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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Rules-based RPGs --> Dungeons and Dragons --> The Leather Coats Avengers
Parent thread: Gauging Interest for a Party of Avengers
GM for this game: Hammer
Players for this game: Jozan1, Raven, Ziklag, Hammer, Odyson, Tuned_Out
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    Messages in The Leather Coats Avengers
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Hammer
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4114 Posts


The Leather Coats Avengers

GREETINGS RED DRAGON INN LURKERS Pull up a chair and enjoy the tale of The Leather Coats Avengers as they begin an epic quest in the world of Aihrde fraught with unknown dangers and high adventure!

WARNING This particular adventure may contain intense graphic scenes and/or Mature Adult Content that some readers may find to be too sensitive or offensive in nature for their literary tastes!

Please Proceed with Caution! For the sake of creating a great adventure any tobacco or alcohol related, drug related and/or sexual references are by no means intended to promote or glorify their use in Real Life!

The same should be understood regarding the descriptions of any major or minor graphic violence ... including the use of all other elements in this adventure that are necessary components for an Epic Fantasy Adventure!

SPECIAL THANKS to the Owners and Moderators of the Red Dragon Inn who make the posting of this and other adventures possible for us InnMates to enjoy!

SPECIAL APPRECIATION to Stephen Chenault of Troll Lord Games who gave me permission to use the Castles & Crusades products to help craft an exciting and entertaining adventure!

And also to James M Ward (the author of 'Of Gods & Monsters' published by Troll Lord Games) for creating the Deity Avatars that I have integrated into this adventure, which makes all the difference in creating a totally different and excitingly unforgettable Epic Fantasy Campaign!


Posted on 2011-10-14 at 19:39:09.

Hammer
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4114 Posts


Leather Coats Avengers Intro Part One

World of Aihrde
Region of Maine
City of Sherrill
Waterfront Docks
Early Dawn on Monday
March 5, 212awd (After Winter Dark)

"We Seek the Mortal Paladin/Wizard Named Rextugenous!"
The dock hands trembled as they could barely discern from a distance the 4 macabre undead, clad in Leather Coats, slowly drifting in a long boat riddled with arrows and bolts.

They could barely view the name of the vessel, 'The Leather Coats', that had floated down the Saline River on its way to the Bay of Imboden, as the first rays of sunlight greeted the coastal town of Sherrill.

The dock hands cringed at the eerie sight of the inhabitants of The Leather Coats as one of them croaked, "Rextugenous would be a mortal of 23 summers ... wearing a Leather Coat such as we!"
One brave soul summoned the courage to reply, "The only Rextugenous we know that fits that description is the Bard who frequents 'The Twisted Blade'."

The captain of The Leather Coats long boat stretched a decaying hand in the direction of the sleepy coastal town and croaked, "The Paladin/Wizard we seek does fancy himself a Bard ... Bring Rextugenous to us now ... only a fellow Leather Coat such as he has the ability to put the souls of his former Leather Coats comrades at peace!"
The dock hands hesitated ... unsure of what to do?

"We dare not leave the deck of this long boat," croaked another, "for if we set foot on your land we may be unable to curb the unholy desires of the curse that has been placed upon us!"
The dock hands shuddered at the eery reply as one brave soul began running towards town to inform Rextugenous that unexpected company awaited him at the mouth of the Bay of Imboden.

The Twisted Blade
7am on Monday
March 5, 212awd (After Winter Dark)

Rextugenous sat at his favorite table in a dark corner of The Twisted Blade, eating a breakfast plate of fruits mixed with scrambled eggs and garnished with juicy ham slices.

Since coming down river to the waterfront town of Sherrill in a rowboat, fortune and his deity Bridget had smiled favorably upon the Leather Coat as his ballads were well received by the curious patrons of The Twisted Blade who knew nothing of the lands to the north upriver.

He chewed his food thoughtfully, thinking back to the morning when he had landed his rowboat on a small beach before reaching the port docks of the waterfront town of Sherrill, where a grizzled man and his young son were fishing. He nodded to the pair, as he pulled his gear from the rowboat after pulling it up further onto the beach.

The man and his boy had cautiously eyed the stranger as he strode towards them, noting his long black hair pulled back into a pony tail, his 6 foot 2 inch lean frame covered with a tan leather coat. They watched warily as he came closer, studying his bright blue right eye to discover if he were a friend or a foe, not able to see his left eye, which was covered with a black leather patch with the insignia of a Raven that seemed to stare right through them as the stranger came nearer.

"Good Morning!" Rextugenous recalled greeting the boy and his father as he munched thoughtfully on his breakfast and poured himself some vegetable juice from the pitcher on his table.

He also recalled how they looked a bit apprehensive by his bold approach as dawn was breaking upon the river where they were fishing. Then he chuckled to himself in remembrance of their baffled, but grateful, response when he told them they might have better fortune fishing from the rowboat that he was bestowing upon them as a sign of good will and friendship.

Rextugenous also tossed a silver coin to the boy, asking for directions to the best inn and the name of the waterfront town that he had decided to settle in for the foreseeable future.

That had been almost 3 years ago and Rextugenous had readily become a fixture at The Twisted Blade where he was given a private room upstairs and earned his meals and keep almost nightly by his lively orations of dark adventures to the north and poems complimenting his deity Bridget.

His reverie was soon broken by the abrupt arrival of an agitated dock hand begging him to make haste to the docks where 4 macabre undead were awaiting his arrival aboard The Leather Coats.

Rextugenous was stunned by the news!

He had left the company of The Leather Coats when the woman he loved chose to wed his best friend who possessed significantly more physical strength than did Rex. He could no longer bear being in their company together and chose to row away south ... from serving as a protector along the banks of Lake Orion ... and slowly followed the flow of the Saline River ... until he landed his rowboat near the mouth of the Bay of Imboden ... settling at The Twisted Blade in the waterfront city of Sherrill.

Rextugenous instinctively reached for his Elven Pipe that he affectionately named Dream Weaver ... filled it with some mysterious herbal contents from a pouch inside his Leather Coat ... lit his pipe thoughtfully as he drew upon the stem ... inhaling a curious blue smoke with its sweet odor.

Objects and people began to shimmer and fade as his thoughts began to blink in and out ... on and off ... mercifully contributing to his continual absence of the ability to recall the names of his lost love and his best friend ... who had won her heart through his sheer physical strength and other related abilities.

"This will require severing the heads of the undead ... then burning their vessel ... with their bodies on board ... in the Bay of Imboden ... while we still have the light of day!"


Posted on 2011-10-14 at 19:47:47.

Hammer
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4114 Posts


Leather Coats Avengers Intro Part Two

Bay of Imboden
8:15am on Monday
March 5, 212awd (After Winter Dark)

Rextugenous balanced himself somewhat unsteadily upon the deck of a borrowed rowboat ... his detached memories absorbing and processing the fact that his fellow Leather Coats had succumbed to some unknown profane thing ... while serving as protectors of the Lake Orion borderlands.

"Rextugenous ... Old Friend ... We Have Fallen Victim to Ghoul Fever ... Our Memories are Fading ... but we escaped the control ... of the ancient evil ... that afflicted us … minions of The Horned One ... roaming the lands to the north ... we need you to avenge our deaths ... put our souls to rest ..."

"We have bags of Lime ... we implore you to severe our heads ... coat them with the 6-day ritual of Lime layers ... then take our Tathlums with you to avenge our deaths ... after you burn our boat ... with our desecrated bodies ... here at sea ..."

"Beware of Orcs ... Beware of Hobgoblins ... Unholy Shamans serve The Horned One ... Other Dark Dangers ... roam the lands to the north ... spreading to the south ... Unspeakable Evil ... Beware!"

Rextugenous nodded ... somehow summoning his ability to turn the undead ... allowing him to board The Leather Coats unharmed ... then severed the heads of his former companions with his short sword ... before prayerfully coating their severed heads with Lime ... placing each individual head in a Lime bag ... gently and reverently tossing each bagged head into the rowboat ... along with a few more bags of Lime ... then respectfully setting fire to The Leather Coats ... before returning to the rowboat to watch the vessel burn and sink into the Bay of Imboden ... with the ashen remains of his fallen comrades ... their souls finally free.

Rextugenous spends the next 6 days carefully and prayerfully coating the heads of his former comrades with layers of Lime ... not far from the stables of Sherrill ... announcing to each curious observer to not miss his final performance at The Twisted Blade on Sunday night ... before he sets out to Avenge the Leather Coats ... to confront the unnamed evils of The Horned One ... that are spreading southward from the northern regions!


Posted on 2011-10-15 at 19:16:04.

Hammer
Extreme Exclaimator!
Karma: 90/24
4114 Posts


Leather Coats Avengers Intro Part Three

The Twisted Blade
7pm on Sunday
March 11, 212awd (After Winter Dark)

There was standing room only at The Twisted Blade as the patrons crowded together to get a final look at the former stranger who had become a 'family fixture' feature fan favorite Bard at the Inn.

Rextugenous stood before the crowd with his hands upraised as they cheered his final appearance at The Twisted Blade. A black handled Whip with a Raven insignia was clenched between his teeth as he worked the crowd into a cheering frenzy as he took center stage.

Rextugenous accomplished this by removing the handle from his mouth and rapidly cracking the length of the 15-foot range Whip in a circular motion over his head several times.

A Knife was sheathed on the outside of his left reddish tan colored boot and a Dagger was sheathed on the outside of his right boot.

A Throwing Axe hung from a loop on the left side of his tan leather coat and a Short Sword hung from another loop on the right side. No weapons were secreted inside his breeches or shirt underneath his leather coat, but a 12 inch Wooden Wand with a Raven insignia was secured in an inside pocket of his leather coat that rested over his heart.

Slung over his back was a quiver full of cross bow bolts, as was a Light Cross Bow. When necessary, there was room for his Whip to be secured in the quiver when he needed his hands to be free for whatever needed attending to.

Rextugenous began introducing each member of his 'Family' as the crowd roared their approval with each introduction:

"Baby is my Knife who is useful in many ways
Dinky is my Dagger who protects me and slays
Edge is my Throwing Axe who provides an edge when I have needs
Shorty is my Short Sword who cuts through evil deeds
Wanda is my Magic Wand who surprises enemies galore
Sweetie is my Light Cross Bow with her sweet surprise in store
Duke is my Whip who lashes quite a breeze
Family one and all who fight my enemies"

Rextugenous took a bow and demonstrated the prowess of each of his Family members without endangering any of the patrons who crowded inside The Twisted Blade to witness the final drama of their beloved Bard.

He even took the time to allow the more inquisitive patrons to squeeze their way through the crowd for a closer look at his 'Family' and to actually respectfully touch one or more of them as Rextugenous cocked his head in such a way that his eye patch with the black Raven insignia seemed to stare right through the thoughts and intents of their souls.

His purpose was to survey the crowd and set most of the patrons at ease with his light hearted banter, because what he was about to do next would possibly unnerve even the bravest of men.

Rextugenous waved to the crowd as he took his place once more at center stage, gathering 4 familiar bags and laying them at his feet, before revealing the hidden contents for all to see.

They were the heads of the Leather Coats, now layered ceremoniously with Lime, that he had sworn to take into battle northward to Avenge the Leather Coats for their untimely demise!

Many in the crowd shuddered involuntarily as the Bard held each of the heads for all to see, then carefully laid them back to rest inside their individual bags of Lime.

"These be the heads of an unfortunate four
They who were friends are alive no more
Now they are Tathlum weapons as you can see
Projectiles to hurl at enemies they shall be
A Darkness stretches upon the land
Guided by some unseen hand
I made a promise and a decree
To help those in danger to remain free
Whatever evil and whatever dread
Will be confronted by each hurled head
I will carry them day and night
To join with me in one last fight
Against evil minions causing fear and fright
I will hurl them with all my might
They will journey with me to a northern land
Where forces for good must make a stand
To remove the taint of evil foes
To stand as lights where darkness grows
Those who heed this call may never return
To land and loved ones for whom they yearn
This journey may be hard and may be long
Filled with adventures one day set to song
You may stay or you may go
Armed for victory over dreadful foe
Choose this day to stay or ride
Who to fight with side by side
There are those who quake and fear
As evil draws closer and ever near
You must decide where to make a stand
Be it familiar ground or far away land
Where I go no one really knows
As I take the fight to unknown foes
Yet this one thing I know for sure
Good over evil must endure
So my 'Family' and I will do our part
As will others who are stout of heart"

A sobering hush fell across the crowd as the impact of his words drove home the seriousness of the situation that confronted the inhabitants of the waterfront town of Sherrill.

Rextugenous let his words sink deep for a few moments more, then he lifted Duke out of his bolt quiver and cracked the Whip several times to break the somber mood of the crowd, lifting their spirits once more with a poem dedicated to his deity.

