating even to Manfred, who'd seen it more than once before while studying in Tulla. It looked around the room and finally found the man who'd summoned it, but not before it had found something else. Itself, lying in slabs of meat strewn across the floor. It's screech cut through Manfred like a knife. Nooo! NOOO! I'm dead? I'm DEAD! NEAAARGH!!!

    Turning towards the orc, it continued; YOU! Please! The pain! I... I don't want this, I- AAAH! PLEASE! PLEEAASE! What do you WANT from me?!?
     
  6. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    26
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    He wasn't just a murderer and an ork, but a bloody necromancer too! Maurice hadn't been so terrified since the Mage Riots back in Tarant. He was only 40 at the time, but he recalled it as if it were yesterday. An elf had raised the corpse of his fellow rioter in front of Maurice's very eyes, before being righteously gunned down by an officer of the law. The Law! Maurice wished that one of her representatives would arrive to put the thuggish ork down as well. Fortunately, the screams of the fleeing saloon patrons had brought just the attention he had been hoping for, as the sound of police whistles could heard and was steadily growing louder.

    In here! Maurice shouted. The murdering ork is in here!
     
  7. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    I just want some answers and then I'll let you go.

    Who are you and who has killed you?
    ...

    How can we stop this happening again?
    ...

    Just one more question: Are your affairs in order? Should we contact any next-of-kin for you? Any final requests?
    ...

    Very well, go in peace, spirit.
    ...

    I suppose we should wait for the police. You can run and fetch them, little sir, I won't harm you.


    Pigdog steps away from the door, sits down beside the fire and lights his pipe.
     
  8. Wolfsbane

    Wolfsbane Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,486
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Initially, the spirit protested and tried to defy the orc, but it was no use. It submitted, in the end, and answered his questions.

    I- My name is Samwell... Samwell Quillby. I was killed by-aaaAAAH! Them, the ones that I OWE, but... I didn't-UH! Know, I...

    ...

    I don't know! You'd have to kill-IAH! B-but that's impossible...!

    ...

    I... I don't have any family left, I... There's-AH! There's Miranda, she should know that I'm... that I'm... dead... Please, just let me-

    ...

    Thank you...


    Manfred, who'd been sitting in the darkness through the dialogue, decided upon its end that he should present himself. He felt he had to tell the orc, or at least somebody, what he saw. He got up quietly and slowly shuffled over towards the fireplace. When the orc didn't seem to notice him, he spoke up.

    Ahum, he began, I... uh- I'm Manfred. Smythe.

    Then the words seemed to run out. He didn't really know what to say, or how to say it. In the end, all that came out was: I saw what happened earlier.
     
  9. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    That's a great relief, sir. I thought I'd be presumed guilty because of my race. I'm not sure who the police vilify more, orcs or gypsies, but either way, my word against that of a wealthy gnome would have been an uphill battle.

    Pigdog's my name. Charming, I know.

    So, what did you see, good sir?
     
  10. Wolfsbane

    Wolfsbane Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,486
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    I saw... I don't know what I saw, really.

    Manfred tried to describe the creature as best he could, but in truth he hadn't seen much. Fragments of features in momentary flashes of light was all he had.

    Before the attack, there was this chill. The room grew cold, my wine froze, and-

    Before he could finish, an officer of the city watch burst through the door. By all that is good! he exclaimed, what has happened here?
     
  11. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    26
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    I'll tell you exactly what's happened here officer, said Maurice and pointed at Pigdog. That ork is a bloody mage. He used evil magicks to tear that poor man apart!

    The officer looked at Maurice, glanced at Pigdog for a while and then turned back to Maurice again, eyeing him suspiciously.
    Is that so? he asked. And just who are you, sir?

    Who am I? yelled Maurice, offended. I am Maurice Gregory, judge of the High Court in Tarant and a prominent member of the Industrial Council, son of The Right Honourable William Gregory, Chancellor of the Exchequer of the Unified Kingdom. And I order you to arrest that filthy ork scum!

    As his ranting came to and end, Maurice gave Pigdog a glance of superiority. That's for killing honest taxpayers, scum. It's straight to the gallows for you. But the officer merely scoffed at Maurice.

    You can't order me around gnome. Neither the Tarantian Courts nor your precious Industrial Council have any jurisdiction here. And I've been told that Pigdog here is an upstanding citizen. Heck, my own niece claims that he saved her cat when the little bugger had climbed up a tree. You're as much a suspect in this here case as he is.

    But he is an evil necromancer,whined Maurice, not used to anyone standing up to him. He brought that poor man back from the dead only to interrogate him.

    He then turned back to Pigdog and yelled: A testimony which I assure you won't hold in court!

    Maurice Gregory, a suspect! The mere thought was ridiculous. He had never met a more corrupt officer of the Law, speaking of upstanding orks and the like. And that other fellow speaking with the ork. They were all in cahoots, of that Maurice was certain!
     
  12. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Pigdog relays the testimony of the ghost to the police.

    "... and as you can see, there's blood just about everywhere except on me and the gentleman from Tarant. This gentlemen, Mr Smythe, can also testify that the murder happened in a crowded room before either of us arrived.

    "All things considered, officers - 'the deal', the shape of the wounds, the nature of the attack - all suggest a supernatural assaillant; either a summoned demon, or an independent one.

    One thing is certain, the victim knew something of the forces he was meddling with, and it could happen again. It's like the Whytechurch murderer all over again, except this time, it's not personal... it's busness.

