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  #26  
Old 05-11-2017, 07:00 AM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Orb of Venom Verz & Jet - Mogka & Chlrsuschiett - The Others

Jet churred softly. "Yes. Much was lost to your people when the Lokusi emerged. Perhaps, once the Grand Tribunal has weighed your case, we can work together to help restore some of your forgotten knowledge."

She pulled a silk curtain away from a side passage to reveal a large elliptical chamber. Several enormous sheets of paper-thin webbing hung in neat rows from an intricate wooden contraption mounted in the ceiling, which itself seemed to contain rolls upon rolls of even more glittering webs.

"Here we are," Jet announced. "These webs are encoded with the wisdom of our people, and the machine you see overhead is our library. It stores and dispenses the webs as needed." She clambered up the nearest wall and began pulling the levers and depressing the pedals of a control panel. One by one the pages hanging in the room were withdrawn back into the machine.

She looked down at the scout. "Now then. What would you like to see?"

---

Chlrsuschiett tilted her head. "You dislike the silk? It is our way. You would need to return to the surface to feel rough stone again, and that cannot be permitted until you have faced the Grand Tribunal."

---

"Oh, yeah, fine. Sorry Vel, just... this place is prettier than I expected. Brighter too."

Vel looked out at the city, then back to Pirx. Then back at the city, as if she had never seen it before. "It's home, I suppose. Yes. It is pretty, isn't it? But you should see Erasteraschni!"

Irk had learned to keep a respectful distance from her goblin, but the sight of Chrystishalha seemed to have a calming effect. Skez sighed, and even managed to smile at her. "Just a little tired," it said. Irk gave it a cautious thumbs-up. Grutharins found that reassuring, right? Or was it elves?

As the group began moving once again, Wuzosh gestured back at the Web and asked "Who's the figure there? Must've done something great to earn a monument like that."

The nearest xysticids paused and glanced back at the Dancer in its colors. They were all silent for a moment, their faces unreadable as ever. Then Zschechthett said, simply, "We don't know."

"Come on," said Clem, breaking the spell. "Umodu is hungry. Let's go find some food."

---

Most xysticids would probably find outsider cities ugly, noisy, and smelly.

I'm not sure what made me think of Hron as big. Perhaps his participation in Mogka's scouting party?
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  #27  
Old 05-11-2017, 10:54 AM
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Runes Politics, Wandering, and Food

Jet churred softly. "Yes. Much was lost to your people when the Lokusi emerged. Perhaps, once the Grand Tribunal has weighed your case, we can work together to help restore some of your forgotten knowledge."

"You have records from..." Verz freezes mid-step when he hears that, the notion that the Xysticid would have had records or contact with the continent prior to the Dominion forming hadn't even occurred to him, he nodded a bit as Jet spoke but his mind was racing, there were so few stories from prior to the Lokusi's arrival left, the urge to pour through anything the Xysticid had was... nearly overwhelming. But he felt himself shaken from that train of thought when he realized it wasn't another horizontal room, but merely the device at the end of the tunnel, that contained their records.

Of course it is, why would they need to put it horizontally? If anything this helps keep it secure.

Verz shifted his grips and footing to get comfortable, he expected he'd be there awhile. "Let's start with any records of previous groups in our position, or more specifically how any existing partnerships were made."

----

Chlrsuschiett tilted her head. "You dislike the silk? It is our way. You would need to return to the surface to feel rough stone again, and that cannot be permitted until you have faced the Grand Tribunal."

"Hrrth..." Mogka let out something between a sigh and a snort, She felt a bit exasperated but she should've expected as much, it was like expecting a Dominion settlement not to have the ground bricked or tiled.

She turned to face the Xysticid, scratching behind her ear as she thought.

"Alright... Have you got a tavern?"

----

Vel looked out at the city, then back to Pirx. Then back at the city, as if she had never seen it before. "It's home, I suppose. Yes. It is pretty, isn't it? But you should see Erasteraschni!"

"Well we are, aren't we? For the other Tribunal?" Pirx giggled. "How do you think they'll get us all there? Is it far away? What's it like? Brighter? Bigger?" The goblin rests her chin in her hands as she leans over the orcs head.

But as Wuzosh asks his question, and the Xysticid all froze for a moment, and gave possibly the most cryptic answer the Grutharin had ever heard, leading to a moment of awkward silence.

