To see Marie fall into sobbing was the last thing Elandor expected. He patted her shoulder, now on equal height, and bent his head a little. He peered at her from over his glasses and smiled.
"Losing your memory isn't always so bad, you know. I once lost my memory after drinking too much. I think it's for the better that I forgot because I don't want to have to think about the horrible consequences*."
He looked at her as if that was supposed to make her feel better.
"You know, you may not remember me. I remember you! And together with my friends we can try to fill up the whole in your brain. Let me start by saying you accompanied us on our journey to save the world. You joined us at the Jester's Hour in Eldarast. Does that ring a bell? The rest will come later, ok?"
He looked around to see if any of his companions cared to help him out with their former friend.
* Elandor is refering to a time in his past where he had strangely acquired a bottle of Yuan-ti Hammer (a very strong dwarven elixer). He had of course drank it too the last drop with a dwarven companion that winter night. He doesn't quite remember puking in the snow until he coughed blood, and doesn't frankly regret forgetting either.
Marie smiled slightly and whiped the tears from her eyes with the back of her hand. "Yes, a little. It is all so fuzzy though, I hope it will clear with time..." She looked over at the rest of the party, remembering them as much as the little one before her.
Rinrin watched as Elandor ran up to greet Marie, smiling at how excited he seemed. She couldn't hear what was said, but shortly after the Kender had finished speaking the woman fell to her knees, her hands flying up to cover her face. Elandor comforted her, but Rinrin wasn't sure if that was enough.
Smiling mischieviously, she whispered into Conjori's ear. The large dog trotted forward willingly, brushing past Elandor as he met Marie. A second later, a large pink tongue, warm and wet, was giving Marie the best dog greeting Conjori could offer!
Giggling uncontrollably as she followed her companion, Rinrin stepped up next to Elandor and waved a cheery hello.
(Still giggling)"It looks like Conjori got you, Miss Marie!" Conjori barked his agreement, tail wagging. "Rinrin and Conjori, if you please. We joined with the rest of your friends only just before they came here. It sure is nice to meet you!"
"Indeed," said the monk, nodding his head as the crow Orion cawed.
"The girl is certainly capable of handling herself. Her survival is evident of that."
The monk watched the others approach the ranger, but as well as the girl looked, it did not take long before her emotions broke and confusion seemed to set in. Vilyamar shook his head and tightened his lips. As much as he enjoyed seeing one presumed dead back amongst the living, and as miraculous as it may have seemed, things were not always so divine.
There were times of hardship that no magic or faith except in oneself can provide assistance through and this may very well be one of them.
"This has taken up our time long enough. Marie must make her decision and we must be on our way. I have fear of the future..."
The monk followed Rinrin, Conjori, Damien and Elandor to where Marie sat. She was strong, and she had endured much, mostly without her memory of the recent past as it now seemed. But her mind must be strong enough to make the decision. Would she rejoin? Or not? If she had any memory of the quest they had undertaken, then there would be no choice at all.
"Welcome back amongst us, Marie Tanner. But as joyous as this event is, you must still make the decision. Will you join us again on our path? Or should you wish to tread thine own once more?"
((Mostly a bump to reboot this game. It would be a sad day indeed should it fall...))
Marie jumped as the dog greeted her and then smiled and mock glared at him, her sadness pushed behind a mask yet again. But as good as her mask was, it still could not hide the sadness deep in her eyes. “Thank you my four pawed friend, and so nice to meet you, both of you.” She glanced up at Rinrin and then stood up, nodding a happy greeting to the woman. “I hope we can become friends in the future.” She smiled and turned to Vilyamar as she heard his question. “I still have my memory up till the fight, well, pieces of it. Faces are blurry and names escape me, but I remember the reason for our travils without doubt. I will travel with you still, and will until either the quest is fulfilled or We All perish.” With that she settled her pack once again and brushed off her pants. “Are We leaving now?”
Kuball/ Capital of Ralnaria-Quasal
Central Ralnaria, on the Siris River
The discovery of Marie, and her survival of the dreaded Barbarian attack was very encouraging, and lifted a good deal of depression off the party. The fact that the cheerful, innocent ranger girl had survived was, on its own, a very welcome miracle.
As soon as welcomes and praises were concluded, the party hurried on. Teros had secured small, river skiff for them; and the did not want to keep the boatsman waiting. They followed Teros down the dock, which Marie had just come off, and crowded behind him, while he introduced them before a skinny young man with dark skin and a ragged, red cloth wrapped in a ring around his head. The man stood on an algae coated, flattened boat. It’s white sails were drawn up, and a single oar lay on either of it’s sides. He introduced himself as Ilktuk, a name that the party had difficulty pronouncing properly. All but Teros, of course. They paid him up front. A total of 2 silver pieces per member, before he set off. Marie had spent her last cent on obtaining a ride to Kuball, and thus, was spotted 4 copper pieces by each party member.
Ilktuk informed them that they would be arriving in Quasal by tomorrows sunset, and they set off. It was early, yet already the desert had become an oven. The party was thankful they were on the river. The temperiture here would be a good 10 degrees less than on land, and a gentle breeze often sprayed a soft mist from the water on their faces. The walls of the skiff were low enough that even Elandor would be able to dangle his hands in the water, but Ilkuk advised against it.
He would say. Of course, only Rinrin and Teros knew what a Crocodile was, but Ilkuk described them as “Monstrous water Dragons that could and have devoured men in two bites.” He explained that dangling your hand may not attract an adult, but it would make an appetizing meal for a youngling. The skiff was large enough that the party could unhinge the benched seats, and lay them along the walls. In doing so they could sprawl out on the cool boat floor, and doze.
In this manner, they spent the next day and night. Drifting lazily up the Siris River. Soon enough, Ralnaria’s Capital was behind, and the river banks were home to fruit trees and vast, green fields. Wheat and Rice, it seemed, was grown in this land. Through irrigation, the people had been able to turn what would be miles of dead sand into lush, fertile farmland. The party could only imagine the hardships, however, of the white skirted farmers they saw, laboring in the hot sun, as they passed by.
They passed many a fishing boat, which reminded them of the Sea Chum, and the friends they had made on board. At one point, a longship with a gold capped bow, and 30 rowing oars on either side slipped by them. Its flag was stripped maroon and gold, and on board could be seen armored men and pointed halberds.
Ilktuk explained that the people of Ralnaria had an uneasy relationship with the tribal lizard folk of the Craiglands to the north, and the White Straight, to the southwest. And that recently, farmland has been subject to ambush. “Nothing our military cannot handle” he added. Ilktuk spoke very good English.
Night passed, and the next day dragged on slowly. The group was bored, hot, and uncomfortable. At least they had enough food and water. Thus far, their quest had been miserably dangerous, leading them to them to another corner of the continent, and getting 2 of their people killed. And yet they had achieved nothing tangible. Hopefully that would change in Hajin Ra.
At last, as the land began to cool, and the sun sank low over the flat landscape, glazing the river in fire, they reached Quasal. It wasn’t much. Simply a cluster of docks and rugged boats, a sprawling of fields, and a handful of simple, whitewashed buildings. There were no merchants or wealthy folk. Simply fishermen dragging in their days catch, women sweeping porch steps, and playing children. Ilktuk pulled their boat into the docks and tied it. Pointing at a nearby, Beachwood building, which overlooked the river, he said
“That is the local cantina. They also rent rooms. Good luck.”
They thanked him and headed towards the inn, yet Teros stopped them. His dark face was etched with both shame and nervousness. Yet he held his head high and proud. He had made his decision.
“I am sorry, friends, but this is where my journey comes to an end. I will not be continuing this quest.”
He keeps his head high, through any words they may have, before continuing.
“My friend Derak is dead, and I remember clearly, the words he spoke to me, just the night before his life was taken. I had told him of my love for a woman who lives in this very village. A woman I left years ago, to make a fortune, and failed doing so. Nomatter. I remember his words. He told me ‘Teros. I have never loved a woman, nor has any woman shown me love. But I can bet you my sword, Jilly, that if I had a woman. I would grab ahold of her and never let go. Not for nothing. Love is a jewel, and if you find it, you should never let go.”
Teros hesitated a moment before adding
“Those were his words to me, and I ill bide them. I forsook her once. I wont do it again. I wish you luck…and I will pray for you every night.
With that the man spun around and headed down a dock, where he hopped into a small canoe. Without looking back, he shoved off and began to row up the river, leaving the party watching after him, in surprise.
(OK….this is the worst post ive ever done, I know…but I havent written any form of creative fiction in FOREVER…ill get back in the swing…remember….your immediate quest was to head to Quasal, where you are now, and find a way to Hajin Ra, a site of ruins northwest, into the desert. You are seeking an ancient and magical scroll, which will show you the location of all the legendary God Stones….I recommend you inquire as to how to get there, or seek a guide, or something of the sort. You can do all this at the cantina.)
“So they’re named Crocodile,” Elandor thought. He had seen them on the river earlier, but had not learned their name. Back in the lands of his origin, dragons were hardly seen, if ever. Here they were a real threat in the water! WOW!
Elandor HAD to see one of those again, now he learned how dangerous they could be. He spent hours using his hoopak as an extended fishing pole. The magic it possessed was put to full use by making a dead fish dangle right on the thin border of water and air.
When finally the water parted in a sudden splash and the fish disappeared, Elandor’s fast eyes were treated with an unforgettable image. Standing so close to a predator so vicious and stealthy was like cheating death.
