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Part of the The Day I Tried To Live Arc

This is a Healer's Guild RP.

Summary: Khitti leads a long-planned mission to the Shadow Plane, to retrieve the ghost of her sister and get a cure for her vampirism. Whether or not things went according to plan depends entirely on who you ask.

The Tranquility, Chartsend Docks

Early morning on the day of the journey to the Plane of Shadow arrived, and with it brought a thick, foreboding fog that covered and surrounded the sea and its anchored patrons at the docks in Chartsend. The crew scurried about the Tranquility taking care of whatever orders Captain Brand had given out before their departure. Some were frantic about the fog; fog distorted the skies and the sea, left them vulnerable, and could be construed as an ill omen. Others were unsure of the prospect of having a drow aboard, dealing with dark magic, and even going to the place that was rumored to be where said magic was from. The rest, well, they just wanted to get home alive. Thankfully, luck was on the travellers’ side in the form of a storm mage, that Khitti just so happened to find in Rynvale. It was strange, but, he seemed to think it was a good idea to disguise himself--from what or whom, Khitti didn’t know, but she took his anxious antics in stride (she had many of her own, of course), letting him do as he pleased so long as the raven-haired male did what he was told. Poor guy did a terrible job of wearing a fake mustache, though and he looked incredibly uncomfortable in the outfit that adorned his form, all of which looked more suited for Frostmaw’s winter temperatures than the slightly cool breeze that ran across the ocean’s surface. Every so often, he’d stare at Brand, and Meri, with a terrified gaze that went more or less hidden beneath his oversized (for him at least, for he was a bit of a lanky dude), bright orange hat, the knitted flaps on either side obscuring more of face thanks to the strings that linked the two sides together beneath his chin. Such a weird guy, Khitti thought as she wandered past him, eyeing those of whom had offered their services for the expedition as they climbed aboard the ship.

Aside from that tiny bit of nonsense, everything seemed to be right as rain and shipshape. The storm mage cleared up the fog rather quick-like when given the signal to, and as soon as everyone was aboard and the Tranquility had dislodged itself from Chartsend’s dock, Khitti’d motion to Gevurah to come to her side, wherein she’d show the drow the somatic components to the spell needed to open the portal. “Focus your magic zhere vhen I’m ready, if you vill, “ was said as Khitti pointed to the ocean, just beyond them, in the direction Brand would be guiding the ship. To the storm mage, she’d spin her finger about in the air like some sort of faux tornado or--wait, that’s probably kind of odd. Everyone should probably be a little concerned at this point. Maybe. Anyway. She does that thing, and then the weird guy in the orange hat works his own magic. The wind picked up rather quickly as the storm mage made his own various somatic gestures--for this was no easy task for one of his kind alone whipping the sails about as first the tiniest of whirlpools in the spot Khitti’d designated to Gevurah began to form. It soon grew, the churning tides of the magic-made maelstrom slowly drawing them in. First to Brand, she’d say, “If you’d be so wunderbar as to sail us directly into zhe storm, please, “ before spinning about to face those that volunteered to aid them on this journey. “Right, so. I know all of you--sort of--and if ve somehow manage to die horribly, introductions von’t matter anyway. So, let’s get zhis show on zhe road--ocean--vhatever.” Yeah. She’s bad at making speeches. Lionel should probably give her pointers one day. “This is probably a pretty crazy frakkin’ move and you all might die right now. Probably best to hang on to something, yeah? Without further adieu, Khitti began those gestures that she showed Gevurah not long ago, and soon the portal would begin to open. The whirling, gaping maw of pitch black crackled along the edges, the Shadow Plane’s darkness silently calling to them from the other side.

Gevurah is glad for the early hour and the fog as both save her from the treacherous sun. The drow has been on few sea-worthy vessels and does not look forward to the ocean-going part of this voyage. She’s here for the shadow realm, to hold up her end of the deal so that she may later continue doing what she does best: pursuing her own dark agenda. And she dressed for the occasional: her enchanted piwafwi hangs loosely over black leather pants and burgundy vest with enough hidden pockets to squirrel away spell reagents and vials of mostly blood, a little bone, and a little….mystery plasma? She also brought her mount: a giant black lizard. What, you think she got here on foot? When the storm mage clears the fog, Gevurah audibly grunts her displeasure. As for the crew who avoid her: good. Stay out of the way, pawns. She introduces herself to no one in part because she assumes she needs no introduction (drow nobility is famously egotistical) and in part because she just doesn’t care to learn names, though she does learn faces as technically this circus of surfacers comprise her allies for the mission. Brand receives eye contact, which is basically ‘hello’, and Khitti a more respectful nod. Gevurah busies herself with learning the knuckle-breaking flourishes of the spell then, when the time comes, channels her seemingly bottomless pool of mana into the spell. The drow has spent decades meditating just to deepen this pool, and if Khitti wanted a battery for her portal, she’s getting one. It would be dishonest to say that Gevurah ventures into the storm without fear. She’s mortal. But that self-preserving anxiety pales in comparison to the fear she reserves for the shadow plane itself. Her eyes stay fixed on the pitch-black portal and she braces herself for a sensation she cannot anticipate.

Meri 's interest in introductions at this point would be nonexistent. Khitti would get a nod, Brand was probably ignored, Gevurah is just avoided, same with the weird guy in the redonkulous hat. Meri was at this point just a face on the ship that was along for the ride, her contributions at this point were minimal: hang on so that maybe she doesn't die. Of course Meri would likely attempt to accomplish this task somewhere near the faces that she is most familiar with, namely Sabrina, Emilia and Thamalys. If they did not have the sense to do so already she'd steer the trio more toward the center of the ship thanks to Khitti's charming 'hang on and don't die' speech. Yes, she should really take pointers from Lionel. Actually this was a bad idea, both of them should probably find a place where they can invest in some speech giving lessons. Or at least pay someone to write their speeches beforehand? Eeesh. There is a bit of a cross-eyed expression, one that Meri probably tries to share with Sabrina, Emilia, or both because here we go...

Brand looked at Khitti like she was well off her rocker. Then again, that was pretty much the look he always gave her. “Oi, you never said anything about no gorram whirlpool,” he protested, even as he gestured to his crew to do as the vampiress said. “You break my ship, woman, I swear to…” He cut his ranting off there. He had nothing to swear to. When it came time to ‘hang onto something,’ as Khitti had warned, Brand held on to the wheel of the Tranquility, this oar-driven brigantine that he’d so recently acquired. He had nothing to swear to, which meant he had nothing to pray to, either--but here he was, muttering a prayer anyway as they sailed into the center of the storm. Well, it couldn’t -hurt-, right?

Sabrina didn’t seem to mind the fog, but she did recall a distinct lack of mention about a ship. She settles eyes on Gevurah, brow knitted together but she figured better with than without considering the cage explanation as to where they were going. She was here for a purpose, but there were no promises to heal -everyone- especially those who had previously harmed her bestie. Where was Emi anyway? She told that white runt and Tham to be here. “Hm.” She huffs to herself, tugging the long sleeves over elbow lengthened gloves and she stood dressed for any weather, really. It was the same, more or less wherever she went. The push off was fine, but those who knew her would realize she despised the open seas. The Master Healer didn’t need to be told twice to fasten herself down except in her case death was not as assured as others. (A regenerative could die a thousand deaths under the depths) Gods she hated water, and hell would shyte if she didn’t hate magic more. Her heart was racing, but it didn’t show in her poise as she follows Meri to a more central local. Heavens forbid she would lose face in front of what mostly looked like mongrels. She carried with her a bow and no quiver, a series of instruments hidden in her garb, and a smallish version of her go-to bag that looked to be packed rather lightly. Mostly she figured what injuries did prevail would require a little more than some tree sap and a fine white wrapping. She swallows hard as the initial entry begins. No backing out now since all that was between her and solid ground was a vast and unswimmable pass. She felt sick. In this case, it was not he motion of the seas that sickened her, but the cracking call that echoed through her very being. A thump-thump reminds her she is not alone. The massive beasty, Rohk, may have needed a lift to board this ship but he came. Because she asked him. Twin tails wrap lovingly, one about her waist and the other about Meri’s. He was all the anchor they would need. There was a promise in those hellish features as he eyeballed any who cared to look their way- this isn’t what it looked like, and anyone spreading nasty rumors about his affectionate state would be eaten by sundown. The fact that the Drowess is bracing herself at all, and not for the faint breaking light of day, has Sabrina questioning her recent decision making skills. “Wait, what do you mean break the ship!”

Thamalys stood tall against the swirling elements, his gazed nailed onto that of the Drow not so far away after all. Neither the Elfess or the Vampire mentioned such company - which, to put it very mildly, he did not cherish at all - and yet he knew better than reveal even the tiny hint with respect to that specific feeling, his sharp features still as marble, arms crossed, teeth resolutely clenched. In tune with the dire task ahead, the Spellblade was clad entirely in black: dark, leathery pants wrapped tightly those impossibly long, skinny legs, just to meet the even more inky colour of an elegant shirt embroidered with crimson motifs telling of flames and stars. The whole of his right arm hidden within scaly, pointy pieces of armour, not much of that pale skin utterly covered with ivy-shaped, ever-moving deep blue tattoos was visible on that particular occasion. Some branches and leaves would have escaped the attire just as concerned his - bare as usual - feet, bony hands, and sharp face as well, there where a pair of solid blue eyes was presently intent to scan the queer blend of creatures standing on the deck: Meri will get a brisk nod - one that she, by now, should had be able to interpret as the actual climax of the Blue’s empathy, the Guild Leader a similarly sharp gesture. He knew those two could handle the situation nicely enough. The feathery company of Nebb he preferred not to bring with him, but that of the Gossamer Halberd he judged absolutely necessary. Thus, the towering shapes of the elerium-embellished blade would have been perching from his shoulders, the monumental extent of those silver-clad wings trying to be drag along his ambling, with an ominous metallic clinking filling the murky air. Forced to bend down his head to cope with the blows of wind and magic alike, a massive comb of waist-long, ivory white dreadlocks would have threatened to cascade across his face, were if not for a complex lacing which kept the knotty scaffolding somehow in place. Apparently alone, he remained squarely standing on the deck, some decent stashes of concoctions and ointments - quite of them worth quite a lot of time and gold, in fact - secured onto his person via an hidden net of laces running across his chest. To top the inventory, a long, stinky - yes, stinky - whip hung from his belt, swaying wildly at his side. As soon as the very fabric of the space seemed to transform into pitch-black voidness, he unfurled his wings to the tiniest extent as to balance himself as much as possible, most likely barely touching the wood below him - a stony look instead gifting to the rest of the crew, bracing himself for whatever madness laid ahead.