"Come on," said Clem, breaking the spell. "Umodu is hungry. Let's go find some food."

The others each return to their own little conversations, Wuzosh's brow furrowing as curiosity gnawed at him but he sensed a subject best left alone.

"Uh-huh, what do you have to eat down here?" The orc said.

"I didn't eat any earlier but they had deer before." Skez half-mumbles.

"Ooh! That'd be great, little salt, little mammoth butter, char it just a little on the outside and leave it juicy on the inside..." Umodu's practically drooling as he talks.

Hron meanwhile is still lost in his own world, if he got a writing utensil and something to write on he'd be scribbling rapidly, otherwise he'd be scrawling on his own arm or walking distractedly, still glancing around the chamber.

Towards the rear of the group, Furoq steals one last glance back at the figure on the flooring. "Is that somethin' we shouldn't ask about? A spirit or ancestor thing?" Furoq says softly to Stith, leaning over to her with a raised brow, gesturing back to the figure in the middle of the Web. Most Grutharin weren't terribly religious but mot regions had one or two taboos that were considered serious nonetheless, it was the closest thing he could picture to the Xysticid's reaction.

Most Grutharin cities are, but the Slate and to a lesser extent Warpact might appeal to Xysticid senses.

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  #28  
Old 05-11-2017, 06:59 PM
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Orb of Venom Mogka & Chlrsuschiett - The Others

Chlrsuschiett clicked her mandibles. "I'm afraid that if you are hoping to poison yourself, we do not cultivate ethanol on Istos. However, if you will be contented with non-toxic beverage, food, and shelter, I believe your companions are headed for an eatery not far from here."

---

Stith felt a tap on her shoulder as the party left the Web. "Is that somethin' we shouldn't ask about?" asked Furoq. "A spirit or ancestor thing?"

"No, no, nothing like that," she said, surprised. "It's... well, it's... God, yes? The real... The Truth, right? Sometimes it's called the Dancer, but... I mean, nobody can really know God, yes? It's an ideal. It's why we spin, why we weave... We hope to know someday, but..." She clicked her mandibles. "Not yet..."

The party trooped down the shallow incline of a great rope of silk. The xysticids crawled along either side, ready in case one of the outsiders slipped or lost their balance, but the silk cable was thick enough to be almost flat at its top, and it seemed unlikely it would pose a hazard.

The conversation soon turned back to a lighter shade, with Clem and Seth in particular happy to indulge the chatter of the lively goblin. Irk watched her own goblin anxiously, hoping she hadn't misjudged the hand signal. Zschechthett, meanwhile, had provided Hron with a sheaf of paper from her satchel, as well as a strange manner of self-replenishing ink pen, and watched curiously as the hobgoblin scratched and scrawled.

Some of the locals gathered in groups to watch them pass, pointing and whispering in their silent language. Others scuttled out of their way, glancing suspiciously back over their shoulders. The presence of so many hunters walking alongside the outsiders was clearly reassuring to many, but there was a definite tremor of anxiety in the air as the six Grutharins headed deeper into the xysticid city.

---

I think we might want to leave both Verz and the Company for now; maybe catch up with them again when the one has spent a few hours studying and the other has sat down to eat. Depending on Mogka's choices, we might want direct her back toward the Company as well.
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  #29  
Old 05-27-2017, 12:06 PM
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Runes The Eatery

Finally, something good about this wretched spider-filled island. Mogka thought to herself as she let a bite of honey-drenched venison roll across her tongue.

She hadn't been in the best of moods when she arrived at the eatery, and the few Xysticid that had left or stared and whispered in that strange clicking language of theirs had left her uncomfortable at first, but the others were in high enough spirits that it was rubbing off on her. They'd all situated themselves in a circle on the floor with their food set between them. She almost smirked as she looked up again and saw that Umodu's eagerness to try all the different kinds of jellied-meats the spiders made was still drawing a mix of amazed stares and laughter.

"C'mn! Sh'really goot!" He mumbled, mouth still half full as he waved a plate teasingly in front of Wuzosh. The other orc quirked a brow at first but relented, shrugging as he let a cube of what had probably once been rabbit slip down his throat.

"Doesn't taste like much of anything really."

"Y'h Shwalloot too fsht" Umodu chided at his warbrother, though the others all looked at him blankly before he gulped and repeated. "You swallowed too fast! You gotta let it melt."