When they reached Quasal, Elandor was highly disappointed. He had expected every city to be so vivid as Kuball. Quasal was boring, but, to a kinder there was always something to find.
In this case: information.
He went ahead of the others, and waited at the door, anxious to go inside. Looking back he saw the group standing near the boats, regarding Teros who was walking away. The fighter got in a canoe and drifted off. Elandor had no idea what was going on. Puzzled and of heavy heart he returned to the group and stared questioning at the rest. Learning the truth did not reduce his puzzlement at all!
This man abandoned his quest that would save the world for a loved one? What hope was there when one of the group’s mightiest warriors left them at this hour? What hope was there for Teros’ loved one and himself when his quest was unfinished? Should the kender abandon hope?
He looked at the group and saw an incoherent bunch that looked like it belonged in a circus freakshow. He himself made a fine addition. They were definitely going to make it!!
With renewed hope Elandor turned around and went for the cantina.
(Elandor will enter the cantina and ask the bartender for a good guide to the surroundings. He will tell the man they’re merchants looking for a good spot to start a trading post.)
PS. I assumed a croc would bite the bait. If you’re not ok with that decision I’ll change my post.
It had been a quiet boat ride. Well, as quiet as one could expect when one travelled with Elandor. The little man got all worked up over everything.
Scourge and Orion both watched as the Kender toyed with the local wildlife which lay in wait beneath the cool waters of the Siris. When The Crocodile crested the water in a lunge for the Hoopak, and most likely the Kender that was holding it, all that went through Scourge's mind was: "Wonder how they taste." Scourge looked to Orion who had spoken his thought out loud, and shook his head.
When the shores of Quasal finally came into view, even the large somber man held some inkling of disappointment. There were no luxurious gold capped buildings, no caravans jingling with the sound of exotic wares. There were only white washed simple buildings nested in the middle of a desert skirting the only means for survival in this harsh realm; the Siris.
Elandor who as by now was expected so, was the first to take off into the small settlement towards the Cantina.
Scourge and Orion both knew however ,that these simple folk might be put off by his appearance, all clad in dark draperies while the bronze skinned men worked in light clothes. He would take his time, let the other's secure a guide or passage, and simply roam the city limits, taking note of which faces may be revealed to him within the next night's dream, Erenall's decree that their life had come to an end.
Marie eyed the boat and swallowed hard: The air was one thing, big huge boats where you couldn’t see the water was another as well…but THIS? She postponed getting in the thing as long as possible, letting the others go first as such. Unfortunately it was her turn all too soon, so she gingerly got in and tried to cover up her unease by looking at the floor. The boat had other plans however and as boats are prone to do moved away from the dock slightly as she stepped on it. Her eyes got about as big as dinner plates and she stared down at the water…was it her imagination or where two golden eyes staring back at her? She shook her head and scrambled into the boat, sitting in the very center clutching her pack for dear life: After the wreck what little love she had for moving water was pretty well dashed to pieces.
She spent the trip in the same basic fashion, sitting in her claimed seat and eating or sleeping…whatever she felt like. She thought a lot as well, about the wreck and her home. When the little one decided to temp fate she was doing such a thing, but that was until the creature grabbed the bate. That was something to give her nightmares for a week! She couldn’t wait to get this over with, to get home again! She had almost died already, the others had even been sure she was, but she was still a firm believer in finishing whatever you start…whatever the cost.
When they arrived and Teros left them, she was a little sad: She hadn’t known him well, but these people we’re her family now. She sighed and them waited for the others to get off, then scrambled out of the boat herself and barely managed to keep from dropping to her knees to kiss the earth. As it was she couldn’t help but breath a sigh of relief and walk quickly to the cantina.
(When she gets there she will most likely sit back and let the others ask the questions, though she will be paying close attention to the answers. She will want a meal and a room, along with a bath if that’s at all possible.)
It was not long before all had boarded the canoes and the trip up the river began. The travel was unlike that on the sea, much more calm and deceiving in its dangers. The monk stoically sat in his new clothing, cooler now that he had changed. It had not been expensive and the change may aid him in the days to come.
The others were not very talkative, neither was Vilyamar. He sat, contemplating the future of the group and where they were to head. There was little on his mind but their mission. He was not so out of it that he did not hear and heed their guide's warnings about the creatures of the river and their danger.
It was amusing to see the kender's actions, and that even brought a small smile to his darkened face. The thoughts that crossed Vilyamar's mind were not often of happy nature in these times. What would they do in Quasal? Where would they go? Would the others, especially Damien, listen to his advice and wisdom? Would they succeed? Would Thrundier be there to meet them before destroying the lot of them in a single blow?
The questions left him with enough to do that the trip seemed short. As Quasal loomed in the distance, Vilyamar relaxed ever so slightly. At least the miracle that was Marie's survival was something to take comfort in. One less death at the hands of the Barbarian Overlord. One less blood stain on their travels.
He had noticed that Teros had grown quite dim over the past few weeks. Ever since the death of Derak, Mahou and the majority of the crew of the windship, Teros had said naught but a few words. The most was when they had reached port a few days prior. Perhaps the fight had gone out of the man...
As they docked the canoes and emptied themselves and their belongings, Vilyamar watched Teros.
Strange, thought the monk. His things are apart from...ahhh.
He silently agreed with the decision he expected Teros to make. It was a culmination of many things, not the least of which was Derak's brutal slaying.
“I am sorry, friends, but this is where my journey comes to an end. I will not be continuing this quest.”
“My friend Derak is dead, and I remember clearly, the words he spoke to me, just the night before his life was taken. I had told him of my love for a woman who lives in this very village. A woman I left years ago, to make a fortune, and failed doing so. Nomatter. I remember his words. He told me ‘Teros. I have never loved a woman, nor has any woman shown me love. But I can bet you my sword, Jilly, that if I had a woman. I would grab ahold of her and never let go. Not for nothing. Love is a jewel, and if you find it, you should never let go.”
"Those were his words to me, and I ill bide them. I forsook her once. I wont do it again. I wish you luck…and I will pray for you every night."
"May your travels be safe and your decisions wise, Teros," said the monk, bowing slightly. There was naught they could do but respect the knight's decision and accept his prayers.
And with that, he was gone.
The others began to gather their things, as did Vilyamar, who hoisted his own backpack onto his shoulder. The kender quickly made for the cantina, followed by Marie, though the large one tended to his things and began to make his way towards the outskirts of the town. Vilyamar followed Scourge and Orion, letting the others take care of procuring their guide or lodging and such from the cantina.
Their group should never be split alone...
((following and catching up with Orion and Scourge, though isn't initiating and conversation. Will talk with anyone on the boat who asks))
The transit was spent in silence and solitude for Damien LeBlaque. It was hot, and he didn’t want to expend any energy speaking pointless things to the others. There was nothing to discuss, save Marie’s return, but even so, she seemed to want to spend her time alone, too. Why disturb her, then?
Elandor’s efforts to bait what were named crocodiles brought a thin smile to Damien’s lips, though it quickly vanished once the thing leapt free from the water and snapped at the bait provided. Upon that sight, the bard made a subtle movement closer to the middle of the boat.
Quasal was hardly impressive, nothing like Kubal, except in the basics. It wasn’t fancy, ornate, or any other pleasing descriptor words. It was simply a town built of foreign architecture to Damien.
When they docked, Illtuk pointed them in the direction of the cantina, which seemed to be the next phase of their grand plotline of life. Setting out for the building, Teros stopped them in their tracks. Not knowing what it was, his first thought jumped to the prospect that maybe the man was going to lecture Damien for his deliberate solitude again, and readied a stinging retort on his tongue, but found no need to loose it as his part was spoken.
It would seem that Teros was leaving the group, for the experiences he had to endure were a bit much. Damien understood, and was able to sympathize with the man near the end of it more than he could imagine.
“Love is a jewel, and if you find it, you should never let it go.”
Though he had given a speech, and was leaving for reasons completely understandable, Damien simply once waved him off and turned his head away. Despite the leaving of the man, they had never gotten along, and Damien less-than-liked him. He wouldn’t miss Teros once he was gone. But the thought dawned on him... There goes the rest of the group’s hitting capability. Things would be much harder, now, that the strongest of the men were gone.
Sighing, Damien glanced at Scourge once before making his way to the cantina, shouldering his gear as he went. It was hot out, and probably much cooler inside. It would be nice to gain some relief.
((OOC: I know this is crappy, but its the best I could turn out with this game being on hold for so long. Still, its done, and you can update. Glad this is moving again, though!))
The group underwent the uneventful journey down the Siris river in silence, it seemed. Trying to hold in her laughter, Rinrin couldn't help but be amused by Elandor's mission to bait a crocadile. Conjori lazily followed the end of his hoopak with his eyes, uninterested until the beast sprang up out of the water. Seconds later the dog was on his feet, barking in alarm. Rinrin, unable to contain herself any longer, burst out in a fit of laughter as she calmed her friend. It was not long before the mellow atmosphere returned to them.
Once they arrived in Quesal, Teros announced his decision and explanation to leave. Not a minute later, the group was left staring as his back drifted out of sight down the river. New to the group, Rinrin couldn't do much besides utter a simple "farewell". Granted, she was happy that he decided to follow his heart instead of anything else. With a smile, as she could only accept that he was gone for good now, she skipped down to the Cantina, following Elandor, Marie and Damien. The others went off to the outskirts of town, but Rinrin decided to pay them no mind. This town wasn't quite as intriguing as the last one, but there was sure to be plenty of new things for them to discover. As though reading her mind, Conjori gave a happy bark of agreement as he raced in front of the little gnome and onwards past the others.