"Let me tell you of a maiden fair
Not a mortal and oh so rare
She imparts inner strength when I might yield
To stronger forces on the battle field
She inspires me in the battle fire
Her voice speaks to me as an angel choir
When the battle rages for far too long
I am blest to hear her victory song
When I seem to be succumbing to an evil might
I take courage at her sight
For as I fight inspired with battle poem
In the distance I see her roam
As I fight on she draws ever near
Assuring me there is nothing to fear
Brigit is such a lovely sight to behold
In the midst of battle she never grows old
No matter what danger there is to beware
Brigit my Brigit will fight with me there
No matter how weary my flesh or my bone
I know that my Brigit will not leave me alone"

Rextugenous bowed to one knee with his arms outstretched, signifying that his final performance at The Twisted Blade had come to an encouraging conclusion, offering the patrons hope that his deity would watch over him and quite possibly allow him to one day return to his adopted waterfront town.

Spontaneous applause erupted throughout The Twisted Blade as the Bard rose to his feet and waved to the crowd, drinking in their appreciation for all that he had become in their simple lives.

He would remember the faces of each one,vowing inwardly to take the battle against the evil taint far from this place, in hopes that they would be able to live in relative peace during his absence.

It was an awkward moment for the Bard, but he raised his arms once more towards the adoring crowd, then bowed once more as they cheered and called his name, before addressing them with these final words, before retiring to his room upstairs one final time:

"Now is the time for me to vacate The Twisted Blade ... I thank one and all for your patronage ... especially for making me feel welcome in your fair city since I first arrived ... but my 'Family' and I are needed elsewhere ... hired by a merchant this very afternoon!

Roving bandits are an increasing threat ... all along the 50 mile plus trade route ... between Sherrill ... and the city of Lasch ... near the northeast edge of the Forest of Frie.

Rumors of sinister activity ... a taint of evil ... spreading from somewhere ... beyond the city of Lasch ... threaten the safety of peace loving people ... everywhere!

A trade caravan of 3 wagons ... is scheduled to leave in the morning ... at 9am ... so if anyone wants to join me ... to help guard the wagons ... payment is 25 Gold Coins ... plus an additional bonus reward for safe delivery ... meet me at the stables at 8:30am tomorrow morning ... if you have a stout heart for adventure ... and a need for hard earned coin ... we will travel to Lasch to investigate these rumors ... then after the wagons are secure ... and our bonus is paid ... we will Avenge the Leather Coats!"

Active Players are now free to begin posting in the Game Thread and an Update will follow accordingly to set our new adventure in motion for the enjoyment of Players and Lurkers alike!


Posted on 2011-10-17 at 15:29:10.

Raven
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1057 Posts


Danamar's background

A lone figure stood on the southern bank of river Feldiar and cast a longing, saddened look down a nearly invisible path leading into the majestic woods. If not for the open air behind him, he would have been nearly impossible to tell apart from any tree in the forest, so still was his form. The soft song of the river flowing behind him was only broken by a quiet little chirp of a tiny greenfinch dancing on the figure's shoulder. The man nodded slowly to the bird. "I know Chippy, I know. Leaving our home pains me too. But there is nothing for me in here any more, little friend."

The caped figure offered the finch his left hand and the bird jumped on it happily. The lean man dropped the bag he'd been holding in his other hand to softly and lovingly pet the little animal. "Chippy dear, you are free to go your own way back to your fellow birds. The city is not for your kind. There are predators there that would consider you a lovely dinner - cats, rats and people alike. Go on now, fly away." The man flipped his hand forcing the greenfinch to jump off and fly away.

Danamar Maeleneill took a deep breath and smiled at the little bird who didn't seem to know what to do. The druid had been a major part of its life for nearly as long as it had lived and certainly for longer than it could remember. The elf waved his hand at Chippy shooing it softly away. It was time for his last animal companion to leave too. Where he was headed, the animals would not survive. A city was not a good place for creatures people considered wild, especially a human inhabited one. He'd already sent Ulvar the wolf and Onda the owl on their way earlier. None of the departures had been easy for him and Danamar liked to think they hadn't been easy for his friends either.

The finch did a couple of more circles over the elf's head before finally flying deeper into the woods. Danamar's green eyes followed its flight as far as they could and lingered on the scene for a few moments longer. He then picked the bag from the ground and slung it over his shoulder and head, grabbed his unstrung bow and started down the path following the river. There was nothing for him here anymore. His home was where he lay his head.


Some 87 years ago the Maeleneill family in the village of Sinaeth received their second son. Danamar sucked in his first breaths of forest air a few moments after the midnight under the watchful eye of a full moon. His mother Liathania had been expecting a daughter, but forgot her wishes the moment she laid her eyes on the elfling. The newborn's home was full of love and care and the village of 500 lived in peace far away from the dangers of Gnob wood.

Sinaeth was a smallish elven village of bit under 500 inhabitants roughly one mile south and 20 east of where rivers Saline and Feldiar meet. The villagers were simple people living of and for the land. The forest was as much a part of their life as they were part of the forest's. The elves made sure the life in Gnob Wood's northern parts was peaceful and in balance with nature's laws. They made nasty examples of the few solitary orcs and other evil beings that wondered too far west and north. A council of seven ruled the everyday life of Sinaethians with a hard, but fair hand making sure everyone knew his or her place in the society and delivered equally to the wellbeing of the village.

As with all elven children, Danamar's first years passed quickly. Little by little he grew up to resemble more and more his elder brother and father. His mother used to say It was as he'd been made with the same mold as Maren, six years his elder. So much they were alike despite the age difference. Danamar was just as sporty and daring as his brother was and he caused Liathania some grey hair and sleepless nights with his reckless behavior. Secretly she valued every moment the boy would spend with her, knowing it would come to an end soon, too soon. One day Danamar too would be his father's son, following Danathanil everywhere learning by mimicking the master hunter's every move.

Ten years of the youth's life had passed when he learned of another person who would be joining his family. Liathania was expecting again and this time she was certain it would be a baby girl. Danamar's parents were blessed to receive a third child, a rare instance in elven families as he would be told later on. The young boy rejoiced to have a sister. Now he would have someone to play with since Maren already considered himself a big boy and would not do anything with him anymore.


When the time came for Danamar to start his education for his future occupation, there was no question about what he would do. Danathanil, although still in prime age and excellent condition, would need someone to succeed him in the position of the master hunter of the village. Maren had already shown more skill in combat training than hunting and his path was clear. The Keeper of the Woods was also a member of the village council, but naturally that was not a position that could be inherited and when it would be time to retire, it only meant leaving his daily work as a ranger, but not the Council.

The years flew by and as Danamar grew he showed great promise to become a skilled young ranger under the guidance of his father. Most of the boy's days (and nights) were spend outside Sinaeth in the wilderness with his father and another trainee. And when they were not studying the forest and learning the ways of the Keepers, Danamar tried to hang around his big brother as much as possible. Danathanil had given Maren the task of training Danamar in the use of the blades and the bow. His firstborn was already an officer in the village's militia and destined to be its leader sooner or later. His skill with the chosen weapons of their people was remarkable, well beyond that of his fellow soldiers.

But little by little, year by year Danamar started feeling more and more uncomfortable on the trips outside the village. It was not due to the lack of conveniences their life in the village offered, but rather because of what was his and his father's job. He could understand the reasoning behind the need to cut down the numbers of predators and prey alike when one side threatened to grow considerably larger than the other. But even still the killing of the animals when they had no need for the meat or hide made him feel uneasy. In his mind it was mindless wasting of innocent life.

When his father was not with him, instead of cutting down helpless animals Danamar started to take some of the smaller ones back home with him as pets. Others he drove away making sure their old homes smelled like elf or even orc to keep them away. The boy thought he would be able to keep the pets in secret, but nothing he did managed to escape the watchful eyes of his father. After two rabbits, an otter and four squirrels, Danathanil had enough. One night, when the boy was asleep, he collected all the pets (including one rabbit from his daughter Kayaen's room), took them into the forest and killed them. On the following morning the head of Maeleneill family warned his children (although keeping his eyes on Danamar) not to bring in pets ever again.

But Danamar's mind was not turned around so easily. He was secretly happy his father had only mentioned bringing the animals home. Danathanil's wording, when followed to the letter, did not prohibit saving the them. The boy had (or so he thought) a cunning plan. He would not take his pets back to Sinaeth, but instead he would build them a sanctuary within the forest itself.


It was at the very same time, when the orcs in the middle parts of Gnob Wood had begun to organize under the rule of Unk Oalbone - a monstrously large orc warrior with a devious and intelligent mind. Therefore Danamar's trips outside of Sinaeth had an additional goal. The Keepers were now supposed to look for any signs of orcs close to their village. The father and son were on one such trip, when Unk had gathered a strike force of 100 orc warriors and circled around Sinaeth to attack the village from west taking its guards almost completely by surprise.

The orc assault was futile. The bloodthirsty creatures had no chance of penetrating the village's defenses, magical or not. Few people were killed on both sides, but Maren, now a lieutenant, thought it all too easy. It was as if the attack had not been of full force, but rather a test of the elves' capability to defend themselves. But it worked the other way around too. Now the council of Sinaeth knew of the orcs were gathering forces and were wise enough to devise a plan before attacking. The elves would need to learn more about the orcs.

While the villagers were fighting to keep their homes safe, Danamar was busy building a small shed for his friends some 10 miles away. His father had left the other direction looking for signs of the orcs, so the boy made good use of the "free time" he found on his hands. Once ready, Danamar took in some animals on the next day and the one after that. But once again, the lad's secret did not remain hidden. Danathanil caught him in action carrying a young, wounded deer calf into safety and taking care of its wound. Danathanil had met a messenger from back home and was furious. His anger only got worse by his son's disobedience and for a moment the council member lost his control. In blind rage the older ranger cut the calf down with his blade and slaughtered the other animals as well. He only regained his senses in time to hold back his hand inches from Danamar's face. "We go home now boy and this will never be mentioned again." There was no place for discussion, no time for tears. The shock only hit the boy hours later.


Two nights later Danamar ran away from home. He'd had enough. He didn't blame only his father for what had happened but the orcs too. He hated their guts. Had there not been the attack, his pets would still be alive as would his uncle Teleniel, who was one of the casualties of the battle. The young ranger had made up his mind about one… or actually two things. He would no longer be part of killing innocent animals without a proper reason. And he would kill orcs. He would take the life of any orc he met without remorse.

The hunting trips had usually taken Danamar some 10 miles away from Sinaeth. This time he did not stop before the sun was already up high, in his estimate some 20 miles later. He made sure there were no tracks his father could follow by crossing streams, cliffs and a swamp on the way. Danathanil would no longer be part of his life. For the first time in his life the young elf felt really free. Only now he realized how restrictive the community had really been. Until now the young man had had really little to saying in his life.

It took Danamar the next three days to find what he was looking for. There was a tiny clearing behind an impassable rocky knoll surrounded by a a 50 yard ring of beautiful oaks followed by an equally thick copse of willows and hawthorn. Safe, quiet, his. Using the skills his father had taught him, the black-haired ranger built himself a shelter from the trees and leaves and wines he found in the vicinity of the place. There was stream nearby providing him with water and fish, and the forest was abundant with mushrooms, berries and other edible plants as other sources of food. Danamar had found his paradise.

For the next year or two the loner did not wander further than 10 miles from his shelter. He studied the flora and fauna of the area making friends with a number of animals after they'd realized he was no threat to them. As his mother had taught him some 40-50 years ago, Danamar kept sending his prayers to Oercus, the elven god of forests and hunting. Sometimes the young man would find himself coming out of mediation and prayer he had entered a day or even two earlier feeling refreshed and content. Danamar was happy.


But after some time the hermit started to miss other people, especially his sister Kayaen whom he dearly loved. There was no way he would go back to his family or even the village, but from day to day the urge to see little Sparrow, as he fondly had called her, grew stronger until one day he could no longer endure it. Packing only minimal gear Danamar set towards Sinaeth. At first he walked slowly, then faster, but soon the ranger found himself running with a smile on his lips.

In the coming decade Danamar visited the home village numerous times, but he never let anyone else than Kayaen see himself. They would meet on a clearing half a mile away from the closest houses, safe from eyes and ears of the villagers. Those were the happiest days of Danamar's life, but he could never return for good and little Sparrow understood him perfectly. She had grown into a beautiful young woman who worked as an apprentice for the village's weaver and studied magic too. There were no really powerful masters of the Art in the village, but strong enough to teach her spells to help in defense of Sinaeth.

And those skills and spells were needed. For the Ulgars had grown bolder and more numerous during the years. Unk Oalbone wasn't a young orc anymore, but he had gronw stronger and wiser since the last attack. Danamar feared there would be another soon, but Kayaen set his mind at ease by saying their scouts had Unk under surveillance all the time. Still some people had gone missing on their treks into the woods and orcs were the only suspect since Danathanil had made sure no bears or cougars lived too close.


On his way to and back from Sinaeth, Danamar circled around the village for a day or two looking for orc spies. And more of then than not he found some and killed them on sight. There was no need to inform Maren or their father about the orcs for the corpses were always found by the militia or the Keepers sooner or later.

However on one of such scouting treks which took him a bit further north than usual and nearly to the river, Danamar met creatures he had never seen before so close. Of course everyone in the village had heard the old wives tales about Lial beasts or feathered dragons. The green-eyed elf had even seen one flying high above their village all those years ago. There were wards over Sinaeth that were renewed on monthly basis in order to keep it safe from the dragons. So the mighty beasts had stayed away. Danathanil had once told Danamar that as long as the elves left the dragons in peace so would they leave the elves be in return.

