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Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: bwahaha

rofl @ "should read the latest post". 

Haha... I strongly considered using the proper/in joke title for this post.

Flashback: the Dewification

Breebles meltdown in 3... 2... 1...

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 16:32:00.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: I mean... sounds like a plan to me, Raven. 

It might lead to "rocks fall, everybody dies", but what the heck? 

Bree - I didn't mean it like that, M'lady.  Just saying that when they all read how deep the betrayal goes, they may be sick. 

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 16:23:52.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: enjoy/puke

The next flashback is up.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 16:20:13.

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: flashback: the fall

Three more days have passed since the incident with the acolyte and the sword. Since that time, the punishments have been far less regular, and far milder. Davena's attitude seems to have shifted since that time; she seems kinder, more relaxed.

The night before, the priestess had promised a boon for Kithran if the latter behaved herself. It is now morning; an acolyte has come to empty the chamber pot and place food on the repaired table.

Presently, Davena herself makes an entrance into Kithran's room. She gives a soft smile. "And how did you sleep, dear one?" she asks. "Have you behaved yourself?"

Kithran swallows her mouthful of breakfast and wipes her face as she turns to Davena and nods, "I slept well, thank you. Did you, Priestess?" Her grin widens, her growing excitement unabashedly spreading across her face, "And yes, I've been *very* well behaved."

Davena smiles broadly at the proclamation. "I am glad to hear that, dear one. And yes, thank you - I slept well, indeed."

The ghost of a frown crosses the beautiful face for a moment, and the tone lowers a bit. "Now, Kithran, I want you to understand - 'Priestess' is an acceptable term, certainly. And in private, you may use my name. But when we are with others, the preferred term is 'Mistress'. Do you understand?"

The thief nods, a grin still plain on her face, "Yes, Davena, thank you for the correction."

The smile returns to Davena's face. "Good. Now, since you have been such a good girl, I have brought you a gift. Come here to me, please."

Kithran jumps up from her seat and eagerly makes her way to the sweet priestess. Up until this point, she had not been able to behave well enough to deserve a gift. Punishments, absolutely, but she had learned so much from those already that they were in their own way a gift. There was also all of the comfort that came with the punishments. Davena was so gentle with her afterward, healing her, holding her, speaking sweetly to her--it felt so nice after her lessons. If that was all the priestess had to offer by way of a gift, it was already more than she deserved.

The priestess produces a bundle of cloth, then unwraps it - it is Aranwen's sword, sheathed in a new scabbard, with a new belt. The sword has been cleaned and meticulously polished. "This is for you," Davena explains. "Now that you have come to understand and embrace your place, I think that you deserve a reward - the first of many, to be sure. This is for you to keep, to wear as you like."

The half-Syl's eyes widen at the beautiful gift. She hardly deserved Davena's attentions, so to be honored with an item like this. . . it was beyond gracious. "The Bladesinger's sword, Davena? Are you sure?"

The priestess nods at her and Kith's grin returns, "Thank you! I'll take very good care of it."

A crooked grin tugs at the corner of Davena's mouth. "Well, Darling... come here, let me buckle it on you."

Kithran takes the few steps forward and holds her arms out for the priestess to put it on her. Davena briefly wraps her arms around the rogue's waist to put the belt on her and Kith instinctually leans into her, enjoying the contact and her pleasant scent among the light essence of putrescence that never seems to leave this place. She thinks again of the sweet, caressing comforts the priestess provides after her lessons and hopes Davena will linger in this close proximity with her for just a while longer. Unfortunately the priestess works swiftly, and catches Kith staring at her as she smiles and steps away.

Encouraged, Kithran draws the sword. If Davena showed any hesitation at the act it was lost of the rogue, as she remained in awe of the blade. Sure there were some imperfections here and there, many she assumed a Bladesinger would not be able to tolerate, but it was beautiful. Kithran stepped away from Davena and took a few swings of her own. It was slightly uncomfortable in the hands of one so used to smaller blades, but it nearly sang through the air on its own. It was truly a remarkable gift from the priestess, one she would care for meticulously in order to show her how much it meant to her.


It is evening of the same day. Kithran is seated across the small table from Davena. The two of them share a meal and company; Kithran cannot be certain, but this seems like it may be some of the finest food she has eaten in perhaps forever. Certainly since before arriving at Crandel those days or weeks or months ago. A young woman - barely a teen, by the looks of her - serves as an attendant, refilling glasses and such.