The tale begins within the Brownleaf Tavern, within the small, rustic village of Aldoris, in the Kingdom of Thollin. Aldoris is predominantly a farming village, but it lies on a highway to the capital of Elderast; and so it receives many travelers. On this night of August 1st, 7 strangers came together. Derak Rigwall, the fat, and gross, but immensely friendly and likeable warrior; Damien LeBlaque, the depressed Bard in Black; Teros Razorsun, a warrior from the southernlands, who had been working in Thollin as a caravan guard for the Royal Army, Mahuo, the enigmatic, druidic Satyr; Elandor Underhood, the middle aged kender who, like all kender, didn¡¦t act any older than 10, and Vilyamar Disentrio, a wandering half elf monk, who even now, has not said much of his history. The strangers had been treated with the utmost hospitality by John Barlibake and his host of servers; who treated them to a rich meal, beds, and friendly conversation. By request of several farmers, Damien played his first song. A song of sorrow and the forsakenness of the gods. The song may have offended many, but he still received rich applause, and tips.
The Night turned when the tavern doors swung opened for two men. One was very tall, muscular, and imposing. His face was shaven, but his hair was very long, and blonde. His eyes gleamed an icy blue. He was cloaked in a heavy gray, fur cloak, and on his back was a massive claymore. Beside him was a hunched over old man with a beard and long white hair. He leaned on a staff, and called himself ¡§Hobbles¡¨. It was obvious that Barlibake knew him, and considered him a ¡§friend¡¨. The old man wasted little time in telling the strangers (who were now the only people left in the tavern) that he had a request.
Deep within the Valinon Forest is a tree. Supposedly this tree was planted by Inenhalla herself. The group is to retrieve a leaf from this tree for Hobbles. Hobbles claims he has many mystic questions that will be answered when the group gathers this leaf. He promises as reward, he will share with them his questions and the answers he finds. He also promises a grand money reward, and a feast of the liking they have never experienced.
Of course, the group accepts, and the next day they set off without meeting up with Hobbles, who supposedly ¡§Needs his rest as all old men do.¡¨.
The road to Valinon was an adventure all in itself! On the sunset of their first days journey, they encountered a group of filthy ruffians, who had laid claim to a bridge, and demanded ¡§Tolls¡¨ from all who wished to cross it. As payment, the requested the group hand over their money and Mahuo. The group, offended, refused, and the first blood of their quest was spilled. No party member was wounded, but only three what had been 10 ruffians were able to flee. The rest were sent floating downstream. It should be noted that several of the parties members felt sorrow for the outcome of the battle. That night, over a campfire, the group argued over the fight, and what had transpired. Night fell with several among the party angry. Should this be expected? After all, they were 6 strangers, brought together for one quest.
Day two did not go so smoothly however. After midday, the group left behind the sprawling farmland that surrounded Aldoris. The landscape here was that of rolling, woody hills. It was while traversing a patch of wood that the group came to a menacing site. The road seemed to branch here, and in the elbow is a small, primitive stone alter. It is stained brown with what must be blood. The ¡§branch¡¨ is only a small, beaten path, lined with spears that leads off the main road, and deeper into the forest. The group decides to take this path. Obviously whatever made this path is a threat to adventurers, and more likely, traveling farmers.
The group made it¡¦s way along the path, fighting off an ambush of vicious, savage goblins, and soon found a clearing. On the far side was a series of cave pocked cliffs, but in the clearing was a mob of goblins, surrounding a mound. Standing atop the mound was a goblin unlike the others. His skin was black and marked with purple and white paint. From his loincloth dangled countless, whitened bones. In one claw he held high a cleaver. Its silver surface gleamed and shimmered in the sunlight. The other clutched a wooden staff, draped with beads and bones, and crowned with a skull. None of this was quite as imposing, however, as the great skull that completely hid his face and head. Four great horns rose forth from it. The two in the center rose like pointed spires, while the outer two spiraled to the side. The sockets were empty, but glowed with a sinister red light.
For the first time, the group plotted out a battle plan, and set it into action. They attack swiftly, but the goblins were vicious and cruel. Damien, who had attempted to take out the leader, had been struck with a spell none of the group could identify. They had seen shadow seep from the ground, weave itself around the leader, and snake towards the bard, before engulfing him and leaving him barely breathing. Mahuo fired an arrow into the leader, dropping him. With their leader dead, the goblins were in momentary disarray. The party took this opportunity to grab Damien and flee. Not before Elandor claimed the skull mask as his own. (though he never put it on).
With Derak carrying Damien, the group continued their journey, it rained miserably that night, and the next day at dusk, they came to the mighty boughs of the Valinon Forest. It was here that they encountered their first elves.
A brief clip to refresh your memories
¡§Do you hear that? It sounds like singing.¡¨ The group fell silent, with the exception of the gasping bard. It was true. Singing could be heard, but in no voices any in that group had heard. Save one. Voices carried through the night, as clear as a stream, as delicate as fern, and as unworldly as the silver moon. The hair stood on everyone's neck. Even Damien¡¦s torment racked gasps died down, as if eased. A melody as drifting as the breeze swept over them, filling each a strange blend of sorrow and joy. ¡§Elves!¡¨ Cried Vilyamar, hopping on a log, and peering into the forest. ¡§Iv not such beautiful voices in all my life.¡¨ Gasped Teros. Before Anyone could stop him, the kender pointed and cried ¡§Lights!¡¨ Before plunging into the forest.
They followed him, even the grumbling Derak, who had slung Damien over his shoulder once more. True enough, lights could be seen, flickering between the thick trunks of the trees. The way was strewn with logs and fallen branches, but they made it. They stood in a clearing. Before them grew a strange, grove of trees. They grew in line, and there boughs swept towards one another, forming a roofed hall. Strange, silver lanterns clung to their trunks, and in the center leapt a fire of....silver! Elves stood all about, staring strangely at them. The most beautiful creatures any of them had ever seen. The moonlight fell silver in their long, glossy hair, and their tall, elegant forms were cloaked in grays, greens, and silvers. There were many of them, at least thirty, and though most stared unmovingly at the company, the beautiful, mysterious song still hung in the air.¡¨
It is here that the party will meet Falienor Anfalias. He bids them to stay with them this night, as they are celebrating ¡§All that is older¡¨ then they are. Infact, I highly recommend you reread my posts in this page if you want to be refreshed on Noldarian Elves. It can be found on page 11.
The party is refreshed with elven food and drink, and they are blessed with a tale by Falienor that explains the creation of the first of the Elves. The tale is now placed in the Info thread below, and some of you have not yet read it. I suggest you do so. It¡¦s shortƒº.
The next day, the group is lead by Riadros, an elf with braided hair the color of fiery copper, and twined with leaves and acorns, and dressed in forest greens, and velvet grays; through the forest, to a small hut (remember all elven buildings may be CALLED buildings, but they are densly grown branches that have coiled into the shape of buildings.) It is here that Elven mystics release Damien from what is supposedly ¡§The essence of the hells¡¨ that had enslaved his soul. The group is very thankful, and Elandor even hugs Riadros. Damien, however, proves only to upset his party with a melodramatic display of weakness, even for his state, and harsh, biting words towards his friend Mahuo.
The group continues through the forest, and soon find that ancient trees, rumored to grow in the Elven homelands to the far northeast, and known as Avilon Trees, grow here as well. There trunks are hundreds of feet thick, and they rise thousands of feet above. These trees do not branch until several hundred feet up, and every so often the group can see glowing, silver lights in the branches above.
Finally the group is lead to a single tree. The trunks of Valinon trees are actually twisted into tight spirals, and these form very efficient roadways that lead up them. This particular road is lined with glowing, silvery lanterns. Thousands of feet up, the group comes to the elven city of Celeval. Valinon trees branch out entirely from one spot. The peak of the trunk. The trunk forms a massive platform, several hundred feet wide, and branching out into the massive, branches. Crowning this platform are beautiful, spiraling¡K.treelike buildings. Hanging like jewels from these buildings, along with smaller, treelike poles are all manners of beautiful silvery and gold lights. Beautiful courtyards and gardens of exotic plants also adore this wonderous city.
The group is lead to what could be a tavern, or a common room, though it is entirely natural. Here they meet, to their astonishment, Hobbles.
Below is a clip of this astonishing meeting.
Saturday Evening/August 8th/Celeval Inn
¡§Sir Elf,¡¨ Elandor asked, tugging on the tall elf¡¦s robes, ¡§You say these trees are your fathers? And you say that your goddess is your mother. How exactly did that go? I can¡¦t really picture how you ever came to existence.¡¨
Before Riadros made even the slightest attempt at a response, Mahuo laid her hand on the kender¡¦s thin shoulder.
"I think some things are better not asked nor answered my friend. surely it might be offencive to ask you how your parents mated to create you?"
She shook her head, as if disappointed with the fragile being. Riadros, however, was apparently not offended. He laughed, and set a gentle hand on the Satyr¡¦s, upon Elandor¡¦s shoulder.
¡§Any question is better asked, than left to spoil and rot within the confounds of one¡¦s mind.¡¨
He smiled, and knelt, so that his emerald eyes were level with Elandor¡¦s, which sparkled behind his tiny glasses like sapphires. It was strange. If one where to glance at Elandor, without ever knowing what a kender was, that person would make the terrible mistake of thinking he was perhaps mature, or even wise!