Emilia could be thankful that her feet rarely had to suffer the tiredness that came from walking long distance travels when her companion was Thamalys with those colossal silver-clad wings of his that carried the two through the air in faster time than traveling by foot or horse. For this special adventure into a land unknown the Genasi had tamed those wild curls into two braids plated against her scalp before falling as thick braids to behind her knees, man was she overdue for a haircut. This was not the only change for the frosty woman as she had replaced her flowing spring gown for a black corset tied snugly to her bony frame with a pair of matching black leather pants adorning her short legs, attached to her hip hung a enchanted everfull bag of herbs and those normally bare feet tucked away into a pair of worn leather boots. Adorn in the dark color the small frame of the woman blended into the dark clothing her partner sported, those white braided curls tangling into white dreadlocks of Thamalys making the petite Genasi nearly impossible to spot at first upon his back tucked between his wings This safe place secure on the back of the weighted down Winged One is where the tiny woman would spend a deal of the trip, at least while aboard the ship, especially after sighting the drow Gevurah aboard it. All offences meant, she hated that woman for very personal reasons. Her anchor? Thalmays. She would cling onto him knowing he’d not let her die if he could help it, plus he could withstand her cold touch. On board grouped with the ladies and Rohk her head would pop out from from the dreadlocks, resting her chin on his shoulder as she smiled a ‘here we go’ look at both her nervous bestie and her other friend and then she was gone from sight once more. In part, she was keeping safe from the magic about to portal them via the ship into shadows and the other part keeping out of sight from Gevurah, the drow that had imprisoned her for months before she broke out, thus making her a run away from the dark skinned lady. What a trip this would be.

The Tranquility, The Moor of Madness, Shadow Plane

The Moor of Madness, The Plane of Shadows. Like most regions in this plane of existence, the city and its harbor was dark and dreary. To make matters worse, however, it was also raining. The unfortunate torrential downpour was too much for the storm mage to bear alone, though he did his best to keep the deck of the Brand’s precious ship from overflowing with water, and thus, sinking it. They had all made it through in one piece, at least, and when the Tranquility was docked, Khitti would leave them all to inquire about the help that Emeritus, the undead treant prophet, had promised them over a month ago. “Everyone! Stay close by! I’ll be right back! Ve von’t be here long,” called the redhead after she’d stepped onto the dock, before hurrying off into the dark stormy night, and still not explaining why the hell a drow was on board. She had her reasons of course--I mean, would any of them have even come if they knew Gevurah was joining them? The Moor, despite the bleakness of the Plane, was actually a bustling merchant city, much like its sister town in the east and it actually seemed…pleasant? Well, if anyone wants a souvenir, now would be a good time to get it. And hey, guess what? The shops take gold. How convenient.

The denizens of the port town were smallish creatures, around the size of kobolds--but, kobolds they were not. The bi-pedal felines called the Darkfel were proud fisherman folk, always eager to share stories of their many catches, and just as enthusiastic to lend a helping paw. As the Lithrydelians waited for the vampiress to return, a small group of kittens scurried over to the Tranquility’s side of the dock, oohing and ahhing at Brand’s ship. “Check meowt, guys!” An orange tabby, the leader of the tiny pack flexed in front of the ship, pretending to be a super-strong-adult-cat-sailor-dude. “This ship is purrrrfect!” The Khat who was not a cat would return soon after, with a few older felines in tow, and stopped to blink at the children. “You’d zhink zhey’d never seen a ship before… Alright, all of you!” Khitti would pause, clearly speaking to the kittens, who suddenly looked a little frightened--perhaps they were going to get yelled at? The redhead considered something a moment, looked at the ship, then the kids, then declared, “You’ve got five minutes. Go check it out.” Sorry, Brand. At least they seemed potty trained? Maybe they won’t use the ship as a scratching post? A resounding ‘yay’ was given off as Khitti herded the cats onto the Tranquility, including the older ones who went about scribing runes onto the ship in various locations in a strange sort of disappearing ink.

Gevurah only notices Emilia after they enter the Shadow Realm with relative ease (in this case meaning no one has died yet). She smiles cruelly at the ice genasi when their gazes meet, her sharp teeth revealing themselves predatorily. When Khitti leaves, Gevurah nears Emilia and whispers, “Your room is still made up at the estate.” Then the vampiress returns with the strange cats (Gevurah hates surfacer felines from Lithrydel, and likes this shadow realm cats even less) and the drow approaches the necromancer. “What are they doing.” Typical Gevurah, speaking her questions like commands. Sabrina, an elf, is wholly ignored for the sake of Khitti’s mission. This needs to go smoothly if Gevurah hopes for a return trip to capture a gloomglut.

Meri would take all the anchoring that she could get. It also helped that this was Rohk's tail, not the tail of a naga, wrapping itself about her waist this go around. Rohk did not give her the willies. Magic is afoot, whirlpools could be happening, ships may be at risk of breaking...and Meri was just going to laugh at Sabrina's little outburst. Meri keeps one hand tightly gripping some rope, frankly it was more for her own comfort because Rohk already had both Sabrina and Meri nice and anchored, her other hand would come to rest upon Sabrina's shoulder to give it a firm squeeze. No turning back now, Sabrina. The hand would fall away as they were greeted with heavy rain. (It looks like everyone gets to end up looking like a drowned rat now, Brand.) Khitti's disappearance and return is marked with a lifted brow, each time, however the gesture lingers as the soaking wet artist watches Khat return with a bunch of kittens...who want to explore the ship? Well Khitti had said to sit tight so until further instructed Meri is basically going to gawk at the scene, shifting weight from one foot to the other out of discomfort. Her socks were going to end up wet. Wet socks in boots. Wet socks in general. Ugh. The worst. When she was not gawking at the Darkfel, or inwardly grumbling over her sock woes, her blue eyes were looking to the faces of the other individuals.

Khitti really -was- trying to destroy his ship. First that portal that he’d been for a moment convinced was going to tear his ship to pieces, and now… cat people. Well then. Insert Bowie reference here. Brand now had a restless and uneasy crew to deal with, on top of a bunch of guests he barely knew and, for the most part, trusted even less. (Meri was alright, he supposed -- but don’t tell her the Catalian thought that.) It was only out of some sense of--what, prior commitment?--that he didn’t chase the cats off, or threaten to turn the ship around (as if he even could have, given that the portal had shut behind them…) or whatever else that ran through his mind as he watched over the commotion. But certainly, he wasn’t drunk enough for this. And at that sentiment -- a thought struck him. “Be right back,” Brand announced, putting a rather top-heavy, grizzled sailor in temporary command. When he returned moments later, it was revealed that he did indeed take it upon himself to grab a souvenir. ‘I went to the Moor of Madness and all I got was this stupid flask,’ said the engraved silver canteen he came back with. It seemed he’d taken a stop to fill it, too, as he came back on board drinking from it. Whiskey, probably. The man sure did love his whiskey.

Sabrina returned Thamalys nod with a high chin and proper pitch. If it wasn’t for the glimpse of a stowaway at his back she would not have afforded him the favor of turning to face him. Her brows pull down tightly and she steps away from Rohk to point at her blasted hair. Emilia’s appearance was always a good way to snap Sabrina out of an alarmed state. Her mouth opens, then abruptly shuts. The extended finger curls back inward as that one good eye shifts from the pile of dreadlocks and the drow that once imprisoned it. She almost upchucks when the tail tightens harder around her middle and yanks her flush against the massive obsidian scaled form. She knocks against Meri and maybe exchange a glance over the childish grin that looked way too excited to be on a venture such as this. Mistmatched gaze scans over the remaining people, you know, the ones focused on not-Emi’s-dreadlocks. Once cleared through the madness into a deluge of downpour she could barely make out Khitti’s words, and it didn’t matter. She had no intention of moving far from the small collective she was familiar with. Keeping an eye on them and such. It does not go unnoticed when Gevurah leans in to whisper sweet nothings to Emi and the Healer has no fear in speaking directly to her and over the rhythm of weather rapping on the hardened surfaces. “I will kill you.” Then a hiss, a real hiss. Not many have seen the feral side of an Ardent before. Maybe she is a little too big for her britches, but the near three-ton beasty behind her does help solidify that threat. This trip was not off to a very promising start. The scurry of kittens flowing through the ship earns a few lashings by the beasty’s appendages. One tries to scribe some figure into his backside and he promptly plants down on it. There, with a kitten-thing screaming under his arse, obviously he feigns deafness. Sabrina turns, gesturing to Meri to help pry the furry from under his rump without hurting it. The elfess is drenched. She probably should have invested in a hat, or a weather report, but silken trusses slither about her form and between the squints of her eyes silver rings can be seen reflecting against the darkness. “I swear Ro, I will shove a pike up there if you don’t ...” Just as they would tug at the wee little arms, he rises, likely sending both women rearing back. She lands on ass and elbow, staring up at Gevurah still, through the downpour. Someone should have mentioned that wicked thing, riding along on this trip. Here she is lounging about when Brand returns, rain-bathing or what ever weird practice those river elves got themselves into.

Thamalys hinted some strides toward the storm mage, silently approaching him from behind till eventually gifting a rare bit of appreciation. “Excellent job, Sir, that was quite a feat…” he proceeded to utter in the flattest tone one could possibly imagine, only to go on and deliver what should have been a friendly pat on his shoulders - when in fact the tense situation the Blue found himself dealing with resulted in a massive blow that surely managed to displace that silly colourful hat, presently tumbling on the wooden deck. “Utterly sorry, Sir, if you would just…” he went the Winged Beast, right before a pesky Darkfel snatched said hat, soon after disappearing into the innards of the ship. To which, the Blue would have just waved his hand, rather annoyed already, a substantial gush of blue flames erupting from his skin to die into the gloomy air moments after. But then, annoyance melt into the purest shade of outrage, as the Drow dared to come closer. Whatever she whispered to the Wintry Lady, he did not get - luckily enough for the sake of the whole errand, but the Blue could not help to think his presence on the Tranquillity was after all a giant mistake. Looking for some sort of reassurance - or indeed, just in order to mitigate the murderous thoughts raging into his battered mind - he thus turned to the Elfess, only to find her deep into the very definition of being upset. The Spellblade was running out of options: maybe the Captain? “Or not…” he muttered in an undertone, witnessing yet another mouthful of whiskey finding his way into Brand.