But this time there was not just one dragon, but two. And they were fighting each other. It was no biting in heat or fighting over domains. The beasts were totally different from each other. One was without a doubt a Lial beast. There was no mistaking the multi colored feathers it wore proudly. The second dragon was something else. It was somewhat smaller than the Lial and instead of feathers, it was covered in scales like the beasts in childrens' tales. It had a tail which was as long as its body and its shape reminded Danamar of an oak leaf.

The Tagean wyrm (as it later called itself) was in trouble. Both dragons were badly hurt, but the Lial beast had the upper hand. For some reason Danamar felt sorry for the majestic beast. He could not tell how or why, but in his mind the leaf tailed dragon was not evil and it needed his help. There wasn't much he could do to hurt the Lial, but the ranger knew he had to try. He quickly drew an arrow and took careful aim with his already strung bow. It was hard to know when to release as the dragons were rolling and trashing on the ground like two wrestlers. When the opportunity presented itself, Danamar let the arrow fly and before inhaling again, fired another missile at the feathered beast.

Both of the arrows hit their mark true. Maren would have been proud of his student had he been there to witness the shots. The arrows did little else than annoy the dragon, but they were enough to make it turn its head to find out the source of irritation. The moment of distraction was all the scaled dragon needed. With all the strength it had left, it lunged at the enemy's neck and bit through the feathers, flesh and bone alike with a sickening crunch. The Lial beast could not even scream in anger its surprise and pain, but simply died without another breath.

It took all of Danamar's courage to approach the wounded dragon. But the beast's state was so bad he trusted in his abilities to escape should it decide to take him down too. But to the elf's surprise the dragon merely followed him with its huge eyes and smiled weakly. Or at least the expression on the scaled face looked like a smile to Danamar or perhaps he imagined it. Whatever the case, the enormous being took him by surprise by opening its mouth and speaking halting common in a deep hoarse voice.

"Thank you, elf. You save my life. I save yours. Lial's poison breath burning still. I will die. Need water, much water. Must stop poison and swim river." The great head of the dragon dropped to the ground in exhaustion and it cried in pain. Danamar steeled himself and took the last few steps to reach the beast's side. Carefully he laid his hand on some intact scales on the dragon's neck. He could feel its heart beat fast, too fast, in attempt to pump enough blood through to veins to fight the poison. Sadness filled the ranger's heart and he let out a deep sigh. "Such a magnificent being, such a waste."

Danamar knew it was not the time of Solstice and sacrifices to Oercus might go unnoticed. Still he had to try something. The ranger pulled out a family heirloom from underneath his tunic - a golden necklace with a beautiful emerald inlay. He wiped the green stone clean with his thumb and laid the necklace on a rock in front of the dragon. Dropping to his knees, Danamar opened his arms and called out his plea to the Master of the Forest:

"Hear me Oercus. Hear me Lord of the Woods, Master of the Forest. Never have I requested anything from you for myself, but now I am in need of Your help. But I only have this small necklace to offer you in return… that and my everlasting gratitude and eternal service. Please Lord Oercus save the life of this mighty creature. Hold back the poison before it is too late. Do not let this beautiful soul die in vain. Help me Master, help him!"

The ranger had never come up with a prayer of his own before and was certain his feeble attempt would only anger the god even if would be strong enough to reach Oercus' ears. But deep inside his heart Danamar knew his god would do what ever was for the best. Whatever his decision would be, it would be the correct one. He sat there quietly and reached out with both of his hands to stroke the dragon's snout gently. "Shh… Lie in peace. Let your heart calm down and save your strength. Then we will make towards the river together. I will not let death reclaim you."

What happened next took Danamar by surprise even more than hearing the dragon speak. A hot, nearly burning sensation took over him and ran through him to the tips of his fingers. The elf could see an eerie, blue light glow flowing from his hands to the dragon's head. The feeling passed as quickly as it had come and the glow disappeared completely. Danamar found himself somewhat weaker as if something had drained part of his energy. He'd seen the healers of the villager cure wounded people as a child, but still it was hard for him to understand what had happened.

As the reality finally dawned on him, Danamar cast a quick look at the rock he had laid the amulet on. The necklace was nowhere to be found - there was no trace of it at all anywhere. The hoarse voice of the dragon pulled him out of his thoughts and the elf's green eyes turned to face it. "The poison… It not gone. But it burns not much now. Still need water."

Jumping to his feet Danamar pointed towards the river. "Feldiar is not far. We can make it. I will help you." Having said it, he realized how foolish it sounded. There was no way he could push or pull the mighty dragon three hundred yards to the river. But perhaps he could clear up the path a little. Springing into action, the ranger ran ahead a few dozen feet and started hacking at the trees with his axe. It was slow work, but the dragon wasn't moving fast either.

Finally an hour later they finally made it to the river's shores. The wyrm said its thanks again and muttered a few arcane words. Without further ado the enormous reptile slid into the slowly flowing water as fluidly as if it had been a snake one thousand of its size. Danamar stood on the riverside for quite some time, but the dragon did not come back up. There wasn't even a ripple on the surface, but the ranger had to assume the creature was fine. With a shrug he left the river to have another look at the site of the duel.


Some months later Danamar was back at his new home applying some herbs and bandage on an injured fox's hind leg, when the little animal began to shiver and whimper in fear. A heartbeat later a huge shadow blocked the little of the setting sunlight that was still able to get over the rocks behind the shelter. Danamar swung around in alarm ready to sprint to his weapons inside the hut. It took him a few heartbeats to realize that the dragon sitting on top of the knoll was not there to eat him, but instead the very same one he had helped to survive all those weeks ago. Softly the elf picked up the fox in his lap and calmed it down with kind words.

The Tagean wyrm was called Xansor and it was one of three of its kind that had entered Gnob Wood a year ago. They had come this far to rest and heal. Danamar and Xansor had some very interesting conversations about dragons, elves, orcs and the nature in general. The dragon struggled with his limited common language, but it was clear to the elf his new friend was very old and wise. It even shared some of its knowledge about the times before the Winter Dark - some things even the elven elders of Sinaeth had never told Danamar's parents, let alone him. He learned from where and why the orcs had come to Gnob Wood and how the humans had been forced to retread from the area.

As a farewell gift and as its thanks for saving its life, the well healed dragon offered to give Danamar some of its secretion. Xansor adviced the ranger on how to turn it into unbreakable sharp weapons as was often the habit of the forest folk elsewhere. The elf carved two molds from oak for the secretion, one for a dagger blade and another for a spearhead. After some days the secretion had hardened into steel-like substance and Danamar was a proud owner of two very rare weapons. Naturally they needed some shaping and sharpening, but the young elf had more than enough time on his hands. Some weeks later Xansor left behind the forest with its kin in order to return to its home in the Tagean sea.


A year later Danamar had visitors for the second time in all the years he'd lived in his new home. This time it was not a dragon or orc or even an animal. He was recuperating from nasty wound he'd received in a fight with seven orcish scouts, when two figures dressed in simple robes entered the clearing. The men, one human and one elf, introduced themselves as members of a nameless druidic coven located some 50 miles east of Danamar's shelter. Without wasting any time the druids set to healing the lone ranger. Danamar passed away.

A day later the men returned with a proposition. Apparently they had been observing Danamar's work from afar for many years and were happy in what he'd done. Now the druids were hoping he would join their diminishing number. The druids would have great use for one so dedicated and skilled. And in return for his services, they would be teaching him the ways of the druids - spells and other abilities that would further help him better carry on his work. Danamar didn't need long to make up his mind.

For the following five years Danamar was a student again, this time of something he was much more interested in - something which was close to his heart. It was a surprise for the elf to learn there were others believing in the same things he did. A surprise, but a pleasant one. The coven's major task was caring for the nature, assisting animals and plants alike. Every now and then when the orcs came too close or were hurting the forest too much, the druids needed to do something about it. Those were the times when they especially valued Danamar's abilities. Their spells were powerful and a very effective way of scaring off the snoutfaces. But sometimes it was physical fighting skills that ruled the day.


Two summers later Danamar decided it was the time to see Kayaen again. He packed his gear and weapons and started off towards Sinaeth with happy thoughts. It had been a long time since he'd seen his little sister last and there was so much to tell little Sparrow. Despite the urge to get to the village as fast as possible, Danamar decided to take his customary rounds looking for any signs of orcs. Nevertheless as was usual to these little treks of his, the ranger jogged lightly most of the way following animal paths and made good progress.

Having completed most of the way Danamar knew he was close. He jumped over a small bush expecting the path to continue behind it. But instead he found the forest floor a couple of inches lower than it was supposed to be and the ground had been trampled by a large group of booted feet. Only the elf's great agility saved him from stumbling and falling over as his feet touched the ground again. It didn't take long for Danamar to figure out what had passed. And the direction of the trail was awfully clear too: an orc war party had been heading towards Sinaeth. Judging by the state of the tracks, the ranger was too late. Few hundred yards down the trail the smell of smoke hit his nose. The terrible combination of burning wood and flesh made Danamar almost sick with disgust.

Running faster than ever the ranger finished the last half a mile in no time. The tracks led him straight to his home village as he had known they would. Sinaeth was now in smoking ruins. Torn bodies were lying everywhere, orc and elf alike. Gasping for air and nearly vomiting with the horror, Danamar noted with a quick glance that his people had put up a good fight taking down as many orcs as they lost lives themselves, and even more. Before taking a closer look, Danamar ran to his old home finding it burned down like everything else. Digging through the smoking wood and burning his hand in the process, he ignored the pain and pushed away the tears in his eyes. But there was no stopping them when he finally found his parents lying dead with Liathania holding Danathanil's head in her lap. Closing his emerald eyes, Danamar muttered his thanks to Oercus as he saw the half a dozen black shafts of orcish arrows sticking from both their bodies. At least his mother and father hadn't burned alive.

The gruesome job of sending everyone on their way to Oercus's domain took Danamar the next three days. When he was finally done, he fell on his knees on the grave of his mother, father and brother. He'd found Maren buried under a pile of dead orcish warriors with most cut in half by his beautiful elven blade. His head had nearly been torn off by a strike of something more powerful than a regular orc, perhaps even Unk Oalbone himself. Holding his elder brother's sword in his lap, Danamar fell into reverie beside the graves and was out for a long time.

In the following morning Danamar had packed everything he could save from the Maeleneill house, which added up to nearly nothing. He had some emeralds from his mother's box of gems, Maren's sword and half of his father's map of the Gnob Wood and its surroundings. He laid one last look at the graves and the ruins of Sinaeth, still smoking here and there. He now had only one goal, finding Kayaen. The girl's body had not been amongst the dead, but there was a second, though much smaller, trail of orcish tracks leading south of the village. And amongst the large and heavy orc tracks were some smaller and lighter elven ones, with the villages apparently tied and dragged behind the orcs. It was impossible to tell if Sparrow had been amongst the caught ones, so Danamar had to find out.


A year later Danamar found himself on the crossroads of the two rivers. He had made his decision to leave Gnob Wood behind. He had not found any trace of Kayaen or a some other disappeared villagers. He had tried and even managed to save a few from the hands of the orcs killing as many of the monsters as possible in the process. He felt like he was giving up, but staying back in the forest trying to kill all of the orcs would have been futile. In the end an orc arrow or rusty blade would have found a hole in his defense putting him out of his misery. Although it wasn't a completely uncomfortable thought, Danamar decided otherwise. He wanted to live, he wanted live with the hope of one day finding little Sparrow alive.

OOC: I'll drop in the first post a bit later.


Posted on 2011-10-21 at 13:18:39.

Tuned_Out
Khash Munee
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707 Posts


Toraad's Background

Too weak; but then, so was every other drink the dwarf had found since leaving his homeland. He placed the now half-empty tankard upon the table. What he would do for just one more stout, dwarven ale; a real drink with strength and body, and an enriched flavour unlike anything the surfacers had to offer him. A scowl crossed his face as he thought of his homeland, as one did every time. Never was he sure if he should be angered over how he left, or simply lament the great loss of a home. Gazing into the watery contents of his tankard, the dwarf once again reflected upon the events which brought him to the surface, far from the depths of the Silver Mountains, almost half a century ago. Toraad Ovmek, Third Son of Falgan the Wise, Great Grandson of Thirbak the Stalwart Defender; recalling his former name was a bitter experience.

Within the depths of the Silver Mountains, past great forges and through sprawling halls, lay the home of his youth. Much of the vast history of his kin had been documented upon the stone walls of the city, proudly reminding each and every dwarf of the rich tradition their ancestors had worked so hard to create; a tradition each dwarf should aspire to maintain and venerate, in hopes of one day joining their honoured ancestors. Aside from their history the great walls were also imparted with religious significance, displaying carvings venerating different deities to whom his kin worshipped; Cutter, the all All-Father, Granite 'O the Hills, the God of Construction, and Steel, the God of War. Steadfast were his kin in personifying aspects of loyalty, duty, and honour, to maintain and exemplify the glory of their past, and their faith in the gods. Toraad was no exception. Indeed, born the third son of the Ovmeks, an upper class family, Toraad had predetermined expectations to be an example by which the other dwarves compared themselves, especially with the blood of Thirbak the Stalwart Defender flowing through his veins. His great grandfather had been one of many of Steel's worshippers who had left to fight in an event known as the Winter Dark Wars, saving countless lives, rallying his kin, and preventing enemy advances. In the closing battles of the wars Thirbak was slain, but not before allowing his allies to prepare a significant assault; because of this, his remains and equipment were not lost, and Thirbak was returned home to be honoured for his valour by his kin. Upon returning to the Silver Mountains, Thirbak received a proper burial, and his armour was then passed down to his grandson Falgan, for Falgan's father had also perished in battle, should it be needed again. Within the following weeks Thirbak was added to the carvings that lined the halls; another prime example of an ancestor.