The conversation is light, with Davena sharing a story of a one-eared dog, of all things. The beautiful priestess smiles often, her eyes dancing with humor as she tells the tale.

The conversation comes to a jarring halt as Kithran, unthinking, answers the priestess by the use of the latter's name. Davena's face grows cold and hard, then the note of sadness creeps into her expression.

"Darling," she addresses Kithran, "we have spoken of this matter, have we not? It is very important that you use the proper terms of respect."

The priestess glances at the young acolyte/maid. "Leave us," Davena requests cooly.

The ashen faced young woman nods and races to comply. "Of course, Mistress!" She is gone within moments, closing the door behind her.

Sorrowfully, Davena stands. "You have made great strides, dear one. I will be the first to admit that. But we cannot allow even a mustard seed of rebellion or disrespect to fester away. These impurities must be purged from you. Do you understand?"

Kithran nods and stands to await her punishment, "Yes, Mistress."

The priestess nods. "Very well. Strip and lean over the bed. I believe that a small caning should be sufficient to purge a small offense like this. There is no need to truly hurt you."

The rogue quickly and obediently does as requested, both in order to appease her mistress, as well as to avoid any further lessons. A simple caning was nothing compared to what this lovely, deadly woman was capable of.

For a Davena punishment, this was mild indeed. Very little blood was drawn, though the stinging welts on Kithran's legs and buttocks would have been enough to bring many a strong man to tears. As always, the priestess gives her healing touch, soothing the pain away as she coos softly to Kithran, speaking of obedience and the gifts of such, complementing the young women on her strength and resilience.

Kith sat up gingerly, despite how nice it felt whenever the priestess healed her. She wearily leaned forward to rest her forehead against Davena's stomach while the powerful woman took the time to give her praise and stroke her hair. It was nice. Kithran couldn't remember the last time someone had taken so much time with her, shown her so much patience, given her so many chances. Anyone who had ever come close had either been lost, left, or given up on her. Davena was all she had left now, and she was determined to keep her.

The thief moved her head back slightly so she could tilt it up toward the priestess, a grin curling the lips beneath her dark eyes, "Davena, thank you for solidifying this lesson for me. I will do better in the future."

The priestess smiles softly.  "You are welcome, dear one.  I believe that you will, indeed."

"Oh, a moment, please," she asks as she feels the priestess begin to move away. Davena pauses for her and Kithran too takes a moment, uselessly trying to calm her nerves before she continues. She looks back up at her, "I would like to show you my gratitude, if that is all right?"

Davena arches an eyebrow as a grin tugs at the corner of her mouth.  "Yes..." she replies.  "that would be all right.  What did you have in mind?"

Her roguish smile grows slightly and Kithran stands up before her. If Davena had been unsure of her intentions before, her own beautiful smile suggested that was no longer the case, as Kithran slowly raises a finger to the side of the priestess's face. Touching on Kith's part had been strictly forbidden up until now, but Davena made no move or indication now that it would be unwarranted, instead keeping her eyes unwaveringly on the rogue's as Kithran traced the scar on the priestess' cheek that ran from her eye to the corner of her mouth.

Kith's finger lingered there a moment as she drew in closer, "Are you sure, Mistress?"

Davena's smile is wide and genuine, her voice husky.  "Very sure, darling," she replies.

Kithran kisses her tentatively, though at the feel of Davena's hands on her back she turns, pushing the priestess back onto the bed, and happily follows her down.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 16:18:17.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: lol

Wow.  Now, THAT would be the final turd icing on this shit cake of a situation, wouldn't it? 

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 13:57:24.
Edited on 2019-12-05 at 13:58:05 by t_catt11

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: meh

He has read all of the game stuff so far, asked questions, etc. 

Throttle back, then?

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 13:45:44.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: behold

I have summed Raven via the black magicks of Facebook Messenger.  He says the verily, he will post tomorrow. 

I may go ahead and do the other two flashback scenes today/tomorrow.  They are written and ready, I just don't want to push it too fast.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 13:38:50.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: meh

That's a pretty way to describe his condition.  Let's go with that. 

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 13:23:33.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: lol

Not sure that aligns with being on her team now.  That's what we're doing, right?

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 13:20:15.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: also...

I've been sharing some of this via email with Roger (aka Alacrity, the guy who kept the Inn alive several times when I sucked). 

He's picked and teased me a bit, but his best line yet... I should send everyone tee shirts with "Team D'hurgen" on them. 

