BY INVITATION ONLY No Good Deed- Shadow of the Demon Lord- Prologue

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Sarky

They're good direwolves, Drozzt
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#1
Dice room: Roleplaying Dice Roller · Rolz

Excession Excession Chaka Chaka Sideris Sideris Hair Hair Ragoza Ragoza

"Why haven't they just killed me?"

Thus speaks the first prisoner to break the silence. There are a dozen of you today, a motley selection of races chained to the wall by the wrists, or held in place in heavy iron stocks. The numbers have changed over the days. Sometimes twenty, sometimes nobody. There are only two constants. First, the only sunlight you have seen since arriving has been through narrow-slit windows high on the walls, and secondly it is always the case that someone in this prison is being hurt.

There is a room somewhere upstairs in this prison. The way up is confusing but you have learned every detail of that one room. At least once a day, armed guards come for you, knock the wind from you with mailed fists, and drag you there, strap you to a table. You've lost count, but you don't think you've suffered the same treatment twice. And the masked individuals seem endlessly creative. Even prisoners made of steel and springs can be tormented, a worn cog tooth here, rusting a joint there, deliberately stopping the key from turning at its proper speed, unique forms of pain are inflicted. And yet, they don't ask questions, nor do they demand you repent of some sin or heresy. It seems to be cruelty for the sake of cruelty.

"Why haven't they just killed me?" he says again. Is he asking you, or the gods, or wondering aloud? You've not seen him before, you think. You can't have been here more than a month and that has been heinous almost beyond belief, but something about his resigned, dead stare makes you certain he's been here longer than anyone. Through the filth and grime he looks pale, malnourished. He wears no chains, as if the very idea of escape has been beaten out of him. when he shifts slightly from his half-sitting heap in the corner, you see his legs- broken and re-broken so many times, it is unclear if there is any bone left below the knees.

So many questions. You have few answers. You can recall being arrested in the Patchwork Lands, the charges bearing no resemblance to any crime you might have actually committed. The court, if there even was a court, was a farce. You could swear you heard the clink of money changing hands before judgement was delivered. Bound and blindfolded, you have no idea where you were taken, only that the weather is colder than it used to be, suggesting you likely remain in the Patchwork Lands, perhaps further south than before. The architecture is nondescript stone, the guards and torturers wear no identifiable uniform, and the food-if such it can be called- is bland where it isn't rotten.

A new stench brings you back to the present. The old man has soiled himself. He doesn't seem to care. He seems lost in his private world of misery. Perhaps he is just another tool of the torturers, testing your spirits. Today has a more ominous air about it than even usual for the place. The light is dim, the air tense, as if before a storm. The trickle of water flowing from the window tells you that it is raining outside.

Thunder rolls.
 

Chaka

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#2
Ruin

The Clockwork watches the man begging and sobbing dispassionately, their key audibly clicking away in their recesses. They say nothing at first, before breaking the silence with a voice that's surprisingly melodious. "They have not finished breaking you, old man. If you are lucky, you will break soon. You do not appear to have long left to live." They smile, the thousands of tiny gears and shifting parts in their face whirring softly.

"Something to look forward to, yes?"
 

Excession

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#3
RELICT

There's a grated hole in the wall.
The guards bring a cat with them when they open it, dragging a pale, emaciated thing out for the daily torment.

At the clockwork's attempt to comfort the old prisoner, a dry and rattling laugh echoes from that hole.
 

Sideris

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#4
Orm

The giant has become more a feature of architecture than a person over the past however-long. Stamped in crude, but effective iron stocks, he's folded over like a leaf to fit into this cesspit. He stares at the door because it hurts too much to look left or right--compliments of the blacksmith. The jagged rim of the stock has been rubbing his neck raw for weeks. The filthy wounds and serum long since become a sticky, disgusting background stench seemingly behind his eyes.

"Maybe this is the world. Our lives before just the dream? Woke up. Won't let any of us go back to sleep."
 

Ragoza

Quarter goat on my mother's side.
#5
Runt

The orc in the corner croaks out a nasty laugh.
"Y'hear that, Pink? The good times're comin'."
He was lean by orc standards before incarceration, now he's positively emaciated. Muscle hasn't atrophied yet though, the guards put extra strong manacles on this one. Black eyes leer out from a grey face, framed by long yellow tusks and lank black hair.
 

Hair

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#6
Retch

Retch cackles through the massive nose dominating his face as the old man thickens the humid air with his stench. "Thank you for the sweet scent oldster," he squeals. "Come, drag yourself closer so I can fully appreciate your bouquet." He clanks the iron mitts locking his hands into fists together. "I'm sure the Goblin King will be along soon to rescued his favored servant," it's the third time he's come out with this since the last time he was dragged off, though no evidence of relief has materialised. He devolves into imaginative cursing of their captors, switching between elvish, common, and the Dark Speech, so as to expand his potential vocabulary. The constant haze of flatulence surrounding Retch grows as he mutters away, and the others may notice that noisy expulsion of gas replace the sounds that a being without lips is unable to produce.
 
