Ad Astra Per Arcana

Katya's Journal Part 22 - Family Reunions

Blood is thicker than water... but thinner than gold.

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The robed cultist seems to be taking his sweet time… so I take a moment to look around. Hmmn… 15 or so red-robed guys with knives chanting in some ancient Baazatu dialect. I close my eyes for a moment and concentrate on Omen, but all I can see is grey mists. Great… guess he’s just as lost as I am. I listen again to the chants when suddenly it clicks. That’s not ancient Baazatu… it’s the language of the ancient ones! Here? Wherever here is… if I wasn’t about to be sacrificed I’d love to ask them where they discovered enough of their language to learn to speak it.

Ah well… maybe in the next life.

I give a tug on my binds and have to fight a grin. While they may have latched down my braids, they didn’t realize that my powers effect all of my hair. Ebony strands lash out as the cultist fumbles with his dagger and wrap themselves around the cultist’s neck as I growl at him in his own tongue thanks to my latest hex. “You DARE attack the Chosen One?” I know… I know… a bit messianic on my part, but I figured I’d try to scare them a bit.

An axe swings out of the mist along with an angry looking Gif in a cowboy hat as it chops off the legs of the cultist I was choking. I’ve never been so glad to see that giant cowboy… but showing my gratitude will have to come later. I pull and twist against the ropes and just manage to free one wrist… which is enough with the help of my hair to free myself as Wayland proceeds to chop down another cultist.

Another cultist bursts into flames as Constance appears into view with another tiefling that makes me gasp. “Cousin?” I whisper in shock as he runs by with his spiked chain and takes out another cultist. “What the hell happened while I was gone?” I mutter to myself as Wayland chops another cultist in half with his axe.

“This is getting a bit crowded…” I finish freeing myself from my bonds and with a thought float up into the air to get a better view of things. I’ll deal with a cousin I haven’t seen in over 7 years appearing suddenly after we stop the people trying to kill me.

“Oh yeah.. just a few more steps to the right…” I reach into my pouch and rub the fur between my fingers as I begin the words to the Lightning spell that I had held in reserve. Let’s see how well that bit of augmentation works… The force of the lightning bolt pushes me back slightly as it explodes from my fingertips and fries the first cultist to a crisp. The second in line glows for a moment before falling to his knees while the third and fourth burst into clouds of carbon and dust. I’m hit with a dagger in my shoulder before I can gloat, however. Damn accuracy spells!

I can feel the air change about me as there’s a sudden dip of energy around us. My skin shivers and I can just tell that necromancy is afoot. As if the dead cultists turning into skeletons and getting up off the ground wasn’t a clue. I look to Constance to warn her, but am quickly taken aback as the usually invisible spirits that I had gotten used to about her seem to be a lot more visible… and a lot less friendly.

The lone cultist who managed to survive my spell gets up off his knees… only to find himself unable to defend against the swing of Wayland’s axe. The cultist falls while uttering something sharp and gutteral, and then fades away. Damn… I was hoping the skeletons would fade with his death. The tiefling that I believe could be my cousin rears over in pain as a sudden THUNK causes him to grab his… well… grab below the belt.

“By the gods! Did he get hit where I think he….” Wayland exclaims as he reflexively shifts to protect his nether regions.

The tiefling falls to his knees and wretches.

Gods… looks like it. Even if he didn’t get hit ‘there’… it’s close enough to make a man regret things.

“Time to get out of here!” exclaims Constance as she pulls out a strange device with a glowing green stone in it. “Everyone to me!” Before I can even move, however, there is a bright flash of light and suddenly I’m on the quarterdeck of the Bubbersaint in the hallway towards the front of the ship.

“Get to the helm room, Katya, we could use your help!” Constance exclaims over the tubes, and I take to the air as fast as I can.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I fly up to the helm room and take a deep breath before entering to try and calm myself. If it is my cousin, I need to play it cool. Hells, I haven’t seen him for over seven years… not since I tried to set him on fire with Keros Oil when he dipped my braids in Imp musk! I can’t let him know this whole experience has been rattling me. Just who were those cultists, anyway, and why were they after me? Could it have anything to do with the book?

