Friday, October 18, 2013

Lukas Alone

Lukas, one moment you are walking with your friends, and the next the square is completely empty. There are no birds, no cart, no priests or gnome or soldiers in front of the cafe. The objects and places are all the same, but there are no people in any of them. And it is unnaturally silent.

A moment later, a short figure in a cloak emerges from the cafe, and another enters the road at 1 o'clock from a doorway. Both stand less than 4 feet in height. They each move to stand ten feet from you. The one who emerged from the cafe throws off his hood and reveals himself to be a gnome. The other, with a quarterstaff in hand, turns his back on Lukas and keeps eye upon the street from which he's just come.

"So you are Lukas," says the gnome, in a friendly manner.

(It would be best if no one except Lukas commented upon this thread)

33 comments:

Lukas said...

"I am."

Lukas replies as he takes this moment to consider the situation.

"I have a feeling that at this moment due to your intervention? An intervention of... your own design perhaps? I have not heard of this before."

Alexis Smolensk said...

"Yes, we are sorry. You've been forced onto the Ethereal Plane, so that we could speak. You are still in the Kare as before, but your companions cannot see you ... and as you have had little experience with the ethereal, I'm afraid they appear invisible to you, also. But do not worry. They will come to no harm. We only want privacy."

Lukas said...

"Fair enough. I'm sure I would do the same if I wished privacy."

Lukas thinks for a moment with a slight gleam in his eye...

"If everything looks the same could not... Oh yes, business, for all I know this has a limited duration. So who are you, and what business do you seek to tend to?"

While genuinely interested Lukas at this point is slightly distracted by sniffing the air, moving a hand back and forth to observe it, taking a step, peering around for the sun and other testing of his environment...

Alexis Smolensk said...

The environment, the air, breathing, even the odors seem unchanged. But as you bend over to test to see if that pebble can be picked up, you learn that it cannot.

"You have no control over your environment here," says the gnome. "It takes some getting used to."

He begins to slowly pace in a clockwise circle around Lukas, speaking to, but not watching him.

"My name is Barrin. My companion's name is Pimmfor. We represent a composite of business interests that reach into most every aspect of life you could conceive. Before I continue, could you please let me know ..." He pauses and looks at you. "Do you have the book?"

Lukas said...

"Firstly, I find that an interesting technical question. Forgive me for going the long way about it, but I'm sure you could understand that should I have multiple interesting books it would be best if I were to not immediately respond to the yea or nay nor should I ask if it were a particular title.

Assumptions can result in unfortunate accidents.

Furthermore I can however respond that to my knowledge I only have my spellbooks on my person at this very moment.

Could you please specify which book you are seeking?"

Lukas here takes one of his gloves, removes it and drops it on the ground before returning his focus to whatever gnome remains in his vision at full attention now.

Lukas said...

(OOC: You never know, a book merchant could have been selling an overdue library book...)

Alexis Smolensk said...

Ballin chuckles. "If you understood the contents of the book, you would never ask 'which book' I referred to.

"It was recovered from a house near Ingolstadt some nine months ago. Perhaps that sheds some light on the matter."

Lukas said...

"If I understood with more perfect clarity who you were I'm sure I would find it easier to deduce your intent.

That said, I have every interest in cooperating. Yes, I am aware of the book and know it's current location, and it is presumably under my ownership at this time.

Though, if I remember correctly there were three books recovered from that home, but only one someone would stop me in the middle of the street to retrieve."

Alexis Smolensk said...

"Not explaining who I am exactly is in both my interest and yours," says Ballin. "If I were to explain that I had been Governor of the Bank at Warzawa for fifteen years, and that I had been recruited to the Freemasons in the court of Louis the XVIth, you would no nothing more about me than you had known before ... for surely any tale I tell you about myself must be a lie. No one is safe from Augury and Divination except those whose names are not known ... and I can assure you, Lukas, that my name is not Ballin, and his name is not Pimmfor. But these are conveniences that will serve us at the moment."