Emilia is not only protected from sights of the world around her from her position on the back of the avian beneath a combination of wings and dreadlocks, but from the pouring rain for the most part. Sad fact, the Genasi leaked a arctic chill at all times causing the water droplets in the air around Thamalys to freeze into a mixture of small bits of hail and flakes of fresh snow. It was this wintery mixture that would fall down upon the white haired avian along with anyone within a four foot radius of where his bare feet were planted on the ship. Sorry, Brand for the winter weather damage if any to the dock of the ship. This would of course, make for quite the little scene that one doesn’t expect to witness when travel on a ship a random patch of winter in midst of a downpour. So much for hiding the Genasi now, the snow was out of the bag now. It was now she finally slid from the back of the Winged One, booted feet landing with a gentle thud on the snow speckled ground below. It is of course now when her icy gaze locks with that of Gev from across the way. Khitti left and then that dark skinned Bwitch travel ever too close if only to whisper at her. Fear and anger ran the spine of the Genasi, enough so that some remaining droplets of water in the air turned to ice, falling with intended aim at Gev’s head, sorry anyone else that was too close. Docking for the moment it was no question that the kitten folk that boarded the ship would make a curious stop to investigate the snow and little balls of ice present on deck. Yet, the Genasi finds herself with careful steps moving toward Rohk to help assist in removing the sat on kitten from under him. Without an anchor to hold the light weight of the lass down she would slid this way and that on the wet deck as the winds gusted, almost getting blown away from the group, almost. Those evil eyed dreadlocks that Sabrina saw not the frosty woman’s, her hair was neatly braided in two dutch braids prior to the rain making them soaked.

The storm mage could only stare at Thamalys with the widest, ocean-blue eyes. “Th-thanks,” he’d say, his voice the fakest gruffest tone he could muster--which was, to say, not all that intimidating. And then his hat was gone, and the storm mage fainted. Good job, Thamalys, you scared the poor guy. Hopefully Meri and Brand weren’t paying attention at all. The Darkfel wouldn’t be joining them, it seemed, for the storm was too great, and while they could be overly helpful at times, that didn’t make them stupid. The runes themselves were to ward off the oozes, gelatinous cubes, and merrow, the Darkfel would tell Khitti--and then Khitti would relay this to Gevurah because she hates cats (what the heck, woman)--and anyone else that would inquire, to keep them safe on their journey across the Yawning Abyss. As they finished up their work, the enchanters headed off (albeit one’s a bit squished now thanks to Rohk) and Khitti was left to round up the munchkins again, the vampiress still completely unaware that the collection of healers and the drow were probably going to end up in a cat fight. As they all lined up, said their goodbyes to the ship’s crew, one of the kittens passed out the collection of seashells she’d gotten earlier that day to all of those that’d volunteered to help Khitti as a token of good luck. Khitti couldn’t help but giggle at the Darkfel--hell, she even looked happy in those fleeting moments that the cats made their exit--all of them sans orange hat-- as the thought of living in the Shadow Plane crossed her mind again. A Khat living amongst cats would not be such a bad thing, she pondered to herself as she made sure everyone was on board and would give Brand the signal to depart. All in all, it was a pleasant start to the adventure, even with the rain and now snow...surely it would stay this way?

The journey would only take a couple hours, for the Darkfel added extra speed-boosting runes as well. This allowed those that wished to mingle with one another to do so. Khitti, however, wouldn’t speak to anyone at all unless they approached her, the vampiress’ perch on the railing of the bow of the ship--the farthest away that she could get from Brand. They’d had another fight, you see, and this time it was rather serious. The only times that she -did- speak to him only seemed to be when necessary and with an air of business to it and nothing more. Even that psychic bloodlink they usually had was dead now, because she refused to feed from him. It was all very serious.

Gevurah feels a little hail, courtesy of Emilia, tap on her head and pops up her enchanted hood to shield herself from the storm as she leaves Emilia be, for now. She cackles loudly when Sabrina threatens to kill her as if the elfess just told a funny joke. She doesn’t have a hellhound at her back, but in her view she doesn’t need one. Still, perhaps surprisingly, the drow doesn’t threaten Sabrina back. It isn’t in her best interest to give Khitti the impression that she’s here to disrupt the mission. Also, neither here nor there, but a quick anecdote: Gevurah is an equal opportunity hater and also hates dogs. Pets in general-- just why? Gevurah had one pet her entire life, a giant spider named Habryn, and you know what happened? It died. And Gevurah felt something when it died, and she swore then never to get attached to another pet, or person, again, thank you very much. Back to the present: She accepts a seashell and during the journey performs various tests to divine its enchantments. The following decision tree is adhered to: If it is magical and serves a purpose, she keeps it. If it’s a useless trinket, she throws it overboard. During the trip she approaches the avian, Thamalys, and asks it why it is here, how does it know Khitti, where is it from, etc. Each question is spoken like a command.

Meri is a little jealous right now, Brand. A sober psion is really the best sort of psion to have, is it not? That bottle of whiskey is eyed a little jealously because yes, this trip is off to a lovely start. Meri has no idea why Sabrina is threatening and hissing at Gevurah -- she missed that entire ordeal. It transpired at an awkward time in Meri's life. The tattooed blonde takes a step forward toward Sabrina to whisper hushed words to Sabrina, "I think she helped get us here, make sure you wait until we at least get back." At least she tries to get that much off before being forced to deal with Rohk sitting on one of the damn kittens and hopefully before Sabrina ends up falling flat on her arse. It would not be with Meri's own two hands that she would try and yank that feline out from Rohk's rump, rather relying on her psionic abilities to tend to the matter of pulling the Darkfel out from beneath Rohk, safe, sound and in one piece. This issue is tended to before the cats made their exit. Meri was evidently paying attention to her surroundings, for once the journey continues it seems that she has the decency to cooly collect that stupid orange hat that the Darkfel miraculously did not steal and replace it back to a fainted storm mages head before returning to the band of healers/Rohk. He'd come to eventually, right? Emilia is given a curious look as droplets of rain chill into bits of hail and fresh snow, frowning lightly. "Emi."

The Genasi’s ice aura didn’t bother Brand. He was somewhat familiar with it, actually, since he’d met her once before, just… it was Dominic, technically, and not quite -him-. Feh, details. Anyway, he’d seen it before. He was more concerned about the cold war (heh, puns) going on between Emilia and Gevurah and Sabrina and to some degree the others. “Play nicely now,” he muttered as he passed them by, back on his way to the wheel of the ship. Just in case they needed the reminder. As for the ship-captaining thing, ‘don’t drink and drive’ wasn’t a thing in the Shadow Plane -- at least, not as far as Brand was aware. He totally had this under control. Yep. It’s a good thing there weren’t ‘lanes’ in the ocean he needed to stick to, or even all that much in the way of other ships. If he drunkenly zig-zagged a little as the trip went on, no one would likely think anything of it, right? As for Meri, well, Brand might be inclined to share his whiskey if she were inclined to ask. Even as much as they butted heads over him being a butthead (not that Brand saw it that way, but that’s basically what it was…) he’d gladly bond with a fellow alcoholic in these next few hours over the blessed drink that was whiskey. Plus, if that ran out, he’d brought his everlasting bottle of wine on the trip with him. That thing came in handy pretty much always, and was definitely one of his most prized possessions.

Sabrina listened to Meri with a nod, she was usually right about these sort of things. When the fluffers scramble off the ship leaving tokens in their wake she would accept her shell with a polite thank-you, and paid for it like one of those little Cenrilites and their oranges on the side of the road. During the course of the trip spent time with her healers and Meri too. Sabrina didn’t mind the hail and snow and general iciness, having spent more time with Emi than most people it was just second nature to have the weather shift at random. She pretty much steered clear of Brand, he was giving off the strangest ‘don’t-talk-to-me’ vibe. Even after his ‘play nice’ warning, she still didn’t go out of her way to strike up some chumming conversation. She never ventured too far from Gevurah and did her best to keep herself between the Drowess and the Genasi at all times. To be honest, she was looking for an excuse. Rohk, on the other hand, decided this was the best time for a nap, since everyone was boring and the purveyors of this mission failed to provide the foodservice that Sabrina insisted they promised. Losers. He wasn’t really sleeping though, keeping at least one of six eyes on various figures at the same time. He didn’t see like the rest of them though, that was a secret only he and the Elfess truly shared. She is staring at Gevurah now, her face all wrinkled up and arms crossed over her chest. Why was she pestering her healers? One might think she was mad-doggin that Drow chick, not exactly the case. She runs to the starboard quarter and throws the top half of her body over the railing. There is a noise that follows that cannot be disguised as anything else. While Rohk hisses out a bought of laughter to break any silences that may have fallen Sabrina pulls herself back up via the ratlines with a string of slimy drool being wiped from her chin. She slides down to sit on her bottom and simply cups her head in her hands. “Tell me when we make port.” Most ungracefully she curls up in the fetal position and tangles her limps in the netting for stability.

Thamalys could barely believe his own eyes, having to withstand the arrogance of the Drow presently inquiring as if she possessed some sort of right to pester the Blue. The latter used to shade blood for much less than a pesky tone, and yet he would have not dared to endanger the quest: he might have wanted to set those shadowy features ablaze, but above all he remained a Guild member, and as such he would have strictly limited is own actions exclusively to what Elfess and Genasi recommended. A not-so-minor complication, though, stemmed from the evidence that neither of the above mentioned superiors seemed to hold in any kind of esteem the questioning Drow. Were they implying the Spellblade should have taken action? A fairly legit question, one that the Winged Beast would have silently voiced to those two tiny - yet lethal - ladies by means of just a raised eyebrow: they know a single gesture would have sufficed to transform the deck into a battle flied. As of now, though, the Blue just sighed loudly, proceeding to answering each query at his best. “No, I had the pleasure to make Ms. von Schreier acquaintance only recently…” he was telling the Drow in a fairly pleasant tone, making no effort to remove the snow which kept piling up on the whole of him at an alarming rate, “… I have joined this errand on behalf of the Healer’s Guild, of which in fact you’ll find first and second in command alike onboard, as I am sure you know already…” he continued, pointing toward the Raven Headed first and the Icy One soon after. “… and as per my homeland, I am afraid that particular bit of information would have to remained obscure for the moment…” he concluded, not exactly willing to share with her his past as Tzur, nor the fact that he hosted the will of a Black Dragon within him - some bits of him, very few knew at all. Interestingly enough, the Spellblade managed to keep some poise during the whole of the conversation, occasional streaks of gold surfacing within the deep blue of his eyes, some casual droplets of gleaming fire dripping merrily enough from his fingertips - nothing to be worried about, that is. In fact, he would have loved to participate into the whiskey collective… maybe if he rushed through that sort of interrogation, he would have managed to get some? By the Wind, how he dreaded these wingless creatures… well, not as much as the Elfess seemed to dread the seas, though. He would have never gave Gevurah the satisfaction of seeing Sabrina in need of any sort of help, however. In fact, he just stiffened a bit more - if that’s even possible, the whole of him tense as a violin’s string, some remote corner of his mind thinking squarely to a bowl of hot soup to be wolfed down in a Frostmawian greenhouse. “It’s for the Guild, it’s for the Guild, it’s for the Guild…” went that inner voice repeating in an endless litany that however managed to keep the Avian in place decently enough.

