28 Oct 21, 04:28 am » Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.


Netheril : Age of Magic

Please login or register.



Author Topic: Eliezra Baldwin's File  (Read 804 times)

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Eliezra Baldwin's File
« on: May 21, 2021, 03:59:16 am »
Spoiler
Ostian was an Imperial Archivist before he came to us, and this story is entirely his idea.  He asked me and a few of the others to write down where we came from and how we got here and ultimately what we do.  Supposedly it will help bring us some "closure" (whatever that means) as well as allow him to compile a written record of our members and movement (which I doubt anybody will ever read).  I don't think my experiences were any better or worse or even any more interesting than anyone else's here, whatever Mylene will tell you.  But Ostian was good to me when I first arrived, so I will humour him. 

I was born in Lyrkos, the third of five children.  My parents owned a textile business there and their only dreams for me were to work in it until I married a man in the same line of work.  It wasn't an unhappy upbringing by any means but I decided a future in rugs and curtains wasn't for me.  In a fit of pique I stole some money from the family safe and ran away from home in my late teens.  My glorious dreams of adventures and wealth came to nothing and a few years later I found myself scraping by working as a barmaid in a Fenwick tavern.  I was barely making enough coin to get by and it seemed I would have to return to my family.  But just as I was mulling over what apologies I could possibly come up with for that reunion, a wonderful opportunity appeared.

An elegant tiefling lady by the name of Tylna came to the tavern one night and was quite taken by me.  Accompanying her was a little retinue of attractive young men and women.  Tylna said I was pretty, charming and resourceful and just needed the right opportunity.  She was starting a "classy escort business" in Conch with her friends and offered to take me there to work for her as a courtesan.  Oh, the trip wasn't free, but she assured me I could quickly repay it through my work for her.  She and her friends plied me with drinks and glamorous stories, and I decided I could do this for a while and then return triumphantly to Lyrkos a wealthy young woman.

It seems so foolish now.  I am sure thousands of young men and women through the years have fallen for this trick.  The only completely true part of Tylna's proposition was that we were going to Conch.  But instead of flitting around a mansion entertaining wealthy ladies and gentlemen, I was to work in a shabby brothel in the slums.  We were not free to leave unescorted and our pay was pitiful.  If we ever did start to save some money, Tylna just added interest to our "loan".  Most of the clients were as horrid as you can imagine.  Surprisingly there was a kind man, a battle-scarred brute from the Knots gang named Trewin.  He had been an adventurer, and for months when he visited he taught a few of us some of what he knew.  Skills like how to handle a weapon, how to force a lock, and how to spot booby traps.  I imagine he had some grand plan for us, but unfortunately he was tortured to death after being captured by Diiri's Boys and our training ended.

Tyche, the patron goddess of Conch, intervened in my predicament rather cruelly.  A particularly grotesque client in greenish khaki robes came in to the Lamb one night.  We drew straws for who would take him.  One of the newer girls got the short straw and sobbed in distress.  Fatefully I offered to take her place to spare her this client.  A few hours after "entertaining" this vile man, I came down with a fever.  By the next day I was seriously ill.  I don't need to describe the symptoms.  Anyone reading this knows what I look like.  Tylna had me wrapped in sheets and taken to the temple to see Kardeen.  He was horrified by my condition, but Tylna was even more horrified by the price he put on a cure.  Deciding I wasn't "economically viable" anymore, Tylna fired me and hired one of Diiri's thugs to take me away.  I wouldn't be surprised if he was supposed to mercy kill me, but in his haste to avoid being infected he just dumped me and ran from the alley. 

In a dark corner of the slums I drifted in and out of consciousness for what I think were days.  A few people walked past but other than gasping in horror none of them offered any response to my whispered pleas.  I knew I was dying, and made peace with that.  I felt that if nothing else I had spared another person this horrid death, and that was a burden I could accept.  The only thing I couldn't let go of was the realisation that the man who had made me sick would continue spreading his ghastly pestilence.  This sordid part of Conch was utterly without mercy.  So lacking in that humble virtue in fact that not even Tylna's hired goon had been willing to give me release. 