¡§Did you not listen to the tale, Falienor told earlier? You know how we were created, small friend.¡¨
Speaking in a tone directed towards both Elandor and Mahuo, he continued.
¡§It takes more than a contributing hand during the time of creation, to make a father. If that was a definition, we would not have one. The trees are our elders. They give to us when we need them. They nurture us, and teach us. Can you not feel the wisdom that vibrates the air about you? They protect us from our enemies. They even support us, and our dwellings. That is why they are our fathers. When they grow old, bent and gnarled, we tend to them, as should any grateful child.¡¨
Standing, and ruffling the kender¡¦s grey-streaked, blonde topknot, Riadros smiled brilliantly at Mahuo. It was a face like a young star. Turning, he headed into the silver specked darkness of the night.
The others stared at Hobbles, who sat, smiling over his frothing mug. They asked questions, each their own. In response to Vilyamar¡¦s foremost inquiry, the old man nodded to a table that sat in a corner near the doorway, behind the party. A barrel sat upon it. Beside the barrel where several mugs, identical to Hobble¡¦s. For any that decide to partake of the barrel, they will find that it is Golden Ale. Though high in quality, it is an obvious human drink.
The others, each in turn, fired off a barrage of questions at the old man. Some asked straightforward and obvious questions, such as Derak¡¦s ¡§where are we and what is this place?!¡¨. Other¡¦s spoke in voices thick with suspicion. Damien attacked the very possibility of Hobble¡¦s presence, while Mahuo cautiously questioned the original purpose of their mission. The old man had no reason to respond to any question immediately. Nor would he have been able, had he tried. The party shot questions at him so rapidly, that there was no space to slide in an explanation between questions.
It was not until Teros muttered his own answer to Damien¡¦s question, that Hobble¡¦s spoke.
¡§Ah, my friend. Much of what is and is not obvious about me, is not obvious at all! But rather, quite contrary.¡¨
The old man paused a moment to let his confounding words settle, and to take a sip of his ale. His sharp blue eyes glinted in humor. What WAS obvious, was that he was enjoying this.
¡§I suppose I had better answer your questions! If inquiries were like blows, I dare say I would be on the ground, rather than in my seat.¡¨
Hobble¡¦s took a sip from his mug. A froth was left, clinging to his beard. Turning to Derak, he said.
¡§Did you walk with your eyes closed? I would say that you may have just set a record for the longest sleep walk in Noldaria¡¦s history! You are in Ceneval, and this Place is the elves dining hall for meetings. If you have sleep walked thus far, I suggest you awaken now, because my words will be of the utmost importance. Infact, they will effect your fate. All of yours¡¨
He looked at each person standing before him. Until now, he had spoke in humor. His words had been almost light-hearted. When he spoke again, his voice was deep, serious, and thick with power.
¡§Behold. Tharanduil, oldest and most wise of the elders.¡¨
Setting his mug on the table, the once bent, crippled old man stood, throwing back his hooded cape. He stood now, straight, tall, powerful. Robes, before hidden, now flowed over his body like deep, blue cascades. He held his staff, but didn¡¦t lean on it. He seemed transformed into kingliness. Perhaps the party was awed Almost to the point of bowing before him.
¡§I arrived before you, Damien, because I know of forces so silent, yet powerful enough to alter the very flow of time. I came, because I am needed In Celeval. You have not completed your quest, nor will you without hearing the words I have to tell you now. Indeed I am not fit to travel these lengths to gather the leaf. I am not fit to gather the leaf, because it is not for me. It is for you!¡¨
Tharanduil paused, and gestured for the others to sit down. They did so, and so did he.
¡§I am sure most of you have at least enough history knowledge, to be aware of the great battles that once raged between the Gods. Mountains split, lands were sundered, and seas dried. The Narogs (Basically demons) were created by Gerugoth, the Dark One; and the first dragons where born, as weapons of war. As you know, Gerugoth was defeated in his fortress in Gildor. Both Cielanon (The God of good) and Gerugoth now cease to exist. Do you know why?¡¨
Tharanduil let them think. None knew, that he was certain.
¡§Of course you don¡¦t. Only the oldest know. There are some things that should be kept from the history books. Listen closely now. I shall enlighten you on a crucial piece of history. Gerugoth and his demons fought against the unrelenting Gods for ages, but it was in vain. Gerugoth and his demons had a weakness. Darkness cannot pierce light, it can only flee before it. But light can cut through, or even shatter darkness. Not Gerugoth or any of his narogs could stand before Cielanon. The God of light tore through their ranks like in a white fury. Yet, in one battle, the path of history was set. Gerugoth was defeated, and forced to flee. The Gods had this opportunity to pursue, and destroy him. But they didn¡¦t. Cielanon had been wounded. Light may not be destroyed by the shadows, but it can be tainted. Instead of cutting down Gerugoth, they tended to Cielanon.¡¨
¡§Now, with this defeat, the everstubborn Gerugoth finally became aware of his own mortality. He could, and would be defeated. Now, perhaps you did not know this, but Gerugoth had always had one goal- He hated Alhanna (earth) the creation of the gods. He would never let it be. He would destroy it if he could, if this goal is unattainable, he would stain it, wither it, and eventually, rule it. If the Gods were to destroy him, Alhanna would be cleansed. The scars he left would heal, and worst of all, Alhanna would be perfect. His spite for the gods was greater than even his regard for his own life. So, in secret, the Dark Lord locked all his Narogs, safe within their own realm. The Shadow Realm. Then, having done so, he set about weaving his deep and dark plans.¡¨
Tharanduil stopped for breath. When he spoke again, it was as if his voice shattered a silence that had settled over them. It boomed off the back wall, and echoed within their minds, before burrowing deep within.
¡§Gerugoth destroyed himself. And yet, he tore any hopes the gods had of a perfect Alhanna from their minds. Using all the power a God can muster, he destroyed his body, and trapped his soul within a stone. Yes. A stone. The Shadow Stone, as it would come to be called. In it his very essence, the entirety of his power would reside. He had been destroyed, by transferring every thread of his being, and power, into it. The stone would rest in a temple that he himself had constructed. ¡§
¡§When the Gods learned of this, they grieved. They grieved for Alhanna, and the weary, stain ridden path it would be forced to tread. They grieved for themselves, having failed in destroying Gerugoth while they had the chance. Most of all, they grieved for Cielanon. Not only he, but all the Gods recognized what he must do. You see, the purpose of the shadow stone, was that it would one day be found by mortals. When it was, whoever possessed it would gain the power of Gerugoth himself. A second Dark Lord would rise, not only possessing Gerugoth¡¦s power, but also possessed by his lust for the fall of Noldaria, or his rule of it. The narogs would be freed, and Gilgoth¡¦s (the land he once resided in) power would be fully restored. By becoming a stone, he brought the war away from the Gods, and into the hands of mortals. Due, to many events that need not be discussed here, the Gods could not directly destroy the Shadow Stone. Rather, if Alhanna was to have any hope, Cielanon would have to take the same path Gerugoth had. He would make the ultimate sacrifice that any father would for their child. He destroyed himself, transferring all his goodness, all his being, into a stone of his own. The Light Stone. Now the Shadow stone was very, very well hidden, and would not be found for some time, hopefully if ever. The God¡¦s could not risk letting mortals know of what had taken place. Obviously, any evil individual would strive to find the shadow stone. However, if the shadow stone was ever found, mortals would need a way to know what is taking place, and what to do. So, they left Us with the knowledge of what had taken place, entrusting us to tell noone. We havn¡¦t.¡¨
¡§Now the Gods set about, establishing temples that would be scattered across Noldaria, Alhanna¡¦s largest Continent, also the continent where Gildor, The Shadow Stone, and the Light Stone are located. Anyways. The God¡¦s created 3 stones, each residing in its own temple. Whoever could acquire each of these stones, would be shown the way to the Light Stone. Now the light stone is, as Cielanon was to Gerugoth, the bane of the Shadow stone. It can, and will destroy he who bears the Shadow Stone.¡¨
Tharanduil took a deep breath, and looked over the party members.
¡§I know, what I have to say is long. It is a lot of knowledge to take in, but it must be done. Listen now, more importantly than you have been. You were sent to acquire a leaf. Am I correct? Not just any leaf, but one taken from a tree Inenhalla planted herself. Do you know why she planted it? It was prophesized that the Shadow Stone would be found, and that he could be defeated by none, but a particular party, prophesized to meet in a particular place, at a particular time. You are that party, I know. Inenhalla planted the tree as a final test. If you pluck the leaf, under the light of the stars, a new star shall be born¡KThat is, if you are one of the prophesized ones. That is why I sent you here. You must be tested.¡¨
Sensing a hint of uncertainty amongst the party, Tharanduil smiled.
¡§Do not fear. You are the party. I know it. If I was not so certain, I would not have told you everything that I just have. The test is for all certainty.¡¨
Sighing, the old man grabbed his mug, and downed its contents in one gulp. Slamming it onto the table, he stood. ¡§I have told you everything you need to know, for now. Come. I¡¦m sure your legs need stretching, and your minds need clearing, after hearing what you have. You will get your stretching, but I am not so certain about clearing your mind just yet. We go to the Tree of Inenhalla. You will be tested, and then, I can send you on your true mission.¡¨
From here the party was led by silent, hooded elven druids, to a platform atop what MUST be Inenhallas Tree. The tree glowed silver, like the stars above. The reason is because each of these beautiful, long, slender leaves is dark green on one side, but actually silver on their bottom. When the wind sweeps over the tree, they make a sound like countless, tiny chimes, and glitter silver as they expose their bottoms.