Emilia felt a bit of happiness watched the bits of hail bounce of the head of the drow as she walked away. It was not long and the pairing was sailing again off into the storm. So much rain and now so much snow falling around the Genasi. Slush was forming at the feet of the woman where snow melted into the rain. What a mess she was making just being aboard the ship.There was that look from Meri and the only reply she had for the artist was, “Sorry..” It wasn’t easy to try and harness the chill with so much water around just asking to be frozen. As if to make matters worse that bloody drow had wandered back over to attempt to talk to Thamalys. Not sure where to stand now with that dark skinned woman near by the Genasi would seek somewhere to go as far from her, yet still with friendly company as she could find. Not an easy task on a ship. So now, she need to keep distance from Meri to keep her from being hailed and snowed on, away from the drow in case she tried to snatch her up again, and then Sabrina was off tossing her stomach contents over the side of the ship. It was that direction that the frozen woman wandered to keep the rest of the crew from suffering her snow and hail. Taking a seat next to the main healer Emi gently lifted Sabrina’s head into her lap. With one hand she smoothed a calming touch over her forehead and through her hair, the other dug into her pouch for a piece of gauze that she would use to wipe away the slobber and vomit from the other woman’s mouth.

Sanctuary of the Damned, Shadow Plane

Gevurah’s seashell...goes overboard. Meri wants to drink. The storm mage is dead (not really, but he’ll probably wish he was later on). Brand -is- drinking...again. Sabrina’s vomit is the Tranquility’s new figure head. Thamalys seems like he might end up breaking off his halberd in Gevurah’s backside. Emilia’s coating the ship in a nice fluffy blanket of snow. Yes. This is going -exactly- according to plan. There’d be food, of course, down below the deck in the galley, and the guests were definitely welcome to go down there during the journey. After some time passed, they docked and once they were on shore, Khitti would pull out the map given to her by the Shadowseers back on the mainland and eye the rather large island they were on known as the Sanctuary of the Damned. She let out a hm, then an ‘aha’ and pointed at the location. “It’s set in zhe basin of zhe mountains. Shouldn’t be difficult to get to.” Turning to Brand, she frowned slightly, “You already likely know zhat you’re crew should stay here, but in addition to zhat, I zhink zhat zhey need to linger further away from zhe dock. Zhe runes vill help against zhings in zhe sea, but not against intruders should anyone decide to show up.” She motioned to the storm mage, who was off trying to pretend he didn’t exist at all now that he was back on his feet, even though he definitely did exist because Khitti could practically smell his fear right now, “He can give it some cover too vith a bit of mist or some such.” When everything was settled, the group would be off, with Khitti leading away, a bit of shadowflame lighting the path for them through the forest.

The forest itself was dense, no moonlight showing through the branches above. The closer they got to the basin, the more things felt...well...not good, to Khitti. Hesitation looms in her steps, booted feet slowly bringing her to a halt as her verdant stare shifted to focus into the trees to her left. You know, when someone names something the ‘Sanctuary of the Damned’, you’d probably stay away from it. There’s probably -some reason- that it was named that. Well. Uh. That reason was here. “Oh no,” said the Khat. Oh yes. Hidden by the thick, blackened trees around them, the undead flocked to the vampiress like moths to a flame--or shadowflame, as it were. “Uh. Right. Now’s a good time to mention zhat I forgot to tell everyone zhat zheir magic might not be as strong here.” This was probably a problem. Probably. The foulest stench was in the air, and the funk of forty thousand years and grizzly ghouls from every tomb were closing in to seal the Lithrydelians’ doom. Okay, so that’s also Thriller. Nevertheless, to the east Khitti wanders, off the main path, to take on a portion of the legion of ghouls, banshees, and mummies that decided to grace them with their presence, using all three of the dark elements in her arsenal to dispose of them. The more she fought, the further she got from the rest of them, leading her portion of the undead away, the sounds of her zombie-butt-kicking coming from off in the distance. All in all, there seemed to be nearly thirty or so walking corpses of varying kinds, but they’re relatively easy to take care of seeing as how they’re pretty decrepit. It’s those banshees you’ve got to worry about, though, and their high-pitched screams.

Gevurah registers Sabrina as the Healer’s Guild leader, but seems surprised to learn that Emilia is also a leader. How appropriately pathetic of her to enlist in a do-good surfacer farce under the command of an elf. “Ha!” Gevurah says as she looks at Emilia, grinning, truly tickled that X’s wife (ex wife?) takes order from an elf. When she returns to Trist’oth she will tell Lanlan this hilarious story. Catching herself thinking fondly of Lanlan, she promptly hates herself (equal opportunity haters engage in a lot of self-loathing too, often for bad thoughts, like friendship). He would find this funny, though. Then Sabrina hurls overboard and, oh gods, she should pay Khitti for this voyage. This is too much. The avian evades a few questions and the drow doesn’t really care to press him. Besides, they’ve arrived. She stands at the bow and observes the dark forest. She pulls from her vest a stone box with holes poked into its lid. Once on land, she releases the spider into the forest as a scout. She stays close to Khitti, for the vampiress needs to survive if the drow is ever to get her gloomglut. She jumps without hesitation into the battle, a seasoned battle priestess with the nerve of a true D’Artes. Gevurah focuses on the banshees and levitates onto the branches of a tree. As she levitates, she summons a gray, semi-translucent sphere around her body for protection. She takes a black bone boomerang from her belt and whispers an incantation before throwing it at a banshee’s heart. She crafted the boomerang herself from the bones of a true-dead lich (she did not kill the lich, but sourced the bones). The goal is to banish the banshee back to the realm of the dead, rather than kill it, as the former is easier than the latter. But like Khitti said, their magic is weaker here, and the banshee only flickers like a flame in and out of existence. It shrieks in Gevurah’s direction, disorienting the drow long enough so that Gevurah cannot cast another spell in time to protect herself from a dark energy blast. She’s blown out of the tree, catches herself roughly on a neighboring branches, levitates, and quickly thrusts her open palm in the direction of the banshee. A ghostly image of her hand expands outward, with the symbol of Vakmatharas at the center, and she barks His Word of Submission. Once the banshee has submitted to Vakmatharas’s will, she tries the boomerang trick again and the banshee vanishes--not dead, but displaced for a while. Then a three-man ghoul totem pole erects beneath her to grab at her feet and she torches them, flamethrower style, from her palm. Thanks, Laezila (Gev stole her pyromancy).

Meri was tempted to try and have at that whiskey but alas, it would seem that she would manage to resist this temptation. Apparently she was too busy playing babysitter to this rowdy crew, at least that is sort of how she felt at the moment.It would be Sabrina that gains Meri's attention again. Maybe the healer thinks it is a good idea to settle against the rail of the ship, maybe she is worried she'll puke again, but Meri is abandoning Emilia with the purpose of trying to usher Sabrina back toward the center of the ship where Sabrina would feel herself tossed around significantly less. The entire time that Meri is trying to reposition the healer to a better location, she is praying that her boots are safe from being yacked on. Meri does not need vomit covered wet socks, thanks. Luckily for Sabrina land would be soon to come and she would soon be able to place her feet on solid ground. It seems that luck would be fading fast though, as the group is met with a bit of a welcoming party not long after departing the ship. Undead. There is a lot of confidence placed in the group she is traveling with, even in Gevurah and Thamalys -- though she has never truly witnessed their abilities. Though Meri did come armed with her favored weapon of a sword, her weapon is not drawn in the heat of battle. The psionic warrior for now relies on other abilities, despite Khitti's rather belated call. Telekinetic energy is harnessed to keep the undead beings on the ground a sufficient distance away from those like Sabrina who have a preference for more ranged attacks, pushing them so physical harm cannot be brought to them. At least one undead bugger finds its limbs dismembered and scattered. The psion probably would have even been willing to lend a little support to the drow when she is tossed from that tree (to try and gain brownie points to prevent any future stabbings during the trip, of course...as if that would work), but someone has that well under control already.

Though Brand was rapidly hitting drunken sailor status, he was not so far gone as to be oblivious to what took place on the main deck of his ship. The Tranquility’s captain approached Sabrina after her… ‘mess’ was made and before they reached their destination, an offer of whiskey in hand. With no introductory preamble, he advised, “if you’re gonna throw up, you may as well have the upside of not bein’ sober, yeah?” Also, there was a small, dense bar of what looked like dark granola that he handed her. Who knew where he got it, but it smelled like chocolate and mint and, if she ate of it, she might notice the faint aftertaste of some mellowing, stomach-soothing herb baked within. What the heck, Brand. Perfectly easy for you to be nice to womenfolk that aren’t Khitti, isn’t it?

The crew of the Tranquility did indeed stay aboard while the troupe of adventurers and such took to land. Khitti and Brand may have had that terrible fight (but it wasn’t a fight! Khitti was just being unreasonable again!) but Brand could still recognize good tactical advice from her when he heard it. As for the Captain himself, Brand took off landward with the rest of the group -- and a good thing he did, too, what with the zombies and all. His line of sight followed Khitti for but a moment, intrigue visible on his face as she pied-pipered the bulk of them away to vanquish solo. A banshee screeched off in the distance (the one Gevurah would soon dispatch), and that seemed enough to pull him back to the present time and place; with a guttural cry he dashed forward into the throng of undead, his trademark flames in hand and striking them left and right without, honestly, much care for tactics. I mean, it’s just a bunch of really decrepit looking undead, not a horde of Gloomglut. Weakened magic or no, it was the difference between them fighting a gaggle of trash mobs and a Final Boss at the end of a campaign while being entirely underlevelled for the latter. (Brand would get that reference, if he’d not turned down the invitation to play a weekly game of Monsters and Mages with some of the regulars way back in the Frostmaw Tavern he and Khitti had lived in for so long.) Point being: there was a lot of them, but it wasn’t like Brand was going to run out of fire magic any time soon. He’d suffer a few cuts and bruises and even a nasty-looking gash on the arm from one of the ghouls, but he wasn’t gonna be undead chow at least. Not today.

