Preceded by Game 26
Followed by Game 27
- Shandrel When the rest of the party finally leaves, the Duke escorts Shandrel and Yuki back into the secret hall, beyond his study area and back into the small living quarters where Shandrel was originally found. He lists off orders along the way. "You will stay in this room unless I come for you myself. You will do only as I command while you are here. While I am working with the Priestess you will not disturb us." When he has ushered them into the living quarters, he finishes with one last command, staring sternly into Yuki's eyes. "If you try to escape with him again it will cost more than just your life." He closes the door and there is a solid click, then footsteps going back down the hall.
- Yuki` quietly nods with every request, even the very last one, which left him with a feeling of dread that sat in his belly like a blackened pit. He didn't know what the Duke meant by that, but he felt a little more at ease when he finally left. "I..I'm sorry for everything, Shandrel. It wasn't supposed to happen like that.."
- Shandrel had been gripping Yuki's hand the entire time, though his gaze had remained on the Duke until he left. The cold seeping through the cloth of his sleeve was becoming uncomfortable, but his grip never eased up. It was a long moment after the Duke had departed that he finally seemed to come to his senses. "Ohh... Ahh? Wh- Oh no... What did he do...." He looked around with confusion. "Goddess- He's trapped you in here too- Ahh, my mind is so blurry- what just happened?"
- Yuki had known Shandrel was under some sort of influence with the Duke, had even tried to say it aloud, but no one seemed to believe him. He frowns slightly, trying to not think too much about how eager people were to dismiss the whole situation with him and Shandrel as frivolousness. "We fought the Duke..tried to anyways. He was more powerful than I thought. I tried to break the influence of whatever spell he had you under, but I couldn't..I eventually got him to agree to take me with you.." That wasn't EVERYTHING, of course, but Shandrel didn't need to know all the rest.
< Shandrel> aww babbyyy
< Yuki> ha ha~
- Shandrel closes his eyes and drinks in a deep breath. "I... Ahh. Yes he was trying- He wanted me to go to him and help," He squeezed Yuki's hand before he released it. His hand was becoming just a little numb. "But you stopped me," He wrapped his arms around Yuki's waist, holding him close, resting his head on his shoulder. "You shouldn't have- Now you're stuck here too." He launches into worried babbling that becomes more panicked the longer he speaks, "I don't know what he'll do to you, Yuki, he might /hurt/ you- You shouldn't have stayed, you're not safe here- I know he won't hurt /me/, but now- You- You're crazy- you SAW what he could do, so why-? You shouldn't have..." He chokes back a little sob as he buries his face. "I don't want anything to happen to you."
- Yuki had considered all that, there was a little bit of sense in him at the time, but he chose to ignore it all. "I couldn't leave you..I was already away from you for too long.." He remembered the conversation earlier that he thought they'd had at the gate, but then he remembered Shandrel saying that he hadn't left this room during that time, which might have meant... "Shandrel, I think I might have seen your brother.."
- Shandrel wipes his eyes with one hand as he stands up straight. His hands return to Yuki quickly, unwilling to give up any closeness to him for very long. His eyes widen at the mention of his brother, "Ah- James-- The Duke said he was out and about- I was beginning to think that was a lie. He didn't attack you did he?"
- Yuki "No, he didn't. I told you that we had spoken before, right? At the gates, you were leaving and in a hurry, but I suspect that was your brother posing as you so no one would follow him." At least, that's the only explanation he could think of. Admittedly he was distracted. Having Shandrel here with him again made him feel at ease, even though he knew damn well the danger he was in. "..but, it doesn't matter now. He's probably long gone now. Are you alright, though? I..I apologize for my brother he was just trying to snap you out of it, he just doesn't know his own strength.."
- Shandrel "I'm just concerned what he's doing masquerading as me..." This was certain to damage his reputation, but there were really more serious dangers with Bremon running around as what the public thought to be a kind and harmless priestess, so he tried not to worry about it. He touches his face where Valentine hit him, rubbing it a little. While there had been a dark bruise from the blow minutes before, his skin now showed no signs of damage. "Oh... It's quite alright, we were all a bit out of our minds, weren't we? I'm fi- ahh. It doesn't hurt anymore."
< Shandrel> man I can't tell you how much but I can say Valentine put a hurtin' on him haha
< Yuki> geez Valentine. < Shandrel> can you imagine how this would change the game if valentine had killed him lol
< Yuki> oh god Val.... Does Yuki still have his inventory on him?
