Anima: Beyond Malaz

Enter The City Of Blue Flame

Kruppe is ever so saddened that this glorious of titles does not include my most...

• Day 103 heading into Ruse
• With the chair active, Jack notices that there is a Fragment glowing in the back of the chair. He pries off a few of the pieces of wood, and sees a collar of metal spines and sharp edgy bits inside it. With no mages that he trusts on the ship, he goes over and shouts down to The Wicked Wench to demand Elspeth and Claptrap come to his ship. Elspeth doesn’t want to go since they would have to somehow board the ship while they were moving. Claptrap offered to carry her, grabbed her, and was then picked by him, tried to hit him but couldn’t hurt him, asked Nadiel for some assistance, and she fired a chunk of the deck to try and harm him but instead catapults them through the barrier, and onto The Black Pearl to crash atop Jack. Jack welcomes them aboard, tells them regarding what they need to do, promotes Claptrap to cabin boy of The Black Pearl, then takes Elspeth down to “The Throne Room”.
• Jack shows Elspeth the strange collar, and Elspeth says that it shouldn’t be required to keep the ship going through the warren, merely making its way to start as the initial catalyst. Jack wants to know how sure, Elpeth says 75%, 25%. Jack takes it, and resists the psychic resist.
• He sees a vision of a large central nexus with many pillars, there are one of a king, a dwarf, a queen, a shadowy warrior, and a plagued one, with a shattered pillar as well. There are many different warriors around the nexus, and a woman with wax over her eyes and a flame in her hand. From a massive summoning circle in the center of the room appeared an armored warrior wearing a collar similar to what Jack now holds.
• Appearing back within his old body Jack is given the offer of wearing the collar to learn the ancient art of harvesting souls and using them for power, and profit. Jack puts the collar on, and it sucks the youth out of him and dessicates him into a near corpse. Elspeth is understandably disturbed by this new sight. Then Jack learns that he is also immortal now, although he will lose all souls that he had not used yet. Then Jack and the others begin prepping things, organizing all of their gathered loot from the previous fights, with things getting scattered and sent to each other and placing things.
• Emack begins learning new spells, Fynn begins training with Dave to learn Use of Necessary Energy. Ryn makes her way over to her new crow’s nest, assembles a small nest of the ruinous detrious in the corner. The next day she wakes up to find a small girl that introduces herself as the double-winged hawk girl there, and offers her a GC, which allows Ryn to get 10 White Wood Arrows, which are of exceptional quality, so she tries giving the girl another GC and thanks her for the others. This does not get her more arrows however, so Ryn begins wondering what other form of shiny things she might be able to give this double-winged hawk girl in order to retrieve such incredible rewards. Elspeth is recording all of the values of all the loot inside their new holds.
• Day 110 evening.
• Another portal opens up and a massive city with a glowing blue light hovering above it is on the view. None seem to know where they have arrived at, Cynthia not recognizing it. Then Dave comes up, and informs them that they are now in a lake, and that it is the city of Darujhistan there before them. They realize they will need to transfer all of the loot onto The Wicked Wench, since they can’t put The Black Pearl into the port. They fully load everything onto The Wicked Wench.
• They go into the port, all along on The Wicked Wench, running very low, and coming into port. They are actually below the deck, with the harbormaster giving them a most interesting look. Elspeth explains they are going to be selling things while they are there, with “The Admiral” covering the other papers needed. Admiral “Smith” gives them 79 GC as a bribe. Then, since it is the dead of night, they decide to wait until morning. Fynn contemplating how to use and abuse all of the gas-powered lighting of the city. Now in port, Jack gives Emack his old hat, because all captains need to have a proper hat in order to gain the respect of their crew. Emack wears it proudly, adding to his already absurd appearance.
• They sleep the night aboard the ship.
• Day 111
• On the morning they head out from the ship, trying to discover a buyer so that they can take them in order to find someone with the profit to be able to purchase everything they have. They head in, Elspeth asking if the dragon’s would be able to actually smell the gold and find them. Applejack accuses them of being prejudice towards everything that they can do, until she starts sniffing, and says they should follow behind her to the scent of nutmeg, nutmeg. Fynn sniffs and says that it more reminds him of apple pie. Then they make their way through the city.
• They begin making their way through the city in order to find the variety of various shops and guilds which run the great and massive variety of the shops around them in order to determine where all they can sell everything to. They decide that there are mostly three guilds that they will need to deal with in order to sell everything that they need to do. The three guilds they decide they need to meet with the blacksmith guild, the jewelers guild, and also the textile guild.