Sabrina ’s eyes roll up towards Emi and that downfall of gracefully falling specs of white. One eye in brilliant black sclera, the other dark but foggy and white-glazed in its blindness. She reaches her hand up to brush a wet-yet crispy strand from her boney features. With the softest of smiles she whispers to Emi. “Not a word.” She lets her hand fall, reaching for the gauze since it was bile that the woman was wiping from her face. She hadn’t eaten in weeks, at least, so Brand’s offer was actually taken up as a form of courtesy. It worked though, that weird looking bar settling her stomach, so maybe it just helped to have something in it. Now, why hadn’t she thought of that? “Thanks.” But she is careful not to touch him in the process of accepting. She could feel the energy of a forest growing, the nearer they got to this damned (literally) destination. The forest was drenched in something else though. Gods, more dark magic. Undead. While she didn’t need an invitation to depart the vessel she wasn’t exactly first in line to fight shoulder to shoulder with Khitti either. It was almost like this trip was designed perfectly, tuned in to all her weaknesses all at once. Still a little wobbly from travel she opts to take a gifted gesture from the hellbeast she traveled with. He dips his head down as a hand rises between his hackles and she hoists herself to sit astride him. The moonstones about her form emit light, so she kind of sticks out like a sore thumb. He has no issue taking down the demons in his path, a swipe here, a thrashing there. They were all really very stupid, of course, if they got up in his wake and attacked someone behind them, now, that wasn’t really his problem. The screech of a banshee covers them like a blanket, causing the elfess to recoil, gripping her ears while also trying to thigh-grip her balance atop the beasty. She sees Gevurah sky-tumble in the silhouette of the canopy and at least this brings a little brightness to the worst day ever. That flamethrower bit, even Sabrina had to admit that was kind of cool. Or, Hot…(mental shrug) Rohk seemed far more impressed than the elfess though as he rears back, frankly, insisting she dismount so he can chase Banshees with the dark whore, as Sabrina liked to call her kind. He would run under Gevurah, and at one point catches the ratted edges of a Banshee negligee and swing her into a tree, and another…and another. A pause to see if the Hot drowess saw him, and he would slam her again, and again, and give her a shake. Twin tails wag rapidly, his excitement growing as the amber glow emits from between his plates and eventually sparks of crimson flame kick up at both his heels and his hackles. Gods, he is setting the forest on fire in bits and pieces. It is damp though, so he is only burning the underbrush, which everyone but Gev is trekking on. “Emi….” Sabrina is searching for her. Meri remembered correctly, Sabrina’s attacks were ranged, and they weren’t even attacks. The bow is drawn from her body and as the spider-silk string is pulled back the faintest of light solidifies as it settles into the nock. She is mildly distracted at the lack of intensity but she releases anyway, emitting a wind-like current that kept immediate danger at bay with a push force. It allowed any casters behind her the room they needed to take the time to better concentrate their spells, at least. This wasn’t the first time someone got hunt-happy and now they needed Missus freezit. So, anyway, Rohk is pretty much prancing after Gev, and that pink thing is very obviously sticking out. In his case though, it’s probably black and you know, glistening against all them flames.

Thamalys met the mooring with some relief indeed - the onset of their journey on land, though, not as merrily. Avians tend not to cherish the feeling of being surrounded by anything at all, especially ominous trees - not to mention, a whole throng of undead creatures. One of which, in fact, seemed especially keen to bring that journey - and the lives of each and every one involved with it - to a rather abrupt, unmerciful death. There he rose, the bulky shape of a dreadful knight of old, entirely clad in a spiky armour that ominously framed a faceless skull exhuming the foulest manners of evil. The thing trudged along surprisingly swiftly toward the bulk of the party, avoiding the lethal path the Vampire was threading across the woods, brushing the edge of the Drow’s enchantment, and thus squarely aiming for the Healers. “Most excellent…” he growled the Blue, turning to face the newcomer with some eagerness indeed. A mere flick of his right wrist, and the whole of his ink would have come to life once more, a stripe of thick, gleaming blue flames blossoming from the outstretched hand of the Spellblade. Yet another small twist of said wrist, on top of some words forgotten by most, and the fire would have shaped itself as a gargantuan murmuration of flaming starlings, raining down the massive corpse with very little mercy. Strikingly enough, though, the sodding carcass barely flinched - an undead immune to magic? How fascinating… - , and in fact it went on producing an axe possibly even taller than the Winged Beast himself. The latter, in response, did not falter at all. “Gentleman - and Ladies alike…” he yelled on top of the ongoing commotion, “please do feel free to move on while I shall deal with this one…” he casually noted while freeing the Gossamer Halberd from the laces holding her - yes, her - in place and proceeding to engage in a parry which failure would have surely meant the undead’s ranking could have counted on an Avian as well. And yet, that was not to be the case. Axe and Halberd met mid air with a mighty clash, actual sparks of foul black fire sprouting from the connection, which saw the undead absolutely unaffected, and the Blue taken quite aback by the strength of the bloody thing. “In fact, this has the potential to last a bit longer than expected!” he took care to inform the rest of the troop while arching the silvery curtains of his wings in front of him, just in time to repel a second blow which found the enchanted silver surely enough. The blade this time thrilled and slipped from the undead’s hands, leaving the Winged Beast some time to pause and consider. Unwisely enough, he chose to invest that time interval to look back at his companions, desperately wishing some of them to rest perfectly safe - guess whom - and some others to be reduce into ashes - guess whom Vol. II. The last glimpse of the Avian that could have been witnessed by the onlookers would have been a mildly dejected Thamalys putting together a sizeable amount of blasphemy and swearwords alike, once he realized a similar fellow just joined the massive knight still absolutely willing to cut his head off. A moment later, and a colossal wall of blue flames would have encircled the three of them, hiding the quarrel from whoever remained.

Emilia was about to find out just how much of an outcast she was on this ship of misfits. Thamalys was entertaining the drow woman in keeping her at distance from both leaders to the Healer’s Guild. Gevurah was plenty good where she was, the Genasi didn’t mind her distance at all. Brand was mostly a stranger just manning the ship with his crew, Khitti was off in her own world most likely debating the tasks to come, and then there was Meri taking Sabrina way from her off toward the center of the ship, yet the Genasi didn’t follow or even tempt to stop the larger woman from it. Instead, the Icy one remained there, alone, under the falling snow that came with her natural cold. At least, this far away she wasn’t snowing on the rest of the crew. No worries though the ship was soon docking and they were on land. Darkness all around them and yet the Genasi was snow white, so white that she gave off her own faint glow. No need for a torch for her, she was her own light in the forest. And of course, they were greeted by a not so welcoming welcome party of undead like things. Somehow, Em felt as if she had insulted and upset Meri so on land she would still keep her distance from where she was to keep her cold away from her as best as she could, staying behind the group. From this distance it was easy for the healer to summon up a bow made of ice and arrows to match. One arrow after the next fired away into the darkness at the members presenting them a fun welcome. Hell, she was even polite enough to fire one arrow at the bottom zombie of the totem pole attacking Gevurah. All this prior to Rohk running after the drow with his excitement showing. In the back of the pack the healer found herself with a strange feeling on her calf, no pain as she was numb to the world of that, but the pressure. Turning around she found that an undead dog looking thing had latched itself onto her leg from behind. A groan of frustration before she slammed down an ice arrow into its head, watching it let go and scamper off before collapsing off in the distance. Bleeding leg, leaking a strange blue blood that left frozen patches of ice in her wace, Emi limped along behind as if she wasn’t hurt. Later she would tend to it after she’d patched up the others out there suffering from random injuries in the quarrel.

Somewhere in the distance, a victory fanfare plays. Okay, not really, but through the combined efforts of everyone, the undead has been vanquished! Thank the gods that they were all centuries old and practically dust by now, amirite? With Thamalys dealing with the last few undead that sought out a fresh Lithrydelian meal, it’d give Emilia and Sabrina time to heal those that needed it. Sadly, Khitti had not returned, however, and she’s strayed even further from Gevurah as the drow matron pyroblasts the undead to nice ashy little bits. In the east, not far from the path, was what seemed to be a ghost town--literally. The spectral remains of Dämmerung Stürze was not quite so big as most villages, perhaps about the size of Venturil. It was nothing more than a memory, an imprint in time, an echo of the few precious minutes before its unfortunate demise, doomed to repeat itself for the spirits knew nothing else now. What time had it been back then? Eight? Nearly nine o’clock at night? And yet, the long street that stretched through the little town was bustling. Friends, neighbors, and even relatives of the von Schreiers, distant and not, went about their business. Shops were still open, the tavern filled with joyous laughter, people shared stories of their travels and whatnot with each other on porches and doorsteps. And then...the screaming started. Only shouts here and there were heard, and then it grew into a din.

Dark magic had its roots deep in this area, the spectral beings flickering in and out, between this world and the Mortal Plane as they reenacted their deaths. Death knights and zombies razed the city and slaughtered the living. And amongst it all, stood Khatja Elyse von Schreier (you know, that Khitti person you’re following around), for she had sensed something oh so familiar and it’d become clear to her that Gevurah could definitely handle herself. For awhile, as she watched ‘the end’ repeat over and over, she’d taken everything in: the people, the death knights, everything. But now, she only focused on one house, watching from nearby into window as a husband and wife were brutally murdered in their living room, screaming for a death knight to bring back their children. How many times had she watched it now? The redheaded girls were stolen from their beds, and carried off elsewhere, they too screaming like the rest. This magic imprint, this memory from the past, didn’t tell her anything she didn’t already know...because she was one of those girls. [Look, Red,] Amarrah would finally chime in after so long--not since before Rynvale had she spoken to Khitti--even appearing and settling on Khitti’s shoulder in that black and purple monarch butterfly form of hers, [Your family’s dead. Mine isn’t. Get your act together and let’s go. Now. I’m ready to be done with you.] The butterfly would fly off, distancing herself enough from Khitti, as she spoke to her internally, to act as a beacon to guide the party to vampiress so that they could grab her and force her to continue on. [Couldn’t at least have drank from that blonde idiot so he could actually find you, could you? Gonna make it difficult right up to the very end.] Khitti had no words. Not for Amarrah, at the very least.