Hron sipped at a cup of some kind of meat-slurry and shrugged. "Hmn, close to what we do with the soldiers that have broken jaws. Not bad. Needs more of that brown-red powder..." He sprinkled a bit of something that was not quite cinnamon into his drink and then continued to slurp it down.

"I'll stick to the honeyed porridge." Pirx snickered, tilting the bowl and drinking from its rim, before gulping and tilting her head at her meal. "Huh, how do ya think they make it goopy? Acid or just grind it up? Where'd she go so I can ask her..." She glanced aside for her guide.

Skez shivered at the thought and shook her head. "Not for me, I'll uh, stick to the regular rabbit." she murmured, chewing on a bit of solid meat.

----

After the meal ended, the group would talk amongst themselves for a bit, occasionally asking questions of their chaperones, mostly regarding the spices and honey since such things were rare in Gruthar, until Verz arrived.

The hobgoblin looked a bit tired and hungry, but was otherwise in a good mood.

"Ah, hello Captain... and everyone." He nodded his head to the bogrin first and then to the others. "What'd you recommend?" He chuckled as he looked over the piled dishes in the center of their circle.

"Definitely the fish-jelly! - No no the rabbit soup! - Not the bird stuff, it just doesn't taste right - That powder there isn't bad, some kind of off-continent spice. - Sorry we finished off all the honey." The flurry of suggestions sent up a bit of laughter as the hobgoblin picked up some plain fish and a cup of some unknown meat-slurry.

After a few minutes of idle chatter, the captain broke in, a firm undertone to her voice. "So what'd you learn?"

Verz perks up as the others quiet, the hobgoblin sighing a bit. "Well, without getting into the specifics... it looks good for us just because of the nature of our situation. We oppose the Lokusi and wouldn't have anything to gain from harming the Xysticid, and we stand to gain a lot with them as allies. I think they'd benefit from working with us too but they seem largely content as they are, aside from stating the facts it doesn't look like we'll change their minds, but we can sort of tilt things by making sure we present the situation as best we can."

Mogka nodded and snorted. "More tongue-wagging. Well, I'll leave it to you then unless you can think of some way the rest of us can be put to use." She tapped her chin, then wiped a bit of honey off in thought. "Hmn, after you finish eating we ought to find where we can sleep before the trip. I want everyone sharp no matter how this turns out." She glances over to Chlrsuschiett and the other chaperones, expecting the Xysticid to have been listening in, the spiders were nothing if not prompt.
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Old 05-31-2017, 01:58 PM
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Orb of Venom The Eatery

The xysticid wardens watched in amusement as their guests dismantled the buffet. A few friends from town came over to watch.

(I've never seen a live Grutharin before.)

(And there was a whole ship full of them! Must have been three [eights] or more!)

(Do they bite?)

(Not unless provoked. Mind your fingers, though, especially around the hairy one.)

(Why?)

(Hidden venom sacks.)

(You're joking, right?)

(I might be. Want to test it?)

A lanky cook set down a fresh pot of burgundy paste in time to hear the talkative goblin inquire how the food was made.

"HA! You ask for secrets of the xysticid cuisine? You wish to steal my recipe?" She turned to the nearest wardens, clicking her mandibles angrily. "You! You bring dangerous spy to my place! What you thinking?" Back to Pirx - "This grave insult cannot stand!" She waved a long finger accusingly and walked slowly forward, shaking her head. "You think you get away with this? Ha! I eat you! I eat you all up!"

But the other xysticids just laughed. Irk held her back with one hand, chirping "Easy there, Lhxevrfhn. You'll scare my poor goblin."

Stith reassured the outsiders."She's joking, we don't eat outsiders for asking questions."

"Or do we?" Seth asked Pirx, menacingly flexing her long, sharp fingers.

"I watching you," said Lhxevrfhn, pointing from her own eyes back to Pirx, but there was an undertone of that chirping, purring noise xysticids made when they were amused, the outsiders could hear it now. "Watch you back. Sleep with eyes open."

"Now she's just repeating threats that she's read outsiders sometimes use," explained Clem. "Not very well, either. Go home and study your Grutharin, Lhxevrfhn! You're embarrassing us!"

"Bah!" the cook said dismissively. "I Gruthar plenty good!"

"Go on!" came a chorus of yells from the other xysticids. "Get out of here!"

"Don't mind her," Seth said, when the cook finally retreated back to the kitchens. "She likes to think she's the funniest xysticid in Chrystishalha, even though everybody already knows that it's me."

