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Author Topic: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold -- Revival Succession Fortress  (Read 123817 times)

Gnorm

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold -- Revival Succession Fortress
« Reply #570 on: February 13, 2014, 11:10:18 pm »

Corley calmly took a stroll around Steelhold. Everywhere he looked, dwarves were murdering each other. They sliced, stabbed, and mauled those that were once friends and family, occasionally taking strikes at themselves as well. What little reason was left in any of them was shocked to find that they were lasting much longer than they would normally. In fact, many had lost several limbs and had their intestines pulled out, but they were not dying. They continued to fight, and it seemed as if their injuries were healing during the rare moments when they were not in combat.

Eventually, Corley came to his destination: the tombs. Not even this dark, secluded area would be spared the insanity of the fort. His face twisted into a smirk, as he saw the corpses convulse and flop out of their caskets and onto the floor. Their faces showed terrible pain, as twisted souls of vampires and demons alike entered their bodies. Each one began to grow large fangs, like those found on vampires. These, however, were not vampires, but an even worse king of monster; before long, the dwarves fighting in the upper levels would become like them as well.

Corley exited the chambers, content that all was going according to plan. He had just one final destination, then he would leave Steelhold forever. He had to make one final trip to his father's lab.
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Rhaken

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold -- Revival Succession Fortress
« Reply #571 on: February 13, 2014, 11:21:55 pm »

Boots thundered down the stairwell. Dwarves ran down the steps, barrels of food and booze in hand, Shank holding up the rear.

"Quickly, through here!"

The dwarves scrambled through a doorway, into a section of the fortress that hadn't seen use in some time. They passed the old barracks, then through the abandoned archery range, around the execution pit and into the gulag. First built by Rhaken to house goblin POWs until their execution, the many chains in the room now held more exotic prisoners. A mantis woman, a thrips man and a family of albatross people, shrieking and cawing at the dwarves that had barged into their prison. Shank directed them through the massive lead door at the back of the room, into a long hallway of side-rooms and row upon row of restraints.

"Are you sure it's safe here?"

"As safe as can be for now," Shank told the dwarf. "There are several doors between us and them. If the demons come around, I'll hold them off."

The refugees began to settle in as Shank went to secure the doors, setting down the food and unpacking what meager belongings they had managed to bring with them. The royal guard had come to them promising safety, and they had all followed his instructions. Now, a great drowsiness came over them, a weariness in the bones that demanded them to rest. Within minutes, not a single dwarf stirred in the old POW camp. Not even when Shank put them in irons, one by one, chuckling and talking to himself as he went.

"Segregation, that's what we needed, oh yes. The mask was right, of course. I can't believe I didn't figure it out earlier." he wrapped chains around a dwarf's wrists. "Separate the mortals from the immortals! Brilliant. Simply brilliant. The chief would have been proud of me."

He tied chains around a child's legs. "Too bad I couldn't get them all. At least this lot wasn't hitting each other over the head just yet. It wouldn't do to lose them now, oh no. We're going to need every mortal we can get."

His work done, Shank dusted himself down, then helped himself to a quart of blood from a nearby fisherdwarf. A bit saltier than he liked it. He fished out out the golden mask from his backpack. Twirling it this way and that in his hands, the spymaster assessed the bound dwarves in front of him.

"Hrm. Two breeding pairs and a calf. I'd hoped for more, but that will have to do."

Time dragged on, and his cattle began to awaken. Finally struck by the madness that had gripped the fortress, they began to scream and thrash, trying to claw at themselves, at each other, but kept from any such foolishness by their restraints. Shank felt more than heard the heartbeat of the one leaving the cage stockpiles in the other room. The unnatural rhythm of a vampire, one that Shank recognized. Asmoth was finally done with Kivish. If the mad doctor tried to barge in on him, she would find the door locked and bolted.

Once she was gone, Shank stepped outside, toward the cages. Following the trail of fresh blood, he reached his prize.


"Kivish."