That was what I was thinking about when I heard footsteps.  My clouded vision looked to the sound and saw a pitiful sight.  There was a man dressed only in a loincloth and his exposed skin was covered in a multitude of welts from what must have been a hellish whipping.  His fingers were bent back and broken and he limped upon burned and blistered feet.  His face, though plastered with blood, reminded me of Trewin. 

"Follow me, child" he said softly.  "You, who would spare another a horrific fate and take on that heavy burden yourself, shall not die here."
The crippled man beckoned to me with a crooked finger, and somehow I managed to dredge up just enough strength to crawl to his familiar face as he led me.  He stopped occasionally and smiled at me warmly with his gashed lips while I caught my breath, and beckoned again.  I kept crawling, not even knowing why I bothered when I was surely beyond any recovery.

Finally feeling that I could not even crawl anymore, I looked up to plead for the man to have mercy on me.  Instead I let out a moan of anguish when I realised he was gone.  But I was not alone.  I heard the familiar sounds of footsteps followed by gasps of horror, but this time they were accompanied by many strong arms lifting me from the ground.  I was carried to a ruined but warm building.  Though my eyesight was hazy then, I remember seeing the faces of little Ostian and old Mylene amongst my saviours.  They had no money, and Sister Mylene at that point possessed only limited healing magic.  But they knew more basic cures and they treated me with those and did so with remarkable persistence and care.  Though they never spoke of any doubt as I convalesced I could tell they were shocked when some weeks later, I rose to my feet once again and looked at them with clear eyes.   

My strength recovered though of course some other things never have or will.  It only took a single look in a mirror to resign myself to wearing a veil for the rest of my life.  Within a few more days I was well enough to leave, but I refused to.  I explained that my old family would never take me back as I am now.  They would never forgive me for stealing from them and then doing what they would see as shameful work nor could they still love or even stand the sight of what I had become now.  Furthermore I felt I had to do something, however pitifully small, about the appalling things going on in this district.  And physically, I figured I would be more accepted in a district of shunned monsters than anywhere else in Conch. 

Mylene smiled when I told them all this, then she told me the truth of their little group here and what their purpose is in West Conch.  I would be their newest family member she said, and they would take me as I am and welcome my presence.  Mylene said they were fearful of many things here in the slums and for a long time they had waited and prayed for someone like me to come to them.  I didn't know quite what she meant by that.  I still don't.  I can feel the call of my saviour, but I am struggling to find the path he is calling me to. 
« Last Edit: October 12, 2021, 04:45:27 am by Fiverine »
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Re: Eliezra Baldwin's File
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2021, 11:04:31 am »
My health has improved enough that I can make some tentative journeys outside our camp.  I ran a few errands for the needy as best I could.  My muscles are still weak and my reactions slow, and it was not long before I was seriously injured.  But these are wounds that can be easily healed, unlike the scars left by my illness.  It did me some good and I can feel my vigour returning.  My equipment is rather shabby but adequate.  One of the Knots sold it to me cheap because he knew Trewin, the man who trained me.  The Knots seem less obnoxious than most of the other gangs and are probably the only one we are likely to find much common ground with. 

Ostian warned me of a few things before I ventured out.  He said the Boys have been shaking down strangers for protection money.  But they didn't bother me.  The brutes on duty just waved me through, so I suppose this means I am considered a local now or they just felt sorry for me.  Ostian also advised me to stay out of Uptown because "it's whip territory", whatever that means.  But I had no reason to go there anyway. 

Mylene wants me to find an ordained cleric of the Broken God.  Conch does not seem a likely place for such a person to be, even in passing.  All the same I promised I will search for one, though I am not entirely sure why she is so eager for me to meet one.  She's a lay healer and preacher and does a great job.  We seem to be doing all right on our own so far. 
« Last Edit: October 19, 2021, 10:18:23 pm by Fiverine »
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Re: Eliezra Baldwin's File
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2021, 06:26:34 am »
I was feeling much better today so went for a longer outing on the streets and outskirts of Conch.  The slums do not have a monopoly on suffering, I found, though naturally we have it much worse in most respects.  I sent a message out for a mentor. Ostian insisted I make it as cryptic as possible.  That seems rather pointless but I followed his advice for now. 