It is also here that the group each pluck leaves from the tree¡Kand witness that a new constellation appears above. Tharanduil tells the group that they are the ones prophesized to begin the quest. Though the prophesies never say whether or not they succeed. They were prophesized to begin the quest, but they may very well fail, or even be succeeded by others.
The party is led back to the main hall of Celeval where they meet a number of elves, along with Falienor, who is now dressed in the splendor of an elven lord. This is the feast they were promised¡Kbut it does not go according to plan.
The feast starts off well enough. The group are very much in shock at their new mission. Of course fear, and anxiety are felt, but so is a sense of pride. The group speaks openly about their feelings, asking questions and whatnot. Elandor, who has apparently been assigned an elven guard¡K..still attempts to steal a piece of elven silver wear¡K.and succeeds.
However, Damien is a cloud of hopless woe during this feast. And he speaks of hopelessness. This of course, angers his teammates, and arguments begin. Vilyamar, in an attempt to feel akin with the elves, has been speaking in Elvish to Falienor, and claims he feels it is his duty to apologize¡Ksince now, Teros, Derak, and Damien have erupted in a very heated argument, in which spiteful words are exchanged, and Derak expresses regret over ever saving Damien. Damien¡K.claims they should have left him as well.
It is at this point that Damien progresses his doubt so verbally to the point of proclaiming they should surrender to Gerugoth, for his mercy.
This statement so angers even the elves that Falienor draws his blade, and would strike the bard down, had Tharanduil not stopped him, and said that ¡§Doubt does not carve a traitor¡¨.
The feast is ended, Derak and Teros have stormed outside, while the others wait to see what will happen.
Below is a clip explaining Tharanduil¡¦s speech that will end this argument.
The post can be found in it¡¦s entirety on page 16.
¡§You have a sad outlook on both life, And death, Damien. Were you taught nothing about the Gods as a child? Gerugoth fought so hard to destroy, stain, or even taint Noldaria, because it is all he can effect. He cannot touch you when you die. That is the duty of Erenall, who will judge the souls departed. The wicked are cast to Carithar, in his black pits. All else are welcomed to dwell in the land of the Gods.¡¨
Gently wrapping his hand around the bards elbow, he helps (or forces) him to his feet. By now, Teros had stormed out of the hall, in search of Derak. Tharanduil continued
¡§All He can take is your life. Perhaps you do not understand death, and that is the cause of your sorrow and doubt. Or perhaps you have truly lived a life of torment. I will not judge. But the Gods have chosen you for a reason only they know. Perhaps it is to reward your life of pain, with an eternity of honor. For that is what you will all receive from the Gods. Do not think your quest will go unnoticed. Upon death, the heros of Alhanna will be welcomed by the Gods with open arms. They shall be granted a throne in the Hall of Stars, beside the Gods themselves. Loved ones shall be reunited, and an eternity of sacred honor shall ensue. He cannot harm you after death.¡¨
Grabbing a random mug from the table, Tharanduil pauses to take a long drought, before continuing. He spoke now in a voice directed towards everyone.
¡§As for the struggles on this earth, they will be great. It very well may be hopeless, but you must still try. This¡KGod incarnate has power you cannot imagine. It is beyond one mind to comprehend, or to even face.¡¨
His voice hardened into a scold, directed at everyone.
¡§I look at this prophesized group, and I do Not see heros. As you are, No; you will never even stand before this..¡¨Dark Lord¡¨. You must first come together. Individually, you have no chance. Yet, perhaps you will come to learn the power of Unity, and what it can do.¡¨
Turning to Damien once more, he finished.
¡§I do not blame you for your fear. I would blame you, however, could you not withstand it. Overcome your sorrow, throw down your fear. Your voice was a gift from the Gods, you shall see soon enough. Use it to help those your destiny is joined with. Remember the rewards you will receive. Remember those you may meet again, and fight for them. Fight so that a joy that cannot die, may live.¡¨
Grabbing a purple grape from one of the many silver trays, He popped it in his mouth, before saying in a soft, almost weary voice
¡§It seems this feast has come to an end. Perhaps the little ¡§outbreak¡¨ was not such a bad thing, however. Ponder over what I have said. Now, I must go. There is still much for me to do this night.¡¨
With that, Tharanduil grabbed up his gnarled staff, and headed out the door. When it closed this time, however, the silence was not as brooding.
The Druids began, one by one, to follow the Elder¡¦s example. They spoke quietly to one another, and nodded a farewell to the 4 party members that remained, before disappearing into the night. The elf maiden went with them, as did Falienor, who had resheathed his sword and strode swiftly towards the door. Reaching it, he haulted and faced the four. His eyes nolonger burned with fury. His face had become a stoic mask. His voice was edged in frost.
¡§Riadros will show you to your rooms, when you are ready. You may finish eating, or talk to one another, if it pleases you. I wish you well this night.¡¨
The next morning, the group was led out of the forest¡Kat swordpoint. They had lost the respect of the elves, and for the first time ever, even Riadros was not smiling, but rather, sorrow filled his face. The elves proclaimed that prophesized or not, this group would need to earn their respect, and Tharanduil stressed the group would need to learn unity if they hoped to succeed. He also gives them each a diamond worth more than enough for their thus far, troubles, and he explains that from here they can do as they wish. Take the reward and do as they like, or accept the prophecies and continue on their mission. He then explains their mission to them. And sees them off
First, however, he gives a dagger hilt to Vilyamar (who was simply the closest to him). The hilt is ivory, and lined with runes in a beautiful scripting language none of the group can understand. The runes are filled with gleaming, white diamond, as if it was poured into them. This is to form the dagger that must be used to destroy Gerugoth.
The party leaves the forest, which the elves tell them is now forbidden to them, until they prove themselves worthy of respect. Shortly after, they meet two figures.
The first was an old man, or, appeared to be. He stood nearly six and a half feet tall, and despite his flowing, silver main, he stood straight, and emanated a strange power. He wore gray, flowing robes. His face was thin and proud, with high cheekbones, and a sloping forehead. His eyes shone a strange silver, and, though his face was shaven, he bore a trimmed, silver beard on his chin. He never gave his name.
The second was Scourge, a half orc from the northlands. He has many strange abilities, but predominantly, he is a cleric of Erenal, the Lord of Gods, and god of ultimate judgement. The old man claims him to be one of ¡§The Lost Chosen¡¨. He also claims he knows of their mission and that he is an Ally to Tharanduil. He explains that he found Scourge and brought him to them.
The group continues towards Elderast, where they are to catch a flight on a windship. On the way they encounter a troup of Ogres, quite possibly sneaking over the border from the barbaric lands to the north. They do battle, and the ogres are left in their own blood and gore. The group take a series of wounds, however, but the newcomer, Scourge, is able to heal them.
The party travel into Elderast, the capital of Thollin; and it is here that they meet with a young woman named Marie Tanner, within the inn known as Jesters Hour. She claims to be the representative of a secret organization of Rangers and Druids, who claim the lands of Thollin as their own to protect. She explains that she was sent to find them, on behalf of the guardians of Thollin.
It is also at the Jesters Hour, that Damien meets a young barmaid named Cassie Bernsmith. They speak for a long time after he had provided a song that had touched her. She explains how much she longs to be able to travel like he does, and that she is trapped her, working to pay off her fathers debts. She also expresses her own sorrow at never having experienced love. Damien finds himself drawn immensely towards her, and before leaving, promises to return one day to free her from her bonds. It is this encounter that gives Damien reason to fight. If not to save Cassie, to save others like her.
The company accepts Marie, and catches a windship The Nausicaa. It¡¦s headed south, to Saradin, capital city of Lethanon, in the Arnakian Sea. From there the ship is to head to El Jalnine, the capital of Ralnaria.
This sounds well enough, and the group boards. Nearly a week is spent aboard the vessel, but towards the end of their journey, the crew of the ship finds that they are being stalked. The mysterious vessel, however, does not get near enough to identify until it is too late¡K
At this point The Nausicaa is over the mountainous peninsula of Lethanon, but the ships stalker shows itself to be one of the feared, and legendary vessels used by the mysterious Skaul people of the northlands. It is a Dragonship. Armored along it¡¦s belly with the ribs of giant drakes, spiked with their teeth and claws, and headed with a massive, Drake skull.
The barbarians attack with several arrow volleys, before boarding. The warriors themselves prove to be ferocious enemies, and the party had no choice but to fight a desperate battle just to survive. Derak and Teros clasped shoulders before heading into the battle, to cover Damien, who would attempt to harass the drakes enough to waste time until they could reach Saradin. The warriors were a challenge enough, but The leader, however¡Kproves far greater a threat than the group could have dreamed.
Here is a description of him, from the game.