• Elspeth heads to the various different guilds with the others, using her usual negotiation tactics with them, and setting up some meeting times with each of them for selling the gems and the jewelry, and then also working on the textile group for other ones. They decide that they will pass on the offers from the blacksmithing guild, since it is essentially a joke of an offer for the weapons so they want to keep them in for the armory aboard. They set the appointments up for 2:00 pm for the jewelers and 3:00 pm for the textiles, then head back to the ship to be able to enjoy a relaxing lunch in order to prepare and arrange themselves for everything appropriately.
• Returning to the ship, Cynthia informs them that there is an incredibly strange man down in the galley, offering to buy the items off of them. Then they head down, going down into the galley they find a man in a broad red waistcoat, incredibly broad gut, and a ratty beard and moustache. He greets them, compliments their cook on his incredible amount of food and profit of all forms of wonderment and merriment. When they see how much food that the man actually had eaten they were all quite surprised and wanted to know who exactly he was. The man introduced himself in an exceptional amount of flamboyant tendency that is the very existence of Kruppe. They then begin discussing the matter of why he is here, how wonderful and everything that is going on with their cook and crew and everything regarding all of the previous meetings that they have had that neither remember and get along in the initial stage. They begin to get a great deal of arrangement and negotiations. He says that there are many different arrangements that need to be made, other collections and groups which must be done, and also that there are many other negotiations that must be made. They try and negotiate why Cook should be allowed to leave for the shore early so that he can stop cooking so that Kruppe doesn’t eat all of the food that they have in their ship. Then they actually attempt to discuss a few things. Eventually (and I do mean eventually) they get to the fact that Kruppe knows the other forces they are working for (Deckard and Suitengu), that they are gathering Reality Fragments, that Kruppe knows where some are, and that he is willing to tell them where some of them are for payment and to get to pretend that they will return with the Fragments to him so that he may change the world as he views into a more perfect form. When asked why he would be willing to help them if he suspects they will be trying to sabotage him eventually anyway, Kruppe is very blunt in his answer. All that Kruppe wants is to ensure that in this new world that is made there is enough Kruppe for all men and women (especially women) to be able to enjoy the blessed company of. When asked by Fynn if this meant an individual Kruppe for everyone Kruppe seemed quite aghast, saying that one Kruppe is completely and utterly more then enough for everything that the world needs, he simply needs the free time to move around and interact with them all. During this talk Kruppe made his way to each of the members with Reality Fragments in their possession and somehow made contact with the people and/or the Reality Fragments, including playing golf with the new Hammer Fragment that Bo’sun had with him in his quarters. Elspeth was more then slightly terrified when she was unable to sense any magic from the man at all, trying to know how he was getting all these incredibly important, and well locked away, items from them, yet he always seemed to be returning them at least. So they begin to discuss exactly what Kruppe can do for them when it comes to buying the merchandise that they have in their hold, but they already have some people coming to look at them. Therefore, they want to keep Kruppe around in order to keep him to increase the prices that they will get for the wares they are selling. Now, in order to prevent Kruppe from devouring the entire ship’s stores of food, Captain Emack decides to give him a tour while everyone else eats their lunch and prepares for negotiation. While showing Kruppe around, Emack can’t help but notice that the man keeps bringing out more food, that looks suspiciously familiar to their own stocks of food and rum again. The others that are left behind are more then slightly concerned by Kruppe’s knowledge, although Jack is more worried about whether his private alcohol stores remain unpilfered.
• At 2 pm the jeweler’s guild representative, an older and harsher looking woman, arrives at their ship. Elspeth greets her, along with many of the crew prepared for unloading gems. When they open the upper locking barrier of their hold and reveal the massive collection of gems, jewelry, and incredibly valuable other swag. Even with all her years of training and self control, she gives a reaction based on the massive amount of wealth before her. Elspeth tells her she appraises the valuables at 50,000 GC (the actual value), and so the woman begins the bidding at 30,000 GC. Elspeth takes this as an insult, but isn’t able to force the price any higher on her own. Then Emack and Kruppe make their appearance, and the bid off commences, eventually leading the jeweler’s guild representative to offer them 40,000 GC so long as she can leave and they keep Kruppe away from her (since he had been unsubtley hitting on all the women aboard the ship, making most of them flee out of sight, but still close enough so that they could listen, like Ryn in the crow’s nest). When Kruppe cannot beat that offer Elspeth accepts the jeweler’s guild offer, assigning Gutter and a few of the other crew to serve as an escort for returning her to the guild. Gutter extends his arm most nobly (despite all of his seagull attire) and to everyone’s surprise the representative takes it. Then they leave, heading back to the guild. Elspeth then has some of the crew start loading the gems into chests onto the Fragment of a Broken Wagon Wheel, transformed into a wagon, so that they can transport them and get paid.