This ancestry placed a fairly large amount of pressure upon Toraad and his older brothers, Werif and Vonis. Werif, the eldest, had shown poor skill with a weapon, but an incredible mastery of both forging and mercantile. As Werif would adopt the responsibilities of Falgan as head of the Ovmek house someday these were important skills to have, skills which Vonis, the second brother, lacked entirely. Unlike his older brother, Vonis had displayed not only great strength and accuracy with weapons, but a mind for tactics that rivalled the current military leaders of their home. It came as no surprise when Vonis sought to become a soldier, and through his training he quickly began to clime the ranks. Toraad himself was a different matter, tradition brought him into the holy service of Steel, as was the case with every third child of the Ovmek family. He was gifted with his grandfather's armour and sent to join the clergy. There he was trained in the art of war, similar to Vonis' military training, but with the additional reverence of their deity which allowed him to call upon a portion of Steel's might for assistance. He was further taught his duty as a cleric of Steel, to ensure his kin were able to devastate their foes in active war, and to ensure no enemy survives once engaged in combat.

Many years passed as each brother grew in there respective fields. There were times when Toraad's duty would have him aid a patrol outside the city, where he would encounter Vonis hard at work defending their home, but ultimately the brothers had little to do with each others lives and a distinctive gap grew between them. Even during festivities that involved all of their kin the brothers remained apart; there was little that brought them together. Then their father fell ill. It is unclear what caused Falgan's illness, but no matter the attempts to cure him, nothing could prevent his condition from worsening. The brothers fell into bitter arguments whenever they began to discuss their father's condition, and what to do if he continued to worsen, but ultimately each returned to their own way of life, with Werif adopting a bit more of the responsibilities of the head of the house.

Years continued to pass, their father's health continued to degrade, and the brothers continued to grow more distant. Falgan had stepped down completely, allowing Werif to operate the Ovmek household, while Vonis had continued to gain prestige in the military, and gained himself an authoritative position within the city. Meanwhile, Toraad had continued in his service to Steel, assisting patrols and scouting parties as they defended the city. However, one such scouting mission went astray.

Deep within the tunnels outside the city Toraad and the scouting party had been tracking goblinoids who had ventured too near the city. Eventually they caught up to the careless creatures and skirmishes occurred for hours to come. Through his training, Toraad was able to keep his kinsmen able-bodied for anything they could come across, but it was this confidence which was their undoing. Delving deeper into the tunnels to cut down fleeing goblins, as it was against Steel's teaching to let the enemy survive, the dwarven party emerged in a large chamber with a sudden drop in the middle crossed by a bridge two dwarves wide directly in front of them, and what seemed like a narrow ledge along the cavern walls. On the other side were a series of goblin archers. The initial surprise of organization amongst the goblins was costly, as grimy arrows sunk deep into openings in the party's armour, slaying two of their number. The remaining members of the party fired their crossbows before readying their shields and axes, taking a formation to cross the bridge. However, this was what the goblins anticipated. As the first dwarves made their way across the bridge they noticed distinct damage to the point in which it connected to the other side, damage which cracked further under the combined weight of the dwarves. A shout came from the front ranks as they dove to towards the goblins, but it was to late; the last of the group were mid way across. The sound of crumbling stone filled the cavern as the bridge gave way, those at the front were able to make the distance under unsteady footing, but Toraad and those midway were less than lucky. He called out to Steel, hoping for some sort of assistance as the bridge broke away beneath their feet and they began plummeting into the chasm, stone crashing down upon their heads.

Hours later Toraad awoke, half-buried in rubble and surprised to find he still drew breath. The same could not be said about his kin. Those who he could see were certainly dead, their necks broken, or stones impaling them. With all the strength he could summon he managed to pull himself free but found himself restricted by the armour that had saved his life; the metal had become bent and warped by the impact, causing it to bite into his flesh and inflict pain upon movement. Resigning that they could be of no further use, Toraad undid the clasps of his armour, and cast the metal scraps aside, all save for the bracers. He doubted they would offer him any real protection, but they remained intact and something about their design had never seemed to fit with the rest of the suit. Looking about, Toraad also had to come to terms to the fact that he had no weapons available to him, for all seemed destroyed from the decent. In frustration he struck the stone wall with his fist, shattering some of the loose stone. He stared at his hands for a moment, thinking he might have found a solution to his weapon problem if he encountered goblins, then the larger problem dawned upon him; he needed to find a way out. After searching the chamber he found a singular passage leading out of it, and gave his thanks to Steel. Despite his lack of knowledge of these lower passages, Toraad was determined to at least perish in service to Steel rather than waiting for death to come to him.

The winding passages led him this way and that, and although he knew well enough where he was in relation to his home, the tunnels always seemed to twist away when ever he began to draw near. Eventually he recognized the sounds of goblins, and peering around the corner he observed two heading his was; Toraaad knew he needed to time things properly if he wanted to survive. As the enemies approached, he called upon Steel for protection as he charged out at his foes, taking them by surprise. With devout intensity, Toraad smashed his fist into the first goblin, knocking it senseless, then grappled the second drove it to the ground. Completely dumbstruck the grappled goblin was unable to put up much of a fight as the dwarf thrashed the life from it. The other goblin began to rise and draw its blade as Toraad dropped its dead companion. Noticing the other goblin lunge, the dwarf moved as quickly as he could to defend himself, barely avoiding the rusted blade. A sharp strike to the creature's wrist forced it to drop the weapon, and gave Toraad the opening to drive his foot into the its gut. As it collasped, Toraad gripped its head and forcefully twisted; the resounding snap stole the life from the creature. Skirmishes such as this continued for days as the tunnels continued to wind; he acquired food and drink from looting small encampments in small alcoves to keep himself going. After exhausting himself raiding one camp, he heard the hustle of many forms toward his location. As quickly as he could he ran until he noticed a small inlet in the wall. Examining it further he found that it led into a small chamber, and moved within; it would have seemed like nothing more than an are pocket if the walls had not glistened with mithral. Remaining still in his small chamber Toraad could just see the forms of many goblins run past him. He had found a small sanctuary.

From within his sanctuary Toraad continued to strike out at the goblins, venturing out to raid their encampments, as he began to plot a course out of the tunnels. At times he called to Steel for protection, at others for healing, and others still for silence so he could rest. It was comforting that Steel had not forsaken him for his lack of armour or weapons; he had been unwilling to use the tools of the goblins, and was satisfied with how he was able to defeat them with his own might. However, Toraad did not just use the silence to rest, he also used it to train. Over the time he spent within his sanctum he tried to improve the strength of his blows, striking the walls with all his might. At first his caused extreme pain, ripping his flesh and grinding his knuckles, but gradually, over the weeks he spent there, the pain began to subside and he could almost swear that he was beginning to damage the walls. There were even moments when he thought he observed mithral flecks within the wounds on his hands, but dismissed them as tricks of the eye. Eventually he became satisfied with both his might, and his plan to escape the depths. Thanking Steel for not abandoning him, he once again braved the tunnels in search of home.

Swiftly he travelled, for without the burden of armour he moved much quicker than he used to, and encountered fewer goblins than he expected. More than that, he discovered a passage that he had not seen during his times out of his sanctum. Studying it closer, it seemed to rise out of the depths, as if something had recently carved its way through the stone. Not thinking twice about a way up Toraad quickly moved up the tunnel, determining, quite unexpectedly, that he was nearing the mines outside the city. Emerging through the bored opening and the end of the tunnel, Toraad felt some relief, for certainly this passage lead toward the Dunthal clan mine just north of the city, once he reached them it would be only an hours journey to home. Moving steadily toward the mine, Toraad recalled the typical sounds of hustle and bustle he had not heard for over a months time; however none could be heard. Upon his arrival, Toraad was horrified to find corpses lining the entrance and slumped against the carts that held the days product. Closing the distance between himself and the mine, Toraad called out to see if any of his kin still lived. A strange his resounded from within, and a dark serpentine form seemed to move through the doorway, the lifeless form of a dwarf in its maw. Toraad knew he was in no condition to take on such a creature alone, and called out to Steel for assistance. Slowly moving to the wall, Toraad watched as the creature's eyes followed him. Suddenly it began to charge for him, but Toraad had closed the distance he needed. Slamming his hand against the stone wall, Toraad spoke a prayer to Steel and a concussive force resonated out from within him and shook the very cavern. The dark creature looked about, hissing in defiance even as the ceiling collasped down around it and sealed the entrance to the mine. The effort of channelling the divine might of Steel had worn him, and his hand stung where the energy had been released. He slumped to the ground to rest; and hour later a patrol found him.

Toraad's return home had not been the happy occasion he had desired. His father had passed, and Werif had not only become the official head of the family, but a prominent figure in the city as well. Meanwhile, Vonis had inherited Thirbak's armour and gained himself a position as one of the military leaders of the city. Toraad stood before them now, each with a look of disgust upon their face; Toraad noticed the pattern upon Vonis' new armour seemed to match his bracers, but his brother barely looked at him. He had been charged with the purposeful destruction of the Dunthal mine, a direct betrayal against his kin. Furthermore, there had been no evidence of the serpentine creature he claimed to seal away, and was also charged with the deaths of the miners. For these charges he was addressed as Toraad Goronfal, his mother's clan, as a means to disown him by relating such shameful acts to a bloodline other that Thirbak's. Outrage emanated from the Goronfal clan, but they were silenced by the council determining his fate. They had admitted, were it not for his true bloodline he would have been executed immediately, but he would be given the choice of exile in dishonour. Knowing he had done nothing wrong, Toraad grudgingly selected exile. What stung him the most was that, as he was escorted out of the chamber, he overheard the next topic for discussion: the reopening of the Dunthal mine. Toraad was marched to the passage leading to the surface and away from any other mines.

And so that is what brought Toraad Goronfal, priest of Steel, exile, traitor, accused murderer, to the surface some forty years ago. As was normal of Steel's clergy, he began to do mercenary work as he traveled the land. However, try as he might to move on, a darkness still clung to his heart over his exile. Occasionally he even took to hiring himself out under the name of Toraad Oynxheart, an allusion to his bitter past that none asked about. In all his travels Toraad continued in his faith to Steel, the only one who had not forsaken him, and sought to hone the physical techniques he had learned in the depths of the mountains.

Grumbling to himself, Toraad had not noticed his boss return from the stables. They were bound for Sherrill and that was the end of his contract. From there his life was once again open-ended, but he found no comfort in that. He downed the remainder of his tankard; it was still too weak.



Posted on 2011-10-23 at 18:04:31.
Edited on 2011-10-24 at 03:04:46 by Tuned_Out

Ziklag
Resident
Karma: 7/0
224 Posts


Calmindon Jorralan

Castle Vohrenback, a beautiful and ancient fortress at the end of the Ruthen Mountains. Home of King Roland the II of the Alsonman family and the Knights of Sedelas who for the last 300 years have been the protectors of the Kaynmor region. The men who have bore the lion with blue,white and yellow colors have helped keep the peace and helped with justice for these many years.
As the evening sun slowly set in the West, Sir Calmindon Jorralan son of Tanius and Illanya Jorralan stared of toward the East watching the colors change in the valley near the Ardeen River from castle battlements. He was reflecting upon all that has happened in the last 6 months of his life and how the mission given to him had changed everything.
Six month ago there was wedding plans for his sister Loran to Calmindon best friend Telinende and fellow knight and his relationship with Dona and he wanted to move out of the Knights and be the Kings Champion like his father. But two weeks before the engagement party King Roland called him and four other knights to the royal chamber. There with the high court and Bishop Avendale the five knights were given a very important but unusual mission, to go out of the kingdom and see if there is evil growing in the outside world and report back with in two years. Cal was given the east direction as well as one other knight. It was a shock to Cal and to the family. There have been encounters with Beak dragons in the Great Lothein plains and reports of unusual cold but that was all. “But these changes must be serious to bring this part of the code back .”said his father. “I have never seen it used in my lifetime until now. Only the best knights are selected.” But this did not give that much comfort to Illanya. She questioned the decision until she took a trip back to her cousin King Nolamon Of Istal , King of the High Elves near the Shelves of Mist. After that she helped him prepare for the departure.