Asmoth had done quite a number on the queen. Though her wounds were beginning to close, Shank could see the monarch's liver. Her entire right arm was gone. Her skin had been flayed, peeled apart with surgical precision, and was even now in the process of knitting itself back together, crawling over Kivish's exposed flesh like taupe slugs trailing blood. Her left eye had burst, and was now sluicing back into its socket, trying to return to its correct shape but not quite managing.

She looked up at him.
"Shank... blood. I must have blood."

"Thy will be done."

Shank dragged the queen of the realm into the new cattle pen, directed her to the howling carpenter. The scent of circulating blood flooded Kivish's mind. She began to pant, mouth gaping so wide it tore slightly at the corners.

"No killing," Shank admonished. "We only have two breeding pairs."

Kivish sank her fangs into the carpenter's thigh. She began to feed. More screams all around, from the carpenter, from the other cattle, even from Shank. Because why the hell not, he figured. Everyone else is doing it.

He pulled the queen away before she could kill her victim. The fresh blood triggered her regeneration, and within minutes she looked presentable again.


"So. This is all we have?" She eyed the wretched dwarves, disappointed at how few had been salvaged from the madness.

"They are the only ones the mask could save," Shank offered. "The others will succumb to your rule, once the madness is done taking hold. Corley did well."

"Our rule, Shank," Kivish corrected, putting her one remaining hand on his shoulder. "Our rule."

The two vampires kissed like lovers lost in passion. Then they began to bite one another, savagely, without restraint, cackling in pleasure. They wouldn't kill each other. They were just having some fun.

In the depths of Steelhold, the dead stirred. Their shrieks held pain, rage, and most disturbing of all, triumph.

The King and Queen of Steelhold danced to the music of the dead.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 11:36:48 pm by Rhaken »
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Gnorm

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold -- Revival Succession Fortress
« Reply #572 on: February 14, 2014, 12:06:12 am »

That was messed up, and that's why it's so fitting to this story. I think that we should leave the two alive.
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MDFification

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold -- Revival Succession Fortress
« Reply #573 on: February 14, 2014, 08:03:01 am »

That was messed up, and that's why it's so fitting to this story. I think that we should leave the two alive.

On the other hand, Emdief should die, because we need at least one character who fills at least some heroic tropes. Preferably in killing/wounding someone, but he/she should die. Heck, if he/she were to die killing Oku, that'd be a pretty good way to end the character ark. Especially since neither of them seem especially likely to stay dead.
Although, potentially better plan: Is there some way to sacrifice Emdief seal Steelhold off from the surface temporarily? Off course the vamps are going to break out eventually, and the dwarves are going to have to flee, but that'd be a pretty decent way to go. By what mechanism, though? It'd probably have to be some form of magical barrier.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2014, 08:49:46 am by MDFification »
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Deus Asmoth

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold
« Reply #574 on: February 14, 2014, 08:42:26 am »

You know, I think a single race wouldn't be capable of representing the blight Steelhold has unleashed. Even right now there's Shank and the queen's farming (babysnatchers?), whatever Oku's been doing outside, whoever wins between her and Emdief, Corley's plan and whatever Thikut does.

Asmoth idly watched a pair of maddened vampires. Their fangs were longer than before, perhaps, and she was nearly certain that their eyes hadn't been glowing red. Another dwarf dived into the fight, dragging one of the combatants away with him. The other immediately turned, charging at the doctor as though he'd known she was there all along. Asmoth jumped away, which seemed to surprise him. He crashed into a wall, and Asmoth rammed a knife into his eye as he staggered back. He collapsed, but his eye repaired as soon as she took the knife out, so she could only assume his brain was healing too.

"It could have been great, you know," Asmoth told him as she turned him over. "No magic, no demons, no queen. Just us, working together. The world could have been ours." The dwarf was groaning, but stopped once she severed his spinal cord. She left the knife in this time.

"You know, it's times like this that I wish I'd studied combat more," she told the paralyzed dwarf. "On the other hand, killing him won't give me any answers, so I might as well ask him nicely." She pushed to her feet, leaving her attacker behind and walked to her old office. Corley would want to be somewhere significant for his endgame, she thought, looking at the cracks in the ceiling. It was funny, they soothed the walls and floors, but never the ceiling. And it was covered in fissures, especially where the vents had gone on fire...