¡§Thrundier, however stood at the brim of the cabin for just a moment, overlooking the battle, before dropping down, just before the doorway of the cabin. Elandor found himself staring at the biggest man he had ever seen in his life. He was well over seven foot tall, and solid as an Avilon Tree. He bore black, chain and leather armor, and around his shoulders was a white, fur cloak. His bare arms bore two, massive, spiked bracers, and in his hands was a massive, toothed greataxe. His long golden hair swayed in the wind, and his full beard was braided. Bits of bone and beads hung from it, and strange, knotwork tattoos spiraled over his cheeks, neck, and forhead. His eyes were the color of ice, and far colder. Elandor found himself backed up against the door of the Heartroom. The figure in the doorway stood for a moment, his hair and cloak billowing in the wind. Then, at last, he stooped his head, and entered the cabin.¡¨
Thrundier himself, who aside from his beard, reminded the group of the strange, silent man who had accompanied ¡§Hobbles¡¨ back in the Brownleaf Tavern, was a terror. Single handedly he slaughtered several of The Nausicaa¡¦s Crew, knocked Marie unconscious, left Vilyamar for dead, and Slew both Mahuo and Derrak. Here are a couple clips. The post itself is found on page 32.
Turning from the windows, the jaws of both Mahuo and Marie dropped. The urge to leap through the windows and run surged overwhelmingly within both; but they were warriors. They suppressed it, and, shaking uneasily, prepared for combat. Gemi, fearless and sensing the danger of his master, charged the giant in the doorway. Sneering, the barbarian pulled back his leg, and with surprising speed, pounded his black boot into the ribs of the little animal. A terrible thud, and a shrill cry pierced the cabin, and with immense force, the wolverine crashed against the back wall, 4 feet from Elandor. It crumpled in a pile and did not move. Marie drew her sword, and Mahuo drew two daggers.
The barbarian smiled, coldly, but staggered suddenly forward, and spun around fiercely. Vilyamar stood in the doorway, crouched, leaning one hand against the deck. Hefting his massive axe, the warrior started towards the monk, just as Marie and Mahuo charged him. Elandor bounced a nut off his back with his hoopak. With yet another astonishing display of speed, the warrior deflected both their attacks, and turning towards the satyr, retaliated, violently. Gripping his massive axe, he swung horizontally. His axe tore across her chest, splintering chain mail, and guisering blood (15d). His axe returned, diagonally, casting more bits of metal and fountains of blood from her torso (12d). Marie, desperate to save her friend, brought her sword down hard on the warriors back. The sword glanced off his armor, but nicked his shoulder. He did not seem to notice. Turning his diagonal swing into an upward lift, he held the axe on high, for a brief moment, before slamming it, hard. The blade bit into the satyr¡¦s collar, and the force of the swing tore her to the ground, where she lay, face down. The warrior removed his axe, and a spout of blood soaked his boots.
Elandor launched another nut at the man, but it glanced off his shoulder. Standing over his victim, the warrior turned towards Marie and Vilyamar. Blood spatters dotted his face and beard.
Marie was unlucky enough to topple over the (soon to be) corpse of Mahuo, and smashed into the solid chest of the massive warrior. Sneering down at her, he lifted one great arm, and backhanded her, hard with one of his spiked bracers(9d). She fell back into a wall. Cracking his neck, the warrior started towards Vilyamar
The Shudder that ran across the ship, knocking he and everyone else off balance, didn¡¦t seem to effect the leader in the least. Backhanding Marie so hard that she fell against the wall, he started towards Vilyamar. The monk pushed himself off the doorway and readied himself once more. The warrior stepped before the body of Mahuo and paused. Before the monk could react, he brought the axe down, once more, severing Mahuo¡¦s head. Bringing one massive foot down on it, preventing it from rolling, the warrior stooped down and, grabbing it by the bloodcaked, auburn hair, lifted it high. Showing her pain-frozen face to the monk.
¡§Will you stand before me, worm?¡¨
His voice was like gravel, and laden in a heavy, strange accent. Suddenly lifting it, he shook the cabin with a booming roar.
¡§I am Thrundier. Dreaded slayer of the Skall and hunter of the Minotaur. I cannot count the men I have slain, nor clean my blade of their bloodstains. You will die like those before you, and I shall return to your ruins. I shall claim the stone, and pick your eyes.¡¨
Not having it, the monk charged forward, furiously, kicking and punching, striking for the nervous systems he knew this man must too possess. Several blows landed, but the man never seemed to daze. Angrily, Thrundier grabbed at the monks silver/blond hair, and snapped his head back. Still ignoring the nuts, that continued to barrage him, he gripped the half elf hard, easily overpowering him. Leaping to her feat, Marie slashed at him again, drawing much blood from his back. Thrundier staggered, only a little, before dragging Vilyamar the five feet out the door. Turning around, he roared viciously, before throwing his arm forward with what seemed like all his might. The monk could do nothing, as his body was flung forward like that of a rag doll. The wall of the cabin shuddered and seemed to crack, as the monks head smashed, hard into it (13d). Marie leapt at the warrior, but he parried her blows. Vilyamar, trained to retain consciousness, staggered forward. His nose was broken, and his face was already swollen and bloody (Stunned). Hefting his axe, Thrundier swiped once at Marie, slicing open her side (16d), before bringing two, massive blows at the monk. The first tore across his chest, gushing blood (14d). The second ran cleanly across his stomach(17d). Thrundier turned to face Marie as the monk dropped to his knees. He clutched his stomach for only a moment, before passing out, and slouching on his side. Blood, and intestines spilled beside him. He was dying quickly¡K.
Staggering in the midst of the deck, Derak gripped Jilly, and came back at Thrundier, violently. The barbarian parried his first blow, but caught a low glance across his thigh. As if the glance to his leg had struck a switch, Thrundier lifted both arms wide at his side and, as the wind swept though this beard and hair, roared like some terrible animal. Punching his chest, he hefted his axe, and came and Derak like a hurricane. Taken by surprise, Derak staggered back, trying desperately to defend himself. Thrundier¡¦s first swing sank deep into Derak¡¦s ribs, puncturing armor and flesh(18d). Derak cried out in pain, and the barbarian withdrew his axe. Staggering, and gripping his already pouring side, Derak would not give in. Lunging at the barbarian, he swung violently, tearing through the warrior¡¦s curaise, and drawing blood from his chest. Swinging again, his sword tore into Thrundier¡¦s shoulder. Blood spattered, but the barbarian did not seem to feel it. Blood poured freely down his arms, chest and legs, and his once white cloak was now stained crimson, yet he seemed tireless. Completing his swing, Derak staggered forward in exhaustion.
Thrundier returned at the warrior with a violent swing so hard it seemed it could take down a tree. Derak put his sword up weakly, and was helpless as it was tore from his hands. Jilly clambered across the deck and lay beside Vilyamar and Marie. Defeated, Derak dropped to his knees before the monster that was Thrundier. Teros watched, helplessly from his gripped position over the edge, as Thrundier lifted his massive axe, and clove the head of Derak from his body. In a fountain of blood, the body dropped, convulsing violently at the barbarian¡¦s feet. Stooping, Thrundier Lifted Derak¡¦s head. Reaching for his waist, he withdrew a long, black and white horn; seemingly that of an ox. Putting it to his lips, the warrior blew a thundering blast. Overhead, the drake skiff began to lower a rope ladder to mid deck, where Thrundier stood.
Taking this opportunity, the barbarian, clear of battle, strolled towards where Mahuo¡¦s head had rolled, cradled against the fallen body of a warrior on deck. Lifting it by the hair, he returned to the lowering rope
The barbarians had failed to acquire the power crystal they sook, but they had stolen many lives. The party, however, was helpless to stop them. Thrundier made his escape as the nausicaa, heavily damaged from several collisions into the sides of cliffs, spiraled into the harbor of Saradin.
When all was said and done, Both The Nausicaa, and a sea going ship, The Arnakian’s Pride (it had collided with), were lost. Of the Nausicaa’s crew, only Captain Darrad, and a single crewman, Goham survived. Of their party, Mahuo and Derak were dead. Marie was missing, and assumed dead.
The survivors had been brought aboard small fishing vessels, and brought to the port of Saradin, where they taken to a Temple of Alquelynia, and tended to for the next week. They spent this time in mourning, and attended a mass funeral for all those lost. In this time they learned a little of Lethanon and it’s culture. Being a penninsula and Isle nation, the people thrived off of fishing, but they made a great wealth with trade with the other nations of Arnakia, as well as with Ralnaria, and the nations to the north. The king of Lethanon, Zerxes the Great, as he was referred to, was loved by almost all of his subjects.
“The king, they never met, but heard much of. His name was Zerxes The Great, and he was young, bold, and a great warrior, very loved by his people. As the party soon learned, in the beginning of his reign, he took up arms against a savage tribe of Hill Giants, who threatened to literally devastate Lethanon. The king, fought beside his men, and stood alone, before the Giant hords, after all his gaurds were slain. This so impressed the Giant King, that he agreed to leave Lethanon forever. Zerxes The Great, is supposedly renowned around Noldaria. “
It was also here that they met the gnome cleric, Rinrin, and her big, white dog, Conjori. Despite warnings against joining, she joined. She had been sent by her people to make a name for her people in the history of Noldaria. What better opportunity?
So it was that the party caught a small, fishing boat to El Jalnine, the capitol of Ralnaria. As luck would have it, El Jalnine is only half a days journey from Quasal. It had been Captain Darrad who had set up this trip for them, as best an apology as he could for what had happened on his own ship.
The ship was known as Sea Chum, and it smelled of it. The crew however, was friendly and outgoing. Though they often spoke in their own language.
Two members particularly bonded with the group. Hareef, a tall man with curly black hair and a stubbly chin, and Zohan, a stumpy man with a potbelly and pointed beard. The two were humerous and full of life. Though humble fishermen, they took great joy in everything they did, and listened to the tales of the party with intense interest….They even showed the group how to fish. Rinrin and Damien had both giving it a shot, and both had met with success. Rinrin’s fish was to be that nights dinner, while Damien had the honor of wrestling with a Marlin.