    I can summon his ghost again, if you need a statement, officers, but he's a little... upset, understandably. I suggest finding this 'Miranda' and seeing what she knows.

    By the way, my good gnome, no hard feelings and all, but your prejudice is becoming irritating."


    edit: changed dialogue colour for visibility.
     
  13. Wolfsbane

    Wolfsbane Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,486
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    No, no, your testimony, along with that of these other two gentlemen, will do perfectly well, the guard said, raising his hands in an apologetic declining gesture, No need to bring back the victim a second time. Say, would you gentlemen be willing to come with me to the station? I think we could use a written statement here, as some of you are from out of town and travelling. Also, I suspect the chief constable would like to speak with you about this.

    Manfred looked at the others, trying to guess how they felt about it. He decided he didn't have anything against it at all and told the officer as much.
     
  14. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Of course, officer. Although I can't read or write, I will cooperate fully.
     
  15. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    26
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    A bit sour over being opposed, Maurice quickly regained his composure upon hearing of an opportunity to speak with the chief constable. He had heard of Chief Henderson while conversing with Professor Eakins at the University. Henderson had enjoyed much attention due to him solving the Whytechurch murders and was reputed to be most competent. More importantly, he was a fellow gnome and wouldn't trust some ork over one his own kind.

    Very well, said Maurice with a feigned sigh. Let's see the chief constable and sort this out.
     
  16. Wolfsbane

    Wolfsbane Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,486
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    As more officers arrived at the scene, the quartet could safely leave for the police station. The journalists of the Tarantian were, Manfred noted as he passed them, as loud and erratic as ever.

    Having arrived at the station, the three gentlemen were presented to the newly promoted chief constable Henderson. The man sat behind an overwhelming wooden desk, causing him to seem even smaller than he actually was. He eyed the men briefly as they entered the room and gestured for them to sit down. The officer that had guided the trio there walked over to the chief constable and spoke to him quietly before abruptly leaving the room, leaving Henderson with a mildly confused expression.

    How peculiar, he said to himself, and turned to his guests. Very well. Good evening, gentlemen. I am Chief Constable Henderson. My man, who recently left us, told me that you witnessed a crime tonight and that I'd find it interesting. He failed to deliver any details, though, so what was it exactly that you saw?
     
  17. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    26
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    As soon as Chief Constable Henderson had finished Maurice spoke up, so that none of his co-witnesses would start spreading misinformation.

    First of all, Chief Constable, I want to tell you that it's a great pleasure of mine to at last meet you, began Maurice. I read about the whole Whytechurch affair in the Tarantian. Dreadful business that, but you worked it masterfully. You are indeed a credit to our race.

    Yes, uh thank you, sir, muttered Henderson, who was a bit uncomfortable with receiving praise for that particular case, as he didn't feel that the sole credit (or even the lion's share of it) belonged to him. Now about the business at hand...?

    Ah yes, let me start at the beginning. My name is Maurice Gregory and I'm a junior judge serving at the High Court in Tarant. You've probably heard of me?

    Henderson offered a small nod to which Maurice responded with a wide smile, showing off an uncomfortable amount of teeth.

    I had just arrived in this fine city, taking a well-deserved rest from my stressful work, and decided to stay the night at one of the wonderful flop houses, as one can do without excessive luxuries when on vacation. I sat down in the saloon for awhile, ordered a drink from the most charming bartender I've ever met and enjoyed it thoroughly...

    Maurice's version of the events continued in this fashion as he went on for almost half an hour.

    ...and in the midst of all the carnage stood the ork who's now sitting right next to me, calmly smoking his pipe as if nothing had happened and using his evil necromantic powers to torture his victim. Now, I'm no expert on the ways of magick so I wouldn't know which colleges that were involved, apart from necromancy, of course, of the most dark variety. Neither do I know whether the perpetrator is the ork himself or rather a summoned lackey of his, but I do now this: he is responsible for a man's death and I recommend that you lock him up! I can even offer my services to the prosecutor to ensure a quick and satisfactory trial.
     
  18. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,385
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    During the gnome's monologue, a tiny glider had crawled out of Pigdog's pocket and was swooping around catching moths from around the gaslights, then swooping back to eat them greedily on Pigdog's shoulder. It really was terribly cute.

    Ahem, well... I could hear the man scream from my camp on the river.

    I rushed there to find the victim dead - very dead - and everyone in shock.

    I asked the victim what happened; it seem liked commonsense to me, but I guess it panicked the patrons... anyway... he said it was 'them' that he 'owes' who dunnit. Said it will happen again unless we kill... something... but that it's impossible. Said "Miranda" should know he's dead, whoever that is.

    Then I waited for the police.
     
  19. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    26
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    This was an unusual ork, to say the least. Or a particularly deceptive and devious one, according to Maurice. He kept his composure and spoke filthy lies so fluently that one might almost call his rhetorical skills impressive (at least for an ork). He hadn't lunged at Maurice yet; he hadn't even threatened to do so. This unsettled the gnome greatly, as most of the orks, half-orks or other degenerates that Maurice had charged with various crimes (ranging from loitering and assault in his early career, to organization of illegal strikes and unionising in his later) tended to lose their temper (in court, if he was fortunate - if it even went that far before sentencing), allowing Maurice to prove their vicious nature - and then send them to either the gallows or the Isle.

    This was indeed an unusual ork...
     
Our Host!