“Yeah, I got this coin with a message on it, you see…” I can hear the tiefling say. “Esteban says he has a deal for us if I could get us all together.”

“Considering everything we went through to get her back, I hope the deal is a good one,” replies Constance. “I don’t want to have to fight demon apes again any time soon.”

Aww… they fought off demon apes to find me? I’m touched!

“Esteban isn’t anybody to fool around with though,” Hodey warns. “He’s a powerful Ogre Mage from the Trade Consortium on Sigil.”

“Ogres are bad enough,” Waylond agrees. “When they’re intelligent too… look out.”

“Hey… that’s all grand… but in the meantime, do you think I could get an ice pack or something?” the tiefling groans. “It’s still burning quite a bit.”

Aha! There’s my cue.

“Kargat! Why didn’t you say you weren’t feeling well? Let your favorite cousin heal your wounds…” I say with a wide grin as I open the door and walk towards him with open arms.

“K-k-katya… how nice to see you!” he says in surprise as he backs up a few steps into the bar. “Really… I feel fine…” he says weakly before passing out and flopping to the ground.

I kneel down and roll him over onto his back as I examine the unusual pink tinge to his cheeks and open his mouth to inspect his tongue. “Yup… that’s some nasty old school stuff right there.”

“What is it?” Constance asks worriedly.

“Essence of Hell Blossom Root… typical of your more barbaric fiends.” I reply as my eyes glow with a detection cantrip. I reach into the pouch at my belt and pull out a vial of a slightly glowing green liquid and uncork it with a grin. “Lucky for him I have experience with such things.” I reach down and slap Kargat’s cheek gently. “Wake up, sleepy head… time to take your medicine.”

“Ugh… fine…” he mutters and opens his mouth weakly.

“I thought you didn’t trust her?” Hodey jokes.

“It’s a family thing…” he answers after he swallows the potion down. “We’ve got dibs when it comes to killing each other.” The color fades from his cheeks after a few moments and he sits up slowly. “Katya… I think I may have gone mad. How’s Ribcage?”

“Far away from me, thankfully,” I reply with a wry smile as I help him stand up. “Welcome to the party, cousin… we’re all mad here.”

“Everybody hold on to your shit!” a voice warns over the pipes moments before the ship is shaken and buffeted by a magical storm. Kargat falls back on the floor and Wayland loses his footing, tripping over the helpless tiefling and falling down ontop of him.

“Mmmph…. going to be sick…” I can hear Kargat moan.

Wayland scrambles off of the tiefling as quick as he can and I help Kargat into a chair while doing my best not to laugh at the situation. “Here… drink this,” I set a shot glass full of Troll’s Piss down in front of him. “It will help put things into perspective.”

“Drinks! Now that sounds like a plan!” Hodey agrees and goes about pouring drinks at the bar as we all sit down to discuss what happened.

“Check out this dagger… looks pretty nasty.” Wayland sets a dagger on the table with a red eye on the end of the hilt and a black serrated blade.

“Wow… is that… that looks like the Baernoloth!”

“The what?”

“The Baernoloth are the race that proceeded demons and devils. In fact, they’re the near god-like race of creatures where demons and devils come from. There haven’t been a sighting of any of them in millions of years, though.”

Wayland looks at the dagger warily. “Is it magical?”

“It radiates evil like you wouldn’t believe… seems to be especially made for blood sacrifices.” I flip the dagger over in my hands and run a nail along the blade. “The one Connie picked up and has on her belt there is evil too and likes to make people bleed… but this one takes the cake.” I pull out a silk cloth and wrap it around the dagger before slipping it into my sack. “I’ll just keep it safe. So… what is this I hear about Esteban? What’s that weapons dealer want with us ?”

“Weapons dealer?” asks Waylond curiously.

“Yeah… he has a habit of making a profit by selling to both sides of the Blood War on the behest of a celestial. Last I heard he expanded into performance enhancing drugs and custom weapons. Kind of makes you wonder if he doesn’t have some of the blood line in him, honestly. Bloody genius if you ask me.”