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 13:18:31.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: I like it

That is legit therapy.  Davena has to come, though, so we can air our grievances.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 13:15:25.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: true story...

After all of this collaboration back and forth, of us making sly little in jokes to one another in the Q&A while trying to keep this Big Awful Secret bottled up, of the exploration of the dark side of the human psyche... not to mention, some INCREDIBLE poetry along the way, Bree and I have both signed up for some therapy sessions.  I think if we get everyone involved, we can get a group rate!

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 13:10:46.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: wow

Talk about nobility.  Thy name is Aranwen. 

Just to be very, very clear to everyone - this is an actual, real D&D game, not a freeform horror in D&D clothes.  I have tedious amounts of stats and dice rolls here. 

Yes, the deck was stacked against you in a way that led to your jailing (once we came up with the idea of Kith being brainwashed, I needed a sensiable way for time to pass to allow her to be adequately tortured), and yes, the deck was again stacked here to lead to the betrayal. 

But the fight in the cells was winnable (I could not belive how many saves you guys made).  Garn could have been held, Davena could have been killed, etc. 

I am an evil, horrible, manipulative person telling a disgusting, vile story... but I would not just cheat you guys into a given outcome. 

Just to be clear. 

Also.... ROFL @ foreign food.  I'm partial to sweet vidalia in anything.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 12:51:42.
Edited on 2019-12-05 at 12:56:38 by t_catt11

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: lol

>Davey's pretty cool, I think you all need to give her a chance.

Love the use of the pet name. 

I mean... Davena is suuuuper pragmatic, and would likely allow the party to join her service.  There might be some issues with Cedric's unreasonable religious beliefs, but by and large, I expect that she's be willing to iron out any differences and move forward in a spirit of cooperation.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 12:42:28.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: as an aside...

re: However, I can safely say that several years ago I wouldn't have been able to handle it

I can say with the utmost confidence that had I run this adventure successfully the first time or two that I tried it, I could not have handled it going the places it has gone.  Following the script would have been tough enough. 

Yes, I've grown as a person... but again, you people have made this thing just come to life.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 12:37:46.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: yep

The fact that you three were writing KC&K while all of this was going on just took that emotional payload and turned the knob to somewhere around 23 on the typical 1-10 scale.  You guys were making this FAMILY that had been through so much together.  And here I was, orchestrating this horrible future...

The callbacks from Aranwen, the lines quoted to recall back to the death and loss featured in KC&K have brought so much reality to everything going on here.  I literally HURT for this make believe character.

For more "behind the curtain", here's an interesting thing that has happened along the way.

Back in the beginning, Davena was a pretty flat, two dimensional femme fatale.  Yes, she had carried one of these hybrid ghoul babies (thus, the scars), but more than anything else, she existed as a way for me to make a player feel grossed out that their character had not only had sex with the Big Bad Guy, that they also had been with someone who was pro ghoul hybrid on a personal level.  Ewwwwwwwwwww, amirite?

But as Bree and I have collaborated, Davena has come to life.  Her history is, quite honestly, pretty tragic, too.  Her mother was a priestess of Miellyah, was a good woman.  Davena was a good girl... until her mother was killed by the death cult, Davena was taken.  She was beaten, raped repeatedly, brainwashed herself. 

As I have pointed out to Bree - yes, Davena has incredible depths of evil, and has an imagination that makes her a genius at torture.  Except... who is giving her those ideas?  What does that say about ME? 

And it has prompted a lot of uncomfortable questions about the nature of evil.  I mean... when the flashbacks are done, I'm hoping that it will be tough to hate Kithran for the betrayal.  In the real world, truly strong people are broken and brainwashed.  In a fantasy world, where someone can be tortured with pain not even AVAILABLE in the real world, to the point that real people

 could never survive it... onlt to have that flesh magically put back together to allow the process to be repeated again and again and again and again... I don't know that ANYONE would survive with an intact mind. 

But if we can see that Kith is a victim and not hate her... what about Davena? 

D&D: fun game, deep ethical questions.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 12:26:09.
Edited on 2019-12-05 at 12:33:27 by t_catt11

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: sorry.

I told you that it would be bad.  I'm sorry.

The Tara/Davena confusion as the pain and emotional anguish wash through Kithran is some of the best roleplaying I've ever seen in my life. 

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 12:02:04.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: ugh

The last thing I want is for anyone to feel that this was a waste of time.  Well, that, and perhaps for them to have simply not enjoyed it. 