• At 3 pm the textile guild’s representative arrives with several servants following him. Unfortunately for Elspeth’s negotiations, the crew is still loading up gems and they couldn’t actually get down to the tapestries yet. Therefore, Elspeth apologizes and offers the man some rum since it is really all they have to offer for drinks. The man accepts, has his servants set up a chair and sun-umbrella for him to sit under, while Elspeth brought out some rum for them to enjoy. Kruppe also sat and waited, but he somehow brought out a bottle of wine and began drinking glasses of wine and not offering it to the competition, creating a little bit of bitterness. After another 52 minutes (there was a lot of treasure, and the old tapestries were right on the bottom), the negotiations could begin. Elspeth once more told the actual value of the tapestries (1000 GC now that they have been cleaned), so the textile guild man offered them 300 GC. With the bitter bidding inspired courtesy of Kruppe, eventually the bidding is able to get the textile guild to pay the full 1000 GC for the tapestries to be delivered to the guild at their earliest convenience. The man then has all of his servants pack up their belongings and leave.
• Kruppe, very pleased to have gotten them a great deal of money even if they won’t actually sell the items through him, but he believes that a celebration must be had, with food, drink, and women (lots of women) for a great victory. Jack insists they do the party at Kruppe’s place, so he invites them over to The Phoenix Inn, telling them to bring all of their fun with them. Then Kruppe vanished in order to begin preparing for the celebration.
• As soon as Kruppe leaves, and when all of the gems and tapestries have been loaded up, Jack, in all his dried out beef jerkey glory, has a discussion with Elspeth about lying to people about the value of items, so since the jeweler’s bought 40,000 GC worth of gems, so they are going to take them 30,000 GC worth of the valuables and then re-sell the other portions of them. Elspeth grins, and agrees with them, so they take off several chests of gems, to take the others to them.
• Once the wagon is laden down, they take the smaller percentage of the gems to the jeweler’s guild, delivering it to them, and finding that Gutter was still with their representative, talking very nicely. They take the gems, and pay them the 40,000 GC that were promised. Then Elspeth takes the tapestries to the textile guild and they received the other 1000 GC there as well. Then they take them back to The Wicked Wench.
• Back on the ship, Elspeth divides up all of the shares of the money received, finds that one share is missing, although the ship fund percentage is still there, so Elspeth assumes Gutter took his early (or was given it early by his new friend), and gives all of the crew of The Wicked Wench their shares and allows half of them to take their shore leave, but first they need to take the remaining gems to The Phoenix Inn with them for dealing with Kruppe, celebrating, and hopefully fencing them as well.
• They make it to The Phoenix Inn, taking in the chests of gems and treasure. Inside, they find that there isn’t really any form of party going on, simply the collection of bar usual patrons, and Kruppe sitting at a table with a massive collection of dainties and drinks, with 2 large men beside him. The crew are quite surprised, but join Kruppe at the table when invited over, sitting down while the other crew sit on the chests they brought. They begin celebrating, mostly Kruppe, who thanks them from bringing their large gift for him to sell for them, and get the money back to them afterwards. The pirates want to know why he can’t just buy them now, Kruppe admitting that he doesn’t actually have the money, and was simply helping drive up the cost the other guilds would pay for them (which the other pirates also appreciate). They want to know how Kruppe will get the money back to him, and then Kruppe says he needs contact with something incredibly important to at least one of them. Since none of the women wish to have a romantic encounter with Kruppe, not surprising, so Jack offers to give Kruppe one of his incredible and rare alcohol items, which Kruppe says should work just well. Now, Kruppe begins discussing the real business, forced into it by his companions Councilor Coll and Rallick Nom. Also, the staff at The Phoenix Inn requires all the pirates to pay for their own food and drink, not letting them share Kruppe’s tab (which makes Jack and the others realize that Kruppe may not actually be as powerful and influential inside this city as they imagines), so most of them just throw down a GC and say to keep the food and drink coming to them, which makes Meese exceptionally pleased, also the rest of the staff. Through Kruppe’s exceptionally rambling approach they eventually get out that Kruppe is willing to point them all towards 7 different Reality Fragments that are within the city, so that they can assist and gather them all up. As this negoatiation is completed, they are invited to enjoy themselves, so the general crew members all run from the inn in order to gather up booze and romantic partners for the evening. Jack, Fynn and Applejack, Elspeth and Nadiel, Emack, and Ryn all just decide to get rooms in The Phoenix Inn to enjoy a relaxing night before going to get the first Reality Fragment, which is apparently kept in the lawn of a strange house known as The Finnest House, so they need to talk to the groundskeeper since if they step off the path they will attempted to be eaten by the yard. All things considered, the pirates sleep exceptionally well.
