May 30-July 9, 2018
The Half-Orc spends the rest of the week working in the temple under the tutelage of Father Dornall and helping the fine folk of the city and performing many rituals and rites in the temple.
Sunday 21th of Neth
Kallin Makes a Friend
The morning after returning back from the adventure, Kallin was restless. He felt like a caged animal ready to pounce on anything. Every thought kept returning those images he saw on the wall of the Temple. He wanted to paint those experiences. No. He wanted to feel those experiences. The question wasn’t how but when. He had errands and duties to take care of before he could dispatch his needs. As he tries to focus on what he should accomplish, he noticed that he was pacing in his room just like Paka when he waits for Calina. Maybe he needs to meditate and prayer to his goddess for solace until the night comes. He bolts down the stair past Calina and Daellin straight out the door.
He heads directly for the Temple of Pharasma. Some of the citizens of Magnimar attempt to greet him but he remains focused on his journey until he enters the Temple. In the Temple, he finds a quiet spot by himself to start his ritual for meditation. He can feel himself start to sweat and his blood begin to boil as if he was starting go into an Orcish rage. He gathers himself and start to fall into a good meditative trance. Shortly into his meditation, he starts a vision of Pharasma sitting in her throne with an hourglass but instead of her tradition full length gown, it is a more revealing robe in her traditional colors of black and red. Her gray-white hair flowing gently over breasts. Kallin starts to get entranced in her bone white skin, he looks into her gray eyes and feels like she is begging him to come closer. As he gets within arms reach, she gently lays her hand on his cheek and kisses him on the other. As soon as that happens, chorus of ghosts approach him and she disappears. The ghosts, male and female, are in various stages of undress. They start to undress him. As they start caress, and engage him various forms of sexual acts, Kallin starts to fall into it. The acts increase in frequency and intensity. As it becomes more and more violent, he drinks in the passion. Then passion takes on a strange change. He start to see each of the deaths. They have all subjects of violent acts of sexual behavior from torture, rape and things not covered on the famous walls. He sees that most of the acts were carried out by the Runelord of Lust. With this realization he comes out of his meditation. He still is the same area covered in sweat and very disturbed.
Kallin decides he could use a drink. He heads to the closest bar that accepts orcs. He finds the Orc’s Horde and proceeds in. He pulls a seat up at the bar, and signals the orc bartender. He comes over asks, “Kinda early, do know what you want?” Kallin replies, “Just give me the hardest you got.” The bartender throws glass down and fills it with a reddish-brown liquid. “Two silver and good luck,” he chuckles. Kallin downs it, It burns all the way down, then he feels strangely happy. He looks down the bar and sees a human female. She has a long stare like she has seen too much pain. She is dressed in warrior garb. She snaps a look at him. Kallin smiles…
The woman, a Shoanti by the look of her, does not smile back, but she does glare at Kallin for a few moments. “What are you looking at, Orc? A little early for a Fireball, don’t ya think? But if you’re buyin, I’m drinking!” She raises an eyebrow to him as she slides closer. “I’m Soola. Who are you? Some kind of Pharasmin? A priest?” she says as she eyes his holy symbol.
Kallin drinks in the essence of the Shoanti woman. As he signals the bartender for a second drink for her, Kallin smiles and says, “Hello, Soola. I’m Kallin. And, yes, Pharasmin priest is one of the many skills I have. I will add that this drink comes with a cost. You must answer my question. What is such a capable warrior as yourself doing in an Orc bar?”
Soola chuckles at his question, “No one tells me where I can and can't drink! And not to many places of my liking open this early on a Sunday morning. All the civvies are goin’ to church. Thanks for the drink, half-breed.” The Orcish bartender serves the drinks and steps away, minding his own business. Kallin notes that there are only a few others in the bar. A group of three sitting in a dark table in the back corner and two more passed out across a table nearby. “Ya look kinda scruffy for a priest. I take it you're not a 'town priest,’ ehh?” She picks up her drink and slams it. Kallin notes a little dribble of the red liquid rolling across her lower lip and down her chin. “So what other skills do you have, father?” she asks seductively. Kallin feels a lump swelling in his throat and other stirrings elsewhere as he tries to come up with his next line. He is his mouth to speak, then closes it. He has always found it difficult speaking to others in such intimate situations.
Kallin is frozen by this woman. He finds this women very attractive but cannot find the next words. He awkwardly signals for two more drinks. He finishes off the one he has and when the second one arrives, he quickly slams it. He heard this was called liquid courage. Kallin is about to attempt to see if it true. He starts to speak. Out comes, “Um...no...it’s, I meant but really yes you can go where you want. You see, that...umm”. Kallin is slowly getting red and he also starting to realize that he is getting aroused. This and her statements is starting to make him aware of his appearance. He states at a slightly higher volume, “ I’m sorry, not “father” either just Kallin...Umm. I have...yes…skills, like.” Now his volume gets louder, “I’m a HERO of SANDPOINT! YOU ARE VERY BEAUTIFUL!” He now sees that he gained the attention of those in room combined with Soola’s startled look. Extremely embarassed, Kallin slumps in his chair and stares at his empty glass. With a defeated air, Kallin quietly states to air more than to anyone, “I speak to spirits of those caught between.”
A Monumental Boon
Soola giggles at Kallin's attempt at a pick-up line and bus another round of drinks. “You're one of the best looking and most charming Half-Greens I've ever seen. I like you.” She grabs Kallin and gives him a crushing hug. “Hero you say? I know not of this Sandpoint but I'm sure it's nice. Will you go for a walk with me? I'd like to show you something.” She kisses him hard and gropes him aggressively then stands and leads him out into the afternoon.