More importantly I won my first real victory.  Last time I ventured out from our camp I was grievously wounded by a mutant which was seemingly the priest of some chiropteran god.  The first time we crossed paths he ambushed me from the shadows, which were too murky for my still blurry eyesight to penetrate.  He wielded two blades and I had not been trained against such an opponent.  He took fiendish glee in the injuries he inflicted upon me.  I could not even hold my ground, let alone strike him back.  Only by the Broken God's mercy did I escape that time.

But this time was different.  I had scraped together enough money to improve my equipment somewhat.  My keen eyesight has returned and I instantly spotted the villain hiding in a corner and charged him.  I found my reactions had now recovered enough not only to parry his attacks but to counterattack.  He fell to my blade and I could tell by the fear in his eyes as he died that he did not find the experience of feeling pain as joyous as that of inflicting it. 
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Re: Eliezra Baldwin's File
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2021, 10:37:19 pm »
Another successful exploration of the city completed.  I am still avoiding Upper Conch because of Ostian's warnings.  However I have had my first glimpses of the plagues of crows and rats which I have heard about.  There seems to be some malign intelligence driving these events which was obvious even in my first encounters.  Apparently the Nebular University is investigating both matters.  In any case, we have other problems.

Something happened recently that has made Diiri's Boys even more paranoid and brutish than usual.  Some of our group have heard an attempt was made on the life of the Boys' derro leader, others that their infamous stimulants and soul-gems are becoming dangerously unreliable.  Whatever the truth is the Boys have increased their security (if you can call more patrolling thugs "security") and are calling in debts.  Arlow had an old debt to them and when he couldn't pay they broke his leg in several places.  There were splinters of bone poking through the skin when we found him.  We've reset the leg and rigged up a brace for it but unless we can take him to Kardeen, Arlow will be recuperating a long time. 

I've made a few contacts in my explorations at least.  The local herbalist, Pallat, is a cheerful lass and has been supplying us with medicinal herbs.  Over in the Market District I found an apprentice smith named Dorindra who can supply us with affordable equipment for self-defence.  I think we're going to need it. 
« Last Edit: September 27, 2021, 11:01:56 am by Fiverine »
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Re: Eliezra Baldwin's File
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2021, 11:23:35 am »
We've moved Mylene to a safer but still close location.  She's elderly and never backs down from a bully.  With Diiri's Boys on edge I've been worried about her because I know they wouldn't hesitate to cripple her if she stood up to them.  I thought she would be furious with us but she was actually pleased that she can focus more on healing and preaching now.  She is the closest thing we have to a spiritual leader and true healer and we would be lost without her. 

Today whilst at a stall I met one of the small folk, an adventurer named Pearl.  She was quite resplendent in magenta armour and also very kind.  She was in a hurry and mentioned she had to go meet "the captain".  A sailor perhaps, then.  I haven't been on a boat since I made the trip to Conch and the idea of sailing by choice rather than by trickery sounds interesting.  I think I'd be too worried about the ocean breeze blowing my veil off though. 
 
« Last Edit: September 27, 2021, 11:29:25 am by Fiverine »
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Re: Eliezra Baldwin's File
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2021, 01:04:09 am »
On a whim I explored some of the mining tunnels just outside the city walls.  I followed a scent of brimstone and discovered to my horror a nest of fiends.  Predominantly they were disease-ridden manes, but even more offensive were the torture-adoring kocrachons supervising them.  In charge of this small colony was a fiendish foreman who was utterly jubilant in the pestilence and agony his charges were working on.  Though alone, I trusted in my abilities and with some effort I purged the creatures.  I have no doubt they will return, for the stench of brimstone and rot was as strong as ever. 

I wandered the markets afterwards and pondered that such evil could dwell so close to the city.  That was a rather naive thing to think I quickly realised.  At the bazaar I saw some disturbing things for sale.  There were pungent Moanderite relics- preserved body parts of one of their "holy" men the seller assured me.  These offended me on a personal level due to my own long illness which was caused by a Moanderite. 

