12 February 2011 @ 08:49 pm
Meet Sirobin, aka Impsquirt  
Ha, I forgot the reason I hopped back to LJ to start with - writing practice.

I've been giving Baldur's Gate another shot.

As I always found it hard to get motivated into playing, I sat down and rewrote the prologue for a character I could be interested in. After all, the prologue in Candlekeep is quite dull the 17th time you do it and I wanted motivation to do the little quests - something more in the way of narration that'd keep me going through the hard times, i.e. 4hp & 1 spell vs a horde of gibberlings...

Besides, I could use a spot of writing practice where I write for 'fun', for myself, as opposed to struggling for perfection. Just draft stages. I've taken some liberties obvious to anyone who's played the game, and rather than resolving quests lacking a background, my actions were often enough the problems that created the quests to begin with.

Thus began the adventures of Sirobin, multiclassed mage/thief unextraordinaire, as scribed at the back of Vecna's Ineffable Variorum - and the most motivation I've had to play Baldur's Gate through, let alone fun I've had in a game, for a long time. Haven't yet included screenies.

Note: In the process, I discovered two particularly memorable notes for RL - one, that the birds KNOW when I'm halfway through constructing a good sentence, and that is when they choose to fight, jump & drop on me. Therefore I must build an outdoor aviary to make real progress in studies. Two, that there was any such thing as a sneeze fetish, let alone that people charge anywhere ~$10 for a clip of one sneeze!

Hour 15, 16th Tarsakh 1369 (23/4/1369)
Shploof. Exploding ink. That's the rest of my chronicled life, right here. And here. And there, behind my ear. And, well, pretty much all over me. No, they're not tattoos. No, I didn't swat some exotic bug on my face. And for the last time, NO, I haven't been 'intimate' with an imp! Why does everyone think that's so funny?

It's been two long cold, wet and miserable weeks now since my journal turned into so much splatter. Ah, my prose! So beautifully crafted it scoffed even at Gorion's attempts to edit it. What could that old fool know of the trials and tribulations of my youth? Suffering the rules and regiments in this candle-infested lair of books, the ill humors of these short-sighted monks, my heartfelt angst at having no memory of being clasped to my mother's bosom - well, beyond that vague memory of her shaking me and that sour but vaguely sweet odor of bile...

All those memories, lost like books here in Candlekeep, all for the giggles of some demonspawned fool who thought it funny to sabotage my lifelong work on my autobiography - all sixteen years! Well, near enough. I'm sure I must've been writing from a very young age. I doubt I'd have been one to hold back my brilliance just to cater to the fragile egos of other two year olds too busy obssessing over their diaper contents. Nor am I one to let near-permanent cerulean blue scarring deter me from my writings.

Even if it happened twice.

Even if my mouth was open.

Even if my now blue tongue and I are haunted by imp juice jokes for the rest of our days.

I did realize, however, that it might be wiser to keep my journals in a book less likely to have been tampered with. Say, perhaps, in a text from the personal collection of someone of a certain eminence, such as head librarian Tethtoril, or Gorion himself. This tome was appropriately musty that I can be sure noone would miss it, appropriately dusty that I might know it hasn't been tampered with and the crispily burnt cover appropriately illegible that noone would recognize it. Vana's Infinite Variable, or some such.

No, wait, I'll dust it off.

Victor's Infallible Emporium, maybe. Can't quite make it out. Maybe on the first few pages...

Ew. So now I know what a gizzard is and how to extract it from a still-living centipede. Some of these illustrations are unnecessarily grotesque. I might remove those pages out later. Fortunately there's a good deal of empty pages scattered throughout. Well, not empty as such. Is this... white paint? It scratches off... I think there's more writing underneath. But it looks to be enough space to store a few months worth of entries. The ink really settles and spreads out in thin spidery lines - the pages seem to just drink it up.