Kallin pays the bartender and quickly follow the Shoanti woman out into the streets of Keystone. She leads Kallin north along crisscrossing streets toward Beacon's Point, though the Half-Orc priest only know this because he can see the towering form of the Wyrmwatch rising overhead. Soola stops and turns to him, “You know of the monuments and their magic? You are priest, you pray to them, no?” Not exactly sure what she is talking about, Kallin shrugs and follows her. “My place over there, not far but first we go take energy from monsters. Give us more fun later, yes?”
The Shoanti woman leads him nearly all the way across the Rag's End neighborhood until finally stopping at a wide intersection of several roads forming a wide, cobbled circular area. In the middle of this space is a large stone monument displaying several giant, four-armed monsters attacking the city. The entire sculpture is easily 50 across and 40 feet high. On the promenade all around, Kallin sees a variety of folk all performing some sort of martial arts or another. He even spots a large group of City Watch members on the far side of the statue doing some drills. All in all the are probably 30-40 individuals spread out around the monument doing katas, practicing strikes and some even sparring with one another.
“Look, you practice fight here 10 minutes, you better fighter all day. All kinds of fight, not just killing fights, you see,” she winks at him and slaps his behind, “other fights as well. You practice your moves then show your pride to monsters and they make better! I do this. You do this too?” she asks him then unslings her weapon, a wide blade bastard sword, and begins swirling it around ferociously.
After a few moments into her workout, she says to him, “You know, these real monsters, just turned to stone. Not just carving.” She flashes him a bright smile and continues her weapons demonstration.
Kallin takes his staff and looks at it. A quick thought suddenly flashes across his mind, “My friend you need an upgrade.” He takes old friend and goes into what he remembers his fighting stance being. He looks over Soola and smiles sheepishly. Her presence here starts arouse his Orcish blood. Mustering all his focus, he starts what he believes to be a kata he remembers from training. He looks at the monsters, and uses the kata to meditate on what it might be to actual fight the monsters. After what seems like a moment, he finishes and sees that everyone is just staring at him. A brute closes by says, “With that practice, even I would be scared to take the half-breed on.” Kallin feels an unstoppable power and confidence he has never felt before. He marches up to Soola, grabs her with one arm around the waist, pulls her to him, and kisses her passionately on the lips.
Kallin’s workout seemed to inspire Soola as well. She kisses him back and then turns and nearly drags him back through Beacon’s Point and into the maze of narrow alleys and walkways that is the Rag’s End neighborhood in the heart of this city district. All of Kallin’s senses seem to focus on the powerful and beautiful woman leading him and before he knows it, she is showing him inside a rundown structure that is part building, part collection of broken doors and part permanent tent. The place, while run down and possibly falling apart, looks comfortable and lived in. She motions him to a pile of rugs and furs and kneels in front of a small stove, quickly and expertly building a small fire to chase the chill Neth air out of the poorly insulated dwelling. She then turns and looms over him, smiling with her hands on her hips. She pushes her fur cape off and loosens some of the side ties on her light armor. “You’re going to have to take care of the rest, though,” she says right before she springs into the air, like a pouncing firepelt on the attack.
Kallin takes a moment to react. He feels his orcish blood start to rise in anticipation of both upcoming events. As he falls into instincts as he lets go of any thought and just goes with the moment. As Soola starts her descent, Kallin spins his torso and tries to catch her mid flight. Soola anticipates that so allows him grab her but uses her momentum to flip Kallin on his back with her on top. Kallin smiles as he is holding her armor in his hand. Soola laughs as Kallin notices the loosened the side cords on his leather armor. Kallin runs his hands up her taut body and he feels an excitement pushing through his confining garments. As he approaches her breasts, Soola grabs his wrists and pushes his arms to the pelts. She smiles seductively, then kisses hard starting the neck tracing to mouth. Kallin is enjoying this dance. He tries to buck Soola off to gain position. Soola springs backward as Kallin feels his torso armor removed as he stands his pants fall to knees to reveal his pleasure in the situation. Soola smiles at her pleasure at the current situations. They start to circle each other like two cats waiting for a opportunity to strike. Everytime Kallin reaches to Soola in she steps just outside his reach. Soola ends the anticipation, in one swift motion, she loosens her pants, leaps onto the now naked Kallin. Kallin just gives himself over to the moment of this glorious dance which increases in a violent intensity. Until Kallin finally wakes naked, covered in sweat on Soola’s pelts. He smiles as he looks for Soola...
He sees his new friend crouching near a small, boarded up window, peering through the slats. She is still naked and Kallin can tell she is tense. He calls to her to ask what is going on, but without looking, she loudly shushes him. Kallin smiles and thinks she is playing. Then he hears what has gotten her attention. Shouting in the near distance, then some crashing sounds and more shouting punctuated by a scream of pain. Soola quickly turns and darts around the room, gathering up the scattered pieces of her clothing and armor. “Quick, get up. We must go now! Hurry!” she says quietly to him, but with enough force to instantly get him off the floor.
Kallin quickly dresses and grabs his staff. He looks at Soola and says, “Ok, lead on!” Praying quickly to Pharasma to thank her for putting this encounter in front of him and ask for her aid in whatever comes next.
Soola grabs Kallin's hand tightly and leaps through the front door of the shack into the narrow alley. Several people go rushing past at top speed, looking back over their shoulders, terrified looks in their eyes.
“Nail-Knights!” someone yells from further down the alley. Just then a blast of flame appears from the direction everyone is running from and a then a figure appears, probably another Shoanti based on its size, fully engulfed in flame. The flaming person crashes into a stack of crates and falls to the ground.