The first of three flashback posts from me is up (breebles already posted one last night, in the form of "Gratuitous Pt 2").  I will make the battle follow up post, but obviously, everyone needs a full chance to post first.  We need to know what Cedric plans to do, as lives very literally hang on his actions.

If I may, please allow me to take this opportunity to explain things. 

The plot I've been carrying around for an actual decade called for the adventurers to intercede on the behalf of an NPC, to save her from Davena en route to trying to save the world.  The plot was so very unsettling - or so I thought - with the disgusting rape ghouls, the bastard child of a god serving as an anchor to allow him to manifest in the world, etc.  Judging from the revulsion in the players back in the cabin when the woodsman's wife was raped by a ghoul, at how it went with Kith's earlier near miss, I felt that I had this twisted thing all figured out.

And then, some really bad tactical mistakes were made, and the party was going to die in the woods.  I didn't want the game to end that way; death or no, a TPK just felt so hollow. 

So I changed things.  Added the deux ex machina of Davena and Garn saving the party.  "But why would they do such a thing?" I asked myself.  "That's just silly.  They KNOW the party are a threat to their operation.  Why save them?"

What if Davena had reason to believe that Kithran were the young woman they had been seeking? 

So there it was.  Kith would be kidnapped.  The game would be ratcheted up

Breebles and I got to collaborating on Kith's torture, but at this point, the plan was still to have the party fight their way in to save her. 

And then... the Muse grabbed both of us.  Bree started talking about researching brainwashing and cults, linked me to a psychologist writing on how brainwashing occured.  It became apparent that in a fantasy world, with access to magic - particularly the sort of magic that would enable a torturer to push someone beyond the limits their bodies could take in the real world via divine healing - brainwashing would likely be an easier outcome. 

What if, by the time the party arrived, Kith had been brainwashed, if she betrayed them?

The layers and depth of emotional power that this added just begged to be brought to life.  And so... here we are. 

Again, I sincerely hope that, as dark and twisted and awful as this tale has become, that you all enjoy it.  Thank you all so very much; without the incredible level of play we have enjoyed since Reralae and Raven stepped in - to go with the incredible level of play that breebles brought - to go with the incredible level of play that Bromern and Eol have given from day one - this sort of story would have never been possible.  Or, at the least, the real emotional impact would not have happened, as we wouldn't have cared for the characters like we do now.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 11:56:18.
Edited on 2019-12-05 at 12:00:50 by t_catt11

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: flashback: the break

It has been three excruciating days since Kith first arrived in this place. Or has it been four?

Ever since the stabbing of the hateful Hagan, things have settled into a more or less "normal" routine - normal for a plane of misery, that is.

For the most part, Kithran has been kept alone in her room. She has been given the blessed freedom to move around the room as she sees fit, but there is precious little to do. From time to time, a younger acolyte might come in to bring food or empty the chamber pot, but they never say a word or even make eye contact. Only Davena communicates with Kith.

Davena is swift to punish for the slightest infraction - real or imagined, and can be particularly jealous of proximity to the door. Touching it is absolutely forbidden, and Davena has been exceedingly clear on that point.

The priestess is fond of her blister stick - and is very creative in its application - though she also uses her knife liberally. She has taught Kithran why the expression "salt in the wound" exists (thought literal application of said substance), has shown how tender the nail beds of fingers and toes can be.

And yet, Davena never grows truly angry. If Kithran disappoints her, Davena always wears a weary, pained, sorrowful expression when she punishes. She is always kind and gentle and caring after the wounds are healed, makes it a point to embrace Kithran, to stroke her hair, to whisper encouragements.

On this afternoon, a young man dressed in priestly garments lets himself inside of the room. He pushes a blondish lock out of his face and grins maliciously. "Yer friends 're dead, ya know tha, right? Ah 'eard it meself, 'ow they was eatin' by tha ghouls."

Kithran looked up from her legs sprawled before her. All things considered, caning was not such a terrible punishment, though it still amazed her how quickly she could go from never wanting to walk again, to her legs feeling perfect and pain-free. The ghost of the pains, the ghosts of the places her mind went to during the worst of it, they were what were truly beginning to get to her.

The punishments were of course horrific, and she would sooner slit her throat than have to endure that blistering once more, but any perception of movement against Davena’s will only brought her wrath--and that included moving to kill herself. If there was any grace, it was that she knew Davena needed her, and so the punishments had to end, and with the end came the indescribable relief of the healing, as well as the lovely priestess’ coddling while her mind found its way back to her.