< Shandrel> Ahh yes hmm We'll say the Duke confiscated his weapons though
< Yuki>fair enough
- Yuki rummages through his bag, hoping he had at least some potions left on him, but that appeared to not be the case. "I wish there was more I could do to help you..this whole thing just..everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. I'm sorry." Perhaps it was just the growing realization of how trapped he was, how helpless he was sinking in, but he sounds more and more defeated as he speaks.
- Shandrel shushes him gently as he takes Yuki's face in his hands, his long silk sleeves pulled over his fingers. "This... Ah- it's pretty bad, isn't it?" His voice falters a bit and he forces a little laugh- he's trying to sound strong and sure for Yuki, to reassure him, but it's difficult. "At least we're together." He rests his forehead on Yuki's, just barely. The cool of his skin feels nice. "As long as we're together..." He doesn't know what to say next.
- Yuki` is trying to keep his emotions in check. He wasn't accustomed to these sort of feelings at all. In the back of his mind, he knew he couldn't let himself lose control in front of Shandrel. After all, he was here for him in the first place. What sort of a hero would he be if he acted like a scared child in front of Shandrel. "Of course we are..." He carefully pulls Shandrel into as tight of an embrace as he could, not wanting to cause the priestess any more discomfort. "I would do anything for you..anything..even doing as the Duke asks. Everything will be alright."
- Shandrel makes a little noise that sounds like something between a whimper and a sigh. "That's what I'm worried about- What if he asks you to do something-- Ah, something uh... I don't know..." He rubs his forearm anxiously and fusses unnecessarily with the cloth of his sleeve. "I know there's not much else we can do about it, but I don't want you to also become a tool of his- whatever he's doing down here..."
- Yuki looks a little surprised, "You don't know what he's doing? What does he ask you to do when you're 'working'? He told me not to interrupt.." He figures whatever the Duke could ask him to do, it couldn't be too bad. He's probably done enough unsavory odd jobs before than he couldn't turn his nose up at whatever the Duke could think of.
- Shandrel draws a few inches away. He's still rubbing and clasping his forearm. "I... can't say. I mean, mostly because I can't ‘’remember’’- When he uses his magic like that, my head gets so fuzzy. And he always controls me that way when he calls on me to help him work. Something in his study, with the ghosts..."
- Yuki figured as much. "I see..." Again with the ghosts. What exactly was the Duke up to? He felt like he was missing an element to this puzzle, but he wasn't in a position to find out more right now. Still, he can see Shandrel is in some distress. Gently, he takes his hand, trying to ease his fussing, "You aren't hurt here too, are you?" He's very much set to pull the sleeve back to look for himself.
< Shandrel> Roll perception 8)
< Yuki> ohh natural 20. Just rolled in main chat
< Shandrel> heheh that's fine 8) gj Yuki
- Shandrel looks a bit more panicked when his sleeve is pulled up. He takes in a sharp breath and tugs it back down. "I'm fine, just, ahh, had an itch," He manages to say calmly. "Nothing to be concerned about."
- You manage to catch a glimpse of a deep red symbol imprinted on his forearm. It appears as some sort of thorny, circular rune.
<Yuki> can I roll a knowledge check for that symbol?
<Shandrel> Certainly 8) That'd be Arcane knowledge. Or Spellcraft if you have any of that.
- Yuki ah, doesn't look like he does. He'll just have to ask about it later. Yuki will have to remember that symbol, as it isn't something he recognizes. He lowers his voice a little, suddenly a little worried that the Duke could very well be listening in somehow. "Did he do that to you?"
- Shandrel licks his lips and swallows, nodding ever so slightly. He keeps his hand clamped over his arm, over the symbol. "I didn't know- I... I agreed to it... But I didn't think..." His voice becomes just as low and he stares at the ground in shame. "At the time, I believed... He said he-- Hnn. I can't say- I can't speak about..." He squeezes his arm and sighs. "Sorry... I wish I could tell you, uh, about it."
- Yuki debates pressing the matter further, but after all that went on, he didn't want Shandrel to feel like he was just using him for information. "It's alright, I'm just worried about you. When you left that ring and those plants..and when we..well, when I thought we talked at the gates, I thought I'd never see you again."
- Shandrel moves in close again, caressing his face. "I was beginning to think the same... I knew something was going wrong when he wouldn't even let me send letters... That's why- He only let me send small things, little gifts... Ah, it sounds a bit silly now, but ahh..." He laughs softly to himself, "Well flower language is popular among the nobility lately, but I don't think he's keen on fads, so he didn't realize the Love Lies Bleeding could have been a warning..."