Kallin steps in the direction of the fallen person to provide aid but Soola hisses, “No. It's the Hellknights! You won't be able to help, come. This way.” She turns to follow the other fleeing residents of Rag's End but then stops abruptly when she sees a dark figure step into the alley up ahead and bring the blade of his polearm down viciously upon one of the running men. The strike nearly severs the man in two and he immediately falls to the dirty ground. Soola turns and crashes through the wall nearest to her, nearly knocking the rickety barrier down. Kallin sees her fleeing the area past some temporary tent walls further on.
“By decree of the Order of the Nail, all illegal trespassers in this area are hereby condemned. Submit yourself to custody and your soul may be saved!” Kallin hears a loud, booming voice echoing through the area though he can't tell which direction. Several more heavily armed and armor figures can be seen at both ends of the alley. Several bodies litter the ground at their feet.
“Are you coming, or what?” he hears and see Soola waving him toward her through her hastily constructed escape route.
Kallin pauses for a second, and angry hisses in the direction of the Hellknights. He then quickly turns runs down the escape route that Soola made. He wonders where all these people will go. When he gets to where Soola is at, he says, “Let’s go.” As Kallin follows closely behind Soola, he keeps looking back at all those poor people as he develops a hatred for these Hellknights.
Kallin does his best to follow Soola through the chaotic maze of Rag’s End. He can hear yelling, fighting and destruction all around him. The Shoanti woman moves like a rabbit, darting this way and that, with grace and speed that belies her muscular statue. She climbs over, leaps on top of and slides under obstacle after obstacle trying to find a way out. After a few moments, Kallin realizes he cannot see her anymore. The smell of smoke is strong in the air, and his back is aching from the prolonged flight. Suddenly, to his left, what looks like a wagon on its side, splits open and an ominous devilish creature steps through. This devil is as tall as Kallin and looks to be about the same weight, but is hunched over in a crouch. A savage, writhing beard of red and purple tendril spikes hang beneath a small, toothy maw and 4 large horns sweep back from the beasts forehead. It shouts something at Kallin, but the Half-Orc does not speak whatever infernal language is being shouted at him. The creature lunges toward him, large claws outstretched, coming straight for Kallin’s throat! He sees one of the claws go wide, but the other claw looks to be true!
Kallin quickly gathers his senses to turn and face this demon. He muster under breath, “In the name of Pharasma, I need to send you back to hell.” Kallin realizes he is not in a position to attack or the opportunity to cast a spell. His best option is to step back and parry to save his life.
Kallin manages to bring his trusty staff up just in time to ward off the blow from the attacking devil. After recovering from the initial attack, Kallin prepares to defend against the next volley of blows.
Now with this bearded devil in close range, Kallin works to keep it from attacking him. The beast growls and speaks again in the infernal language of Hell as it attempts to rake Kallin with its claws. The first claw comes in high, reaching for his shoulder while the second claw rakes at his belly. The beast is quick and sneaky, trying to get his dangerous looking claws past Kallin’s defense.
Kallin sees the claw coming in high, knocking the grasp away from his shoulder. He notices just in time, the claw at his belly, which he does a hasty retreat to move away. Kallin realizes he needs to find a way to turn this in his favor.
As Kallin sets himself up for a telling blow, he hears muffled shouts from the surrounding slums. He hears metal weapons clanging against each other and then screams of pain. More shouts and things crashing over fill the air. Maddened by Kallin’s previous defense, the devil claws at Kallin’s much more handsome face, trying to rip it to shreds! One claw goes wide, but the second strike looks true.
Kallin desperately takes a step back to parry the claw to the head. In devil’s maddened state, Kallin sees his opportunity to strike. He knows a simple leading attack that has worked in the past. He hopes the monster falls the pulling the staff back to strike the devil’s side to lead into more advantaged attack elsewhere. It worked! The devil seems to not only fallen for the feint but seems perfectly set for Kallin’s next strike. Kallin switch grip on his staff to bring a backhanded attack targeted specifically at the infernal devil’s head.
Kallins staff swings around and smashes hard into the side of the demon’s face, but to his surprise, it does not seem to cause as much damage as he would have imagined, though he is sure he injured his hellish foe. The bearded devil growls and spits, then launches into a berserk rage, raking viciously with its claws across Kallin’s body, one aimed at his chest, the other coming for his throat. Fortunately the second attack was off-line and missed, though the Half-Orc priest needs to quickly bring his staff up to parry the other attack. Kallin quickly finds himself backed into a corner between a wall and a pile of debris several feet taller than himself. He can no longer retreat and has a berserk devil trying to rend him to pieces.
Nearby, he can still hear shouts and sounds of violence. The smell of smoke is becoming thicker in the air. He hears another muffled voice call out, “Where is that damned Barbazu. I saw it go this way,” then another voice, “Well, find it and call it back. Can’t have that thing running all over the city!” The response, “Yes, sir!”
As Kallin considers his next option, he hears the debris pile next to him shift and move, then hears, “What are you doing playing with that thing!” Glancing up he sees Soola standing on top of the pile. She leaps out into a tight flip, and lands behind the savage devil, slicing it across his back with her heavy sword. The beast turns quickly to face her, leaving its exposed back to Kallin.
Kallin eyes widen as he realizes his good fortunes, he has aid in fighting this devil and his particular positioning on the monster. He reaches back with all his might and a total disregard for any attacks, Kallin aims his staff at the head of this creature, hoping at least to hit it’s back sufficiently.
Kallin feels the force of his blow reverberate through shaft of his trusty quarterstaff. The sound it makes as it strikes the back of the devil’s head is like a thunderclap. The infernal creature lets out a yelping gasp then pitches forward, slamming into Soola before falling to the ground unmoving. The Shoanti woman looks up at Kallin and the two lock eyes. Kallin feels himself filled with power and pride as she gives him a wicked smile.