He clears his throat, continuing to pace. "The book is no more owned by you than are the pyramids owned by the Sultan of Constantinople in his palace; 'ownership' implies a legally established condition, and as there is no court in existence that would entitle you, Lukas, to the ownership of the book, nor punish any so-called element who might wrest the book from you, it is safe to say that in truth, you do not own it. At best, you can be said to possess the book, as the Sultan possesses the pyramids, having taken them at some point in the past and being subject to having them taken from him.

"But this is incidental. Our wishes are that you should continue to possess the book. My question, 'do you have it,' was merely posed in order to establish that you had not foolishly lost it. We knew that the book had come into your hands; we knew that you would arrive in Constantinople yesterday. These things divination revealed. We could not firmly establish the book would remain in your possession to this time. Religious knowledge is such an annoyingly uncertain thing.

"As I say, we would like you to continue to possess the book. In your hands, for the present, it is safer than it would be in our hands. There are those who search for it, you see, who do not know of you or your possession, and who would certainly disregard any legal entitlement you felt towards the book. Our principle concern at this time would be to encourage you not to misplace the book, as that would be most unfortunate."

Lukas said...

Lukas relaxes at this point.

"Your assessment is... enlightening. It is also quite reassuring that this is not in fact a mugging as was one of my concerns."

At this point Lukas is trying REALLY hard not to think about how he is 6'3" and 220lbs....

"That said, do you have advice to help keep me from losing possession of said book? As you were able to hunt me down I am sure others will as well. Furthermore I anticipate a long period of time in my future where I will be more sedentary than I have lately."

Lukas said...

Sorry, 6'2"... maybe the shoes and hat give him another inch or two.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Ballin laughs with regards to 'a mugging.' "I don't do that sort of thing. It is altogether a different department. I am certain, however, that they have an important field office in Constantinople."

He seems unbothered at having to look up at you on occasion.

"We have the benefit of knowing of the house in Ingolstadt, of what went on there and of how the book disappeared from that point forward. Moreover, we have benefitted from knowing the true title of the book, without which the book is indeed hard to find. We could not, however, aid you in keeping care of the book without revealing more information that we would want known. Keep the book in an iron box. Do not take it where it might fall or be lost in a deep place. Do not allow others to care for it with a light heart. That is the best advice I can give.

"Now that we have met, I am certain we can follow you with our crystal. Communication is more difficult. We can arrange to meet you at various times to allow you to give us any information that may help us. We would ask that if someone should introduce themselves as my brother, that you give them the benefit of the doubt."

Lukas said...

"I see. Those are good bits of advice."

Lukas breathes in as if to say something before biting his lip. Now probably isn't the time for magic lessons...

"I guess I see why you have taken me to here now. Was there any other business I could assist or tend to? I must admit this feels a bit... theatric. Though I guess it does establish an actual line of communication between us unlike more traditional means of investigating my possessions."

Alexis Smolensk said...

"We would have you as an ally," says Ballin. "Rather than as an enemy. I must warn you. Others of Khorezm and Van are searching for the book; they may discover the means by which to have it. Their best opportunity would be to intuitively associate you with the two gentlemen you keep in a bottle.

"Therefore, I suggest you turn them over to us."

Lukas said...

"Ah I see... The bottle. That sounds like a conversation you will have to have with a companion of mine.

Given his associations between you and the two inside the bottle, he may be concerned about it's treatment once leaving his hands.

I think he wishes to see that the souls are set on their rightful and natural path. As he believes a particular group that seems to match your description is associated with aggressive action against the contents of the bottle..."

Lukas leaves the obvious hint of potential lack of cooperation open.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"Oh, the gentlemen in the bottle are criminals, no question. They are ex-minions of a very unfriendly fellow whom we prefer to call Klaus-Pastor, as correctly pronouncing his name - even in this space - has all the air of a request to hand over your soul to the creatures of the Underdark. To know whom I mean, I suggest you examine the meter of the words reversed.