What never went away were those ghosts. Only one thing had kept them at bay in the three or four or dozen or so days she had been in this place, and that was the hope she had for her friends and family. She had given up on the gods, and even Rrowl, but there was no doubt in her mind that the others remained.

And so, when that little worm slithered into her room to taunt her with his verbal poison, Kithran smiled sweetly back at him and stood, walking his way, “Oh? Is that so?” And she strikes out at his jaw.

Kith's swing takes the young man completely off guard. Her fist connects with a satisfying wet thud, and he flails as he falls backwards, crashing into the table en route to the floor. "Ya little BITCH," he hisses, one hand on his jaw.

For a moment, it looks as if he will lunge at the rogue, but the expression on his face suggests that something makes him think better of the idea. The corner of his mouth opposite the one struck turns up in a smirk. "That's aw right," he spits as he regains his feet and backs toward the door.

Kithran stalks him as though prowling her prey, her glare pressing the daggers she missed so dearly into his face, but she stops a safe distance from the door as he skitters through.

"I 'ave somethin' you'll love, ya will."

The priest retreats, leaving Kith alone with a smashed table. She looks back at it and shakes her head. The priestess would not be happy when she saw the mess. Her mind wanted to flee just thinking about it.


The respite doesn't last long, as he is back within ten minutes or so. He carries a long bundle wrapped in rags. Gleefully, he holds it up and Kith steps away from trying to sort out the rubble of the table to see what the worm has.

"Don't believe me, do ya?" he jeers. "I saw the spellbook o' tha little one. Soaked in blood, it was. But this - they say tha' syl bitch screamed as tha ghouls ate 'er innards. 'Parrantly, syls canna be paralyzed by tha ghoul bite. Rest 'a yer friends went quietly, they say, but tha' bitch died screamin' an' cursin'."

Kithran takes another threatening step toward him, her hands clenching again, “Shut the fuck up. If your dick monsters killed a screaming bitch, they did not kill Aranwen.” She reaches behind her to grip the back of one of the chairs and grins, “Keep talking though, you sniveling little shit. I will already be punished for your inability to take a hit, I might as well double-up while we’re here.”

Smirking, the young priest slips the rags away.

The blade is chipped and covered in dried gore. The handle has a fair amount of dried blood on it - ghouls don't bleed, so that came from a living being. But Kithran would know that ornate work, the filigree on the blade, the intricate carvings anywhere. This is no common sword. This is a work of deadly art. This is a Bladesinger's blade, the sort that can never touch the ground, can never be abandoned or dishonored.

This is Aranwen's sword.

Kithran’s hand falls loosely to her side, and like the tension in her shoulders, the vitriol in her face melts away. She takes another step forward, this time though it is not to stalk her prey, but so that she can see better, so that she can prove her eyes wrong.

“No,” she says in a voice so soft it doesn't sound like her own. She takes another step and reaches out, but the acolyte gleefully steps away from her, “No, let me see. That’s . . . that’s not Aranwen’s sword. You’re lying to me,” her voice begins to raise as each glimpse of the blade, of the handle, of every part of the beautiful weapon screams Ara’s name back at her, “You and Davena are trying to mess with my mind again! I don’t believe you! Let me see the sword!” And the thief lunges at the man, grasping with all she has for the Bladesinger’s blade.

The events of the next few moments are a blur. Kithran's wild grab is of the blade itself, which slices her palm wide open. Heedless of the pain (perhaps a positive side effect of the hours spent with Davena), the rogue refuses to let go, grabs, pulls, wrestles with the young priest. The two end up in a pile upon the ground, struggling for advantage.

Naturally, the door opens, and Davena's frigid tone calls an instant halt to the scrum. "What is the meaning of this?" she demands.

Kithran pulls herself away, blade held defiantly, blood pouring from her palm. The young priest bears a couple of small cuts of his own, though the majority of the blood on him - and there is a lot of it - has come from Kithran.

"She attacked me!" he brays indignantly as he scrambles to his feet. "Twice!"

The priestess' icy blue eyes fix him. "And you came to taunt her, did you not?"

He pales, seems to shrink into himself. "Yes, Mistress."

Davena's mouth forms into a thin line. "I will deal with you momentarily, acolyte." Her gaze turns to Kith.