- Yuki didn't even know that's what that plant was called at all, but he acts as though he knew it all along. "Very clever." he replies with a smirk, "Though I must admit, our stumbling on this room was a bit of an accident. We were searching for a rakshasa with a crocodile's head. I thought it a little strange that it would make a run for the keep, but with all the guards to disguise as, I suppose it makes sense." He looks at the walls, and in particular, the place where those odd emotion bottles once stood, before Valentine had snatched them all. "I hope the Duke doesn't notice what's been taken.."
- Shandrel "Ohh. The crocodile..." He bites his lip and frowns a bit, but doesn't say any more on the subject. "Ah was something taken? I didn't notice. What-- Ahh now that I think about it, don't tell me. In fact... Yuki, do be careful about the trust you place in me. I can't keep secrets from..." His voice trails off as he turns towards the door, listening.
- Heavy footfalls can be heard approaching the door. When it opens, the Duke is there with a few guards. Shandrel again becomes highly attentive towards the Duke. "Come with me," He addresses both Shandrel and Yuki. "Don't speak to anyone without my permission. These guards will also give you orders on my behalf. Obey them as you would me."
- Yuki hadn't considered that. Damn, he really was getting careless..but perhaps he could use that to his advantage. Before he could really get a good scheme going the Duke is back once more. He merely nods at the Duke's requests, figuring that it would be in his best interests to behave himself. He just hopes he'll keep in control of his own mind enough to figure out what was going on.them as you would me."
- Shandrel The Duke leads them out of the secret chambers, through the main hall - now vacant- through a few more halls until they reach an opulent dining room. There are servants preparing the table for the next meal. A meaty, spicy scent lingers in the air. The Duke speaks to a guard, "Escort this one into the kitchen and tell the cooks to feed him. I must speak with the priestess alone." One of the guards nudges Yuki towards the kitchen door.
< Shandrel> This will be a sort of part where you can do things if you want, but if you want Yuki to just behave wait for them to finish talking, we can skip to after they talk hahaha.
< Yuki> hmm… I think for now he'll just behave. He doesn't know enough of what's going on to really act out, but he'll probably refuse the food.
- Shandrel A couple of the cooks seem offended by Yuki's refusal of the food- the halfling cooks, to be specific. The human ones are either indifferent or glad they don't have to be bothered. The guard keeps Yuki in the corner of the kitchen that wasn't occupied by bustling cooks for several minutes. After maybe twenty minutes another guard from the Duke's cadre beckoned them back into the dining room....
- Shandrel ...It appears the Duke has left now, leaving the guards to deal with his 'guests'. When Yuki enters the room, Shandrel smiles and goes to him. The guards stay in a loose formation around him. "Ahh, Yuki, I just asked and, well, I managed to convince him to let us roam around the keep a bit. Stretch my legs. I've been down there so long, you know? Are you up for a stroll around the keep?"
- Yuki "Oh, of course. I can't imagine how dreadful it must have been to be stuck there for as long as you have." Although he's not suspicious of Shandrel's intentions, he certainly is of the Duke's. Still, he will keep up appearances for the guards, offering his arm to Shandrel in a gentlemanly fashion. "Lead the way, my dear."
- Shandrel beams as he wraps his arm around Yuki's and pulls him gently. "I think the sun has gone down enough by now... Has it?" One of the guards nods. "I would like some fresh air. Can we walk on the ramparts? I want to see the ocean, too." The guards sigh and one of them rolls their eyes, but they don't seem to have a problem with this. "I'm quite fond of the sea, there was nothing at all like it the Underdark," His tone is much more upbeat now. He even has a little bounce in his step.
- Yuki` is genuinely quite happy to see Shandrel so energetic, but he tries to mentally keep himself prepared for anything. For all he knew this was one of the Duke's tricks. "Well, hopefully, if I behave myself, the Duke will allow me to stay with you, then we can come up to see the ocean together whenever we're allowed. In all honesty, I don't believe my party will be back for me."
- Shandrel frowns at that last statement, "Oh? I thought you all were closer than that. Certainly they'll try to get you, won't they...? I mean... they had a hard enough time leaving without you to begin with." They passed a sparse garden area, moving towards the walls that surrounded the whole estate and a stairway that ran along the interior, leading up to the ramparts. Dozens of torches gleamed in the dusk along the ramparts, where even more guards were stationed than earlier in the day.
- Yuki` "My brother will raise a fuss, as foolish as he is. I think the others were more worried about losing room and board in town. I can't say I blame them. No sense in losing all the resources here because a silly genasi is chasing his heart." He replies with a laugh, not sounding self-depreciating in the slightest, surprisingly. He could very well be talking of the weather. "Besides, they have other matters to attend to first. As long as I behave, we'll both be fine."