She thought for a moment. She had perhaps forty minutes before the explosion, plenty of time to check on the machine, barricade the room if he wasn't there yet and get out. She could probably even check the baron's old rooms, and his tomb was outside, so there was no time limit on that. Asmoth sighed and left, following the cracks.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2014, 01:47:15 pm by Deus Asmoth »
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Rhaken

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold -- Revival Succession Fortress
« Reply #575 on: February 14, 2014, 05:45:42 pm »

That was messed up, and that's why it's so fitting to this story. I think that we should leave the two alive.

On the other hand, Emdief should die, because we need at least one character who fills at least some heroic tropes. Preferably in killing/wounding someone, but he/she should die. Heck, if he/she were to die killing Oku, that'd be a pretty good way to end the character ark. Especially since neither of them seem especially likely to stay dead.
Although, potentially better plan: Is there some way to sacrifice Emdief seal Steelhold off from the surface temporarily? Off course the vamps are going to break out eventually, and the dwarves are going to have to flee, but that'd be a pretty decent way to go. By what mechanism, though? It'd probably have to be some form of magical barrier.

I can think of a few things.

Emdief is known to have fiddled with the machinery in Lenehan's lab. What if he rigged the whole thing to collapse if activated, in antecipation of whatever Corley came up with? Given the structural weakness of the fort, that collapse could cause the entrance to cave-in, probably burying the place for some time.

Another option is a tsunami flooding most of the fort, triggered by an earthquake off the coast (probably because all the crap that's been going on, or divine intervention, or what have you). This would lock Steelhold down for some time, and it wouldn't even drain through the caverns due to our resident magma flood - it would just solidify into an obsidian plug.

Regardless of how we do this, the escapees would take this time to warn any and all of what happened, and prepare an exodus across the ocean. Those that take the route to the New World will have escaped the horrors of Steelhold for some time. Of course, once said horrors are done conquering the old world, they will turn their eyes to the new. We can either start as settlers in the early years of the migration, and thus know little about the Bloodkin, or start very late in history, representing an oppressed people struggling to survive against a known colossal threat. I would prefer the latter.
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Deus Asmoth

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold
« Reply #576 on: February 14, 2014, 06:22:47 pm »

Well, Asmoth already has a lot of the fortress' booze rigged to explode, so if you're looking to flood the fortress via heroic sacrifice, Emdief could simply move the bomb towards the ocean walls instead of the entrance but not be able to get away before they explode, or even hold someone else there until it explodes. Of course, that would require him finishing with Oku, finding the bomb and understanding its design, but ghosts probably know stuff.

Also, an idea regarding the Bloodkin: what if we gave them a second brain in their torso? It'd make them harder to kill (and a hell of a lot more terrifying if you decapitate them and they keep trying to kill you) plus it seems like the kind of alteration Asmoth might make if she ends up allied with/forced into servitude by Corley.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2014, 06:30:05 pm by Deus Asmoth »
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4maskwolf

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold -- Revival Succession Fortress
« Reply #577 on: February 14, 2014, 08:47:56 pm »

Emdief dodged and weaved, but every strike he attempted was knocked aside before it began.  He had to admit, Oku had become a fearsome fighter over the centuries.  Despite Modi yelling advice at him, he still couldn't land a hit.

Suddenly, Oku hesitated, as if distracted.  Seeing his chance, Emdief lept in to strike...

Faster than he could have thought possible, Oku whipped both of her blades around, slamming the flats against his chest.  He was aloft before he knew what hit him, slamming into the wall on the far side of the room.

Pain washed over him, threatening to overwhelm his consciousness.  He fought against it, struggling to rise, but it hurt too much.  Through a haze of pain, he heard Oku speak,

"Think long and hard on this, little one.  Remember this the next time you cross me."