• In the middle of the night Elspeth awakens and smacks her forehead (after freeing her arm from Nadiel). She remembers that she actually forgot to tell The Black Pearl crew that they could have shore leave. And those pirates really needed some shore leave.
• Day 112
• When they wake up there is a great deal of general actions that certain people intend to do before going to the Finnest house. When they head back to the ground floor of The Phoenix Inn, the pirates find Kruppe still seated in the same spot. Some wonder if he has actually been sitting there since last night, and Kruppe’s answer is vague enough to not put them at ease. Then they split up for preparing for the day ahead.
• Jack, Fynn, Applejack, and Emack return to The Wicked Wench in order to relax and plan for going to the Finnest House. Elspeth also returns with Nadiel so that she can pay all of the members of The Black Pearl, and let the half that get shore leave enjoy it. The ominous rumbling and song that is chanted as the people bring the longboats over from The Pearl ripples through the air as the men of The Black Pearl take their share, and begin filling up all the nearby brothel. Fynn, Applejack, and Elpseth begin having a conversation regarding the fact that whenever they enter a city they artificially inflate the economy to terrible levels and states due to the rapid influx of gold. Elspeth, Jack, and Emack, all begin to consider their buying all of the brothels in ports they frequent, so that they can get all the money back that the crew spends there.
• Ryn, on the other hand, heads to the market district of Darujhistan in order to buy a large collection of different exquisite jewelry items that she can give to the double-winged hawk girl in hopes of making some profit in getting more of those exceptional arrows. Ryn also wonders where the girl gets those arrows from, but concludes it probably is easier, and more fair for the child, for her to just trade the items for them, since she didn’t see the arrows in the nest the first time anyway.
• After the coin is dealt out, and Ryn returns with her many new shiny items, Jack, Emack, Ryn, Fynn, Elspeth, Nadiel, and Applejack head into the city to reach the Finnest House.
• They are stopped at the wals to the Estate District, with a guard demanding to know what they intend to do there. After a roundabout explanation regarding needing to deal with the groundskeeper of the Finnest House, the guard grudgingly opens the door for them, saying that they best not start any trouble. They make their way to the instructed destination.
• Being very sure not to step from the winding path, the awkward collection of pirates and creatures reaches the front door of the Finnest House, which Jack uses the knocker of. The door opens the faintest of cracks, and a grating dry voice demands to know who they are and what they want. When Jack mentions Kruppe the door is slammed in his face. Jack knocks again, and this time they simply ask to come in to talk. The door opens, revealing a massive, dessicated, and very undead looking creature with massive tusks, broad features, and long limbs. Elspeth recognizes it as a Jaghut, and begins to wonder what they have gotten themselves into. They step inside, the Jaghut slams the door shut behind them, and Ryn is immediately scared into a blubbering mess as an undead cat runs hissing and spitting towards them. “Shut up Fluffy,” growled the undead Jaghut before backhanding the creature into one of the corners where it lay unmoving (amusingly, right in the same corner which Ryn had cowered into, now trapped by the undead cat’s unmoving form). The Jaghut lead them to his common area, where a small table and two chairs lay waiting, which were taken by Jack, and after every other pirate said they would stand Elspeth took the other, causing the Jaghut to mutter about the presumptuous nature of humans. Making tea for everyone, the Jaghut once again demanded to know what was going on with their presence here.