Standing on the wall Cal remembered his last patrol with his men and how they wished they could go with him and they remembered all of the adventures they had on patrol over the last 18 years. Being one of six Half elves in the knight core did not change how they saw him. He proved himself more time's then they could count and many own there lives to him. Cal as his friends and family called him looked almost like any other human except for the gray eyes. They were the item that told you he was different. Being trained by his father from an early age to become a knight, the basics and his elven heritage helped with horsemanship and weapon skills. He would also apply some of the illusionist training from his mother and uncles in Istal were he and his sisters Loran(older) and Vannie(younger) would go once a year for a visit and renewal of the commitment between the two kingdoms. These extra skills were a major asset in some missions.

At the age of four Illanya trained her son in the craft that she had learned. Knowing that Tanius wanted the boy to carry on the tradition of being a knight she also thought this craft would give him an edge. He was a quick study and he had to be for Loran his older sister by 3 years would play tricks on him all the time. But when he was 10 Cal started training to be a knight and spent the next 7 years pursuing that dream, But when there was free time he would practice with his sisters.

He sighed as the light-bearer was lighting the castle torches for the sun was now setting, “I am going to miss this place. Thinking to himself. To be away for maybe two years, from mother and father and my sisters. I am going to miss the wedding of Loran. I will be separated from my love Dona!” Cal started to shed some tears on this thought. “I am alone it's fine”He said with a soft voice. A few moments later he hear some foot steps soft and quiet and he knew it was his love. She came up and put her arms around him and they spent the rest of the evening together.
It was the day before Cal departed. He is in the stable with his 2 year old horse Orion. Grooming and checking all the gear and tack for his horse. “ It is going to be just you and I for along time my friend” Cal said with a smile as he brushed. He was ready and now eager to go. Tomorrow could not come soon enough. “ I just want to get started and get this finished.” thinking to himself. After he was done here it was back to his parents house to spend the last couple of hours with them, his sisters and close friends and Dona. All his gear was ready. Orion was now ready. Now Cal spoke to himself, I will go to the temple and pray to Araulin divine master of all weapons for protection and guidance for this journey and may it be that I return soon.


Posted on 2011-10-24 at 02:50:01.

Raven
Resident Finn
RDI Staff
Karma: 71/3
1057 Posts


Finally posted.

"Farr! Did you see something moving at the tree line?", Matthus the merchant pointed at the edge of Gnob wood some 30 yards away. "I'm sure there was something there…" The merchant's driver and guard Farr Three-fingers cast a quick look at the trees and shrugged. "Yer seein' t'ins again, Matt. It's prolly just a rabbit." The mid-aged ex-soldier snapped the reins and clicked his tongue to urge the two geldings forward. He shook his head in disgust and only could think about a big pint of ale and the warm lap or Marna. He'd been waiting for both for long enough. These trips with Matthus were starting to eat him up. The old geezer was seeing ghosts and goblins around every corner in his paranoia. "Let's get 'is cargo unloaded so ye can pay me share".

A slight smile crept on a pale handsome face and a pair of bright green eyes followed the cart enter the town of Sherrill without anyone giving it a second glance. He hadn't even tried to hide himself, but even still the humans hadn't been able to tell Danamar apart from the green and brown of the forest. Mother had been right when she'd told tales about the mortal race. Their eyesight was bad in bright daylight and terrible in the dusk. The druid adjusted his grey cloak a bit, took another look at the human settlement and sighed. It was the path he had chosen for himself and he couldn't turn back now. Of all the things he had faced in the past, this one terrified him most - terrified and intrigued.

It was not the people in the town the elven druid was feeling uncertain about, it was the settlement itself and how he would be able to "survive" in it. Danamar had been wondering during the whole trip to Sherrill how he would be able to live in a dirty, noisy and crowded place. But having made up his mind, he would give it a try. After all, he had nothing to lose. He could always disappear deep into the forests of Gnob Wood and live the rest of his life in solitude. Now the elf needed something to get the fate of of his home village out of his mind. And he could not think of anything suiting the purpose better than a human town. Of course by now Danamar had already ound out that the waterfront town wasn't in fact much bigger than his home village, if at all. But it was certainly…. different.

Danamar waited for another wagon to pass before he disengaged himself from the cover of the forest and set into pace with it. With his head buried deep into the hood of the cloak, the elf appeared like a common hunter or perhaps a guard. He kept close to the wagon in order to appear to be a part of the group. He knew there were some elves in the town or at least had been at some point in time and more than a few of his kin had without a doubt passed through Sherrill. But Danamar wished to avoid attracting attention as much as possible especially when entering the town for the first time. According to his father, Danathaniel, humans lacked good manners. They pointed fingers, said aloud nasty remarks even called unknown people with depreciatory names. But he had also said that the bad behavior was probably due to their peculiar fear of the unknown, their constant worry about everything around them - about things that were, things that been and even things that might come. The thought made Danamar chuckle quietly as he followed the wagon into Sherrill uninterrupted.


It was easy to find accommodation in the town for a fair price, but what was very difficult was finding someone who would turn his mother's emerald's into gold and silver. Danamar noted right away he didn't really have much of a clue about the costs of anything in Sherrill. Back at home, all those decades ago, his people didn't have much use for money. Everyone produced something for the community, be it commodities or services. The elf was fairly certain the innkeeper ripped him off quite a bit, when he paid for his stay at the establishment for a month week with a couple of the gems. He could see the fat, smelly human's were eyes gleaming with excitement even if his sweaty face didn't reveal his thoughts.

Nevertheless Danamar had a some coins now along with a room. Looking at his clothes, he noted he could do with a new tunic and pants. Even the bag he carried on his shoulder was more than a little worn and dirty. But before doing any purchases, the green eyed ranger wanted to learn more of his new surroundings. It was important to know good observation and hiding places wherever one was. You never knew when they would be needed. Sherrill was not a wood elf's dream home. That much had been certain from the moment Danamar had set his foot inside the town. The streets were dirty and muddy after the rain and he didn't see any paving anywhere or gutters for that matter. There was trash here and there, if not so much on the main streets, then at least a few of the side allies seemed to be used as a dumping place for leftovers and broken stuff. And there was a constant smell of sweat, burning wood, mold with a random addison of urine or horse dung. It made Danamar wince in disgust, but he forced himself to ignore it all. This was his new home now at least for the next month.

The people he met on the streets, in the shops and taverns were mostly common people of the town. They apparently didn't bathe too often, let alone wash or change their clothes. People smelled bad, women and men alike. But it didn't seem to bother them, or at least most of them. There were a few individuals Danamar saw who stood out of the common people like an elf would in a group of dwarves. He observed a few such men from a corner table at a place called Twisted Blade. Two fairly wealthy merchants shared a long table with their guards and discussed something in hushed voices. Danamar could see the detestation on their faces whenever a commoner passed their table a bit too close. Obviously these men considered themselves better than the next man. It was another new thing for the elf. Of course he knew there were similar people amongst his own race as well, but not in Sinaeth. The rich and noble elves had their own palaces elsewhere. In the village everyone had been each other's equal and now they were all equally dead. Danamar could recognize the look on the merchants' faces. For sure it was the same expression that had lived on his own face as well for the short while he'd been in Sherrill.


To Danamar's surprise, the next 30 days passed fairly quickly. He grew somewhat used to his life in the town and as well as its inhabitants. The elf now knew many by face and some by name and he certainly had a good picture of Sherrill's layout too. But he also noticed his few emeralds weren't going to keep him in food and drink or under a shelter forever. He would need to find another source for money soon, which wasn't actually a bad thing. He'd already started to get a little bored with his new surroundings and with nothing to do. Of course as a member of a nearly immortal race, he could sit at his window a whole day without doing anything else than watching his new home town live. Time had little meaning as such, but a full month without any real excitement was not… well.. exciting. Naturally Danamar had taken long walks outside the city and beyond the farmlands surrounding it as well. He was fairly sure he could not have survived without a few hours in the wilderness every now and then.

Then one Sunday, Danamar was having his customary dinner at the Twisted Blade. The resident bard, Rextugenous was up on the stage again. This time, he'd been told, it would be the last time. The druid liked the bard in a way. He seemed like a carefree spirit, who despite his cool facade probably had a warm heart inside. The two of them had shared a few drinks late at night at the inn's tavern. Neither was giving too much information about his past, but the conversations had been interesting and nice nevertheless. Danamar had seen the man's show more than few times now and although it was never fully the same, he didn't bother trying to get a good viewing position that night. It would've been impossible to eat with three or four townsmen standing on his table anyway, so the elf had requested the innkeeper's permission to let him eat behind the counter. The man had been happy to let him since the elf was one of the few more or less permanent customers he had.

Enjoying the honey roasted vegetables and washing it down with a pitcher of a decent red wine, Danamar listened to Rex's show with half an ear. His mind was mostly preoccupied by his own future. What would he do now? Where would he go? Should he stay in Sherrill or not? How to earn some money? Then, after a mighty applause, something Rextugenous said caught his attention.

"Now is the time for me to vacate The Twisted Blade ... I thank one and all for your patronage ... especially for making me feel welcome in your fair city since I first arrived ... but my 'Family' and I are needed elsewhere ... hired by a merchant this very afternoon!

Roving bandits are an increasing threat ... all along the 50 mile plus trade route ... between Sherrill ... and the city of Lasch ... near the northeast edge of the Forest of Frie.

Rumors of sinister activity ... a taint of evil ... spreading from somewhere ... beyond the city of Lasch ... threaten the safety of peace loving people ... everywhere!

A trade caravan of 3 wagons ... is scheduled to leave in the morning ... at 9am ... so if anyone wants to join me ... to help guard the wagons ... payment is 25 Gold Coins ... plus an additional bonus reward for safe delivery ... meet me at the stables at 8:30am tomorrow morning ... if you have a stout heart for adventure ... and a need for hard earned coin ... we will travel to Lasch to investigate these rumors ... then after the wagons are secure ... and our bonus is paid ... we will Avenge the Leather Coats!"


And there it was. Danamar's imminent future plans had been laid out for him. He didn't even have to think twice, for the bard's proposal suited him better than well. Therefore on the following morning the elf used what little money he had left to purchase provisions for the trip. His old set of clothes were long gone with the exception of the grey cloak woven by and given to him by his sister Kayaen the last time they met. Of course it was somewhat worn already, but still in very good shape as Danamar had treasured the cloak and mostly used another one instead.

The druid made sure he arrived at the stables well in advance at around 8am or so. Before going in to assign for the duty, he stood in the shadows of the morning sun and observed the caravan. It never hurt to know a little bit more about what one was getting in to, his father had always told him. When he saw Rextugenous arrive, Danamar stepped away from the shadows and approached the bard openly. He was wearing a pair of grey soft leather pants, a deep green tunic gold embroidered sleeves and neckline. For the first time in a very long time, he'd also donned his stutted leather armor including the leather bracers and leggings. His soft elven boots had seen better days and Danamar had been forced to buy new ones from the local cobbler. To his surprise, the boots were very good to wear and not bad looking either.

"May the soft rays of the sun warm your morning, friend Rextugenous.", said the elf taking the bard by surprise. He couldn't tell if the surprise was simply due to the other man concentrating on other things or perhaps because he had not expected to see Danamar there. "I believe you mentioned something about a little adventure yesterday? It is time to end my prolonged stay in Sherrill and therefore, if you don't mind, I would offer my company and services to you and your employer."


Posted on 2011-10-28 at 20:07:27.

Tuned_Out
Khash Munee
Karma: 47/0
707 Posts


May the adventure begin!

City of Sherrill
12pm on Friday
March 9, 212awd (After Winter Dark)

The journey to Sherrill had been plagued with inconveniences. Poor weather had reduced visibility beyond the comfort of the caravan leader, forcing numerous stops until the rains and winds lightened. In all of his time upon the surface Toraad had grown to loathe the rain, though he had learned some adaptation; a cloak had be drawn tight around him for much of their passage. The sopping texture of the ground, the continuous sinking with each step, always made him long for the feel of sturdy earth beneath his boots. Squalls had often infiltrated the encampments, simple arrangements of the carts, preventing all attempts at lighting fires. With the aspect of warm meals of lost, attitudes had been sour and Toraad had been no exception, brooding in the gloom with his soaked rations. Perhaps it was more that he despised the unpredictability of the sky, for he could not determine its nature the way he could the stone in the tunnels of his former home. Regardless, every member of the caravan had longed for the end of the journey.

Alas, the weather had not been the only issue; they had a passed the shattered remains of another caravan just days outside of Sherrill. The smashed carts had barricaded the road, the thick mud around them holding them fast in place. Already displeased at the loss of time the weather had caused him, the caravan leader had sent out scouts; an old trail they had passed looped down towards a mill and around the barricade. They did not advance without the expectation of some attack from the mill, the remains in the road a clear indication that caution should be taken. However, when no attack came there was a moment of shock, before relief set in. They passed on without incident, not noticing the eyes watching them from within the trees. Two days later the caravan was besieged by arrows, followed by a surges of motion all around.

Although the attack was easy to defeat, numerous casualties were suffered. Furthermore, Toraad's unwillingness to allow any of the attackers to escape, because of the harm they had caused his companions, unnerved his fellows. Attending to the wounds of the injured calmed him just enough to ease his mind over their carelessness; the distant walls of Sherrill had been a welcome sight indeed.