Hour 13, 18th Tarsakh 1369
Winthrop's an ass. Shortening my name from Sirobin to a mocking Sir was tolerable, but now everyone in Candlekeep is calling me Impsquirt Bluetongue. With all the hail and everyone indoors as much as they can be, word spreads. It's that or suffer the prophecies of Alaundo as atonally sung by the drunken local barbershop quintet.

Still no luck getting the dye off my face or my robes. It seems my woes barely compare to contemplating the mysteries of the universe, or, more often than not as with most monasteries, the mysteries of where the contents of that last beer stein disappeared to. I am forced to investigate the sabotage myself.

Frustrating though he is, Winthrop is too inept to have hidden wizardly talents behind his wobbly girth over his years here, so I'll cast my net a little wider. I'm sure there'd be a spell to identify whether the ink has some sort of caster or chemical footprint. I overheard Firebead grouching over having misplaced his only scroll of a spell that sounded about right and how the inn's limited stock lacked the ingredients for it - crushed pearls and owl feathers.

Not-my-pa-Gorion might have forbidden me from trying my hand at magic again after I burnt down the "V" section of the east wing in my first attempts a few years back (I did succeed at casting Dancing Lights after all - in a manner of speaking), but I figure if someone can use a simple cantrip to sabotage my work it's only fair that I work on a few protective spell weavings on my own. I'm hardly going to try and cast burning hands on my face!

Hour 11, 21st Tarsakh 1369
According to my well-crisped eyebrows, seagulls don't count as owls.

It turns out a fizzled variant of Burning Hands is uncomfortably close to Identify if the ingredients aren't clarified correctly. Fortunately the miserable weather turned out useful, with the rain putting out the small patch of burning roof before anyone noticed - I hope. I buried what ashes I could collect and the goo-ified remains of feather and pearl mash in the haystack outside.

Being near the coast, there are gulls roosting in the ramparts and feathers everywhere. The pearls I found on a necklace at the inn, upstairs in a barely locked drawer. Had a little trouble crushing them - a few shot off under the cupboards - but I left the last three in the tipping jar on my way out. Some obese rich tourist trying to hide his girth beneath a gaudy cloak practically knocked Winthrop out for stealing from his customers. The innkeep had a hard time explaining himself to Hull's security troupe.

Vengeance is sweet satisfaction, but I might avoid the inn for a while after this in case anyone puts two and two together.

Hour 19, 22nd Tarsakh 1369
I blame Gorion. I wouldn't have even been back in there if it weren't for Fuller sending me after a shipment of ammunition for the tower guards and Hull sending me off after his blade, but it's Gorion who put everyone up to it. My faux pa's been crankier than usual lately. He gave my scorched and patchy blue face one distracted frown and abruptly told me I was still making up for burning down the Vs.

I have a suspicion Gorion's trying to keep me busy enough to stay away from trying my hand at any more spells. That or he's factoring in the cost of the table I incinerated along with my eyebrows. Instead of throwing in more of the cataloguing duties I've been stuck with since childhood, though, he's had me kicked out of the library altogether and assigned menial odd jobs all over the keep - mostly for the guards. I think he's forgotten the reason I kept to the library was to avoid them and their unruly progeny to begin with.

When my choices boiled down to another fetch-quest or Jondalar trying to 'tutor' me again on how to avoid being hit on the head with a stick while having rocks thrown at you, I thought the inn might be a little less painful. But I'd only grabbed one quarrel of bolts before Winthrop noticed the hand over my forehead wouldn't budge. His eyes twinkling, the fat brute leaned out under the bar and slammed his heel down.

As I hopped around cursing, both hands clutching at my poor toes, Winthrop gestured at my barely-there eyebrows and proceeded to loudly explain before the crowded inn - in front of little Imoen, no less! - that certain imp fluids have corrosive properties.

The clueless girl piped up and asked me why I didn't wear protection.

...

Even Firebead joined in on the laughter.

Sometimes I really hate this place.