The frozen moment is quickly broken by someone nearby shouting, “There it is. You two, Shoanti and Orc, submit yourselves to the Order of the Nail immediately!” Kallin sees two heavily armed and armored Hellknights about 15 yards away, making their way through the rubble of the destroyed alleyways, using their short polearms to sweep debris from their path.
Seeing them approach, Soola twitches, then bounds away, up the pile of broken boards and trash behind him. “Come on!” he hears her call.
Kallin glances at the two Hellknights, and thinks another day. As he looks away, his eyes follow Soola and remembers the pleasant time they spent as he finds himself climbing quickly up the debris.
Love Lost But Not Forgotten
The Half-Orc falters several times while cleaning up the pile of broken doors, boards, signs and wagon wheels. Despite his slow climb, he makes it to the top in plenty of time to evade the pursuing Hellknights, but to his dismay, he realizes he has lost sight of Soola in her escape. He rushes off, stomping across what he assumes are the roofs of other Rag’s End tenements in the direction she headed, but he is unable to spot her. He keeps looking for her as he continues to make his way from the Hellknights but after 30 minutes of moving he realizes he isn't going to find her. The wind shifts, momentarily blowing away the hot smoke and trash smell of the fires behind him and replacing it with a cold biting wind of the nearby sea. He pulls the heavy fur cloak around his shoulders as he shivers a bit. He smiles a bittersweet smile as the fur tickles his ear.
Kallin is settled back to consciousness as a group of folks go running past him on the street below. He catches snippets of “Hellknight” and “Nailknight” and easily surmises what they are running from. He realizes that his current position on the “second floor” of Rag's End in his current location puts him at a disadvantage due to the lack of many other taller structures and if he stays up here he will easily be spotted. He can now clearly hear the clang of metal sollerets charging in from the direction the people just ran in from. Kallin needs to move quickly to avoid another encounter with the dreaded Hellknights.
Kallin realizes he needs to follow the local residents out of the area. As he hops down and starts following a small family running for their life. He helps out by picking up one of the small children. He tells the parents as they are running, saying “it is ok, I’m a healer. I will help best I can.” He continues with the family until they reach their destination.
The family group, with Kallin in tow, finally makes it out of the cramped and confusing alleyways of the Rag's End neighborhood. Though weary of accepting help from a stranger, they allow Kallin to tend to some minor wounds. When he gets to checking out the mother of the group, he realizes she is pregnant. He then notices the front of her skirt is soaking wet. She is sweating profusely and looks quite distressed. She is giving birth right this moment. Stunned, Kallin just stands there for a moment then the father looks at him and shakes him, “Well? Aren't you supposed to do something here, Pharasmin? She's having the baby! It wasn't supposed to be this soon but our run and scare there must have pushed things along! Please, help her!” A crowd starts to gather around, Kallin can only just barely hear the hushed voices surrounding him.
Kallin starts to sweat a little. He looks at the father and says, “I believe Pharasma will bless us today.” He mutters a small spell to Pharasma as he evaluates the situation drawing his mundane skills as healer to determine the best course of action. As Kallin focuses on the task at hand, looks for rags. He tries finds things help the mother to get into a reclining position. He timidly lays his hands on all over her body to get a sense of what he dealing with. The father starts to stop him thinking that he is doing something untoward his wife but someone holds him back. Kallin sees that a healthy boy and something unhealthy residing in the mother. Kallin realizes that the unborn is his main concern. He cannot draw himself to look at anyone but just focuses on the woman and the unborn child. He lays the rags out and runs his hands over them to make them sanitary for what is about to happen. It dawns on Kallin he now has to go into a very private area of this woman. He cautiously meets her gaze, and stammers,”Mm...m..ay...um I?”, awkwardly signaling lifting her skirt.
The mother cries out in pain and nods her head yes, yes, yes. She hears her teeth and is sweating profusely. Kallin realizes he is doing just the same. A good sized crowd has gathered around now, easily 30 people. Kallin does not even realize that it's cold outside. Though he's never done this before. He remembers seeing his mother do it a few times when he was young, and it is one of the Tenants of the Pharasmin Ways of Death and Life.
Kallin realizes as the child’s head starts to crown, this is the second experience today whose memory will bring a smile to his face. Then he refocuses on the task at hand. He gently brings the baby into this world. He then remembers his mother holding the baby by the feet and giving a gentle slap on the behind. He starts the procedure almost drops the baby and accidentally tapping the babe in the mid back. The boy takes its first breath and start crying. He tries to reach for his knife but it comes to him that he can’t reach it easily with one hand. Kallin spins around and gets tangled up in the umbilical cord until someone grabs it for him and hands it to him. Kallin using from memory what his mother did. Timidly cuts the umbilical cord, then ties it. He looks for a rag and wraps the baby in it, then hands it to the mother.
The father. Now awake again moved in to hold her. Both mother and father and newborn are all crying. Kallin knows that both mother and child suffered a small amount of trauma during birth, but nothing life threatening. There are many slaps on the back and hands on his shoulder. Several people cry out prayers to Pharasma. The mother looks at Kallin and smiles, “Thank you, Orc. What are you called so I can thank you properly?” Kallin murmurs his name quietly to her. She repeats it. “Kallin. That doesn't sound Orcish at all. Sounds like a Shoanti name to me.” She turns to her husband, “you always say you have some Shoanti in you, Yelde, right?” He nods to her between done of joy. She smiles and points the baby toward Kallin. “Kallin, meet Kallin.”