By the time he managed to stand, Oku was long gone.
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jrrocks05

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold -- Revival Succession Fortress
« Reply #578 on: February 14, 2014, 10:09:53 pm »

What if we have a large siege and they get in then we blow up the booze bomb taking out the siege and most of the fort? Like a self destruction thing that asmuth planned just in case
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Deus Asmoth

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold
« Reply #579 on: February 14, 2014, 10:26:34 pm »

It wouldn't really fit in with the plot written thus far. Plus it would imply that Asmoth actually plans things rather than reacting on the spur of the moment.
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Gnorm

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold -- Revival Succession Fortress
« Reply #580 on: February 15, 2014, 01:17:32 am »

As for sieges, I think that the general of the Dwarven civilization should mount a large siege once he is aware of the danger. Naturally, he and his entire army would be destroyed by the surviving bloodkin, with a few survivors for breeding, of course.

Corley took the two scrolls from his old desk. Dust and rubble from all the quaking left them slightly dirty, though a quick brush from his hands cleaned them up slightly. He then tucked them into the decorated blue long-coat hanging from a hook on the side of the wall, in which he then clothed himself. With the matching cap he placed upon his head, he looked just like an outpost liaison.

Corley walked up to the old glass machine, little more than a pile of broken pieces now, and removed the green grate in back. By doing so, he exposed the dark, burned vents that lead about the fortress. He knew that if he followed the tunnels carefully, he would escape through the caverns below, thus avoiding the Hell that was the upper-levels entirely. As he began to enter through the passageway, he heard the noise of footsteps coming towards the lab; these were footsteps that he recognized well. He turned around to see Asmoth emerge from the entrance.

"Grandaunt," he began, "What is your business here?"

"Answer me Corley," Asmoth replied, "What is it exactly that you are planning!"

Corley leaned against a wall and took a breath.

"I am going to exact revenge on all of Elvenkind!"

"Elves!"

"Precisely. They were the creatures that drove my father mad and sentenced our family to this Hell. It is only fitting that each one on this continent is killed. Years ago, I attempted -- though constant training and the breach of Hell itself -- to breed a soldier capable of using an adamantine arsenal to annihilate all elves. This project was a total failure, but it made me realize the necessity in strength of numbers. These powered-up vampires will ravage the island; no stone will be left un-turned!

"Grandaunt, leave this place now. The spell is nearing its final phase, and by that point its effects will be too potent even for you or me. These monsters have no sanity left, they are but mindless killing machines. Soon, they will bear no physical resemblance to an ordinary dwarf, for the healing processes that are a side-effect of the spell leave disfiguring scars after such fighting as they are taking part in. Leave, don't let your daughter and yourself be subject to such a fate. Find a new laboratory; build it in the ruins of this fortress after this is all over for all I care! We're immortal, we have an eternity to work with."

Corley drew a steel short-sword from within his coat. He wasn't very good, but he did have minor military experience from his days as "James;" Asmoth had almost none.

"If you would rather a fight, though, have at you!"
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Deus Asmoth

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold
« Reply #581 on: February 15, 2014, 07:54:12 am »

Asmoth hesitated. She was almost certain that Corley was insane if he thought that these mutants would only attack elves. The humans would be wiped out too, and any dwarf fortresses that couldn't hold a siege. Probably the goblins as well, but they didn't count. And yet...

"You should have come to me. There were so many other opportunities for improvements. Can these things even be commanded without magic?" Asmoth asked, sighing as Corley remained impassive. "If not, consider the benefit of them being intelligent. You don't want them falling into simple traps just out of bloodlust, right? All I'm asking for is five years. Keep them contained here, then head north to the first fortress flying a red and black flag."
"There are no fortresses with those colours."
"Not yet," Asmoth grinned. "You saw what I did in one year, think what I could do in five! You won't have a horde any more, you'll have an army, enough to sweep the entire world!"
"So what is in it for you?" asked Corley warily. Asmoth shrugged.
"Nothing, I suppose, except getting to watch the survival of the fittest in progress. Come, nephew. As you said, we have eternity. What's five more years?"
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MDFification

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold -- Revival Succession Fortress
« Reply #582 on: February 15, 2014, 08:59:18 am »

Emdief staggered through Steelhold. How could he have let that thing get away? The voices in his head were oddly quiet. Ominously quiet.
Almost subconsciously, he walked back to his office and retrieved his gear. It seemed so simple. He had to have a purpose, having been sent back again. The current state of the fortress could be traced back to the Masked One. Had Asmoth self taught magic? Had Corley really decided alone to dig so far down, despite already having adequate stocks of adamantine? Inconceivable. It all came back to the Masked One. It had to die.
Retrieving his crossbow, Emdief set down to work. These hands were rather nimble. In no time, he'd detatched the arrowhead and replaced it with a broad, sharpened Wood Opal. He grabbed a vial of Lenehan's substance, diluted it with forbidden beast extract, and lathered it onto the point. Then he wound his crossbow.
It was time to resume the hunt.