When the party arrived in El Jalnine, a city of gold and white towers, the goodbyes proved more difficult than they would have thought. Even Damien had grown attached to their two, new friends, and when Hareef gave him the sword of the Marlin he had caught, Damien thanked him with an embrace.
Below is a small clip of the farewell.
“Once all their gear was donned, and the party was ready to go, Hareef brought Damien his horn. It was still blue as a deep lake, and it gleamed in the sunlight. His face was split in a brilliant smile, and his eyes shone wetly as he handed the bard the horn.
“You have earned this, my friend. Keep it with you, and remember us. All of you. Remember the humble fisherman who became your friends.”
The man was more emotional than some, and he went from party member to party member, embracing each, and smiling that brilliant smile. Several of the crewmen did the same, and even the captain, stepped forward and shook the hands of all the party members. In his hand he held a rolled, browned parchment. He handed it to Damien (who is standing nearest).
“This is map of El Jalnine. On back is map of surrounding area. Use it. Good luck travelers. Perhaps we meet again.”
Farewells were complete, and the crew watched as the party unboarded. They remained on deck, despite the fact that it had been a week since they had stepped on solid ground. After a moment, the party spun back around to the shouts of Hareef, who had climbed to the crows nest.
“Little Siren. The sea has a gift for you!”
Casting his arm out, he launched something through the air. It whirled and gleamed, before landing in the dust before the Gnome. Bending over it, for she was short enough to not kneel, she inspected it. It glittered brilliantly in the sun, and her hands covered her mouth in awe. It was a necklace. A small, white pearl, encased in spiraling silver, and linked to a thin, silver wrought necklace. When she looked back up, the man had climbed back down, and had blended with the rest of the crew. “
Rinrin had fondly been named Sea Siren, because of her ability to cause the fish to leap aboard, to their deaths.
It was in El Jalnine that the group found that Marie was safe and well. She explained that she had washed ashore, and had been tended by an old woman, before heading towards Quasal in hopes to catch up with the party.
However, this would also be the last the party would see Teros..or so they thought. Since the death of his friend, the warrior had been silent, but now he bid them all a farewell. It was common knowledge that the man had a woman he loved waiting for him not far from here; and he explained to the party that Derak had once told him that he was lucky to have such love, and that if he had someone to love, Derak would hold on tight to her, and never let go. For that reason, Teros needed to return to her. The party was shocked, but could do nothing.
Continuing alone, the group catches a small skiff up the Siris river, towards Quasal. On the river, they spot what the skiff-master calls a “crocodile”. When at last they reach Quasal, they are tired and worn. Damien is in another dark spell, and in an attempt to prove how “mortal” they are, he accidentally slits his own throat. Scourge saves him, but Damien is ashamed of himself. The group gets rooms at a local tavern, whose name they cannot read. It is here that they meet a man dressed in black, and bearing many forms of strange weapons. He calls himself Ishan, The Snake, and offers to guide them to Hajin Ra. Explaining that he and his men are after treasure, and that both parties can gain more from helping one another, rather than competing. The group, however, sneaks out of town the next morning, and arrives on the outskirts of the city of glass within the heat of the day. Guarding what may be the only pass through strange mountains of black, glass is a Sphinx. It questions the group with
“Ye who enter Hajin Ra beware; for I am the Guardian to the Key ring. Only the band, prophesized in the days of Old may hope to lay claim to it. State thy business, but beware. The wrong answer will be thy demise.”
It is Elandor who responds, and responds correctly. Stating that 6 new stars herald their coming, and that one in their party bares the hilt of an ancient blade. They are here to gather the “Ring, to the Keys of the Gods.”
The Sphinx accepts the answer, and leaves.
The group make their way into the city..now a melted, disformed landscape of black. They make their way towards what once must have been an enormous tower. Though now it has melted, and curved to resemble the claw of a cat. Entering, they make their way through a maze of shining, black hallways, and come to a hole, in what may have once been a throne room.
Dropping down the hole, the group comes to a strange, rectangular room. No chisels mare the walls, or the features within, yet they are perfect. The room is small and rectangular, with the statue of a warrior, dressed in exotic armor, and bearing a spear, but no shield, though his arm is poised to hold one. On either side of him is a hallway. On the opposite side of the room, the wall is molded like a hideous, inhuman Demon. It’s mouth is open and gaping, and horns spiral from it’s head.
Scrawled in golden letters is a poem in Celestial.
*I can’t remember the poem…so I will write a new, crappy translation that will give the same clues*
Ages are swept in sands of Time
Yet still I remain,
Eternal combat, do I wage with Hate
Vunalis! God of War!
Your protection I pray
Let the light of your wife
Come into your gift
And together you may drive my enemy away!
Rinrin had read the poem, and together the group headed down the lefthand tunnel. The path did not go far before descending a row of stairs and coming to a towering set of double doors. Beyond was a room bathed in brilliant splendor. In the center of the room was a massive statue of Vunalis. Vunalis is depicted as a powerful humanoid, in a battle kilt, with a bare chest. Yet his face is always hooded. Hanging from the hood are spiked chains. Rising from it, as if from his brow is a crescent; and hanging from the hood is a long beard of two braids. He is usually depicted bearing a broad sword, an axe, or…a Skull. This statue has him wielding a massive, round shield before him. Risen above his head is a sword, as if ready to strike. From a hole in the ceiling streams a beam of sunlight, and on the shield, it seems to spread throughout the entire surface, and shines across the entire room.
Spread before him is an army of black armor sets. (Think samurai). They wield halberds and serrated scimitars.
In this room, Damien has a small panic attack, but it would be Elandor, who sets the battle in motion. Climbing up the pedastal, he grabs what appears to be a smaller shield, from the center of the giant shield. Up doing this, the hole in the roof closes…and the armor comes to life. A new hole appears on the opposite side of the room, from whence they came, and pours down it’s golden light five feet from the doors. Immediately the group is under attack. Rather than fighting as a team, they all break off in their own separate battles, and soon find themselves in a desperate, futile battle. Damien finds himself darting between the statues legs, fighting desperately to keep the enemies back, while Vilyamar finds himself completely encircled, at the bottom of the set of stairs. Rinrin finds herself clinging tightly to the back of Conjori, as her faithful dog darts by the enemies. Just at this moment, an old teammate appears in the doorway. One they thought they would never see again….yet none too soon. Teros.
Immediately Scourge and Elandor set to work, getting the kender atop the statue, so that he can throw the shield like a Frisbee, to Teros. Scourge takes two, terrible wounds in the process, but Elandor makes it. The throw is a good one, but slightly short and to the side. It strikes a soldier, knocking it down. Yet the soldier gets back up and completely ignores the statue. The party has only moments left. Vilyamar is terribly wounded, and completely surrounded. The same goes for Scourge. Time is running out for the party, and their fate lies in the hands of a man who had left them.
Vilyamar=26 HP. Deep stab wound to the right hip, torn cartilage. Bleeding-Moderate/stiffened right leg. Moderately deep gouge from left buttocks to right shoulder. Moderate bleeding, intense pain,
Scourge= 24 HP deep hack to the right shoulder, to the bone. Heavy bleeding, unable to move arm or flex fingers. Moderately deep stab wound to left ribs. Light bleeding, trouble breathing…but doubtful of lung puncture.
Posted on 2006-09-05 at 15:35:27.
Edited on 2006-09-05 at 15:37:35 by Valimar
September 6th/SaturdayCentral Ralnaria
The battle been as unexpected as it was deadly. Without warning, the party had found themselves surrounded by an army with a single purpose; destroy them. But one surprise lead to another, and the darkness that had once been a futile battle against time, was pierced with a beam of hope. Teros; a warrior who hailed from these exact lands, and who had traveled with them from the beginning, until only 2 days ago, appeared in the doorway, an army away.
The sharp, glittering eyes of Elandor had spotted him first, and over the harsh clatter of battle, his shrill voice heralded a plan, and their only hope. Teros had figured out the predicament at nearly the same time, and as Scourge helped the Kender climb the figure of the God of War, who stood like a mighty sentinel over the battle, Teros hollered
“Quick! Toss me the shield!”
Elandor had done so, and the shield soared like a frisbee over the battle. Beyond Damien, who battled the farthest reaching of the Dread Knights, using the pillars that were Vunalis’ legs as obsticals; over Scourge, who now found himself facing hundreds of soulless enemies pressed against him. Over Rinrin, the shield flew. The little gnome had cast a spell on herself, and as she clung to her dog, Conjori, who slipped between the legs and blades of the enemies, a glittering, luminescent white dome hovered over her. Lastly, the shield swept over the head of Vilyamar, who, bleeding and gravely wounded, continued to desperately bat at and attack the horde that absolutely surrounded him, probing and swiping with halberd and scimitar.
Teros watched as the shield began to descend, and to hook ever so slightly away from him. Panic took him as he watched it collide with a sharp clang, into the grinning facemask of one of the rearmost soldiers. The soldier collapsed in a heap, before picking itself up and mindlessly continued to press against the comrade directly before it. The shield stood at it’s feet, and near all those in the rear row, near it.
He didn’t have time to ponder. There was no time to plan, only to react. His hand reached to his hip and withdrew his blade. The smell of sulfur crept into his nose. The elemental entrapped within the blade. Whispering the words the words to unchain the elemental, and wreath the blade in flames, he charged forward. The orange glow of the fire burned in his dark eyes, and glazed his olive skin.