"You are a mess, dear one. You are bleeding, and the state of this room is shameful." She pauses for a moment, speaking very evenly. "Kithran, what exactly do you intend to do with that sword?" she asks.

Kith’s grip, slick with blood, tightens around the beautiful hilt of Aranwen’s sword, and her breathing is ragged as her gaze flits from acolyte to priestess. Finally, her black eyes settle on Davena, and the priestess can see clearly they’re no longer filled with anger, but with desperation, “Did you kill my family?”

Davena's eyes are somehow kind, even knowing the depth of pain that she can inflict. "Kithran," she speaks softly, holding her hands up in a non-threatening gesture, "your friends died fighting the dead, as you knew that they would. I told you shortly after you first woke here that they would not survive. You know this."

She shakes her head. "I did not kill them; I was here with you, helping prepare you for the great gift you are to receive. I am sorry for your pain, darling, I truly am - but this is how it had to be. You understand this."

She glances sidewise at the acolyte. "This was not the way that you were to learn of their deaths, however. There was no need to take glee in your pain, no need to make it worse than it had to be."

The priestess opens her arms. "Come to me, Kithran. Let me help you bear the pain, as I have helped you so far."

Kithran screams and falls into a crouch, her hands on either side of her head. She screams in pain and sorrow, and a pure hopelessness she had never felt before. She notices Davena take a comforting step toward her and she jumps back up, holding the sword out at her.

“You know what I meant!” she growls at the priestess, her anger returned, “You control these things, you could have stopped them! You could have done, something! Now I’m alone agai--” She chokes on the lump in her throat she was trying to suppress, and takes a step toward the woman, “Everything I had is gone because of you!” And with all of the swiftness and pain she had left, she strikes out at Davena.

Full of anguish, she swings the blade wildly at the priestess. The swing is clumsy; the sword is much longer, much heavier than the daggers that the rogue is accustomed to fighting with. However, the act takes Davena by surprise, and the swing opens a long, bloody gash along the priestess' forearm.

Eyes flashing with anger, Davena calls upon D'hurgen, commanding Kithran to "HALT". The young woman feels the god's power flow into her body, compelling her to obey... but so angry and hurt and upset is she, that Kith is able to resist the influence, and she swings again.

This time, Davena is ready, and she calmly avoids the wild strike. Again, she calls upon her dark god, commanding the rogue to stop - and this time, Kithran is unable to resist the power.

When Kith freezes under the god's compulsion, Davena chants again, this time placing a stronger enchantment upon the young woman. The blonde woman's face is pinched, her lips tight, her eyes hard.

"Dear, dear child," she speaks carefully, "you are hurting, and angry, and frustrated. I understand all of this. You believe that I do not grasp how you feel... but my own mother was killed by the church when I was but a girl. I know the feeling of aloneness that you feel. I know the rage and the pain, I truly do."

She shakes her head. "You ask why I 'did nothing' to save your friends. You act as if there was some other possible outcome. You forget the situation, darling. YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE. You, and you alone, will bear the Devourer's anchor. Everything else - even my own life - is secondary to this. Unless your friends had chosen to leave this place and never return, I could not intercede in their fate."

Her tone softens a bit. "I was... fond of your Bladesinger. Aranwen was a remarkable woman; her fate brings me sorrow. But think of her, think of your friends. They died good deaths, fighting for what they believed. What more can anyone hope for? Save perhaps the young priest, do you honestly think that any of your friends would pick any other end to their lives? I met them. I broke bread with them. None of them would choose death in a sickbed after years of enfeeblement and age! They would wish you to celebrate their lives, not mourn their deaths!"

The voice is tinged with sorrow. "I have tried to be patient with you, dear one. I have tried to open your eyes to the wonder that is this gift. I have tried to help you, to hold you up, to comfort you. Your spirit is so very admirable; your strength is commendable, truly."

There is iron in that melodious voice now. "But if you will not learn, if you continue to refuse the gift... my Lord's will is not changed. The anchor will still be brought forth. I had hoped to save you the pain, to save your mind, your self. If you insist on having your entire self shattered so that naught but your shell remains to carry that seed... so be it."

So be it, Kithran thought as emotion wracked her immobile body, she had wanted to be given the gift of oblivion from this task the priestess wanted of her from the beginning. With the others gone, without little Midge, sweet Cedric, steady Gib; without Ch’dau and Aranwen out in the world waiting for her . . . she would rather forget the world existed. All it offered her now was the promise of unimaginable pain and torture. She didn’t want to think about it anymore. She didn’t want to be alone again. She didn’t want anymore ghosts haunting her. She wanted to be gone from herself forever. So be it.