Vel tried her best to answer her goblin's question simply. "The way we get our food so 'goopy' - good word, by the way, I haven't heard that one before - depends on the kind of dish we're making. It's all about flavor and texture, I think. I'll see if I can persuade Lhxevrfhn to drop the big mean xysticid act after this, and she'll probably be able to tell you more."

Eventually the scout, Verz, returned and shared what he had learned. The other wardens filled Jet in on what had happened, and before long the outsiders began to speak of rest.
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  #31  
Old 06-02-2017, 11:58 AM
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Default Dinner and a Show

Most of the Grutharin laugh at the cooks bluster, Pirx snickering loudly, which sadly fails to drown out the high-pitched sound coming from Skez, whose wide eyed visage makes her look like a frightened cat till Umodu pats a hand reassuringly on her head.

Wuzosh is the only one to note that Stith's reassurance doesn't mean they don't eat outsiders for -other- reasons, though Pirx bursts into laughter at Seth's menacing gesture and waves her empty bowl up like a shield, the atmosphere keeping him at ease. "Oh Nooo! I'll be made into goblin soup! With Jellied orc on the side!" She half-clambers up Wuzosh's shoulder and cackles, then puts on a mock pout looking at Lhxevrfhn. "At least... promise me I'll be delicious!"

Umodu chuckles at Seth and nods. "Hah, better work on defending your title, I think Pirx likes her."


Pirx lays dramatically across the orcs head like a bad wig as she looks at Vel upside down. "Heehee, neat!"
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Old 06-23-2017, 08:15 PM
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Orb of Venom Moments later

"Hmn, after you finish eating we ought to find where we can sleep before the trip. I want everyone sharp no matter how this turns out." Mogka glanced over to Chlrsuschiett and the other chaperones, expecting the xysticid to have been listening in; the spiders were nothing if not prompt.

Indeed, almost no time at all passed between the captain's words and the xysticids' reactions. Their response was almost instantaneous. As professional as they were, the xysticids of Istos would never leave an interlocutor to wait in silence while they gathered their thoughts into a response, particularly should that response be as simple and straightforward as that which Chlrsuschiett presented to her ward:

"Of course. We have a nest laid nearby out for outsiders such as yourselves." She motioned her comrades to stand. "If you'll follow us, you'll find eight hammocks hung out for you in a vacant nesting pod."

Stith helped Furoq to his feet. "I've always wondered about sleep. It just doesn't make sense to me. Why would you want to lose consciousness right when you're running out of energy. Wouldn't that make you doubly vulnerable?"

"Hey, Tit!" called Zschechthett. (Should you be talking about this?)

Both xysticids looked to Chlrsuschiett, who shrugged. (It's a Level B Minor Secret. Go ahead, they've been cleared as far as Level F.)

Stith continued eagerly. "See - We DON'T sleep, and I always hoped I'd get to ask an outsider how it works."

She wasn't alone, apparently. As soon as they got the nod from Chlrsuschiett, Clem, Seth, and Vel all joined in with a chorus of their own questions. "Why do you do it? Does it hurt? How long can you go without sleeping? How do you wake up? You don't really 'dream' do you? That sounds made up."
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  #33  
Old 06-29-2017, 11:23 PM
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Runes The Grutharin discuss Sleep, and Dreams

The Grutharin look between themselves, faces ranging from puzzled, to curious, to exasperation.

"Don't sleep, of course they don't, so they just sit up all night being awake, why not..." Mogka's brow furrows as she grumbles, half-certain the Xysticid will say they don't age next.

Furoq is the first to make a proper response as the others still struggle to wrap their heads around the alien nature of the question.

"Well it's not really a matter of 'wanting' to go to sleep, I mean I guess some people like sleep but at the end of the day most of us get tired and need to sleep anyway. It doesn't hurt at all, uh... as for defenses... usually we have different soldiers or members of the family take shifts guarding cities and camps while we sleep, or keep animals around to wake us up if anything goes wrong, plus we wake up on our own if there's a loud noise or somethin, so we're not too vulnerable." He shrugs, eyes tilted upwards as he continues to think through his answer.

"I know Goblins and Gremlins don't need to sleep as much... uh..."

"Gremlins don't sleep at all." Umodu breaks in, his tone dead serious, eliciting a groan from Pirx and Skez. "They don't!" he says insistently as Wuzosh looks off to the side with a sigh.