Gevurah notices Rohk perform a little bloodlust for her and, in spite of herself, nods in approval. Yes, kill, good. From her vantage point she doesn’t see the hellhound’s ‘excitement’. Wasting no more time with the hell-pup, she continues fighting until there is nothing left to fight, then descends onto the ground. In before leg humping: no. Gevurah glares at Rohk, if his hell-balls get the better of him. Although she can heal wounds, she leaves the wounded to the guild members and kneels alongside the truly dead with a scalpel. Carve out an eye, slice off an ear, snip out a tongue, and a sample from the rear. Don’t judge, who knows when a girl will get her hands on shadow realm-sourced reagents again. Gevurah likes to engage in the ancient art of spellcrafting (spellcasting is like running a program, spellcrafting is like coding the program yourself). As she carves up a ghoul she addresses Brand. “Where’d the necromancer go?” The party gets moving again. In the ghostly village, Gevurah steps carefully, keen not to set off any traps or attract any unwanted attention. She eyes the butterfly, and though she wants to ask Khitti about it, she senses now is a bad time. Instead, she asks Brand. “The butterfly.” That’s a question, Brand. A bit hard to tell, but use the context clues, like Gevurah’s squinting glare.

Meri was not aware that she had unintentionally caused Emilia to believe that somehow she was upset with the Ice Genasi. It would not be until later that Meri would even be able to explore this confusion with Emilia, if she was able to piece the puzzle together enough to begin with. There was a pressing task at hand and Meri would see it completed first before dealing with any emotional fallout from this mission. The horde of undead were vanquished but where in the heck was a certain red head? Meri's blue eyes swivel across the expanse of the area but that one face was certainly not within her line of sight. "Where'd she go?" Did Gevurah not just voice this question? A very pointed look is given to a certain jerkface, because he should know. Obviously. Everyone just look to Brand all at once now for this answer. The butterfly. Apparently Brand is taking too long to answer for booted feet will start to carry Meri off in the direction of said butterfly. She'd rethink this course of action if objections were voiced, otherwise...onward? It seemed like onward was the answer here.

Aforementioned ‘blonde idiot’ didn’t need no frakkin’ vampiric link to find Khitti again. No, Brand had some skill with tracking, and even that wasn’t so much needed, as the screams of the magical imprints stuck in an eternal loop could be heard from a distance. And then, the butterly -- yes, follow the gorram butterfly, might as well. And when he came upon the ghostly scene himself, he too paused to watch it all play out. He’d heard the story before, many times and in many fashions, but -seeing- it was something altogether different. Khitti -had- a family, and it had been taken from her. Not like Brand, who’d never known one to begin with.

But Brand was spared from his brain going too far down some introspective path or other by none other than Gevurah, with her questions-that-weren’t-questions. “Amarrah’s ‘spirit’ form, if you will,” Brand replied, clear enough so any of the group could hear the story if they were inclined to. “Her essence--and her magic with it--has been attached to Khitti for a long gorram time now, though she’s from the Shadow Plane.” There was a pause, as Brand batted the butterfly out of his face. It wouldn’t truly do anything to Amarrah’s half-present form, but he felt the need to show his displeasure anyway. “That’s why we’re here. Amarrah’s father made a contract with Khitti for her return. Help return Amarrah to her body and sever the link between the two of them, and Khitti gets the ghost of her sister back and that cure for her vampirism she’s been wantin’.” At this, Brand sniffed harshly, his mouth twisting into a scowl. “The whole thing stank of ‘trap’ to me, but she went and frakkin’ signed it anyway, so here we are.”

Sabrina gathered Emilia and Thamalys. Maybe it wasn’t too wise to invest the three prominent healers of the guild in case something were to go awry. “Set up something over there, tend to Emilia’s leg.” She directed the Avian and he seemed more than overjoyed to care for his ice princess. Sabrina made herself busy setting up instruments and she left her bow to lean against a crate that had been abandoned randomly, likely some years ago; it was covered in rot and overgrowth. She would be there to assist the wounded, Gevurah included if she ever did come back, because even though she despised the woman personally right now, she preferred she be in good health when she strangles the life out of her. A sort-of camp is razed. Healer’s generally did not venture deep into the battles, just enough so they could take point between where they were, and where they needed to be. Rohk reluctantly abandons his chase after the drowses, but he is now dealing with an itch he can’t scratch. So he does. Scratch it. By sitting down, lifting his leg, and burying his face in his nethers. This would likely go on for some time, unless danger popped up, which it occasionally did, and he would handle that mess. The Elfess looks around, noticing the lack of return as well from their fearless leader. “Meri?” Meri couldn’t abandon her too, she was the next in line for ass-saving if stuff went further downhill. The Master healer would not leave Emilia’s side though, too much at stake with that Drowbitch roaming around freely. She listened to Brand’s outline of the plan, and she only wished they would have been more clear about this in the beginning. Not that it would have changed her mind about coming. She is silent for the most part, ready and willing to patch people up in the best way she knows how. She moves to Tham and Emi, and after addressing Emi’s leg she directs the Blue. “Take her back to the ship.”

Emilia limped along glad to find that the attack had come to an end. Thank goodness. The ice weapon in hand would melt away for the time being as the Genasi didn’t need it, but she could always summon another if the need arose. Thamalys was gone off somewhere in the forest, he’d show up sooner or later, but now there was a pause in the rush. Members of the crew were wounded in need of a mending, her purpose here alone to fix those with injuries. Some where easy needing just a bit of a cleaning and a wrapping over the top of it. Fixed and back out to follow up in the back of those chasing after the redhead up ahead at the abandoned village. Others, not so lucky with wounds much worse off. There was a camp that seemed to appear from nowhere. The frozen woman found herself being ushered out of the way by Thamalys in order for her leg to be tended by the avian, since Sabs wouldn’t let eyes off her long enough for her to do it herself, or ignore it fully and keep going. Mended with gentle hands of another healer Emi found that Sabrina was being a bit unfair, yet could not argue against command. Not in this kind of situation anyways. And so the Icy one and Winged one would make way back along the path they traveled into the forest back to the ship. Not alone, as they brought with them some of the more wounded mates that would need to be watched. A warning earlier to stick away from the ship, yet the two would board and find space below deck with the wounded to watch over. Rohk at moments bringing another back to them on some fashioned rope sled. It was going to be a long night of watching the injured and not falling asleep in case Gev returned before the rest.

Mourir, Sanctuary of the Damned

Khitti could use a bit of patching up too, for what it’s worth, but it wasn’t for anything physical--between whatever had happened between her and Brand, and now this, things were about as dark as it could get in the redhead’s mind. Amarrah would continue her mental onslaught of Khitti’s thoughts, yelling at her to go, and eventually Khitti would, muttering a faint, sad apology to those present. Amarrah would lead the party along the dark path through the woods now, as Khitti had earlier, leaving the ghostly remains of Khitti’s village behind, as well as Thamalys and Emilia, as per Sabrina’s wishes. The closer they got to Amarrah’s home, the more frantic the butterfly got. Torches lit with shadowfire would soon appear, lighting the way to the village. The shadow butterfly took off towards the town, and Khitti would follow, leaving the rest of the group in the dust as she shadow-stepped her way up the path after the shadow being. The closer they got, the more it became obvious that this was no simple village--nearly everything was covered in spiderwebs, and their makers lurking in the shadows, letting out soft hisses at the Lithrydelians as they entered the town. The houses, dark and dismal, were tall and imposing, and all were of charred stone and wood. Grand columns of varying number sat on the ground level of the buildings, holding the balconies aloft on the upper tier; for those without balconies, their pillars were simply attached to the roof itself. All aspects of the homes were completely symmetrical in design, the doors directly in the center of the first floor, with a patio in front of it, and a staircase just beyond it. There were no shops to be seen, but there were certainly people. In the middle of all of the Umbrawisps’ abodes--Amarrah’s people, that is--sat a cathedral, a skyscraper of sorts, made of twisted, gnarled wood; its windows were of the stained glass sort with depictions of spirits, spiders, gore, and all things sinister.

And there, standing on the Cathedral of the Damned’s steps, was Facilier himself. Amarrah’s father was impossibly lanky, almost skeletal in looks, and yet he still seemed human-enough--as human as anything from the Shadowfell could possibly be anyway--with his all black formal attire and slightly off-kilter top hat. He’d wait, of course, until the rest of the travellers arrived, before finally speaking. “Ya’ll be forgivin’ me for not givin’ ya’ll a welcomin’ party, ma chère. Ya’ll gone an’ upset the dead ‘round ‘ere. Ya know ‘ow long it takes t’ quiet ‘em?” The charcoal-skinned man narrowed his vivid purple eyes at Khitti, scoffed, then shook his head, “Expect not, seein’ as ‘ow you ain’t ‘bout usin’ tha’ magic ma petit papillion so gen’rously bestowed on ya.” Amarrah floated about Facilier’s head, then landed on his hat; her father looked beyond Khitti as the vampiress tried to make out the word ‘papillion’. “Ain’t none o’ ya belong ‘ere, so’s best we not dilly dally an’ keep ya’ll from tha’ world o’ light ya love so dearly. Amarrah’s gone on long enough without ‘er body.” The redhead muttered to herself as he went on, shooting Brand a slightly confused look as she tried to translate in her head, “Papillion...Papillion?” And then it dawned on her, and she nearly facepalmed herself into oblivion, the shock of seeing her family in the forest seemingly wore off. “For frak’s sake. -Butterfly-? You mean to tell me all of zhis time you picked zhat form because of some stupid pet name? You literally could’ve been anything zhis entire time and you picked an insect?!” Well, there was nothing to be done about it now. “You got somethin’ I want, chère an’ I got wha’ you -need-,” Facilier interrupted her from yelling anymore at Amarrah, his tone stern. “Time’s a-wastin’.” Murmuring came from behind the group; the residents of the town that been peeking at them from their homes had made their way up behind them, closing in around them, ushering them into the church. “C’mon then--and you best be respectful-like or else you be angerin’ Vakmatharas ‘imself.” Khitti would hesitate as the Umbrawisps circled around either side of the Lithrydelian bunch, give Brand and then the others a very brief side-eyed glance, then trudge on into the cathedral behind the strange, gangly beings.