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Sarky

They're good direwolves, Drozzt
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#7
The goblin's aromatic contribution spreads like plague, inducing hacking coughs from some of the inmates. One is noticeably coughing blood, although the lumps and bruises around his skinny ribcage suggest that was a problem before the monolithic fart. The unfortunate man next to Retch spits curses at him between gagging, in an upper-class accent of the Empire's capital city, Caecras.

Another crack of thunder, closer this time, shakes dust and plaster from the ceiling. One of the new prisoners mutters prayers to the New God in between whimpers.

It occurs to you all that you've never been in this particular room before. The corner behind the door has a small pile of old torches, some ceramic jars sealed with wax, a heap of freshly forged chains. This was likely a storage room refitted for incarceration not too long ago. You can't help but wonder where they keep food now. Or perhaps the room is still doing just that, the grisly thought worms its way into your mind.

Thunder booms again, so close you feel the manacles shaking in the walls. No, not thunder. There was a sort of whistling sound on the edge of hearing. A siege weapon? Is this place under attack?

Chaka Chaka
Hey, the orc gets it. At least some meatbags appreciate your concern. You feel oddly... fuzzy, you think the word might be? Like when there's a large thunderstorm approaching, but sort of the other way around. Perhaps what the wardens put in your joints was not just lubricant. One of the others, a dwarf of indeterminate gender more from the induced scarring than any hair, spits at you. "Bloody clanker, aren't we fucking miserable enough already?"

Hair Hair
Inside the metal balls keeping your hands still, you can feel the sting of tiny sparks between your fingers. Magic is in the air, like the first time you tried reading a page of the old mage's book aloud, but without the explosion that left your hands and face blistered for a week after. Not that anyone really noticed. That page burned itself clean out of the book straight after, leaving you with what you were fairly sure was mostly a dull journal and maybe another 3 spells of some kind.

Excession Excession
The many and varied scents within the larger cell outside are distasteful, even the blood of the coughing man smells of some strange venom or wasting disease. But creeping in above the fear and blood and filth, something else, fresh on the cold air drifting down from the window. It smells... wrong.

Sideris Sideris
Your theory is not well received. The softer northerners especially seem aghast at the prospect. Especially the young man praying to his New God. It's almost enough to raise a smile, but for the pain around your neck muscles.

Sideris Sideris and Ragoza Ragoza and Excession Excession
That last boom, whatever it really was, shook the bolts and chains hard. You can feel just the slightest bit of give in them now. These other skinny wretches would never notice, but you still have your strength, perhaps they could be wrenched free. [Strength challenge with 1 bane for anyone with Str greater than 10]
 

Chaka

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#8
Ruin

Ruin turns their head to look at the dwarf, face blank and expressionless, masking the discomfort they're feeling from this strange new sensation. "There is no need to be unkind just because it is going to take you longer to die than him, dwarf. Maybe one of the torturers will be careless and nick a vein the next time they work you over, and then you will be free too. You meatbags are so fragile."
 
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Ragoza

Quarter goat on my mother's side.
#9
Runt

This is far from Runt's first time in chains. Unlikely to be the last. Could be shitty blacksmithing, could be shitty bricklaying, maybe Grimnir's just in a good mood, but the bolts holding the orcs chains to the wall shift after that boom, barely perceptibly. Just the right amount of force, at the right amount of time, and those chains should come free.

One. Two. THREE.

He grunts like an angry hog as he whips his wrists forward, lurching to his feet with the momentum. The chains barely resist, tearing from their mooring and screeching along the floor. Free. Good.

The chain whistles through the stunned silence, cracking the pampered cunt praying to his weak god in the chest.

"Your pathetic gods aren't listening, Pink. These are Grimnir's days."
 

Hair

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#10
Retch

Retch's head snaps up as the scrawny orc pulls his way free. A high pitched fart, similar to an appreciative whistle escapes his gullet. "Hey! Hey, Teeth! Over here!" he screeches, tapping his bonds together. "Get me out of these, give me two minutes with the lock and I can spring us from this hole."
 
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Sideris

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#11
Orm

Grimnir indeed. Orc mutant.

Almost yawning in his strain to pull from the wall, Orm frees himself almost effortlessly. He stares at the manacles and stock when he regains his feet. "Going to cram this pig iron piece of shit down the smithy's ulcerated throat." Bent low to avoid the ceiling, he works his wrists at the stock. Despite their loving attentions, Orm felt spry enough to kick the tower down. Time to get on that.
 

Excession

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#12
RELICT

Another sound joins the growing cacophony - tortured, bending metal.
A second kick sends the grate sparking across the stones to hit the wall opposite.