Hour 17, 25th Tarsakh 1369
The library is about to get locked down. Rumor has it Tethtoril is outraged over missing books. That might explain why Gorion's been in knots. Having picked my tome-turned-journal for its secure origins, I didn't think of how suspicious it'd look if I needed to smuggle it out of the library. Had to sneak it out inside the hardcover of a dull looking Halruaan history text with a few pages left in as camouflage. Buried the former contents in the haystack afterwards - Nessa's eaten all the evidence so far.

Much to my fascination, this tome seems to hold more than exquisite methods of intact organ extraction. The handwriting varies throughout as if addendums have been made by others over the years. Most interestingly, it holds what look like recipes and the odd cantrip. Recipes that function as lures, I think, to help gather certain other ingredients for a variety of purposes I'm not sure of, but with a simple invocation here, a twist there and a spot of cheese from Reevor's warehouse...

Oh my, Winthrop will pay.

Hour 18, 27th Tarsakh 1369
Next time I'm tempted to summon beasts I think I'll seek out the services of a cleric. Or a piper. The warehouse was dank and miserable with rain leaking in everywhere and I couldn't find anything, sneaking about in the dark and tripping over crates. That and there were rats scuffling everywhere and Reevor could check in at any moment and order me on trapping duty, so I wasn't really motivated to stay.

Having found no cheese, I snuck a half pint out from under Dreppin's nose while he was milking Nessa. Naked dwarves could've been riverdancing right in front of him and he wouldn't have even noticed - he was lost, making googly eyes at Phlydia, as always. She was complaining about being ripped into for losing a history book from the library. With her robes clinging to her skin in the rain, somehow I doubt he heard a word she said.

Noone noticed me borrowing the churner. Broken handle, but shouldn't be hard to improvise with my quarterstaff.

Hour 21, 29th Tarsakh 1369
As I now know, churners don't make good cheese. I don't know if this dribbly white paste all over my staff even counts as cheese. Though I doubt the inaccessible library would exclude such mundane information, I'd never thought to look up the how to for a domestic task like this. Asking anyone would only have attracted attention.

Success was absolute, if not a little misdirected. To Reevor's delight, the warehouse is now completely rat free. Unfortunately, so is the inn. Along with a partly washed away trail of would-be-cheese between them. All in perfect timing for the Greengrass celebrations tomorrow. Bah. I hope their festivities are rained out.

I just can't figure out where the cats came from. I'd never seen them before in Candlekeep, yet now there's one that insists on following me everywhere. Staring at me. Then it slowly tilts its head. Then it blinks. And then it stares at me some more.

Its presumed familiarity creeps me out.

I've picked up a cold, too. Either from the warehouse rats or too much sneaking about in the rain. My head has been fuzzy as anything and I can't seem to stop sneezing something terrible. And I mean the wet, chunky, globby, blue-specked so high-speed your head rings kind of terrible. Nessa's been throwing up, too. Wonder if it's catching.

Day 1, Hour 8, 1st Mirtul 1369 (1/5/1369)
I... I've never killed anyone before.

Not until today. Not until just now. And I didn't mean to kill anyone. I mean, I wasn't trying to kill anyone. I just... I just.. well, first he apologized. And then he lunged at me with this jagged chunk of glass for a knife. I was too dumbfounded to really do anything, and my head has been so cloggy lately - and then he fell on his face.

And somehow managed to get the shank stuck in his eye.

He flopped about there, bleating for a bit as bits of brain and blood dribbled out his eye socket, but as I staggered back against the wall all I could think of was that somehow, somehow, the physics of that trajectory had to make sense. His height as radius of descent, his arms contracting a variable arc of support, the degradation of the friction coefficient of a recently mopped floor and what that new coefficient might be now with all that blood. After a while, he rattled. Then he went quiet. Really quiet.

That's when I noticed the tail sticking out between his legs. It was the only bit still moving.