The massive, single room of the building was bathed in crimson, the everbright moon shining down through the stained glass windows on all sides. All but a few of Amarrah’s people had found their seats, leaving the first two set of pews vacant for the travellers. Front and center, at the other end of the aisle, was an altar dedicated to the death god, Vakmatharas: a human-esque skeleton, draped in black, reaching out towards the crowd with long bony arms, welcoming all. To the left of it, a table with a mummified corpse, only recently unwrapped; to the right, was Khitti’s mirror, her twin, Lydia. The ghostly female could only stare sadly, her tongue silenced by magic, and her body bound by ethereal chains of a similar spell. Khitti didn’t bother sitting, booted feet bringing her swiftly to her sister’s side, “Lydia! Vhat zhe hell?! Facilier! Let her go!” The high priest only clicked his tongue at her as he moved to step in front of Lydia, “All part o’ th’ deal, chère, but we’ll get t’ tha’ in a moment. Now. Where’s tha’ little jewel ya said you’d be handin’ over? The redhead growled at Facilier, but ultimately would hand over the dark magic amplifying crystal to the lanky male. “And...your cure.” A scroll that glowed the same purple as Khitti and the Umbrawisps’ magic was handed over simultaneously; Facilier snatched up the orb rather quickly, but Khitti could only stare at the bit of parchment, the spell written by Facilier himself that would rid her of her vampirism. “Vhat? But...I zhought...” So long...She waited so long…Lost everything...Waited so long...“Oh, were ya thinkin’ I’d be givin’ you some elixir? Maybe work o’ bit o’ my own magic on ya? Nah, I’m thinkin’ you need t’ do a bit more strugglin’ ‘cause I don’t help -your kind-. Don’t think you’ve earned it enough yet either wha’ with all tha trouble you’ve gotten my daughter into. If it weren’t for you, she’d ‘ave never been taken from ‘ere. You study tha’ ritual like a good girl, and you’ll be gettin’ wha’ ya after soon enough.”

Gevurah doesn’t bother watching the avian and ice genasi go. The strong continue, the weak retreat. Drow calculations are at times refreshingly simple, unlike Brand’s explanation of the butterfly. Her lips purse in distaste. She probably should have asked for more details before agreeing to accompany Khitti on her mission. A cure for vampirism? That’s a myth. Great, Gevurah’s helping fools hunt myths. “You’ve been lied to. The cure for vampirism doesn’t exist.” When they meet Facilier, Gevurah parses his words for lies, something that will reveal him as a fraud. They are ushered into Vakmatharas’s church and the God of Death’s High Priestess doesn’t need to be told twice to be respectful. She stands in the pews as she watches the scene unfold. She smirks at the ‘cure’, shaking her head in disbelief, though a part of her wants to believe, wants to witness something momentous, something so big it could reshape all of Lithrydel’s understanding of an entire undead race. Could it really be? No. Her hopes are snuffed out by Facilier’s taunt that Khitti has to do ‘more work’ than travel to and across the gods damn shadow realm. Right. This joker is also a fraud. Gevurah scowls and gestures at Facilier while speaking to Brand in her thick, drow accent, “I say we kill him. He lies. The scroll is nothing.”

Meri was really bad at this Sabrina! It was like the Larket fiasco all over again. One minute Meri is there, the next -- where did she go? Honestly she did not do it on purpose, this time she merely was doing what she thought needed to be done, which was to try and advance the party and advance it would. The butterfly would lead the way and Meri would follow, but her footsteps would slow enough that she would find stride next to Sabrina once more. Meri would stick by the master healer's side as she listens in silence to the exchange between Facilier and Khitti, nor would she leave Sabrina's side as they are ushered into that single room that contained the body of Khitti's sister. A brow is lifted as Khitti is gifted a scroll, confusion settling in on Meri's facade. Admittedly this was not Meri's area of expertise, if this was a myth they were chasing she did not know. But what Gevurah was saying fell in line with Brand's belief that they were probably walking into a trap and thus Meri can't help but nod her head in agreement with the words that are uttered to Brand....Much to Meri's surprise. Blame the wet socks she has been squishing around in? All this way out here for a trick? Hmph.

Brand considered himself the sort of man who’d seen just about everything life had to offer. He’d forgotten, however, that death had its own sorts of surprises, and so did those who followed Vakmathras, by extension. The great openness of the cathedral’s vaulted ceiling, the grisly depictions in the stained glass, the pose of the figure at the altar -- it all served to raise Brand’s hair on end. Brand considered himself, too, not to be a man of particularly strong morals (certainly no ‘lawful good’ type at any rate, though he wouldn’t get that Monsters and Mages reference either if someone were to mention it to him), but this place was just… Wrong. It oozed Wrongness as did the man before them, Facilier, even before Gevurah spoke in protest and Meri nodded along. “I’m with you, believe me, but… that’s up to her,” the Catalian replied, nodding toward Khitti, but even as he said it he knew she’d make no move to right this injustice. They knew betrayal was a risk--nay, gorram near a certainty--but if there was even a -chance- the scroll was legitimate, Khitti would surely not jeopardize her chance at regaining humanity by striking at Amarrah’s father. Not now, not after all this. She’d likely keep it and hope against hope that it somehow worked. Something clenched in his chest at the thought.

Sabrina goes with the group to be ushered into that room with pews designated for the lot of them. It reeked of trap. When the exchange takes place she feels that Khitti is shorted and even boldy takes steps to inspect the parchment herself. Of course she can’t make heads or tails of it, its magic, silly. “Not here.” She says to Khitti, even if she could decipher that spell it should be done in the land of the light. She raises a hand to Facilier, taking up his creepy wrist in her own warm and thin digits. “Is it real?” For once she is in agreement with Gevurah. There is no damn cure for vampirism, is there? The man is subject to a light drain, one that pulls the very breath from his wiry bones in a form of torture. Respect was definitely thrown out the window. Only members of her company had the authority to release that grip. If his answer was not immediate a stronger drain would take place. It wasn’t painful, persay. In the event of this type of questioning it was more… well… it was painful, like a heart failing its master- but overrun by the distinct feeling of death approaching. “It’s missing a piece, a token.” She had been witness to enough dark magic to know that a simple scroll was never enough. Usually, a token and a sacrifice. Naturally that one good eye travels to the ghost of her sister. There was the sacrifice.

Khitti stood there, in silent defeat as Facilier mocked her--it’s not like she could do anything since she was still bound by that contract. Of course she heard the discussion going on behind her--how could she not with that vampiric hearing of hers--but the scroll would be taken, anyway, and then a motion of ‘let’s get on with it’ made as she quelled whatever other snark she had. Facilier, knowing he’d won that round, could only grin at the vampiress. Things worked differently here, sadly, and Facilier managed to essentially shadow-step his arm from Sabrina’s hold, though he did feel a bit of that life-drain ability of hers.“O’ it’s real alright. Wrote it up myself. I wouldn’t dare cheat ya li’l friend ‘ere. A deal’s a deal.” He’d continue on then with the next task: the resurrection of Amarrah Facilier. “Now, this won’t be takin’ long. Just needin’ you t’ do a couple things for me, chère--and th’ first is t’ bleed!” As the last of his words were hissed out, Facilier was quick to snatch up Khitti’s left arm, and slice down through the underside of her forearm with dagger he’d had hidden up his sleeve. The wound that had been created so long ago was made fresh, flayed open from elbow to wrist--even through that watery star tattoo she’d gotten from Meri--and down to the very bone. The vampiress let out a scream, and the audience of Umbrawisps was left in awe of Facilier’s work, a collective gasp given by the gangly creatures--truly, he was the greatest necromancer of them all. Khitti struggled, even tapping into that vampiric strength, but it was to no avail; Facilier held her in a death-like grip and for the moment, there was no end in sight. Spiders of all sorts began to drop from the ceiling, letting out their raspy hisses, some warding Facilier so he can continue, the others outright attacking Brand, Gevurah, Meri, and Sabrina. “And now, I’ be takin’ back what’s -mine-!” The Shadow Plane’s high priest of Vakmatharas allowed his hand to hover over Khitti’s arm as her blood continued to spill, soon drawing out Amarrah’s spirit. Another horrid shriek left the vampiress as Amarrah’s essence was literally ripped from Khitti’s form; it was as if she were being tortured all over again. “Her spirit is mine, but I be lettin’ you keep tha’ magic of hers--you’ll be needin’ it. Now -cast-.” Facilier’s words harsh, unfeeling, commanding. “You’re just as much undead as those creatures in th’ woods. I will -make- ya cast if ya won’t do it willingly.” Khitti would finally do as instructed, pouring her own necromantic energies into Amarrah’s once living form as Facilier forced her spirit into the body.

The spell worked. No sooner did Facilier bind the soul to Amarrah’s body, did she open up her eyes and hop off the table, looking as if she’d not been dead for the past sixteen years. All at once, the spiders backed off thanks to some unheard command, Lydia’s shackles fell away into nothingness, and the tattoo given to Khitti via that awful contract with Facilier disappeared as well. Lydia would float her way to Brand side, “You should not have brought her here,” the other von Schreier sister would finally say. A strange sort of quiet fell over Khitti as she stared at Amarrah. Drip, drip, drip. The blood still flowed from her arm, and yet it went unnoticed and uncared for by the redhead. Drip, drip, drip. Something in Khitti’s head clicked in the worst way possible as she stared at the woman, who was very much like her father in looks with her dark skin and pin-straight black locks. Amarrah….looked pleased. With herself. With her father. With Khitti’s unfortunate injury. She smiled that cheshire-like grin that Brand and Lionel had come to know from those few times that Amarrah possessed Khitti. Heartbeats filled Khitti’s ears. Badum. Badum. Badum. She blocked them all out, but one--Amarrah’s. Khitti had been standing there for so long, that it didn’t seem like she’d ever move again, she was perhaps in that much shock. And then...Khatja von Schreier, sole survivor of Dhavislaav and the von Schreier bloodline...was gone. In an instant, she shadow-stepped to meet Amarrah, and in the next, her bloodied left hand was grasping the woman’s throat as her right punched a hole into Amarrah’s chest and ripped out her heart. All the while, Facilier did nothing. He didn’t help his daughter. Didn’t stop Khitti. He just...grinned.