• The pirates explained that they needed to get an item that fell into the yard of the house, which the Jaghut identified as an Azath and explained the purposes of the Azath as prisons, forces of balance, and also their own sub-planes of existence. They asked it the Jaghut, being the groundskeeper and all, could get it for him. The Jaghut rumbled about being accused of only being a groundskeeper, rambled onto a tangent for a good stretch, at one point mentioning that he was once called the Lord of Hate, and then finally drew itself back to the matter at hand. He looks over the group, commenting on the strange powers that these fragments of other worlds seem to grant them, then stares intently at Jack’s new collar. He reaches over, grabs the collar and lifts Jack up so that he can get a better look at him, commenting that his brother used to maintain matters of this type before, ensuring that the dead reach their correct location, and that this collar seems to prevent it. When asked who his brother was, the Jaghut answered Hood, former God of Death. Wanting to see just how effective at preventing the dead from passing on the collar actually is, the Jaghut went to a massive chest in the corner, grabbed out a giant two-handed axe, went to walk before Jack, and brought it down. Emack threw up a Shield of Salvation, but the axe passed through it easily and crushed Jack into a pile of broken tinder. With everyone staring in terror, they watched as dark energy flared around the collar, and Jack was reassembled before their eyes. In order to apologize, the Jaghut went over and grabbed a terribly dusty bottle of wine (so dusty then when the Jaghut breathes the dust off it many inside the room start choking on the dust). Then he gives the bottle to Jack, while he pours tea for everyone else, dousing Fluffy with the leftovers to wake the undead cat back up. Jack opens the bottle, pours as much of the licour into his throat, which immediately makes him pass out due to alcohol poisoning. The Jaghut muttered that he should have warned the Captain just how potent that alcohol could be.
• Emack rushes over to his captain, and pumps his stomach using medicine by pushing down on his stomach with one tentacle arm, and shoving another tentacle down his throat to trigger the gag reflex. In a showering vomit of exceptionally alcoholic Jaghut beverage brought Jack back up to consciousness, albeit exceptionally drunk. Afterwards the Jaghut demanded to know exactly why these people wanted the fragments, which they admitted was to create a new world, and the Jaghut wanted to know if the pirates thought they were the right ones to decide on all the traits needed to make a new world. Jack said of course, while everyone else said no. The others all explained that they were simply here because the Fragments seemed to fall into their laps, and so they had no choice but to try and gather them up in order to make some profit, and since it seemed to be their fated existence. The Jaghut, reminded of a certain line from the writings known as Gothos’ Folly, wrote it down on a piece of paper as it seemed quite poignant for their moment. Since none of them can read Jaghut they ask their host to translate. He simply tells them that for the most part it transleates to “Shit happens.” Most of the pirates agree completely with that statement.
• As the events continue to transpire, Jack tells their host, and also his chosen crew members, about his dream of an ideal world, a world where everyone would live in absolute freedom, unburdened by demands and barriers, able to do whatever they want, go wherever they want, and be whatever they want. Fynn muttered that murder rates would soar, but Jack countered that there would be no need for murder if everyone was happy and could do whatever they wanted to anyway. From their host came the most terrible, gutteral, and painful noise that anyone there had heard in a great long while. After a time, they realized that he was laughing. Commenting that he approved of what this band of misfits intended to do, he said that he would get the Fragment they wanted for them. Emack, realizing they never asked their host his name. With a great laugh he introduced himself as Gothos, the author of the endless suicide note, observation of all the world’s truths, and destroyer of Jaghut civilization by telling them civilization was a corrupting force to begin with. He said that all he desired for in the new world was for the truths contained within Gothos’ Folly to be allowed to continue. Grinning, many of the pirates gathered echoed together “Shit happens?”, while their host grinned and said “Oh, and so much more,” before walking outside.
• From outside a massive echo of tearing, screaming, crunching, and heavily damaged noises echoed from outside as some great struggle ensued. Shortly afterwards Gothos returned, bearing a tiny bell that he handed over to Jack. When he didn’t get any immediate memories from it, Jack decided to ring the bell. It made the most obsurd of noises, before everyone listening to it, except Gothos, passed out from the noise.
• All that were passed out were privy to an interesting collection of images, all from countless worlds, and every memory more obsurd then the last. One was of the dragon conversation the Dragon Fang Fragment had, deaths of people that should have been invincible via strange explosives, songs and dances which had effects upon the world, and a montage of killing blows that destroyed numerous monsters and powerful foes by destroying their left calves of all things.”
• Back in the waking world, surrounded by unconscious beings and that strange sound of that bell, Gothos couldn’t help but continue laughing.



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