Upgrading the Staff
Kallin blushes. He looks baby Kallin and smiles saying, “Hello, welcome to the world.” Kallin meekly bows and steps outside the structure. He decides to head down the street away from the Hellknights and the destruction in Rag’s End. He looks at his staff and thinks, we need to get you new clothes, my friend. He heads toward the temple of Pharasma to ask advice to make his staff a little more formidable. When he gets inside the Temple, he tries not to bother anyone but he can’t find other priests that are not busy. Finally an elderly man smiles at and asks, “Anyone in particular you are looking for?” Kallin looks down to state, “I need someone to improve my staff.” The old man says, “By the way, I’m Angrid, just a simple merchant and follower of Pharasma but I would think a weaponsmith should improve your staff, father.” Kallin pushes lips together while thinking, then states, “Umm, no, but thank you. I mean to make it more magical like my friend, Vexeron’s staff.” Angrid smiles, and whispers, “You need an enchanter. I happen to know an excellent enchanter. If you can put up with his crazy behavior.“ He laughs the proceeds, “Jreklora is the best there but for a price.” He then pauses, “of course, Gregor could save some cash but he just isn’t as good plus he is easier to deal with.” Kallin gets directions, thanks Angrid and heads out to Jreklora’s.
Kallin finds Jreklora’s Twisted Tower, which isn't a tower at all, but a small one story brick building nestled between two larger buildings. The door stands open and the smell of a fireplace burning fresh cut pine and cooking cinnamon cider greets the priest as he approaches. Kallin enters and feels a bit of vertigo as he looks around and finds himself in a large, well appointed round chamber much larger than the outside building appeared. Looking up here sees that the structure is also much taller. He tries to follow the winding staircase that zigs and zags around the inner wall that seems to bend this way and that. Kallin takes a step back, dizzy by the unexpected dimensions and shape of this space. His hand finds the edge of a plush high backed chair. “Please, sit, friend,” says a quiet, relaxing voice. Kallin finds himself sitting and sees a tall thin man in strange gear descending the twisting stairs.
“I am Jreklora. Would you like some cider, Kallin?” Suddenly the man is right next to Kallin, offering him the most aromatic mug of cider he has ever smelt. Unthinking, he takes the mug and smiles a thanks. Suddenly, the man is now standing right in front of Kallin, holding his staff and looking over it, running his hands across it's worn and dented surface. “Hmm, yes, yes. It can be done. Usually I work with more martial weapons, but I'm up for the challenge. Should take a week, give or take a few days, for my part, but you know you'll have to have your temple finish the process. No, I can't make it a power repository you can draw upon. That's not my thing. Arcane magic only in here, bub. But you're no bushwalker, are ya. Not anymore anyway. Still look like one, but I don't mind.” Kallin just stared at the man and sips his cider. It's good, not too hot like he expected it would be.
“Do you want me to make it unbreakable, enchant it to strike true and hard, move through armor like it's not there? It shall be done. You'd also like a matching back for that breastplate of yours there? I'll need to get some measurements first.” Kallin blinks and then he's standing in front of the man who is now running a measuring string across his shoulders, down his spine, around his neck and arms. “Oh, you've been working out, if say. Gotta stay fit.n that's what I always say.”
Suddenly Kallin is sitting again, his breastplate and staff are laying on a short round table that was not there a moment ago. Jreklora is looking at an abacus made of gold and gemstones floating in the air in front of him, calculating all in it's own. “Gonna be 31 thousand silver. But I'll take any denomination of course.” If you don't have it all today, you can bring the rest by tomorrow, by Oathday at the latest though. I trust you, but business is business, right? Of course, I'll have to run this by the temple, Pharasma, right? I don't want to assume, I've made that mistake before. Clearly anyone would have guessed Ole Deadeye, but noooo, it was the drunk instead. Oh well, got it figured out. But it cost me, and money is time, right? That's what I always say anyway. But like I was saying before you cut me off, I'll have to take it down to a Keystone, that's where the temple is, I'm not quite dead yet, so I haven't had much excuse to get down to that particular temple yet, but anyway, seems like your trying to get me off the point. I'll need to have them do the holy embellishments and carving and inlay and such BEFORE I make it shatterproof. Hard to cut into the surface once it's shatterproof. I mean, yeah, there ways around it, but again time, money, who's got enough of either, right? So anyway, all good here? Ya know, for a Pharasmin, you sure do talk a lot, but wonderful doing business with ya!” Kallin is standing now, offering the mage a large sack of coins. “Like I said, just bring the rest by when you can.”
Kallin suddenly realizes that he is outside the shop with no staff, his new armor, and less some coin. He chuckles and says quietly to himself, “Well, that definitely was entertaining.” He reaches into the bag of holding and pulls out his light leather armor to put it on. Suddenly someone grabs his arm and pulls him into a shop. Kallin is surprisingly looking at very large muscular bald man. Then a regal voice from the back, states, “You would be wise not to do that in the street. I have some very nice changing rooms in here. And you sir, or whatever you may be, are have the distinct pleasure of meeting, Dalex Spring, tailor to the elite of Magnimar. Plus your welcome. Crug, show this half-breed to a room.” Kallin changes into his old armor. He steps out of his room and before is a short portly man with a pointed goatee smoking something interesting. He smiles at Kallin and says, “You are kind of cute maybe...no, I must keep this professional. Now, Crug, escort this priest to the door.” Kallin walks with this beast of a man to the door. When outside, He smiles. Kallin feels a certain uneasiness again.
Home Sweet Home
He quickly finds his way back to their house. When he steps inside he sees Jo, one of the Gray Maidens, walking down the hall. Caught in a feeling of joy from two of the events of the day, he grabs her arm, spins her in a quick dance then gives her a kiss on the mouth. All of the sudden, Kallin realizes what he just did. He sheepishly states, “I’m sorry.”