“The more fascinating thing to note,” I say as I lean forward onto the table, “is that Esteban is yet another party from Sigil who is interested in us. Just what have we gotten ourselves into ? Can you play the message again, Garan?”

Cousin, it would seem that your recent actions and acquisitions have come to the attention of Esteban. If you want to talk business I am sure you can find us.

“Well, sounds like we need to get to Sigil after all,” Constance says as she stands up from the table. “Waterdeep is probably the best place to get there… let me go check my charts.”

“Hey…have any of you seen Omen after we got back?” I ask as I scan the ceiling for my feathered companion.

“Hodey probably ate him while you were gone,” Constance taunts.

“Guess I’ll just cut him open and check, shall I?” I answer snidely before taking a deep breath and concentrating as I close my eyes. Wait… yes… there… ropes… barrels… and multiple Kobolds in little tuxedos.

“Seriously… I need to make a sterility potion for you,” I chuckle as I raise my brow at Hodey.

“Speaking of… do you think I could make a summoning circle in your lab, cousin?” asks Kargat.

“It’s been set up with the proper protections… I don’t see why not. If you’re into summoning, you might like some new formulas I picked up… it’s some crazy old stuff from another dimension. You’ve got to be careful, though… it might blow your mind. Literally.” I wrap my arm around his shoulder and escort him down the hall towards my labs.

“But… you never shared your lab with me!” Constance pouts.

“I think that’s because you stole her book,” Wayland offers helpfully.

~~~~~~

After a few hours we’re all healed and fed after our latest escapade and fly by the Tears of Selune before coming into port to land in the waters near Waterdeep. Add another hour for dealing with the red tape and bureaucracy, and we’re ready to depart to look for the portal we need to get to Sigil.

“Ugh… it’s winter!” Constance groans. “I need to go shopping because I don’t have any winter clothes. Dang it… I don’t have any lady friends to go shopping with, either!”

“What about Katya?” offers Hodey. Constance looks at him in surprise as I look at him with a raised eyebrow.

“I think I’m going to go weapon shopping!” Wayland says cheerfully as he breathes in the brisk cold air.

“We should meet at the Singing Sword for dinner at 6 bells… that’s where the portal is.” says Hodey.

“I’m going to see if I can make a few coin with my contract services,” mentions Kargat as he gazes at the people with a smile. “What year is it again?”

~~~

We all meet up again for dinner after a few hours… Waylond with a bag that he can’t help but look at fondly every few minutes, Connie with a new jacket that she keeps running her hands over, Kargat with a look of disappointment and me with a look of resignation at having to play “girlfriend.” Thankfully they serve strong enough drinks here for me to get over it.

“Well I’m full,” Wayland groans after he wipes his chin and sets down his mug. “I’ve got the key we’ll need… shall we? I believe the portal is over by the men’s room.”

“Gods… I wonder how many rich drunk people have fallen through that one,” I chuckle as we get up from the table.

“Wait for me, you bastards!” we hear a voice calling through the crowded resturaunt.

“Hodey, where have you been ?” asks Constance.

“Time for that later…” he huffs as he looks back and we notice a dozen gruff looking fighter types pushing through the crowd towards us. “Time to go is now!”

~~

The spiky architecture and damp stench of the Clerk’s Ward quickly reminds me why I don’t usually spend a lot of time in Sigil. Hodey, however, is back in his element as we’ve come out not far from the Civic Fest Hall.

“I’m back! I’m off to see the family… I’ll be back in 2 hours.” And with that, Hodey disappears into the crowd.

“Where’d that little guy get off to so fast?” Constance wonders as she climbs up on Wayland’s shoulders for a better view.

“It’s going to take a while to see Esteban,” Kargat advises us. “Proper forms will have to be filled out… things have to be signed in triplicate, palms have to be greased…you know… the usual.”

“Sure we didn’t come out back in Ribcage?” I snort.

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DungeonMasterLoki Kenari_Sanura

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