Also alarming were some ecclesiastical Loviatarian whips for sale.  This is a religion that baffles me more than any other.  I've heard that they gouge and flay flesh (their own and that of others) in their rituals and take orgiastic joy in hurting people physically and emotionally.  I don't judge what people do to themselves for there is often some trauma driving it, but to take pleasure inflicting agony upon others is... grotesque.
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Re: Eliezra Baldwin's File
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2021, 06:14:23 am »
I met another of the local adventurers, this time an elf lady named Apprentice Sithmore.  She is a student at Nebular as well as a ship's captain.  Our initial meeting was a little awkward, for she was standing at the gates I intended pass through and she was heavily and visibly warded with defensive enchantments.  She seemed curious about me, and asked if I was wearing a veil for cultural reasons.  Sithmore was also a little surprised that I still live in the slums now that I have the income to equip myself heavily. 

None the less she was quite pleasant and when I mentioned my interest in herbalism she took me on a journey to some locations in elven lands which had some rare herbs.  We encountered some orc raiders but Sithmore's enchantments (which she shared with me) proved very powerful.  My devotion to the Broken God gained her attention and at the end of the journey she gifted me with a truly fine blade.  I must say that the adventurers of Conch I have met so far are nothing like the local newspaper we use to light our fires and wallpaper our shacks claims. 

The trip left me in Hadrian's south bank, and I ventured alone around that settlement.  I found a Moanderite lair in a noxious labyrinth to the west of the town.  There were too many abominations for me to completely purge alone but I destroyed many of them.  Walking those smelly, spiraling crypts while fighting through shambling and pitiable slaves of Moander was a distasteful experience for me, as much for personal as physical reasons.  Hadrian seems a city no less plagued with evil than Conch and I regretted that I could not stay long.  But my duties in West Conch must take precedence. 
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Re: Eliezra Baldwin's File
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2021, 06:04:11 am »
Whilst foraging for herbs in the wilderness I found Pearl doing the same thing.  I don't know the region around Conch well at all yet so gratefully accepted Pearl's offer to show me some good sites to collect herbs.  For someone so small she is quite lethal, and the two of us were more than a match for any wandering creatures that stumbled upon us. 

Pearl seems to have good contacts in Upper Conch.  She mentioned Gabby or Gabriella who is a student at Nebular and a keen herbalist and alchemist.  Pearl also knows Apprentice Sithmore there, and as it turns out Sithmore is "the captain" Pearl mentioned the first time we met.  There was another person she simply referred to as 'Z'.  Overall it sounds like there are some friendly and decent folk in uptown, although Ostian assures me that there are many despicable ones there too.  He was an archivist and census taker, so I suppose he would know these things. 

I think my health has recovered enough to take up whatever path it is the Broken God has marked me for.  But it's frustrating me how limited my skills are.  I can't heal with magic like Mylene, and worst of all I lack the natural talent to even learn the basics of it from her.  Instead I must rely on mundane trappings like herbs and dressings to heal and cure others.  If I have a natural talent it seems to be for fighting, but how could violence be doing my god's work?
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Re: Eliezra Baldwin's File
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2021, 06:14:39 am »
I've decided that I have to hunt down the Moanderite who disfigured me.  Assuming he has not left the area he could have been spreading more illness and misery while I recovered.  Perhaps this is a way I can use my combative skills for a good purpose.  I doubt he will give up easily.  But I know now that I don't either.  I haven't told my comrades about this.  Probably best I keep them out of it in case this Moanderite is not working alone.  I don't want to endanger the people who saved my life.  I've sent a letter to Tylna to see if she ever saw him again. 

In the meantime I've opened up a small stall to cheaply sell healing and curative supplies to the people of the slums.  I would have preferred a place closer to our camp but I've had to make do with what I could find.  It's near a creepy ruined tower and a sewer entrance.  Not very auspicious, but like I said it's all I could find vacant right now. 