Josobbi pushes Kallin back with a surprised and disgusted look on her face. She opens her mouth and stammers for a moment, then, without saying anything, she rushes out of the house, slamming the door loudly.
Laughing from behind him causes Kallin to turn. He sees Oriana, the leader of the Grey Maidens, servicing some of her gear in the corner of the dining room. “A little more Shelyn and a little less Calistria would probably go a long way, you know. Jo is a good girl. Rough life though. All of us really. The Queen didn't recruit us because of our wonderful upbringing, you know. We're all kinda broken. I see that you aren't trying to hurt anyone, you've been touched by the same magic that, that, whatever she was, used. But you're different. You're good. Pure. Innocent. It's different but not everyone can see that you know. Jo wants to go with you all when you leave next week. She wants to explore life outside the Maidens. We're really all she knows. Take your time with her. Be gentle.” She stops threading new leather straps on the back of her shield and stands, stepping close to Kallin. She leans in closer, looking right into his face though she is quite a few inches shorter than he is. Despite her numerous facial scars, she is quite beautiful though Kallin has absolutely no desire to kiss her. “Don't hurt her,” she says, her voice flat and hard, seeming to cut right through to his very bones. She leans back, smiles and sits back down at her gear.
Kallin stares dumbfoundead for a moment, then says, “Thank you.” He collapses next to Oriana. Something about the leader of the Gray Maidens makes him feel comfortable to be around. He looks at her, then looks down. Kallin confesses, “It was so much easier alone, not as much fun. I knew what to expect. Other humans only talked to me because I could help in some fashion. Mostly they kept their distance. Since I fell in with this group, something changed. I considered these folk as my family. I don’t want to talk to their ghosts. I want to talk to them. Well, ever since we went after the Shard of Lust, I think I pushed myself too far to save them, plus, well, you know, I’m having desires I have never had or at least at this level, before. That, thing,” waves his hands at where he kissed Jo,” was just my over exuberance coming through. I’m having a good day and I just got carried away.” He looks at Oriana and she just keeps working with her equipment, not really registering he is here. Kallin shrugs, then continues, “You know, I delivered a baby today. I usually see the other side but I got to see life. That was exciting! We were running from some Hellknights in Rag’s End. When the family I was with got to a safe place, the mother started giving birth. The father was part Shoanti like me, so they named the boy, Kallin. It was amazing! Oh, and I got to talk to this crazy enchanter. He did most of the talking but I got some cool new things comin’.“ Kallin stops and sees that Oriana is still working. He says, “But I’m rambling. You got things to do. Thank you for your time. Jo will be fine. I can’t promise anything, but I will try to make sure she doesn’t regret coming with us. I, for one, will enjoy having her along. Umm...wow, that sounds bad. I mean, she is pleasant to be around...umm...as a person. Well, I’m going to shut up now. Thanks, again.” Kallin stands up to go out to the back garden. He hesitates because he thinks he sees a ghost dash across in a hall in front of him.
Kallin changes direction and follows the ghost into what was once one of the family rooms in the northwestern corner of the villa. Some boards have been set up across some crates to make shelves and some chairs and other boxes for sitting have made this a planning room. He steps in an looks around. He sees the spectral form of a young girl in an elaborate robe-like dress looking out the window. She turns and faces Kallin and smiles. The girl has the look of the people said to come from the other side of Golarion, all the way over the Crown of the World, like Ameiko and her family, which makes sense since this is her family home. The spiritual child holds her hands out, as if she is handing him something, but there is nothing in her hands. She speaks to Kallin but the words are a language he has never heard before.
Kallin looks in her eyes, then looks at her hands. As he cocks head to one side, he states, “I don’t understand. I would like to help but I don’t speak your language.” Kallin realizes that he has many of the conversations with the spirit world. Kallin says to the spirit, “In case you understand me, Hello, I’m Kallin. and thank you for your gift.” Kallin decides to try and reach for what he believes to be in her hands.
As he reaches forward, her eyes widen and she surges forward, her fingers turning into claws as they pierce his flesh. Her entire form seems to surround him then go through him, momentarily lifting him off of his feet. He feels cold, colder than he has ever felt before and his vision goes black. It seems like forever she is inside him, clawing and scratching at his insides like she is trying to claw her way out. He gets the sensation of falling that seems to go on forever before he smashes into the ground.
Kallin opens his eyes and finds himself laying askew in the empty room of the villa, his back is sore and it seems he has vomited a little on himself. No one else is around and the house is empty, though the light shining in from the nearby window says that it is nearing the end of the day, probably around 5pm or so, if he were to guess. He pulls himself to his feet and brushes the vomit from his chest, looking around. He does not see the little girl anymore. He notices something in his pocket though. Something small and hard. Kallin yawns and suddenly feels very tired. He knows he has not been sleeping well since returning from the Lady’s Light. He has been plagued by nightmares every single night since the battle with the imposter Runelord. He knows if this goes on much longer, there will be fallout much worse than this spiritual encounter. Curious about the lump in his pocket, he fishes out a small bauble he does not recall ever having or even seeing before. It looks like it might have once hung on a chain as a necklace or other such jewelry, though he has never seen the style before.