"I'm telling you Umo, Gremlins sleep same as anyone else, they just don't need as much." Pirx holds up her hands, counting off on her fingers for him as if explaining to a child.

"Ogres need nine hours to be rested, orcs and bogrin need eight, hobgoblins need seven, and gremlins and goblins just need six. Gremlins are just like me and Skez. Everyone knows this and you're making us look silly to the nice spiders!"

"They don't sleep so why's it so unbelievable that the gremlins don't? I'm telling you I stayed up for three days at the Crucible a few years back and the family I stayed with never went to sleep, not once."

"They were probably playing a prank on you somehow." Skez mumbles simply, though Umodu remains defiantly unconvinced.

Furoq snickers a bit at Umodu and shakes his head. "Uh, yeah, I didn't know the exact hours but Pirx's probably right, I know ogres can sleep standing up though, it was pretty strange when I visited the Slate once and walked into a room of them all just standing there..." he glances back to Stith/Tit, and tilts his head to the side.

"But you don't dream huh? Dreams are... Well they're like you're one place, or a bunch of places all jumbled together but not really and sometimes you know that it's a dream but other times you don't know till you wake up..." The orc tries to gesture, as if trying to grasp the concept with his bare hands.

"Nobody's really sure why we dream. There's actually a few interesting gremlin and goblin studies on it. Different kinds of dreams and nightmares, how chemicals and magic can affect them, things like that." Hron chimes in.

"Ugh, don't remind me, I volunteered for one of those, they wanted to find a way to make the Lokusi sleep more." She wrinkles her nose, shutting her eyes tight for a moment. "Big mistake, and not even anything to show for it, just gave me night-terrors for a week." after a moment, she glances to the Xysticid and smiles weakly. "Night-terrors are bad."

Verz lets out a slight, tired, laugh. There's a tinge of playful envy to his voice. "What I wouldn't give not to need sleep... so are all of you able to move and work constantly or do you still need periods of rest or slower activity?" He taps his chin in thought. "Mn, forgive me if that's too sensitive to answer."

Mogka snorts at the lot of them wasting time and rolls her eyes. "You can chatter about dreams after we get to the hammocks, let's go."
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  #34  
Old 09-08-2017, 09:44 AM
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Orb of Lightning

"Agreed, it is time to be on our way" said Chlrsuschiett. There was a chorus of muted protests as the captain's minder brought the conversation to a close. (Hush now, our guests are weary enough without entertaining your idle curiosity.)

(But they're interested, look at them!) - Stith

(Be that as it may, they have a long journey and an important trial to look forward to, and so they need their rest.) "Alright everyone, follow me..."

The trek to the nesting pod passed without incident, and soon the outsiders found themselves on the threshold of a spherical chamber hung with eight shimmering white hammocks.

The hammocks were of all different sizes, and strung within reach of a flat, circular net of the same substance, designed to prevent the guests from slipping into the unused lower hemisphere. Though thin and frail in appearance to the untrained eye, xysticid craftsmanship ensured it would withstand the outsiders' collective weight.

"We hope you find the accommodations to your liking," Chlrsuschiett said as the party approached the pods circular entry through the pod's circular entry. "Our tailors took your measurements while you were... indisposed, and we have woven your hammocks individually to accommodate your size and weight."
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:46 PM
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Runes

Verz and the others followed after their guides happily enough, bidding a fond farewell to any Xysticid they'd been speaking with that didn't accompany them.

The Grutharin seemed a bit more focused now that they had some food in them, though they were all happy to see the hammocks, it took a few moments for them to acclimate to the rather... unsettling origins of their bedding.

"Y'mean they...? Uh that's... weird." Wuzosh and Umodu said almost in unison.

"While we were... Oh. Hah, I see." Hron let out a wry laugh.

The goblins were the first to clamber up to their hammocks, finding themselves rather at home with the verticality of the Xysticid's dwellings.

"It's not sticky is it?" Skez murmured.

"Nah, fits like a glove!" Pirx announced happily as she settled in.

Mogka merely grunted while Verz and Furoq thanked the Xysticid for their forethought, but before long most of the Grutharin were fast asleep.

Despite his relative exhaustion, Verz found the gears of his mind still turning for a bit longer, tormenting itself with possible mistakes or things that could go wrong, and daring but eventually stillness won out and he drifted into the silent comfort of a dreamless night.
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