The coin Toraad had earned with the conclusion of his contact had allowed him to to repair and replace his equipment. Fresh supplies for when he decided it was time to venture once again. With the remained of his coin he had invested in a room at the Twisted Blade, a tavern that had a surprisingly better ale selection than any he'd encountered within a month. Also to his pleasure, Toraad had been informed upon renting his room that a renowned bard was playing his final show within two nights time; it was just what he needed to lift his spirits.

The Twisted Blade
City of Sherrill
7pm on Sunday
March 11, 212awd (After Winter Dark)

Much of the performance had been showy in nature, captivating the crowd and bringing a smile to Toraad's face; it'd been long since he had relaxed. However where most of the show merely washed over him with feelings or relief and amusement, a sudden shift in tone snapped his attention back to the performer.

"Now is the time for me to vacate The Twisted Blade ... I thank one and all for your patronage ... especially for making me feel welcome in your fair city since I first arrived ... but my 'Family' and I are needed elsewhere ... hired by a merchant this very afternoon!

Roving bandits are an increasing threat ... all along the 50 mile plus trade route ... between Sherrill ... and the city of Lasch ... near the northeast edge of the Forest of Frie.

Rumors of sinister activity ... a taint of evil ... spreading from somewhere ... beyond the city of Lasch ... threaten the safety of peace loving people ... everywhere!

A trade caravan of 3 wagons ... is scheduled to leave in the morning ... at 9am ... so if anyone wants to join me ... to help guard the wagons ... payment is 25 Gold Coins ... plus an additional bonus reward for safe delivery ... meet me at the stables at 8:30am tomorrow morning ... if you have a stout heart for adventure ... and a need for hard earned coin ... we will travel to Lasch to investigate these rumors ... then after the wagons are secure ... and our bonus is paid ... we will Avenge the Leather Coats!"

Hearing the Bard's final words stirred morals of duty and honour in Toraad that had been passive for some time. His time among mercenaries had taught him that too much reliance upon the ways of his people resulted in betrayal. However, Toraad had always clung to the teachings of Steel, and refused to give up so easily on his heritage. To hear words of honor from a human, and for such an immediate venture was something he had not expected, but the journey spoke to him. It seemed he'd be on the road once again; sooner than expected. Returning to his room, Toraad prepared his equipment for the following day.

In the early morning light, Toraad Goronfal marched toward the awaiting caravan, carrying with him all he possessed. Clad in splintmail with a silver holy symbol of steel hanging from his neck, the dwarf was obviously armed for battle. A warhammer and a simple hatchet rested at his right, and two hand axes rested at his left. A simple buckler, inlaid with an image Steels symbol was strapped to his left arm, and a pack was slung over his right shoulder with five javelins strapped to the side; both arms ended with ornate bracers. Toraad easily spotted Rextugenous awaiting adventurers, and, to his dismay an elf stood beside him. Begrudgingly stifling a scowl, Toraad nodded to the bard. "I reckon thar be a great undataking at hand. May I offer ye the might of Steel by yer side? Thar be no better cause ta fight for din one of honor."


Posted on 2011-11-01 at 02:57:29.
Edited on 2011-11-01 at 02:58:41 by Tuned_Out

Ziklag
Resident
Karma: 7/0
224 Posts


made the dead line

City of Sherrill
Sunday Afternoon
March 11, 212awd (After Winter Dark)

“So this is Sherrill.” Cal spoke softly in Orion’s ear as they slowly walked down the slightly muddy road that tried to pass itself as the main street of the city. The horse snorted and shook his head as to indicate that he had negative impression of the place. “Now now my friend, we need not be that way. I am sure we can find a good stable and a place of rest with what little money we have left I hope. “Said Cal as scratched that favor spot near Orion’s right ear and then patted his neck. “I wonder if the story we heard has any truth and maybe by Araulin‘s will it lead us the information we are seeking.”

After speaking with the gruff bartender at the Twisted Blade for room and the location of the stable's Cal took the reins of his chestnut brown charger and walked down the street. As he walked Cal reflected upon the events of the past month and the events that have now brought him to Sherrill this March afternoon.

As he walked Cal remembered how his good bye to his parents and sisters and Dona. He reflected on upon the gift his mother gave him , his father gave him his short sword and Dona a necklace of her hair woven with stands of gold and silver with blue and white beads that helped form the circular ring. Tears and hugs where shared with the farewells and then he was off. First stop was Sultran Deep; a large city just outside of the King’s Roland authority but has a good relationship with him. Here Cal remembered staying with his father’s brother Gauis.

Gauis own a farm outside the city and once and awhile Cal and the family would visit. Cal promised his father to stop in see him. Gauis a big and burly man always looked like land during spring alive and optimistic. It was a joyous meeting. Good food and lots of conversation. Cal got him caught up on all the family stories and reminded him of the wedding he had to attend in a month, and then Cal explained why he was here and where he was going. Gauis listened thoughtfully while smoking pipe. After Cal was done Gauis was very slow in responding to him. It was as he was somewhere else in thought. Then he spoke “Are you sure you are ready for this my boy?” The question startled him and his face gave away his thoughts. “ Why I am asking “ as Gauis continued “is that from beyond here you have no idea what is out there and you will be alone.” Cal explained how the last 15 years of being a knight and all the patrols, keeping the peace and training in his mother's arts will get him back home. “I understand all of that dear nephew, but are you ready to be alone? “

Cal sat back in high back wooden chair which gave along creak as back placed his full frame into it. Gauis saw the look on Cal’s face and then took another puff on his pipe and spoke.”Well I see you have something to think about, I am going to turn in for the morning will be soon and I need to be up to making sure the hands aren’t loafing. I will see you then.”

It seemed a long time before Cal got up from the chair and headed to bed. This was something his parents were trying to tell him but all the activities for preparing the journey he did not even think about the lonely paths he wander alone. What is going to sustain his soul and mind in the great distance which will separate him from his home? He was tired and took the question to bed. “Maybe answer will come in the morrow.” He said to himself as he went to his room.

During that three day’s he stayed with his uncle, Cal pondered the question. He thought about during his training time in the morning and spoke it at time’s to Orion during his exercise. Gauis did not ask again the question he spoke to Cal. He saw how the half-elf was pondering and was hoping to get an answer before left him. It was not until the night before Cal was to leave that Gauis got an answer.
That night after getting his gear ready for his departure I the morning, once again Cal and his uncle were sitting like they were the night Gauis asked him the question. Cal started “Uncle I have been giving your question a great deal of thought and I have an answer for you.” Gauis puffed on his pipe and listened. “No I am not ready to be alone. I have always worked with others and as a team. Weather if I was with the knight core or doing things with family I have never been alone.” Gauis held his gaze with the gray eyes of his nephew and waited to hear more. “I know it do not know what is out there waiting for me and I will admit that has me concerned but if there is some type of evil growing some place in Aihrde that will bring harm to my family and kingdom I need to go out and find it and bring that news home. “ The love for my family and for my love, the power of my god and the code I serve will get thru the great distance and bring me home.” “I did not ask for the assignment it was given to me. For I believe this must be my time and I will not waver until it is done.”

Gauis looked at his nephew with soft eyes thru smoke that was around his head. He loved the boy and got the answer he wanted to hear. “I am glad that to hear that my boy, If you would have told me Yes I would not have believed you. But with the answer you have given me I can see that the things you have said will help you thru those times. “Gauis spoke as he got out of his chair and placed his hand on his shoulder. Now let tell you what I believe about this” his uncle started “I believe the king is right there is something going on. I can see in the seasons, I can feel it in the ground. I do believe there is something growing where I do not know but I hope you find it soon before it finds us.” That made Cal’s insides flinch. Gauis continued. “But here is also what I believe if there is evil growing then good will come together to seek it out. I am saying is that if you are called then there are others who aid you in your quest and maybe become your allies along the way. So listen well and may your god guide you to these who will be those allies. ”

After that conversation Gauis started to tell him about area south Sultran Deep like Dondel and Luisi . His uncle spent the rest of the evening telling him of what he did know and about a friend in Dondel who could put him up for a couple of nights. So after a good breakfast and and his daily workout Cal said goodbye to his uncle and and left for the town of Dondel.

In Dondel Cal stayed for about three days going to the tavern listening to some of the stories and asking questions. He did this also in Luisi and stayed there five days. On his last day he was following a caravan to the City of the Ethenel when they met up with some travelers who came from Sherrill. They told a story about a bard and some undead that drifted in on a boat and how the bard gave them some last rite to purge the evil in them. That got Cal attention right away. He asked for direction to this town and the name of the bard and the next morning he and his horse were off.

On that last though Cal was at the stables. He took a long look around. He was examining the stalls and the owner thinking over if even he should keep Orion here. After a good look he was fine with the owner and how well he keep his business. The owner an average looking man in height and build seemed friendly enough. "That is a fine looking horse you have there.", said the owner as Cal guided Orion to a empty stall. Cal then he gave the owner some payment and told him what his horse would need. After getting Orion setup Cal went to the Twisted Blade to spend the evening to see this bard for it was reported that this was his last performance and by the blessing of the gods they made to Sherrill in time.

The Twisted Blade
City of Sherrill
7pm on Sunday
March 11, 212awd (After Winter Dark)

Cal enjoyed the bards show. Reminded him of some of the entertainment at the festivals back a home which made him sad and happy in the refection of those times. Just as he though the show was over the bard proceeded to make one more speech.

"Now is the time for me to vacate The Twisted Blade ... I thank one and all for your patronage ... especially for making me feel welcome in your fair city since I first arrived ... but my 'Family' and I are needed elsewhere ... hired by a merchant this very afternoon!

Roving bandits are an increasing threat ... all along the 50 mile plus trade route ... between Sherrill ... and the city of Lasch ... near the northeast edge of the Forest of Frie.

Rumors of sinister activity ... a taint of evil ... spreading from somewhere ... beyond the city of Lasch ... threaten the safety of peace loving people ... everywhere!

A trade caravan of 3 wagons ... is scheduled to leave in the morning ... at 9am ... so if anyone wants to join me ... to help guard the wagons ... payment is 25 Gold Coins ... plus an additional bonus reward for safe delivery ... meet me at the stables at 8:30am tomorrow morning ... if you have a stout heart for adventure ... and a need for hard earned coin ... we will travel to Lasch to investigate these rumors ... then after the wagons are secure ... and our bonus is paid ... we will Avenge the Leather Coats!"

It was the line of sinister activity , a taint of evil that caught Cal's attention. Praise Araulin speaking to himself. I must go and get ready for tomorrow and travel with this group. So after leaving the tavern Cal went to buy extra supplies and keep enough to pay for the services which left him without coin.

Cal arrived at the stables early to check on Orion and to see that he was ready for that day’s travel. From the stall he hear the voice of the bard and thought it must be around the appointed time. As he approached the bard two other figures were speaking to him. One was an elf dress in a green tunics and a heavy armed dwarf. Cal thought to himself “Maybe these are the allies my uncle was thinking I would meet.”

Then after the dwarf spoke Cal came forward out of the stables. The three men saw a above average height human with brown hair pulled into a pony tail, a face that has never seen a growth of a hair on it and his gray eyes. His armor was a dull gray scale mail over an of white tunic. He had tan pants and light brown boots and had his sword on his left side. When Cal got to the group he introduced himself.” Rex I am Sir Calmindon Jorralan, Knight of Sedelas from the Castle Vochenback. I am here to help with your escort to Lasch if you would have me.”


I did some editing on the paragraphs just to make it a bit more readable. I hope you don't mind me meddling with your post, which was excellent btw.

- Raven


Posted on 2011-11-03 at 02:18:45.
Edited on 2011-11-04 at 09:00:40 by Raven

Hammer
Extreme Exclaimator!
Karma: 90/24
4114 Posts


Wagons Ho

The Stables of Sherrill
9am on Monday
March 12, 212awd (After Winter Dark)

The druid made sure he arrived at the stables well in advance at around 8am or so. Before going in to assign for the duty, he stood in the shadows of the morning sun and observed the caravan. It never hurt to know a little bit more about what one was getting in to, his father had always told him. When he saw Rextugenous arrive, Danamar stepped away from the shadows and approached the bard openly. He was wearing a pair of grey soft leather pants, a deep green tunic gold embroidered sleeves and neckline. For the first time in a very long time, he'd also donned his stutted leather armor including the leather bracers and leggings. His soft elven boots had seen better days and Danamar had been forced to buy new ones from the local cobbler. To his surprise, the boots were very good to wear and not bad looking either.

"May the soft rays of the sun warm your morning, friend Rextugenous.", said the elf taking the bard by surprise. He couldn't tell if the surprise was simply due to the other man concentrating on other things or perhaps because he had not expected to see Danamar there. "I believe you mentioned something about a little adventure yesterday? It is time to end my prolonged stay in Sherrill and therefore, if you don't mind, I would offer my company and services to you and your employer."

Rextugenous had begun his day quite early, having received a parchment with hand written instructions upon returning to his room the previous night, a couple of hours after his performance had been completed and the customary glad handing with the patrons had drawn to a close.

The writing was familiar enough to know that it had been penned from the hand of his new employer, asking Rextugenous to meet with him at 5:30am, a good 3 hours before Rex had decreed that any and all prospective adventurers assemble at the Stables of Sherrill to sign on for the journey to Lasch.