Kallin is curious about the object. He realizes that he may need to talk to Alistair or Daellin about it. He searches the manor for either of his two friends and finds hide nor hair of them. So he decides it is something for another day. Kallin is really starting to feel his fatigue right now. With the excitement from the events of the day and his restless sleep, he decides to seek the advice from others of his religion. He sees Oriana in kitchen, and greets her saying, “Thank you for listening earlier. If you hadn’t noticed I’m awkward around others and it was nice to bend someone’s ear. I do mean no harm but I have feeling slightly...amorous...lately. But the main reason I’m here is that I plan to go to the Temple of Pharasma tonight. I need to see if they can help with my nightmares. So in case, anyone needs me tonight. That is where I will be.” Then he abruptly turns, and walks out of the kitchen. As soon as he gets out the door, he realizes that was rude. He likes Oriana. Just something about her makes him want to be her friend.
Third Time’s the Charm
Kallin makes his way to the Temple of Pharasma. Instead just walking there and not engaging with people, he makes a concerted effort to greet people. After awhile, (not that Kallin noticed), people started putting their heads down and altering their path away from him. A young girl follows beside Kallin. Kallin looks down and says, “Hello, I’m Kallin. What is your name?” The girl just keeps following him and staring at Kallin. Kallin eventually says to her, “Is there something I can help you with?” She just keeps staring at you. When Kallin gets to the door to the Temple of Pharasma, she stops. Kallin looks at her then turns and proceeds in. Kallin then looks for someone to help him. Sabil Yarcoug steps up and says “Can I help you, Brother Kallin?” Kallin says, “I’m in need of someone who can help me with nightmares.”
“Nightmares, you say? Tell me more,” she asks him. They sit and she makes some tea as Kallin recounts the events leading up to his persistent nightmares and then goes on to describe some of them. He does not tell her about the strange experience with the spirit in the villa today, for he is not sure if that was related or not.
“Well, I have seen it before, it is a common occurrence for those who have to call upon the Lady of Graves too frequently,” she says. “I do not believe it is a punishment, per se, more like you are just becoming very connected with her and are gaining glimpses into what she sees, and you are a Ghost-Talker as well. This could also be that while you are sleeping you have become more attuned to the spirit world and you are hearing those whispers as well. Would you be willing to sleep here tonight? I could place you under a Peaceful Sleep spell, I would think that could help. Father Dornall is out of the city now but I expect him back tomorrow, we could talk to him then.”
Kallin looks at her and says “thank you. I would love to have you place me under Peaceful Sleep. I may have to have you show me how to do that so I can do that myself. And since I don’t really have anything left to do tonight, I will stay here. But I’m won’t be just a burden on your hospitality. Please, if you need any task that I can take care of assign them to me. And I would love to talk to Father Dornall when he returns.”
Kallin assists Sabil and some of the other acolytes with their duties in the church that evening. He tells them about assisting with a birth earlier that day and everyone in the temple is quite excited. They tell him he is truly blessed by the Lady to have happened across that situation just like he did. The other acolytes are also quite taken by his animal companion, Peck, who has rejoined him after having flown off to who knows where for awhile. Everyone takes turns feeding him crusts of bread and other treats he seems to enjoy. The spirit bird, Tarnvasi, also reappears and lands on Kallin’s head, ruffling its tail feathers right in his face. Kallin smiles and starts to feel tired and ready for sleep.
Before it is time to retire for the night, Sabil takes him out to the small cemetery behind the church. She tells him this is the first cemetery of Magnimar, here long before the Church was built. Every night, one of the acolytes is charged with coming out and adorning each of the markers with a sprig of baby’s breath. “Life into Death,” Sabil whispers as she knees and cuts several handfuls of the small white flowers from a flower bed near the church. Kallin notices her small, silver-bladed knife, the same one she wielded when he first met her in this very same place. They walk slowly and quietly among the grave markers, placing the delicate white flowers on the top of the weathered stones. They are silent and the only sound to be heard is the soft cooing of a nearby whippoorwill. The temperature is dropping considerably as it gets later and by the time they return to the rectory, it is downright cold. “Thank you for helping me tonight, Kallin. It is nice to have you around the temple. I know you probably are not staying, but it has been nice to have you here. Come. Let us find a place for you to sleep tonight. I hope you do not mind resting in the bunk room with the other acolytes. Good.” She shows him to his place and as he lays down, she says a quiet prayer to Pharasma and places her hands on his forehead, then shoulders then chest. He feels a warm softness wash over him. His eyes close instantly and before he can even say thank you, he is sound asleep.
As Kallin falls into slumber, he finds himself in pasture close to home near Tarantil. He is walking along just enjoying the warm summer afternoon. When he hears a voice, “What is troubling you my son?” He turns to the voice and it is his mother. She is busy casting runes with a crow beside her. It is Tarnvasi but she is living. Luseldi looks up and repeats, “My cherished one, what troubles you?” Tarnvasi hops to Kallin’s shoulder. “Mother, what are you doing here? You passed and the last time I spoke to you was just before Pharasma brought you in.” Luseldi smiled, “You always looked at things very simply. That is part of your charm. Why can’t just accept this for what it is. Your nightmares, you fight them. Have you ever given yourself over to them? Maybe you could gain some insight into the goddess herself.” Tarnvasi squawks. Kallin considers this, then his mother says, “Let’s walk.” They walk for what seems like forever. He tells her about the group, how much like a family they are. Kallin tells the glorious adventures they went. She laughed when appropriate, cried at the deaths of Zursat and Vexeron. She thought it was wonderful Kallin made friends with two crows. Luseldi informed him that in most cultures that crows are the messengers for the goddess, Pharasma and that Kallin should feel richly blessed. Kallin informed her of the search for the shards and what they are. When he told her that the shard of Lust claimed him. She let out such a belly laugh. then poked fun at him trying to flirt with others. Then when they got to the village, the sun was going down. “Well, Sivjilli (a Shoanti term of endearment and her pet name for him), I must go and you must return to your world”
Moonday 22nd Neth
Putting a Bandage on Rag’s End
As Kallin woke, he found he was smiling as he was crying. He wasn’t sure if it was real but it definitely was good. After he helps Sabil and the other acolytes with some morning chores. He tells her that he wants to go into town just to experience people. When Father Dornall returns, Kallin asks if she could send a messenger to leave a message at the Luck’s End Tavern. Kallin plans to eat their around noon. He should be back shortly there after. Kallin makes his way to the edge of Rag’s End neighborhood. Finds a small abandoned area and tries to figure out a way to let the citizen’s know that he is providing healing services.