The soldiers before him hadn’t noticed him, and their backs where turned, entirely exposed. With the desperation and fury of a man who had watched his parents die, and would not allow that fate fall on his friends, Teros Razorsun charged the back of the mindless soldier standing over the shield; and plunged the blade with all his weight. Orange sparks erupted, and the blade sunk to the hilt into the black chainmail between the soldiers steel shoulder blades. Pressing his brown, leather boot into it’s back, he pushed the soldier into the back of it’s comrade. The soldier lurched forward and fell to pieces. It was only armor and blade. Simultaneosly, a good portion of the rear ranks turned to face him. There were too many for Teros to count, and their eyes glowed a deadly crimson. Ducking an almost mechanical sword swipe, the warrior grabbed the shield and dove back. A halberd sunk into the dirt beside his leg. Struggling to his feet, Teros turned and sprinted as fast as he could towards the stream of sunlight, which shone like a beacon just five feet from the doorway….
Scourge had had some difficulty getting some space between himself and the mindless foes surging towards him. After his first two, painful injuries, he had been swift enough to spin around the edge of the shield of Vunalis, and cast a quick healing spell on his limp arm. He could feel tendon and muscle resewing itself, and the blood began to falter. The half orc shook his hand out and clenched a fist right before sparks rang beside his head from a missed swordswipe. The enemies were upon him once more…Gritting his teeth and clenching his scythe, the big man put his back to the shield and began swinging frantically.
Damien however, had run out of luck. It had only been a matter of time before there had become too many soldiers for him to successfully dodge about the legs of the statue. He had been in mid lunge, when he felt a sword cut through the cloth and leather of his back armor. A dull, burning sensation followed. (-. Stumbling, he slammed into the massive stone boot of the God of War. Ignoring the pain, he spun around, and parried a second swipe, but a sinking, tearing pain in his left thigh told him he had been stabbed. (-6). Crying out in pain, the bard tried to spin, but an intense pain ran up his leg, nearly forcing him to vomit. The soldier who had stabbed him was continuing to push the blade into his femur. Desperately, Damien hacked down at the shaft, slicing through it, but leaving the head protruding from his leg. In the process, he had pressed too much weight into his leg, and collapsed in an avalanche of pain. Perhaps he was lucky, because the unexpected fall had caused a swing at his back to go astray. However, the bard now found himself with a lame leg. It was clear these beings had no sense of free thought, but he could swear that as they stepped above him and lifted their blades, they were savoring the thrill of victory…
Rinrin of course, had been lucky thus far. Conjori was fast, and below the obvious line of vision of the average, upright humanoid. A few had swiped at her, but the blades had gone astray, or had been deflected by the glittering dome that surrounded her.
Vilyamar, however, knew his time had run out. The pain and stiffness in his right leg was so immense that he struggled blacking out. A man less trained in the art of physical and mental discipline would have already done so. Yet Vilyamar, nearly hopping on his left foot, had continued to fight, swinging his nunchuku into a whirring shield. Already he had disarmed 2 of his enemies, but he was entirely surrounded, and the soldiers fought without caution. With every instant they closed the gap. Now, Damien was within arms range of 5 enemies. The first lunged at him with it’s halbred, but the monk had slapped the blade aside, wrapped his nunchuk around what would be it’s neck, and had twisted the helmet clean off. The soldier collapsed in a pile of armor. The remaining four all seemed to come down on him at once, and Vilyamar felt his ribs splitting as a blade forced itself between them. (-14) Stumbling forward, and actually pushing over two soldiers, VIlyamar found himself in a bloody heap. A halbred jabbed at his chest, to finish him off, and the monk lifted his nunchuk, hoping to catch the blade with the links of his chain…
The light that swept over the room was more pure. More holy than anything Teros had ever seen. It was almost a maluable, white essence, and as it washed over the black horde, it’s brilliance didn’t glance off there gleaming surfaces, but rather, it sunk in. The soldiers glittered as if they were covered with a lair of crystalline purity. More importantly, the battle that had once been raging, halted in an instant. The clashing silenced, leaving only the clicking of Conjoris nails, and the painful pants of several in the party. Two of which lay on the floor, blades aimed at their face in mid thrust.
Teros stood, gripping the shield, in the beam of light in the doorway. He was sweating, and his glossy black hair had fallen into his face. The blade burned at his side, but it was dwarved by the blinding light of the round shield in his hand. No mundane metal, no matter the gloss, could ever cast as brilliant a light….
Right Hip-Deep stabwound. Moderate bleeding. Torn catilage causing stiffness and immense pain.
Back-moderately deep slice from right buttocks to left shoulder blade. moderate bleeding. moderate pain.
Right side-moderate stab wound. Fractured rib, bruised lung, light bleeding, immense pain
Punctured left thigh, stiffness, light bleeding.
Light back stab wound, light bleeding, mild pain
Right arm-deep, hack wound to the shoulder. Heavy bleeding, unable to move arm or flex fingers.
Left Ribs-Moderately light stab wound. medium bleeding, difficulty breathing..doubtful lung puncture.
Last edited by Valimar on Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
It would have served as a reminder to further would be intrepid travelers that this was indeed a tomb, and that the idle wandering of its proud halls would likely only add your bones to the feed for the mealworms and other carrion that festered here. The battle in the holy chamber had opened Scourge’s eyes to the first real danger he personally had encountered. Even against the aerial pirates and the massive brute that had laid both Derek and Mahou low hadn’t harmed Scourge directly. This was a revelation. In his traveling with these companions he had grown soft. Where once there had only been strength of steel and wit to protect him from the elements of Noldaria, now lay eroded defenses and lacking armaments. His attachment to those around him, particularly the curiosity Elandor had left him vulnerable…weak. Had he fallen in battle though he feared not the meeting of his maker Erenall, he did not regard what words he would have for him with enthusiasm.
Life had chiseled from flesh the stone frame and iron will Scourge had maintained for more than a decade since his freedom from captivity and enslavement. Now as he looked about him to his wounded and bleeding companions, the half-orc couldn’t help but snivel at the fragility of them all, the harsh truth of the situation snapping him back from the hypocrisy of thinking he could actually have friends in a world like this.
Their fate was beyond his meager influence, he knew that first hand when he tried to save Elhonna, his first happened upon victim upon his freedom. How he had prayed to save the poor woman, how tears had wept from his cold eyes and caressed his rough ashen skin as he poured his heart out into prayer for the stranger before him. He knew from that day forward though, when Erenall denied him his blessing that he was but a pawn in the deific chess-game. It was then and there that he had fortified himself using his misgivings as the foundation for his faith and ‘charge.’
Now though, Tharanduil had bequeathed his joining of these fellows, and his ‘charge’ had become convoluted and obscured by the tasks at hand. At first, the large man had laughed at the mockery of even the thought that he might play a part in the changing of an entire world. Perhaps it was the lure of power, a hidden defiance of playing the role of peon if only for a little while that shut his toothed grin long enough for the words of Tharanduil to sink in. Whatever had given cause for him to take those first steps had led him farther than he had ever gone before, and here, standing in the light the heavens radiating down upon them from above Scourge realized he was at a cross-roads of a different sort.
Would he continue down the path of adventure and mortality? Would that cost him the strength solitude had granted him all these years? Would Erenall judge him without prejudice when his time ended and he found himself before the basalt throne of the executioner, of his lord?
Scourge pondered over this meddling affair even as he muttered the words of a healing prayer, the soothing energies mending flesh and bone. (Cure Moderate Wounds) As the prayer lay answered it fell upon Scourge like a hammer an anvil with a matching resounding ring that he must have been mistaken. Erenall still granted him spells, still carried on his faith through his vassal. Erenall must sanction this quest, his choices thus far. Perhaps his charge had indeed changed, but not for the worse, perhaps it was Erenall’s wish for Scourge to be his eyes and ears here within the ranks of these companions, that through him he would claim those around him all in due course, just as he always had. “I am the Scourge of the Vile, I am the Fist of Erenall.” Scourge said allowed, his eyes distant even at his first formal outburst since the adventure began in public. ~not including his private audience with Elandor~
Gabrial Orion, trusted steward and confidant to Scourge flew about in a tizzy, the battle had surely caused him to molt more feathers than he’d have liked. “Come come, the battle’s won, but far from safe are we.” Orion landed atop Scourge’s recently mended shoulder, causing a slight twitch of pain in the corner of the large man’s eye, and looked out to the others. Damien and Vilyamar both were seriously wounded, and he would have to see to their mending as well.
Approaching Damien, for surely he was the most injured of the two when one took his mental state into mind, Scourge looked down upon the disheveled bard and took notice of his injuries. Though he wanted to ease his pain, he knew this dungeon delve was far from over. Calling to lips the divine magic of a Cure Light wounds Spell, he simply touched the wounded Bard and walked away, leaving the human to his own distressful thoughts. Approaching Vilyamar, he bowed low, humbly to the monk, and lay hands upon his shoulder. Pinching it slightly, extracting a wince ensured the man still retained feeling, and through him he also channeled a Cure Light wounds. The little one would have to pick up any further healing that would be done, for Scourge’s spells would he needed later… he felt it. Walking towards Teros, the man who had so recently departed, and reappeared much like a setting sun caused Scourge to do something so uncustomary of his nature that he was happy it was hidden behind his cowl, for if it had been missing then perhaps, just maybe, they would have seen him smile.