Mind you, cats aren't my favorite animal. Too haughty and arrogant for my tastes. Fussy, too. I'd read about how they have a remarkable tendency to get underfoot but I'd never really contemplated that in terms of a practical relevance. Nor had I contemplated just how scratchy they could be after being nearly crushed by some mug, lunatic enough to scale Candlekeep walls to get at me.

I find myself almost hoping this is one of Winthrop's jokes gone horribly wrong. The sinking sensation in my belly says otherwise. Imoen had mentioned Gorion had been trying to get a hold of me - here I was just trying to avoid more chores for the guards.

I must seem unbalanced, writing here as my first reaction, bloody paw prints and half-sneezes across the page... while not two feet away the blood hasn't even dried yet. Someone will be in here soon enough and raise the alarm.

I'm going to go for walk, clear my head. And find Gorion.

Day 1, Hour 17, 1st Mirtul 1369 (1/5/1369)
The muddied walk didn't clear my head as much as I'd like. It took a bit of shooing, but in between sniffles I'd finally waved off the cat with my walking stick. It is hard to walk and think when all your mental capacity is spent navigating the hazards a wet furry creature weaves between your feet, and I didn't need the reminder of today's earlier events. I was still trying to understand.

Gorion wasn't at the priest quarters. The fireplace was roaring and a half empty kettle whistled at a pitch that could have cracked skulls and felt like it would mine. I sat on the side, staff in hand, head bowed, unable to judge clearly. I hadn't paused to consider that by now the mess at my shared quarters had probably been discovered, or that it would have pulled everyone away from their duties. The guards as well. But I couldn't think past the tickle in my nose, and I couldn't blow it out, I was trying to push it down and then there was a hand on my shoulder, muttered words and a quick shove under my chin tilted my head up to look me in the eye.

I couldn't help it.

I sneezed.

And I don't mean just any sneeze. Globs of blue-tinged doom shot out at incredible speeds. Long strings of snot flung out and slapped him in the face, snapping out to wrap around his head and hit him in the face again, while a thick spray of saliva misted his face. It all sparkled in the firelight.

It'd been building up all afternoon.

The second would-be assassin of the day retched in surprise and stumbled backwards, towards the chimney, struggling to wipe away the chunks of blue phlegm gluing his eyes shut. My head rang and my eyes watered, but the glint of steel in his hand was all I needed.

This time my mind was clear - a horrible sort of clarity, fueled by a vaguely tingly all over elation that had settled in with the death of the shanker, and vastly enhanced by the excretion of all that junk clugging up my nasal passageways. And this time I was all too aware that cat wasn't around to save me. I did all I could.

Gripping it as firmly as I could, I placed my staff squarely against the would-be assassin's chest and shoved. Still trying to clear his eyes, he flailed backwards into the whistling kettle fire. He didn't go as quietly as the last one.

It only took a few minutes for his steam-strangled screams to attract the guards. Unfortunately, it took them a lot longer to consider the possibility that I wasn't a deranged serial killer - a possibility they promptly dismissed. As they dragged me out into the rain, I think I saw the cat, curled up on the mantlepiece above the fireplace. Staring.

My staff has burnt grooves where the man clutched at it, carbonized stains streaking along the edge. I spent the next few hours picking out bits of his nail and skin that had welded into it. I think I was in the garrison. I don't know what deal Gorion must have brokered to convince the guards to let me into his custody instead. He's finally listening - said he wondered if the exploding blue ink was more than a prank and maybe some sort of marker. Until I find a way to hide it, anyone who wants to find me won't have much trouble in a small place like Candlekeep. He's decided we must leave immediately. No time for goodbyes. Apparently some sort of explanation will be forthcoming.

I'm just waiting for Gorion at the gate now and then we'll be off. I don't know whether I'll be able to hide my journal in my bags. Not much space with these fuzzy winter-wear hats he's packed. I don't know where the cat is, either. Not that I'd miss it, but it's probably best for it to stay here, catch rats, steal milk, curl up with a book - the easy life.

I wonder if Winthrop will miss me.

...

Huh. It finally stopped raining.






 
 
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