He read the contents of the message and pondered upon the instructions, committing them to memory, then slowly and deliberately walked back downstairs to the almost deserted room that had been filled with cheering throngs earlier that night.

Rex made his way to the fireplace, withdrew his Elven Pipe, filled it with the mysterious herbal contents from a pouch, then matter of factly bent down and rolled up the parchment of instructions, before sticking one end into the fire and moments later lighting 'Dream Weaver' and taking a few thoughtful puffs, before tossing the remainder of the parchment into the fire, then watching it burn.

Returning to his room, Rex prepared his belongings for the morning journey, then slept a few hours. He awoke and greeted the new day with a ballad to his deity Brigit, before making his way to the stables.

His new employer greeted him and hastily went over the instructions that Rextugenous had committed to memory, then he boarded a wagon and began guiding the team of fresh horses towards the outskirts of town, followed moments later by two other wagons.

About 7pm, five wagons took their places outside the Stables of Sherrill, making ready for their morning journey. Rex had spent the past hour praying to Brigit and asking her for wisdom and guidance as he prepared for the task set before him.

He went to each wagon and spoke with the Human drivers, assessing their needs before directing the stable boys to bring the proper amount of feed supplies and equipment to each wagon.

About 35 minutes later a large Stagecoach pulled by 4 sleek horses guided by 2 drivers approached the stables, coming to a halt several wagon lengths behind the caravan of Covered Wagons. Rextugenous gathered up his 'family' and gear and made a slow, but steady beeline towards the Stagecoach to claim a comfortable seat inside for himself and his 'family'.

Rextugenous had one more errand to run and slipped away almost unseen from the stables, making his way back into town to inform a certain accountant (who was acting as the paymaster for this expedition) that all was in readiness and to come to the stables in about 30 minutes to settle up with those adventurers who would soon be assembling for the 25 gold coins.

On the way back to the stables he met two young humans who were hungry for adventure, but were obviously sorely lacking in the expertise that Rextugenous was looking for. However, he pointed to the waiting wagons and instructed them to speak to the driver of the second wagon to sign on for the trip.

He was lost in thought as he entered the stables once more, when an elf stepped from the shadows with a warm greeting and an offer to serve as one of the guards of the caravan. Rextugenous quickly realized that the elf was indeed a worthy addition to his cause.

"If ye be as stealthy approaching enemies ... as ye seem to be when approaching friends ... then yer services be most welcome indeed ... for my quest ... and that of my employer!"
Rextugenous was about to tell Danamar to stow his gear in the waiting Stagecoach when a dwarf, obviously armed for battle, boldly made his presence known.

In the early morning light, Toraad Goronfal marched toward the awaiting caravan, carrying with him all he possessed. Clad in splintmail with a silver holy symbol of steel hanging from his neck, the dwarf was obviously armed for battle. A warhammer and a simple hatchet rested at his right, and two hand axes rested at his left. A simple buckler, inlaid with an image Steels symbol was strapped to his left arm, and a pack was slung over his right shoulder with five javelins strapped to the side; both arms ended with ornate bracers. Toraad easily spotted Rextugenous awaiting adventurers, and, to his dismay an elf stood beside him. Begrudgingly stifling a scowl, Toraad nodded to the bard. "I reckon thar be a great undataking at hand. May I offer ye the might of Steel by yer side? Thar be no better cause ta fight for din one of honor."
"That you may friend dwarf ... that you may!"
Rextugenous was well pleased by the addition of the dwarf. If this one was able to uphold the reputations of those dwarven warriors from his past experiences, then Brigit was indeed smiling upon the fortunes of Rextugenous as he prepared to avenge the Leather Coats.

Before he could motion for Danamar and Toraad to stow their gear inside the waiting Stagecoach and then stand outside with him as he prepared to direct the small flow of traffic that was beginning to approach the stables, yet another stalwart adventurer stepped out from one of the stalls to offer his services to help guard the awaiting caravan of wagons.

Cal arrived at the stables early to check on Orion and to see that he was ready for that day’s travel. From the stall he hear the voice of the bard and thought it must be around the appointed time. As he approached the bard two other figures were speaking to him. One was an elf dress in a green tunics and a heavy armed dwarf. Cal thought to himself “Maybe these are the allies my uncle was thinking I would meet.” Then after the dwarf spoke Cal came forward out of the stables. The three men saw a above average height human with brown hair pulled into a pony tail, a face that has never seen a growth of a hair on it and his gray eyes. His armor was a dull gray scale mail over an of white tunic. He had tan pants and light brown boots and had his sword on his left side. When Cal got to the group he introduced himself.” Rex I am Sir Calmindon Jorralan, Knight of Sedelas from the Castle Vochenback. I am here to help with your escort to Lasch if you would have me."
"Well young knight ... you appear to be yet another fine addition to help with the escort to Lasch. Most knights have horses ... and if ye be one with a horse ... then kindly tie your mount to the back of the Stagecoach ... and stow your gear inside. Then kindly stand with our friends elf and dwarf ... Danamar and Toraad they be ... while I attend to these other adventurous souls who have come for a bit of gold and glory!"
Every few minutes another candidate would approach. Rextugenous would speak briefly with him or her, then assign each one to a particular wagon. Promptly at 8:35am the balding accountant made his way to Rextugenous, with a bag loaded with coin and a book to pen the names of the new recruits.

Rextugenous motioned for Danamar, Toraad and Sir Calmindon to join him with the accountant. They stated their names and received 25 gold coins, then politely stood by as the accountant handed 25 gold coins to Rextugenous too.

Then the accountant hurried over to the wagons to make payments to 15 other Humans who had answered the call for a bit of fame and fortune. Rextugenous surveyed the scene, making certain that no late comers were making their services available, before motioning to the Stagecoach and inviting his 3 new companions to join him inside.

At precisely 9am the wagons began rolling out of town. The Stagecoach drivers waited several minutes before urging their horses forward, a good 30 yards behind the last wagon.

Each of the 3 new Leather Coats Avengers had received their 25 Gold Coins with both gratitude and mounting questions, not knowing what exactly the cargo was that they were now sworn to protect on the journey to Lasch. All they knew at this point was that the Wagons had been loaded and ready to roll by the time they had arrived to meet Rextugenous at the Stables of Sherrill.

About a half mile outside town there was a fork in the road that led to two destinations. The first being the town of Domdel (about 42 miles to the southwest of Sherrill) and the other to the town of Lasch (about 55 miles northwest of Sherrill and 30 miles north of Domdel).

The adventurers in the Stagecoach were far enough behind to witness each of the 5 wagons unexpectedly veering off to the left fork towards the town of Domdel. They held their peace as they questioningly looked to Rextugenous for an answer, but Rex was calmly looking out the other window.

When the Stagecoach reached the fork it just kept moving steadily up the northwest trail towards the town of Lasch, instead of heading southwest towards Domdel with the five wagons.

Noticing the looks of uncertainty on the faces of Danamar, Toraad and Sir Calmindon ... Rextugenous leaned forward with a broad grin and explained:

"The three of you were hired to guard 3 Wagons journeying to the town of Lasch. They are waiting for us about 5 miles outside of Sherrill ... camped with a dozen riders who are well equipped to fight on horseback ... so now just settle back and relax ... enjoy the journey!"

"So Now ... Let's Get Acquainted with One Another ... Shall We?"

Just as Rextugenous had stated, the 3 Heavy Covered Wagons (each drawn by 8 fine horses) were waiting for them about 5 miles outside of town. Upon their arrival, the 12 horsemen mounted up and rode out ahead of the wagons ... and were soon out of sight over the next rise.

Moments later the Stagecoach turned around and headed back to Sherrill, after depositing its adventurous cargo. The Avengers carried their gear (Sir Calmindon leading Orion) near to the wagons. Rextugenous bowed before introducing everyone to a rather stout man named Frederico Fortunato.

Frederico introduced himself as their employer and the driver of the first wagon, thanking everyone before introducing his brother Lars Fortunato, a somewhat taller and slimmer version of his elder brother, who was the driver of the second wagon.

Then the drivers of the third wagon were introduced. They were a Halfling husband and wife by name of Drognar and Segdra Kargaraganil, but everyone called them Drog and Seg Kargal for short.

Not being allowed to peek inside any of the wagons, Frederico sized up the adventurers that Rextugenous had selected to accompany them to Lasch. He then assigned Toraad to ride in the front wagon with him; Danamar to ride in the wagon with Lars and Rextugenous to ride in the back of the third wagon driven by Drog and Seg Kargal.

Seeing as they were graced with the company of a Knight with a fine mount, Frederico instructed Calmindon to ride Orion alongside any of the wagons, on the right or the left, but Sir Cal was in no way to take it upon himself to ride point ahead of the wagons ... making it crystal clear that he was hired to help guard the wagons ... according to the wishes and instructions of his current employer!

"Ye probably be wanting to know what type of cargo ye have been hired to protect? Well we be Fortune Hunters who have journeyed by ship from the mainland waterfront town of Eluythus across from the Tagean Islands in the Sea of Shenal."

"We had the good fortune of discovering a variety of precious jewels and artifacts from beneath the Voralberg Mountains. But the journey was long and hard and cost us the lives of 88 of our most trusted guardsmen. Only 12 remain and you undoubtedly saw them ride off ahead of us as you arrived here."

"Some say we be cursed ... but death finds a way to claim us all ... sooner or later ... so it is how we live our lives ... and how we treat others ... that matters the most in this lifetime!"

"Our cargo in the first wagon is some precious goods and 2 beautiful young human maidens from the island of Cuspeya. As are more precious goods and 2 more beautiful young human maidens from the island of Muteya."

"Mistake us not for slavers of the flesh trade! These maidens be not prostitutes to be sold to serve in the Flesh Halls or Whore Temples! Rather they be Exotic Beauties destined by their own choice as Virgin Mail Order Brides to be delivered unharmed to a marriage broker in Lasch who has promised Exotic Virgin Brides to the Nobility of the lands!"

"As for the cargo in the third wagon ... to be guarded by Rextugenous ... there are a variety of invaluable precious stones many eyes have not seen! Plus a variety of curious items and historical artifacts to be delivered to a certain merchant in Lasch ... who will pay a king's ransom to receive!"

"But before said merchant is allowed to claim this treasure cargo ... upon the safe arrival and delivery of these 3 wagons ... each of you will be rewarded handsomely ... with some things of my own choosing ... from the third wagon!"

Okay guys ... you now have plenty of information for some role play and reactions from your characters! I plan to post another update sometime this weekend, so you each have an opportunity to submit a short (at least a few paragraphs) post to give me some more info to include in the next update to help advance the adventure!


Posted on 2011-11-03 at 16:26:02.

Tuned_Out
Khash Munee
Karma: 47/0
707 Posts


Toraad, attempting conversation

The Stables of Sherrill
9am on Monday
March 12, 212awd (After Winter Dark)

"That you may friend dwarf ... that you may!"
"Then I be at yer service friend,"A grin crossed the dwarf's face as he nodded again to the bard, extending a hand forward. "Toraad G..." The sound of footsteps stopped him amidst his introduction.

Stepping aside to allow Rextugenous to attend to newcomer, Toraad briefly glanced at the caravan. Five wagons and the stagecoach he now stood beside. From his experience as a mercenary, Toraad thought the stagecoach seemed out of place, being meant only to transport persons and not cargo; perhaps the bard wished to travel in comfort. He brought his attention back to the matter at hand.

A knight had joined himself and the elf at Rextugenous' side, and the bard was now attending to others who were entering the stableyard. The bard made quick work organizing each newcomer to a wagon, although no others joined them at the stagecoach; Toraad noted that none seemed as well equipped or experienced than those that stood with him. However, Toraad made an effort not to dwell on his new-companions, and avoided looking at them for the time being; mostly he tried to restrain his eyes from narrowing at his suspicions of the elf's character. It was a natural occurrence, this distrust instilled within him from his heritage; as with previous elves Toraad had met, this one would have to prove himself.

Soon enough they were granted their initial payment and the caravan set out, however the stagecoach lingered within the stable for a moment, which Toraad deemed curious.

About a half mile outside town there was a fork in the road that split north and south. The Stagecoach was far enough behind that Toraad and the others watched each of the wagons unexpectedly veering off to the left fork to the south. When the Stagecoach reached the fork it just kept moving steadily up the northwest, instead of heading southwest with the five wagons. Thanks to his mercenary experience, Toraad was beginning to put the pieces together when the bard confirmed his suspicions; Sherrill had been a case of selective hiring. Then the bard spoke up again:

"So Now ... Let's Get Acquainted with One Another ... Shall We?"
Toraad snorted a laugh, leaning back to relax. "Aye" he started, a grin wide upon his face "we know ye be a trickster now; ye be wantin to know jus who ye be workin with." Toraad hoped that the bard would humour him, it'd been some time since the dwarf had held such company. "Well din. What would ye care ta know?"...there were parts of his story Toraad didn't care to share, those labels with which he was bared from his homeland; perhaps someday it would be appropriate.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Just as Rextugenous had stated, 3 Heavy Covered Wagons were waiting for them about 5 miles outside of town. The stagecoach dropped them off and turned to return to Sherrill. They were introduced to the drivers of the caravan before being assigned to their respective carts; Toraad would be in the lead cart as they travelled. They did not seem like harmful folks, but Toraad was used to the honeyed talk of merchants as well as the gruff ways of mercenaries; jobs came from every source.

