Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chapter 4, part 3 - Star-spawn.

Halfmoon Bay was a city situated on the coast of Korindim, and had a reputation as a haven for thieves, pirates, and libertines of all nature. The city's inhabitants prided themselves on having little respect for those who would stifle the anarchic bustle of the city with useless things like rules. What laws were enforced in the city were generally confined to small oases of seeming peacefulness amongst the roiling torrent of chaos, and were never cheaply enforced, paid in either bribes or wages to some strongman in order to ensure that the purchaser of such services would remain unmolested. Several private mercenary companies provided security services for whoever could afford them, and most were not known to outright rob their clients, so long as their exorbitant fees were paid on time.

Down by the docks, several taverns stood which were rumored to have trapdoors under their tables, and tunnels to the nearby docks where many a ship captain would pay a pretty penny for another deck-hand for the long and treacherous trip to Mordo or other exotic ports. It was in the cellar of one of these taverns where Porphyria had just finished paying the associate of Lethik Nardan far more dekans of precious orichalcum than most people would ever see in a lifetime. She ignored the muffled groans coming from the handful of humanoids of various description who were sleeping off the effects of the knock-out drugs they had unknowingly ingested with their watered-down grog the previous night.

"Can I interest you in one of last night's catch, lady?" The voice which spoke belonged to Lethik's associate -- a rancid-smelling little man whose name Porphyria had already forgotten. "We've even got an ogre, if that's your fancy."

Porphyria looked around at the prone figures in their cages. Most were likely bound for service on one of the ships moored by the docks. The Discordian church generally frowned on the practice of slavery, and for a moment, Porphyria considered forcing the issue of their release. However, she dismissed the idea -- if the little man told Lethik that Porphyria had sabotaged his operation, there might be trouble with the plan. She answered, "What possible use would I have for an ogre?"

"What you do with 'em once they leave my cellar is none of my business, m'lady." The man nudged Porphyria with his elbow, winking. "Anyhow, I can see you're not that interested. Your loss, I suppose."

Porphyria nodded, saying, "I assume our business here is concluded then. Please let Lethik know that his price has been paid, and that our plan will not be delayed."

"Oh, I will," the man promised, "thank you for your patronage." He then chuckled and swatted Porphyria on the bottom as she made her way up the narrow staircase back into the tavern. To herself, Porphyria considered the possibilities for something bad to happen to this little man and his business after the mission with Lethik had been concluded, and was satisfied in her knowledge that those possibilities were nearly endless.

After bidding the stale air of the tavern a quick farewell, Porphyria stepped back into the streets of Halfmoon Bay, enjoying the smell of the ocean breezes which rolled off the harbor and pushed back against the stench that inhabited so much of the rest of the town. Porphyria paused by a small dockside shrine to Eris in order to offer a small gold trinket she had obtained earlier in the day, and was pleased to see the item vanish as it touched the altar. A moment later, a small brown rat appeared in an incandescent sparkle. The rat nuzzled up against Porphyria's ankle as she glanced down at it, wondering whether the rat portended something, or was merely a return gift from the Goddess. Porphyria shrugged, guessing that the rat was merely a display of her Goddess's sense of humor, and she shooed the rat away, stopping to watch as it ran aboard a boat with Dethek runes on the side that proclaimed the ship's name to be the Gilded Hammer.

Although her personal aura of darkness shielded her sensitive eyes somewhat from the glare of the overhead sun, Porphyria's eyes were still dazzled by sunlight reflecting from the waves as she reached the end of one of Halfmoon Bay's many docks. Reaching into a pouch at her side, Porphyria extracted a small black gemstone, releasing it into the air and sighing in comfort as the darkness around her deepened significantly. Porphyria scanned the calm waters of the harbor, seeing a spot in a shadowed cove where no ships or other watercraft were present, and she spread her wings and launched herself into the air, heading towards the secluded spot. As she neared her destination, Porphyria applied her psychokinetic facilities towards lifting her body, allowing her to come to a hover above the water without disturbing its placid surface. She felt the containment field of the psionic matrix she had bought the night before begin to slowly drain, sparing her the small effort of maintaining levitation.

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn!" Porphyria's words, spoken in the strange language of Ngaathgl, echoed through the cove and seemed to fill the air with a shimmering presence that lingered for a moment, and then dispersed. Porphyria felt as if an alien force were suddenly tugging on her spirit, and felt it siphon off power to fulfill the needs of her invocation. Soon, Porphyria saw two forms swimming under the water towards her, and she smiled as the pair of gogtzulu burst from the water beneath her feet and spread bat-like wings, coming to hover beside her.

Porphyria disliked involving the gogtzulu in her plan, but of all the monstrous and wonderful creatures afforded to the ELF by the pantheon of strange beings they invoked, there were none that were more suited to the task at hand. The problem was that the gogtzulu shared a collective consciousness that was dominated by Great Cthulhu, and Porphyria was uneasy with letting That Being know of her plans or her actions.

The two hideous creatures writhed the tentacles in seeming anticipation. Porphyria felt one of the gogtzulu attempt to establish a telepathic contact with her, but the attempt failed as it reached her formidable psychic defenses. The gogtzulu were typically speechless, not often deigning to communicate with those of other races, but universally understood the Ngaathgl language, and would follow her orders so long as Great Cthulhu willed it.

"Come," Porphyria ordered in Ngaathgl a moment before rising further into the air and turning inland. The land of Korindim stretched for as far as her eyes could see, and beyond, on the other side of the continent to the west, lay Andala and the city of Corna.


  1. It finally seems that people are getting more comfortable with the general layout of the lands.

  2. I can't wait to read about this raid.

  3. Doing some more development before getting to the raid... Probably will have something up sometime this weekend.