Relict slithers from the hole; a tall, filthy, naked, sexless thing with drawn skin and clawed hands. Eyes black as night scan the room, alight on the healthiest looking prisoner, and the vampire's face twists into a vision from a nightmare, all fangs and hunger.
The result is quick; one might therefore imagine it to be painless. No cleaner, Relict at least now resembles a freshly dead male, poised and purposeful, brushing matted locks with his claws.
 

Chaka

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#13
Ruin

In the shocked silence as the lifeless prisoner slumps in his shackles, there's an audible clicking sound as Ruin does a very servicable impression of someone with eyebrows raising one.

"Well now. I see we have a very motley crew. Can someone let me down, please? I would prefer not to stay here any longer, and I think I can prove useful in the jailbreak you all seem to be doing. Thank you."
 

Sarky

They're good direwolves, Drozzt
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#14
As if to punctuate the clockwork's request, there's that whistling sound again, followed by an earthshaking rumble as a huge siege crossbow bolt Lance's through the stone walls almost skewering the Caercas toff. It looks scorched, and blue sparks dance across the heavy steel tip, filling the room with a metallic stench.

The impact of the bolt causes a supporting arch to collapse, huge stone slabs toppling lazily from the ceiling, creating a small hole leading to the floor above, big enough for a human to squeeze through. The young devotee of the New God screams as one slab lands fully across his legs, crushing them to pulp.
 

Excession

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#15
RELICT

Casually evading the falling masonry with discomforting speed, the vampire begins examining the clockwork's bindings.
"I can assure you all," he says the room in general, "I am quite sorry that was necessary. Relict - a pleasure."
 

Ragoza

Quarter goat on my mother's side.
#16
Runt

On the one hand, the goblin is an annoying, foul smelling, noisy little twit who will only get in the way. On the other, the prospect of leaving all these humans here to die together is just too delicious to pass up. Runt tears the goblin's chains from theit moorings, though the hand restraints are going to need a finer touch when we get out of here. He turns to face the room, malice glinting in dark eyes.

"Been a pleasure, pinks. Try not to die too quick now. The rest of you coming?"

He nods to the assembled miscreants while gesturing at the hole in the wall.
 

Hair

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#17
Retch

Retch looks down at his hands, still in the metal balls, back at the wall where they had been chained, then at the orc towering above him. "Not what I was hoping for, but beggars, choosers, or something. Thanks, Teeth." He gives Runt a companionable pat on the hip before scrambling up the shaft of the ballista bolt. "Now I have an overdue appointment with a certain gaoler," he squeaks. "Not sure you'll all fit, but feel free to come along." Retch turns and scrabbles up through the hole in the ceiling.
 

Sarky

They're good direwolves, Drozzt
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#18
Hair Hair

Between the chains, the toppled masonry and the obliging head of the still screaming young man, it's an easy climb for a wiry young goblin. The room above is quiet, apart from the crumbling stonework the flicker of torches. This appears to be the warden's office, although it more resembles a library. It is lined with book cases, each stacked full. Near the door, left open, is the desk you remember belonging to the warden, if such they could be called. An unidentifiable masked guard held you while an equally unidentifiable humanoid figure in less armour scribbled into his book, the only sound their breathing and the pen. That same book is lying open on the desk now, although this warden clearly wrote in a code that borrows from every language you know and then some. Here's an armour stand by the desk which used to hold a slightly more ornate set of armour than the faceless guards, but which stands empty now. Presumably the warden has gone to defend this keep, or prison, or whatever the hell it is.

Perhaps most interestingly though is the very large ring of keys lying in an open drawer of the desk. Iron keys on an iron ring.

Ragoza Ragoza Excession Excession Chaka Chaka Sideris Sideris

The goblin scampers up the debris and disappears.
 
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Hair

Edgepeasant
#19
Retch

Glancing down at his hands, still encased in cool steel, Retch lets a giddy giggle bubble through his nose. He skitters over to the desk. He tugs at the drawer, and finding it difficult to remove from its housing, he quickly gives up. After a quick yet tricky negotiation with the balls serving as his hands he manages to pincer the ring between the two before making his way back to the hole. Several yelps of pain and a stumble later the ring of keys falls through the hole in the cell roof. After some teetering the goblin follows, landing nose-first on the iron ring. He lets loose a screech more high pitched than any of you have heard him make yet and bolts upright, keys dangling from his left nostril.

"getitoutgetitouTGETITOUT!!!"
 

Ragoza

Quarter goat on my mother's side.
#20
Runt

Fucking goblins. He grabs the little bastard by the scruff of the neck and yanks him up. Gently, by orc standards, as far as Runt is concerned the gobbo has earned his keep. The key is in exactly the state you'd expect after a sojourn in a goblin's nose, but now isn't the time to worry about cleanliness. He snatches up the key before someone gets ideas and hustles to the door, goblin in his free hand