EDIT: Wiki's coming along nicely. We should probably consider how we're tying together the various death throes of the fort into a single climax and ending.

Here's what's happening as I understand it:
-Okul's doing some mysterious task for her gods.
-Emdief is hunting her throughout the fort. (Note: Actually, having him fail horribly will be OK with me so long as he gets to utter something badass along the lines of "I'll be back and will h(a)unt you forever")
-Corley and Asmoth are fighting.
-Thikut is supposed to be fleeing the fort. Idk is this is actually going on or not, because I don't even know if Thikut is real or a figment of Asmoth's imagination.
-Shank and the Queen have sealed themselves off somewhere with living cattle. Note: They can probably be left to their own devices and left with that as their ending.

Soooo... merging these various occurrences? Any ideas? Any way to merge the current 'evil vampire horde' (Asmoth, Shank/Brasswords, Corley) into a single cohesive unit? I'd kind of prefer Asmoth survives because the Bloodkin have a LOT of mutating to do.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 03:20:30 pm by MDFification »
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Gnorm

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold -- Revival Succession Fortress
« Reply #583 on: February 15, 2014, 01:35:42 pm »

Corley's grip on his sword quivered. He knew that his grandaunt was right; she could have great benefits to his causes. But he was also very suspicious of her, for he knew that she was quite crafty, as well as self-preserving. Also, what could she possibly be referring to regarding that flag? Corley didn't know, but he feared the potential answer. He raised his sword once more.

"I don't believe you!" he shouted, "I know that you just want these creatures for yourself! I already have hundreds of fearless, bloodthirsty, wild creatures to fulfill this. If you want to them for your experiments, you'll have to fight me."

With that, he lunged at Asmoth.
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Deus Asmoth

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Re: The Insidious Sons of Steelhold
« Reply #584 on: February 15, 2014, 04:09:50 pm »

Asmoth jumped back, swearing. Corley brought the sword around in an overhead slash, then a strike at the knees, then reeled back as Kivish's hand caught him across the temple. He brought the sword up snarling, slicing the royal arm apart as the doctor tried to hit him with it again. Weaponless, the doctor retreated under a flurry of blows. She hissed in pain as her forehead was cut apart. Her back slammed into a wall, then Corley's sword went through her chest with a sickening crunch. Her nephew's snort of contempt was even louder than the agony.

There was a moment's pause, then Asmoth grabbed the blade's hilt and kicked Corley in the fork of the legs. The doctor staggered towards the door after he slumped to the ground, picking up a piece of Lenehan's machine in case he tried to stop her. She slammed the door on whatever her nephew was trying to say, then collapsed against it, feeling where the sword came in and out of her body. Definitely a punctured lung and she couldn't lift her right arm properly, but the heart was fine and she didn't need to breathe anyway. Through the fog of pain, her mind tried to arrange itself. First, she had to find Thikut. No, first she should grab the dwarf she'd left paralysed, then she should get out, then she could find Thikut. Before Corley stabbed her again. Weaving slightly, she set out, leaving a trail of blood behind her.

*

"Dwarf child!" Cacame shouted. "Why are you so far from home?"
The child paused and for a moment, Cacame got the disturbing feeling that she was watching his jugular, but then she burst into tears.
"Mommy said that bad things were coming, and we should run,"she said between sobs. "She said the elves might take us to a nearby fortress because they're so kind. They might even be nice enough to take this gold that we took before leaving and can't carry any further."
One of the other merchants leaned across, whispering, "We're going to Gemtown anyway, might as well drop 'em off." Cacame nodded and helped the children up.
"What's your name?"
"Thikut"
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