"He believes his minions are dead. They have left this plane, and for the present, that has baffled the Pastor. However, should he surmise that the 'door' to where they are is fully upon this plane, and in your friend's pocket, he will begin his search there.

"I understand the reluctance to hand over human beings, but really, is it your friend's problem? I suggest you speak with him about it. You may impress upon him that to be the jailor in this case may mean being the do-gooder that stands between what he perceives as justice and a greater, more deadly injustice than he -"

"Ballin!" interjects Pimmfor. "There is one coming."

"Ah," says Ballin. "That is unfortunate."

Lukas said...

Lukas of coarse takes this time to find the approaching 'one'.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"I'm afraid we will have to go," says Ballin. "But I'm sure you can handle a mere wolf. It is only that if I or Pimmfor here flex ourselves, that could make a bit of a mess. Neither of us are permitted to fiddle with the trifles of this plane of existence."

He strides over in order to stand beside Pimmfor. "I understand your friends are about to help you. Please pass along what I said about the bottle. We'll be in touch."


Alexis Smolensk said...

Ballin and Pimmfor disappear.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Maximillian and Ahmet appear next to where the blind gnome had been sitting. The blind gnome does not appear with them.

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: We'll pick up with the next post, and the 'wolf,' on Monday. Shouldn't take more than a day's running for it to kill all three of you)

James C. said...

(OOC: I know I'm breaking the protocol established above, but...

This. Is. AWESOME!

Andrej is available once more, sorry for the blown week guys. Professionally and personally it has been a very rough few days for me. I want each of you to know how excellent it was to stop, set aside my troubles and catch up with the campaign this afternoon. Really, really excellent.

I will assume that Andrej is elsewhere, perhaps buying his items apart from the party or haranguing the poor captain about ship routes and logistics. Know that I'm anxious to hop back into playing Andrej.)

Maximillian Boii said...

(ooc: If you find time and interest, I am interested in an update to the charging rules.

Lukas, you did great., that was fun to watch.)

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Good job Lukas. Now for the doggie!)

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: I had the most bizarre sort of insight on charging that could seriously change the first few rounds of a combat - and make them more exciting, I would hope. I've been trying to think of how I could express them - but the words escape me. I will give you information as it becomes comprehensible)

Lukas said...

(OOC: I wont tell you how many times I restrained myself from posting in your guys' thread... It was pretty bad, almost bit my tongue off holding it...

Yeah some interesting charging rules could drastically change my current thoughts on the start. Right now I'm just trying to figure out how I can engage and hit first through widthdrawing and then moving forwards again... At least my initial thoughts for Kismet)

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: This would be the incorporation of momentum into the hit, so that 'charging' was something that was done at double or treble speed, and that once the hit was made the combatant would be required to move PAST the opponent, potentially right through the enemy, to a place where freedom of movement was possible, even to where continued running was possible, so that you would hit, run through, regroup and defend, or run in a circle back to your own lines.

The idea, I think, is doable, but the specific rules guiding what happens and who moves where and how far, that I'm working out)

Maximillian Boii said...

(OOC: That doesn't sound like too big a departure from the previous rules, and brings in more of the feel it seems you're going for. Should be interesting.)

Lukas said...

(OOC: Sounds like a very bad day for me in the back lines...)

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Those rules sound like it would be a good idea for Ahmet and Enrico to be mounted more often...)

Andrej said...

(OOC: I can foresee some rank-breaking chaos going both ways Lukas... Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the one and only Andrej, the half-orc meat missile...

Alexis, would those opposing a charge have some ability to resist it, akin to the old "set spear to receive charge" rules... I could see tighter ranks and formations or even fighter training having some influence here as well.)

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: In the post I wrote about charging, I wrote about fear of contact - charges would not always "work" ... there would be a sort of saving throw both for the charger and the one being charged. But let me leave this until I can write something more organized)

Alexis Smolensk said...

The next post is up.