Laughter erupted from Khitti; first it started as a mere chuckle and then only grew, her sanity possibly truly gone now. “I completely understand you now, butterfly girl. I understand everything. Zhis feeling...is zhis vhat it vas like vhen you killed zhose people? Zhis is...” Khitti sneered and clutched onto heart harder as she finally released Amarrah’s throat, “...exhilarating.” The redhead was suddenly calm again, tilting her head to observe Amarrah’s expression of sheer horror. “You’re dead now, you know. You’re going to leave zhis vorld. You only remain because I vill it and zhat’s only so you can feel -everything-.” Those shadowflames erupted again from Khitti’s fingertips and engulfed Amarrah wholly. “Scream for me, little bug.” More necromantic magic was fueled into Amarrah’s heart, her screams signaling the transfer of a command from master to puppet as she ever so carefully encased Amarrah’s heart in shadow-ice.

Gevurah points at Meri’s nodding as evidence that her idea to kill Facilier is so obviously good that even a human knows it’s good. A human! Were this Gevurah’s mission, she would have attacked Facilier already for his duplicity. But this isn’t her mission, and ultimately she has no horse in this race for the (probably fake) vampire ‘cure.’ The drow remains expressionless throughout the ritual that follows. Blood sacrifice, spiders, spirit magic, resurrection: is this a trip to another plane or a homecoming? Gevurah roasts and stabs the spiders that come near her. If the ghouls were trash mobs, these are compost heap trash mobs, so weak they hardly feel real. What feels even more surreal is Khitti’s sudden attack on Amarrah. Gevurah doesn’t know enough about the history or the mission to know whether or not this -should- be happening. She takes her cues from brand. If they’re to stop Khitti, she’ll stop Khitti, if not, she watches with pleasure as Khitti enjoys the kill.

Meri had no idea what in the heck was going on right about now, but when spiders rained down on her AGAIN, Meri's reaction was instinctual. Some of those spiders would land upon Meri and bite into unprotected flesh quite successfully, others would be thwarted from landing upon her person through blasts of telekinetic energy. A couple are stomped on, death by boot. The attack stops as suddenly as it starts, signaling the completion of the spell -- though this is something that Meri has no realization of. While Meri has only spoken with Khitti a handful of times, the tattooed blonde as been able to ascertain that this behavior she is witnessing seems very uncharacteristic for the redhead. I mean, Khitti has always struck her as a spitfire, the sort of girl who takes no crap, but this? Meri will not take a cue from Brand, though he would be able to witness it and stop what Meri is up to were he so inclined. An object is selected at random, a candlestick holder that happens to be laying on the table. It begins to levitate as if of it's own choosing but those who have spent time around Meri would probably be wiser to this. Anyway, unless Brand like shouts at Meri, or Khitti does something to stop this...well Meri fully intends to knock Khitti out by willing that candlestick holder to knock Khitti upside the head. Not too hard, just enough.

As Khitti was attacked, Brand surely would have gone to her defense, even against someone he suspected outmatched him so much as Facilier. The gorram drow had been right after all. They should have attacked when it had been first suggested. But the man must have sensed such a thing--or perhaps Amarrah had passed knowledge of Brand’s personality to her father at some point--because the spiders did their work in keeping them at bay. It was when they relented that Brand dashed forward finally and perhaps far too late, merely growling at Lydia’s stating of the obvious and on towards Khitti (and doing nothing to thwart Meri, it may be noted). Whether or not the candlestick hit its mark and whether or not it was enough to knock Khitti out, Brand was already quickly approaching. Coming from behind, he entangled his arms in those of the vampiress, pulling her still dripping arms away from Amarrah. Wordlessly, he willed her: enough was enough. She didn’t have to do this, didn’t have to lose herself to the siren call of revenge. Especially when Facilier was laughing, doing nothing to defend the daughter he’d only just resurrected. Like every moment of this had been anticipated. Like the madman had -known- Khitti would throttle the life from his freshly-reborn daughter and let her proceed anyway, all part of some unknown but surely sinister plan. She didn’t have to play into it, please -- but it was all an empty gesture. Pointless, even had Meri not acted. The deed was already done by the time he made it to her, Amarrah’s heart now a frozen trophy.

Sabrina didn’t mind spiders on a normal day, you know, so long as she found them under her boot. (Very druidic) Today was obviously different as she recoils into the bulky frame of the large and comparatively slow hellbeast. As luck would have it the spiders would wander off, back into the woodwork and Khitti goes… well.. psycho. Al that blood makes the Healer wish to offer to replace it, but to empower that kind of shift could be detrimental to her health. The Efless turns to Brand. “I didn’t sign up for this shyte.” And while all the crazy happens at the front stage she passes by Meri with a look of concern. The whole place was being infused with dark magics and it weighed her down with the amount of death that lingered freely. “I need to go back to the ship.” Never in her life had she uttered those words and so desperately wanted to be -on the ship.- People were dying, who she was certain on some level deserved it, but she couldn’t make heads nor tails of what was going on at this point. There wasn’t even an outline of what the plan was, heaven forbid a manual to decode this chaos. Necromancy, ugh. She shudders as she makes her way for the doors. There is a hefty beasty who has no problem in this realm immediately in tow behind her. She turns back at the words ‘Scream for me little bug’ with a look of horror and betrayal on her face. How could this woman have been one person in Rynvale and this monstrosity in this plane. “Hit her with it!” She shouts to Meri. “Club her over the head!” Dear Gods, is this even what Khitti could see herself doing? It was wicked, and the look on Gevurah’s face was sickening as she seemed content to watch it all happen. Her hands come to her mouth as Brand wrestles the womans arms from the stilled heart. Deserved or not, that was calculated and cold. And she was supposed to board a ship with this chick? The hell did she get herself into?

As Amarrah’s heart froze in her hand, Khitti felt the Catalian grab her. She was too entranced by her own work, too pleased with this revenge. And then it hit her. She -killed- Amarrah. No. Murdered her. Brand’s given a look of horror, signalling that switch back to her normal, mostly sane self. “I’m sor--” But, no apology would be given. Meri managed to knock her out, at least for a little bit, and Khitti would go limp in Brand’s arms. “Seems like ya made tha’ choice finally, ma chère...or should I say...Harbinger?” A rather evil-sounding laugh echoed in the room, the gathering of Umbrawisps giggling right along with Facilier. “I’m thinkin’ you’ve got some work to do now, Miss Khitti. You’ve even got your first ingredient t’ tha’ spell I gave you! Didn’t think ya, heh, had th’ heart t’ do it. I was wrong about you, chère! You and all your li’l friends have a real nice trip home now. I, eheh, got some dark deeds o’ my own t’ start here...” Shadow portals would open up beneath all of the Lithrydelians and Lydia simultaneously, dropping them all onto the Tranquility with a thud. Khitti’s barely conscious enough once they reach the ship, but Facilier’s words still rang clear in her mind. The prophecy, it was real. She made the wrong choice. Facilier had lovingly crafted a trap, using his own daughter as bait, and played Khitti like a fiddle. Death would come to pass, by her hand, and she began to wonder if she even cared anymore. Khitti would soon rise from the spot she’d landed in, rubbing the back of her head as a blank stare slipped across her face, the redhead silently channeling open a new portal, hoping Gevurah would aid her again, her aim laying limply at her side awaiting one of the healers should they wish to help. An ominous dread would hang over the vampiress, in fear of what was to come, but...she somehow couldn’t help but smile at the thought of Amarrah’s screams filling the air one last time…

The Tranquility, Sanctuary of the Damned

Sabrina landed with a thud, not sure in those few seconds of time passing or atmosphere. She screams out, tucking her arms and legs as the shadow of a fat portal emerges above her and she narrowly escapes the crash landing of the hellbeast that cracks through the first deck and buckles the planks on the second. Brand’s poor ship! On all fours the Master Healer can do nothing more than survey the situation. This time though, she does not leave the Vampiress to something so simple as a packet of blood. She feels for her. Cold blooded murder. That was going to stay with her for some time. In perfect silence she approaches Khitti from behind, taking up her arm to wrap it and offering her own wrist for Khitti to feed directly. This was not an offer she made to many of her kind but it’d be like a tall glass of water compared to those left here to choose from. “C’mon now, there’s no room for humility.” The disgruntled noises of the hellbeast on the lower deck voice his concern, that Khittykat was not a safe being for his person to be around. From Sabrina’s perspective though, she was getting them home. She hopes. She watches Gevurah do her thing and in this fiasco gained no more respect for the woman outside of the flame-show when they first made land. The Elfess would be quiet for the remainder of the trip, far too upset for her body to be sick over the method of travel. So there was a cure for motion sickness. Pretty sure she would rather be vomiting right now. She spied Emilia and Thamalys taking care of the survivors. Obviously, they would not be filled in on the grim details of the parts they missed.

Meri would have appreciated a warning before she's sucked through some shadow portal only to take a less than graceful crash landing on the ship. Meri is just going to go right ahead and pull a Lionel here, rather than landing on two feet her boots find the slick deck of the ship and the woman slips, only to land hard on the flat of her back. No biggie. Sucks for Brand's ship though, Rohk is sort of a beast. She'd right herself like a big girl and then find some place on the ship to brood, nice and out of the way where she could go right ahead and do the whole 'hang on and don't die' thing again. As far as Meri understood it, they technically should be counting this as mission success? But clearly...All of this left Meri in a funk, kept her quiet for the trip back, not even Sabrina could get her chatting but the healer had work to do anyways, did she not?

Harbinger. That word rattled around in Brand’s head like some feral animal, pacing, snarling, trying to shake itself loose from a cage. Harbinger. Harbinger of death. They were magically dumped back onto the Tranquility like so many marionettes being cut loose from their strings, and still the word circled ‘round his brain. Harbinger. Even the dumping of the hellbeast through the decks of his ship didn’t earn the flustered response it otherwise might have. Rather than growing angry and somehow blaming the creature (for what? For weighing so much, as if that were really its fault?) Brand simply regarded the new hole with a resigned shake of the head. “We’ll get it patched up as soon as we’re able.” No mention of payment for the damage, either. Well, they were doing a favor by being here in the first place, but still -- it was out of character for the man not to make some kind of fuss. But no, there was nothing. Brand would only supervise Khitti long enough to see that she was being tended to by Sabrina, and then he’d return to the wheel of the ship and steer it into the portal and back to Chartsend’s docks.