I also ventured back into the brimstone mine and found the devils of disease and torturehad returned.  It's a strange area, and it feels almost like a deliberately created gauntlet for someone like myself to train in.  Why else would there be a bag of gold waiting for me after I've cleansed it?  Hopefully some demon isn't using me as a pawn to kill off his devil rivals...
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Re: Eliezra Baldwin's File
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2021, 12:31:15 am »
Tylna gave me a reply that was on the surface not very helpful, but it implied that my quarry still frequents her establishment.  Therefore I've started staking out the Lamb even if I find that personally uncomfortable.  Tylna doesn't seem to care as long as I'm buying drinks and keeping my face covered.  I doubt she'd be so ambivalent if I pulled off my veil and let her clients see exactly what they're risking at the Lamb.  If nothing else I'm getting some good practice at eating and drinking under the veil.  So far I haven't seen my target and the other staff, while happy enough to see me alive and well, are just as tightlipped as Tylna. 

Lauriella wants to meet with me again.  I've been preoccupied with my hunt for the Moanderite so may not find time to meet her on this shore trip of hers.  But I suspect we have some common goals and she is a well-known adventurer with many contacts, so I will endeavour to meet with her.  She may be from Nebular, but she doesn't seem to actually be an Uptown resident which is reassuring. 

Finally it looks like Ostian was right, there are some "Whips" as he calls them in Upper Conch.  House Mistari have made some proclamations that make them the likely ones.  "Respect the teachings of pain" they say.  What perverted nonsense.  Pain is an unwanted burden that can be relieved or tolerated, it's not an educational experience that one should seek out.  I feel dirty now because I bought some potions from House Mistari's marketplace stall a few days ago.  At least I've found one of the few things that Diiri's Boys and my group can agree on, and that is to be suspicious of uptowners.

« Last Edit: October 17, 2021, 03:26:20 am by Fiverine »
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Re: Eliezra Baldwin's File
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2021, 10:35:14 am »
The Loviatarians have started advertising in our district, offering training in disciplining wayward underlings.   As if Diiri's Boys need any training on the arts of torture and brutal discipline.  I sent this "House Mistari" a warning letter and they replied via a public notice, so I am now in a war of written words with them it seems.  We can't tolerate their presence amongst such a vulnerable population but they look to be a wealthy noble house with resources far beyond our humble group.  It doesn't sound like they've been very welcome in West Conch in the past, so hopefully they stay out. 

I delved further into the Moanderite crypts west of Hadrian.  Walking the spiraling passageways was like a hideous journey through my personal pains and grievances.  But in the end I confronted a champion of Moander and another squalid being infested with Moander's essence.  Though alone, I destroyed them both.  If I can find the particular Moanderite I seek, my confidence that I can destroy him too should he not repent is growing. 
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."

Fiverine

  • Developer
  • Demi-God
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
  • Repairer of Reputations
    • View Profile
Re: Eliezra Baldwin's File
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2021, 12:56:20 pm »
I took what I thought would be a simple job in the Forest of Tusks.  An injured lady hired me to delve into a ruined temple to find some idols for her.  I expected to make use of my trap-spotting and disarming skills.  What I did not expect was to be confronted by abyss-tainted orcs.  I could readily handle their warriors and wizards, although their shamans were formidable.  Their leader was surely the most powerful opponent I've ever faced and I came perilously close to defeat.  But somehow I prevailed.  Fortunately the treasures and experience I gained were well worth the great danger.  It does concern me though to find yet another nest of danger and evil so close to Conch. 

I've also noticed someone unusual in our turf.  There is a beggar dressed in green who is not part of our group, but she regularly camps in our corner of the slums before moving on after a few days.  I've asked her if she needs any help but her answers are always cryptic.  She's a shady character but she has never given us any trouble nor brought us any.  She is also a merchant of some sort, selling traps, weapons and trinkets useful to thieves and scouts.  Nobody seems to know her story and she isn't saying anything illuminating.  I suspect she's simply an opportunist selling to all sides of West Conch's gang wars and our camp is a quiet and fairly safe place to stay on occasion.  She's very welcome to do that.  Still, best to be careful what we say and do in her presence until I know more about her. 

« Last Edit: October 25, 2021, 01:03:05 pm by Fiverine »
"I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it."