Kallin finds that, at first, business is slow, but after a few hours, it seems that word has gotten out and he finds that many of the poor residents of Rag’s End have need for minor healing and first aid. One thing he notices about many of his patients, they have a common, persistent cough and their teeth are stained red. Through a Body Reading spell, he is able to see that this is caused by some sort of addiction. A little asking around reveals that many of the residents of Magnimar are flayleaf users.
Right before lunchtime, as he is gathering up his belongings to head to the Luck’s End Tavern, several Varisian’s enter his tent. One of them, a sneering woman, callously steps right on the gear he is picking up. Another one kicks over a chair, which another one quickly leans down and rights before sitting it it, backward, head leaned in toward Kallin. “Well hey there, Tusker, whatcha got goin’ on here? Just think ya can open up shop and dole out the feel-goods like nobody’s business? Who left Abadar’s Vault open and left you in charge of the count? Oh yea, bloody nobody!” Kallin looks around and sees that there are 4 Varisian thugs, two men and two women, in his space and at least one more standing outside near the door. “Hey Horc, I’m talking to you,” the leader says, yelling at the kneeling Kallin. One of the Varisians has moved to stand behind him. The other two stand to either side of him, just out of arm's reach but close enough to jump in and become trouble quickly. They are all armed with long knives and the two to either side hold long, knobbed clubs. The seated Varisian sneers at him. “Well?” Kallin notices that each of the toughs wears an open collared shirt and each one has rope scars on his or her necks.
Kallin looks at the man, then bows his head as if to pray. He starts to cast an Armor spell, trying to mask it as a prayer.
Hearing the prayer and not getting an answer, the leader leaps to his feet, “Oh no, ya don’t, Greenie,” the Varisian shouts as one of his companions lunges forward, bringing his knobbed club down on to Kallin’s head! Kallin whispers another quick spell of shielding and feels Pharasma’s protective power flow through him, creating a glowing spiral above his head and stopping the blow that would have no doubt knocked him unconscious. Kallin hears him mutter, “What the hell?” when he sees that his strike is no good.
As Kallin defensively stands up, he looks at the leader and says, “If you wish to discuss this, give me time to get up and talk this over”. He thoroughly expecting another blow coming from another direction.
Kallin Needs a Bandage
The next blow comes, as does the next and next after that. Kallin fights hard but this group of young toughs seem quite skilled at fighting together and in close quarters. They give Kallin a bit of a beat down before being run off by a few Shoanti that Kallin had the pleasure of helping out earlier in the day. As the Varisian men are run off, the leader calls back, “Don’t let us catch you squatting and dishing out hope in this neighborhood again. The Gallowed don’t take kindly to that kind of business! Next time we won’t be so friendly!” Kallin, though nearly unconscious, takes note of the name The Gallowed and vows to remember it. The Shoanti help him make his way back to the Temple of Pharasma and he thanks them for their timely arrival.
The acolytes and priests at the temple hurry to help patch the beaten and bloody Kallin up and he finally gets to meet with the head priest, Father Dornall. He is happy to see Kallin but sad to see that he had a run in with one of the toughest Sczarni gangs in the city. He says he would have warned Kallin about trying something like setting up a hospitality tent in the neighborhood like that as it would have attracted too much unwanted attention. He explains that the gangs wouldn't want something like this going on in their neighborhood because it makes it harder for them to keep their sense of authority over the populace. He says that there are plenty of places more appropriate to set up shop to help people, like right here in the temple. Kallin is not happy with this explanation as he truly wanted to help the downtrodden folk of Rag’s End but Father Dornall just does not see it that way.
In other news, he says he is happy to help him sanctify his staff to make it more able to channel the power of Pharasma but asks that Kallin present himself to the Godsmouth Cathedral in Kaer Maga when he arrives. Father Dornall says he is in great debt to the High Priest of Fate, Mahajan Sandeep, and hopes that Kallin can help him repay the debt. When Kallin agrees, he also hands him a wrapped package. He explains that it is a holy text and some religious items that need to be returned to the High Priest Sandeep. It is old and quite delicate and urges Kallin to be careful with it. He urges Kallin to deliver it only to High Priest Sandeep and no others. Kallin solemnly agrees to this task.
A few times throughout Kallin’s daily routine he contemplates going out to help the unfortunate. Then Sabil makes a humorous remark. Kallin laughs, then feels the sharp pain from the broken ribs to remind him of the Holy Father’s advice.
Kallin looked forward to the daily tasks that he did with Sabil. She was funny, smart, and he found could talk to easier than other humans. He also didn’t feel compelled to seduce her as he did with other beings that he met.
Sabil Yarcoug helps him with the spell to alleviate the nightmares, temporarily, with a spell, but urges him to not cast it every single night, as it may interfere with his normal sleeping patterns. She also helps him with his back issues and shows him some exercises and meditation techniques that will help alleviate the problem.
After a few times of Sabil showing Kallin some exercise, he notice her body under the robes. Suddenly, he wants to seduce her but something compels not to follow course of action. During one of their sessions, Kallin lets slip an awkward flirtatious remark. He quickly apologizes.
The next day he tries very hard to keep his conversation with Sabil to a minimum.