Davena’s eyes cut to the skulking acolyte. "Strip her," she commands. The young man complies quickly, fearfully - unlike Hagan, his eyes and fingers do not linger; he rushes through the task and immediately retreats.

"Now, darling," Davena speaks, her voice heavy with sorrow, as she stands before Kithran's naked form, "I must truly punish you." The priestess reaches into her robes and produces the gray device she has used before. "I am so sorry,"she speaks before pressing the cold stone into Kithran's jaw.

The pain from before, of the burning needles being torn through her flesh, is somehow dramatically intensified. The skin on Kithran's face blisters, bursts open as Davena slowly traces the device down.

The briefest moment's respite is felt as the device is lifted away, only to be touched back to her collarbone. Traced slowly down, over the breast, onto the ribs, then the belly, laying skin and flesh wide open as it goes. Somewhere to the side, the acolyte retches at the sight of the rogue being split open like an overcooked sausage.

The wand is withdrawn, then driven into an open wound. It melts the very flesh as the priestess slowly rotates it, sinking it deeper and deeper into Kithran's abdomen while the paralyzed rogue screams and screams inside of her mind.

Her mind tries to escape, Ch’dau in a cage in Adedre’s manor, it searches every corner, Aranwen’s song ringing in her ears as she falls out of a window, every growing crack, it searches for a way out. It’s screaming at her, Ch’dau launching her into the air as they practice battle moves in the forest, crying, wailing, pleading for her to let it go, waking up from a nap in Ara’s lap, her golden eyes laughing at the embarrassed half-Syl. She wants to let it go, she almost has, Ch’dau and Ara fighting by her side, protecting her.

The pain goes away somewhat as Davena chants over the wounds, causing them to heal... only to come back as she begins the torture anew. One leg is slowly opened from her heel to her buttocks and up to her back, then the other. In between rounds of torture, Davena strokes Kithran's hair, coos softly about pain, and death, and how it cannot come for Kith yet no matter how much she might wish for it. How the only path for happiness is through obedience and acceptance. The rogue is somehow kept awake, conscious, feeling every awful touch, feeling pain that lay beyond even the wildest nightmares rooted in her recent experiences.

At some point, the paralysis goes away, and Kithran falls to the ground, the last shreds of her sanity reaching out to Davena through her sobs of pain, “Priestess,” she forces the air out with each ragged, unbearable breath, “kill me! Stab me! End this!” She looks shakily down at her mutilated body and screams, “Please!”

Yet the priestess does not grant the requests, instead blistering and melting away every inch of flesh on Kithran's body, even damaging inside of it, only to heal the wounds before starting anew in a different location.

And it goes on and on and on and on.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 11:35:21.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: yep

I have several times commented how gutting this is going to be... for... fun?

I don't think that I could begin to explain this game to non-RPG people.  Maybe they could understand, to some level, the fun of people doing a collaborative adventure or whatnot.  But all of these bad feelings for make believe folks... I think that I would have people casually slide as far from me as possible.

And seriously, my search history to help make Kith's situation believable is just... no. 

(hi there, FBI!  Seriously, I promise, this was all a creative writing thing!  I still don't have any women chained in a cellar somewhere, nor do I have any intention of ever doing such a thing!)

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 11:00:50.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: ow, ow, ow

This is the most compelling story I could imagine telling in this siutuation.  It is.

But man, it is ripping me up to read. 

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 10:36:24.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: lol

Check out Brom's gif game!

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 09:15:23.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: glad you approve

I'm glad that you approve.  The needs was there - the spell quite literally saved a life.  It was a spell I knew he casted, so it was in character.  And it saved dragging the combat out another week or more. 

Loved the depiction of the fight.  Maybe not exactly how the dice fell, but again, I wasn't worried about describing every slash on every mook here.  It was an excellent read, seeing the battle through Gib's eyes.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 09:13:15.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: Also...

Loved that Gib post.   Lead from the front vs. command from the rear... always a critical decision to make.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 08:46:34.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: Clarification, 2

Aranwen's throat was not cut. Ch'dau prevented that from happening.

I want to give everyone a chance to post before I push the current timeline forward... I'll release a flashback or two to fill the gap.

Posted on 2019-12-05 at 08:45:15.

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