<Shandrel> kawaii <Yuki`> he has a way with words ;)
- Shandrel chuckles warmly, patting the arm he had his own wrapped around. "Well, I still bet we'll see them again eventually. Surely they will begin to miss their handsome, cold friend~" They made their way along the ramparts towards the side of the compound that looked out at the sea. The fortification was so close to the edge of a high cliff that at the closest part the wall was almost flush with the cliffside. "Ahh, look. Isn't the moonlight lovely when it shines over the ocean?" Shandrel said in a wistful little voice.
- Yuki` is trying his best to not let his guard down. After all, technically they were both being held captive, and enough weird things have been happening here, but it all was so beautiful. "It truly is. T'is a shame we have an audience right now." he chuckles gesturing towards the guards. "I wouldn't want to embarrass my priestess by asking for a kiss now, unless she truly desires it.."
<Shandrel> ohohoho <Yuki`> it's like, hello boy, you're being held against your will and this is all you're worried about? Priorities man.
<Shandrel> this is the logical thing to do
- Shandrel lets out a velvety little laugh as he took hold of him by his collar, gently pulling him close. He took a few steps closer to the edge, to get even a little more distance between the two of them and the guards. He pulls him in close, as if to kiss, but stops short, whispering so very faintly, "We could escape now if we jumped..."
<Yuki`> I feel like I should sense motive for that, just in case. :|c <Shandrel> Certainly
<Shandrel> Seems legit. He looks determined about this plan.
- Yuki` smirks slightly, moving his arms around Shandrel and hugging him tightly, aware the guards are likely still watching. "My darling, I hope you realize, it's quite a drop should we fail." he replies in an equally hushed whisper. "but..if you think we can, then we must."
- Shandrel "It must be quick. But I can only cast one spell at a time, to protect us." He says this all in the most loving tone, as if he's whispering sweet nothings to him. "Jump first. I'll protect you. It will only take me a moment to join you." One of the guards coughs loudly and scowls at the pair.
- Yuki` isn't sure about that, there must be another way, but he could hear that guard behind them. Talk about rude. "I would rather you jump first..but we don't have much time to debate.." He looks at the guard over his shoulder, making a bit of a show of wiping his mouth, but giving him a pleading sort of look, as if to say 'a moment more, please?'.
<Shandrel> Roll me a reflex save
<Yuki`> lol critical fail
<Shandrel> perfect. I mean 8)c
- Shandrel frowns down at Yuki, but doesn't speak again yet. One of the guards meets Yuki's gaze and just glares back. He lets out a big, annoyed sigh and says, "Just get it over with already. Haven't you toyed with him enough?" But he looks at Shandrel when he says this. Shandrel shrugs and without a moment's hesitation he gives Yuki a push that is surprisingly strong for someone so frail looking, sending him over the rampart's edge.
<Yuki`> eh heh heh -I mean, you monster
<Shandrel> I'd say I'm sorry but I don't think my bluff is that high
<Yuki`> lol <Yuki`> so should I be rolling climb or something to see if he can get a hold of something?
<Shandrel> Well that superfailed reflex save will probably prevent you from catching the rampart ledge buuut it is a pretty long fall he could attempt to snag part of the cliff along the way
<Yuki`> that would be fine. I'm inwardly cringing for his fingers though.
<Shandrel> yeah dang haha
<Yuki`> okay, I'll roll first then type a response
<Yuki`> LOL Hoss. Hoss is trying to kill him
- Yuki` curses to himself. He should have /known/, he should have suspected it, but in his own foolish optimism he'd let his guard down even after he said he wouldn't. Not that he should really be worrying about that right this moment, he should really be worried about stopping his fall, but his attempt to find something to hold on to was mostly just a lot of useless flailing that only really succeeded in scraping his fingers a little. He can't clear his head enough to try again, and could only close his eyes to blot out the sight of the approaching waters and the jagged rocks below him.
<Yuki> QQ is going to kill me lol
<Yuki`> *flails* she's gonna be so maaaad and I have to not say anything. that's going to be hard
- Shandrel The surface of the water hits you so hard felt as if it might as well be solid ground- and then you feel the sting of the sharp rocks. However, even through all the pain you can feel a warm, soothing sensation centered around the platinum ring and - while the fall was certainly painful, it seems your body is not quite as devastated as it ought to be...
Yuki takes 23 damage
<Yuki`> and now the Duke is going to be even less happy lol
<Shandrel>Lol I rolled 47 damage he'd be down to 1 hp haaahahaa. But something halved that ;)
<Yuki`> omg we're so awful
<Yuki`> Yuki has 19 left because he did take some damage from the fight before.