What surprised Toraad was the scope of the cargo they were hauling; precious stones and artifacts from distant lands, but then there were also women in two of the carts. Immediately the caravan leader, Frederico, established a defence that they were not slavers. Sure'n, Toraad mused, they'd na be so forthcomin wid such facts ifin they were.

The promise of some reward for their work was a nice sentiment, but it mattered not to Toraad; the dwarf had offered his services to Rextugenous in his noble quest. This task was but a foundation stone to a grand journey.

Toraad nodded to his companions before moving with Frederico to the lead cart. In preparation for the journey he placed his pack beside him and unstrapped the javelins. After the events of the last caravan he had travelled with, Toraad wanted them ready at a moments notice.


Posted on 2011-11-06 at 19:55:02.
Edited on 2011-11-08 at 23:10:05 by Tuned_Out

Ziklag
Resident
Karma: 7/0
224 Posts


My turn

The Stables of Sherrill
9am on Monday
March 12, 212awd (After Winter Dark)
Well young knight ... you appear to be yet another fine addition to help with the escort to Lasch. Most knights have horses ... and if ye be one with a horse ... then kindly tie your mount to the back of the Stagecoach ... and stow your gear inside.

Cal thought to himself, “Tie Orion to the stagecoach, he isn’t going to like that.” As he nodded to Rex and proceeded back to the stables. “Well his pride is going to take all chipping today.” As got his gear and started to place it in the stagecoach, he watched Rex pay the extra men that showed up that morning. He also looked at the Wagon train they would be following and tried to understand why he was going to “ride in the stage.”

“We must be patient my friend. Have I ever been wrong?” Cal said with a smile and some sarcasm as his faithful companion snorted and gave him a look only his owner understood. “Well, look at this as a break from carrying me for a while you know I have been putting on the weight.” Cal stated to the horse while rubbing neck and scratching his ears. After Cal entered the stage with the others, there was look from Orion if anyone was paying attention and could interpret the heart of the stead it was “I would carry you to the ends of the world no matter what.”

As the wagon train started to go Cal started to in his thoughts evaluate his new allies. The elf Danamar and he have heritage in common but he does remember that some elves view him as strange. The dwarf Toraad from what I have met and only a few they can be loud, gruff, and stubborn. But with all that said if you earn their respect you could have a friend for life. As for the bard Cal was not sure what to make of him just yet only time will tell.

A while pasted and Cal and the group noticed that the wagon headed in one direction and they another. But before a question was raised Rex responded, “The three of you were hired to guard 3 Wagons journeying to the town of Lasch. They are waiting for us about 5 miles outside of Sherrill ... camped with a dozen riders who are well equipped to fight on horseback ... so now just settle back and relax ... enjoy the journey!"

"So Now ... Let's Get Acquainted with One Another ... Shall We?"

“Finally” Cal thought to himself “now we’ll show them what a Knight of Sedalas can do.” He started to take his gear off the stage and proceeded get Orion ready for his escort duty. After meeting with Frederico and his crew of drivers and him explaining the type and nature of the cargo, Cal was wondering what was going to happen on this short trip.
His other companions got their assignments and Cal proceeded place his weapons on his saddles in their proper places. As the small train started to leave Cal put on his helm and patted Orion on his neck and said “see I told you your patients would be rewarded.” and the two started off .


Posted on 2011-11-08 at 14:17:32.
Edited on 2011-11-08 at 14:22:21 by Ziklag

Raven
Resident Finn
RDI Staff
Karma: 71/3
1057 Posts


Gaah

It felt good to be out of the town again and this time for a longer spell. Danamar would have preferred riding on horseback over the rider's seat of a wagon, but after a few miles he didn't care anymore. The smell of fresh air and nature took him over and the elf couldn't help the smile that crept on his lips. There was a larger group of them than he had thought there would be, so whatever was hidden under the wagon covers had to be worth quite a lot for the Fortunato brothers as he later learned. Lars didn't appear to be a talkative sort of man, which suited Danamar perfectly. He wasn't one to start babbling away with strangers either. The silence gave him more time to observe the surroundings and enjoy the small wonders of nature others probably missed.


Seeing the original wagons turn towards Domdel earlier on had made Danamar raise an eyebrow and cast a quick look at Rex. But as the bard was apparently happy with the situation, the druid let himself relax too. He figured the reason would become clear sooner or later. And he didn't have to wait long to prove his thoughts right as Rextugenous revealed their true goal. "The three of you were hired to guard 3 Wagons journeying to the town of Lasch. They are waiting for us about 5 miles outside of Sherrill ... camped with a dozen riders who are well equipped to fight on horseback ... so now just settle back and relax ... enjoy the journey!"


"So Now ... Let's Get Acquainted with One Another ... Shall We?"


Danamar held his tongue hoping for the dwarf to take the initiative. And he did. Toraad didn't reveal much of himself, but seemed like a man of sense and skill. He obviously wasn't a stranger to combat either and bore some scars to prove it. The elf nodded to the cleric in approval before speaking up himself in a voice that was both soft and hard at the same time: "There is not much I can tell of you of myself or my past. I'm sure when compared to your lives there has been little in the way of adventure or excitement so far in mine."


Danamar cast a look outside at noticed the tree line of a small forest in the distance. Thinking about his family and especially his younger sister killed the elf's mood for a moment. He let out an inaudible sigh and turned to face his new companions. "Let it be sufficient to say that I am currently without a home or… the home I once knew is no longer. This opportunity offered by Rextugenous was well timed. Sherrill is nice little town, but it can never become a place of permanent residence for me. My home will always in the wilderness with the trees as my ceiling and ground as my floor. Therefore it is now time for me to roam the lands and learn more of the world."


Posted on 2011-11-09 at 12:00:15.

Hammer
Extreme Exclaimator!
Karma: 90/24
4114 Posts


The Plot Thickens

Leather Coats Avengers
Cast & Characters
Rextugenous [played by Hammer] a level 5 (Human) Paladin, Wizard, Bard who worships Brigit
Danamar Maeleneill [played by Raven] a level 5 (Elf) Druid, Ranger who worships Oercus
Toraad Ovmek [played by Tuned_Out] a level 5 (Dwarf) Cleric, Monk who worships Steel
Sir Calmindon Jorralan [played by Ziklag] a level 5 (Half Elf) Knight, Illusionist who worships Araulin

Previously in Leather Coats Avengers
(Includes Response Updates)

As the wagon train started to go Cal started to in his thoughts evaluate his new allies. The elf Danamar and he have heritage in common but he does remember that some elves view him as strange. The dwarf Toraad from what I have met and only a few they can be loud, gruff, and stubborn. But with all that said if you earn their respect you could have a friend for life. As for the bard Cal was not sure what to make of him just yet only time will tell.
Rextugenous studied the features of each of the three adventurers who had answered his summons to Avenge the Leather Coats. He realized that it was not a matter of numbers and quantity that would turn the tide of evil that was sweeping its way southward, but rather the quality of the hero that would make the difference between defeat and victory.

Rex had chosen as wisely as possible considering the small number of prospective warriors who had showed up at the stables that morning. He chose the few that he sensed he could trust in the face of unknown danger ... assigning the remaining able bodies to help guard the other five wagons.

Although the Knight did not say much about himself, it was evident that by the way he handled his horse Orion ... and by the way he quietly studied the features of the dwarf, the elf and Rextugenous himself ... that Sir Calmindon could be trusted to guard their backs ... or lead a charge against any adversaries that may challenge the Leather Coats Avengers ... wherever their journey may lead.

"So Now ... Let's Get Acquainted with One Another ... Shall We?"

Toraad snorted a laugh, leaning back to relax. "Aye" he started, a grin wide upon his face "we know ye be a trickster now; ye be wantin to know jus who ye be workin with." Toraad hoped that the bard would humour him, it'd been some time since the dwarf had held such company. "Well din. What would ye care ta know?"...there were parts of his story Toraad didn't care to share, those labels with which he was bared from his homeland; perhaps someday it would be appropriate.

Rextugenous listened intently to the tale of the dwarf Toraad, taking note that Sir Calmindon drank in every word, although the Knight remained silent and observant.

"Not so much a trickster ... friend dwarf ... as a man who must cautiously observe and decide who among the applicants this morning possessed the character ... and the willingness ... to fight for the lives of companions previously unknown."

"You were obviously one of the few who were undoubtedly willing to die protecting the lives of the innocent ... whether hired as a guard ... or as an adventurer determined to explore the unknown to rid the lands of unwanted evil."

"Some there were who could have come with us this morning ... but I had my instructions from my employer ... to choose wisely to protect each wagon ... and I chose the three of you to accompany me ... not only to Lasch ... but to any region of the lands to the north ... to Avenge the Leather Coats!"

Danamar held his tongue hoping for the dwarf to take the initiative. And he did. Toraad didn't reveal much of himself, but seemed like a man of sense and skill. He obviously wasn't a stranger to combat either and bore some scars to prove it. The elf nodded to the cleric in approval before speaking up himself in a voice that was both soft and hard at the same time: "There is not much I can tell of you of myself or my past. I'm sure when compared to your lives there has been little in the way of adventure or excitement so far in mine."

Danamar cast a look outside at noticed the tree line of a small forest in the distance. Thinking about his family and especially his younger sister killed the elf's mood for a moment. He let out an inaudible sigh and turned to face his new companions. "Let it be sufficient to say that I am currently without a home or… the home I once knew is no longer. This opportunity offered by Rextugenous was well timed. Sherrill is nice little town, but it can never become a place of permanent residence for me. My home will always in the wilderness with the trees as my ceiling and ground as my floor. Therefore it is now time for me to roam the lands and learn more of the world."

Rextugenous drank in the words of the elf ... for what was said touched an emptiness in the heart of the last surviving Leather Coat ... this Danamar was also a welcome addition to fight alongside against any evil that dared show its face ... whether in woods or mountains ... this one could be trusted ... indeed ... all three of his new companions ... should prove more worthy than dozens of others!

Along the Wagon Trail
4pm on Monday
March 12, 212awd (After Winter Dark)

The wagons had made good time on their way to Lasch, covering another 20 miles without incident, but there were telltale signs of trouble along the trail.

There was evidence of skirmishes with Goblin Raiders ... but that was what the 12 riders were hired to do ... ride on ahead and eliminate any trouble from ambushers ... well before the wagons ever came into view ... and in case they overlooked any potential attackers ... well that is what the Leather Coats Avengers had been hired to do ... escort the wagons ... and protect them from danger!

Although the wagons had closed the distance to 30 miles from Lasch ... the most difficult part of the journey lay ahead ... and Fredrico Fortunato was awaiting the return of his riders ... so the wagons could make camp for the night ... but he relentlessly pushed his team of horses forward.

He had expected them to report in by now ... but he had grown accustomed to not seeing their return for hours on end ... during the course of their previous fortune hunting expeditions.

Blood was pooled on either side of the trail ... but Fredrico had seen pools of blood many times before ... severed limbs and goblin heads littered the trail ... nothing new to Fredrico after so many journeys with his riders had produced like results.

But as the wagon caravan rounded a bend, the telltale signs of scavengers circling high above an indistinguishable litter of new carrion off in the distance did not bode well for the adventurers.

Fredrico cracked the whip over the horses once more ... allowing the steeds to gallup as fast as the burden of the wagon would allow them to run ... until the sights and smells greeting the nostrils of his magnificent steeds caused them to involuntarily slow down.

Literally dozens of goblin corpses littered the surrounding area ... but the most disturbing sight ... was the corpses of the 12 riders ... apparently overcome by a larger force of goblins ... having attacked and overwhelmed the riders by sheer force of numbers at their makeshift campsite.

According to the signs of struggle they had been caught semi-unawares ... while preparing a meal over a campfire that was now in complete disarray ... with evidence of hoof prints and goblin tracks ... that their horses had been herded in the direction of Lasch by the surviving force of Goblin Raiders!

Fredrico quickly motioned to the drivers to move the wagons forward in the direction of Lasch, well beyond the perimeter of the battle. Then he stopped his wagon and nodded to Lars, who barked orders for two barrels of a peculiar type of pitch to be opened and the strange liquid contents to be spread over the corpses of both the riders and goblins as quickly as possible.

As soon as Lars was confident that enough pitch had been spread over the corpses, he lit a special torch and mumbled a few words that none of the Avengers were able to distinguish, then threw the torch into the pitch and watched the bright flames consume the bodies and bones of the dead combatants.

Then as they watched the corpses burn, Lars spoke a loud explanation to the hired guards: "Best not to leave behind any parts of friend ... or foe ... to come back and haunt us! We learned the hard way long ago ... that the animated bodies of the UnDead ... have no allegiance to former friends ... or to former loved ones!"
Lars appeared to stare off into space wistfully, but no one dared to ask him at the moment for an explanation of what he had experienced somewhere in his long ago past, that caused him to speak of such things with a haunting sorrow in his travel worn eyes.

Fredrico bowed his head and wiped his eyes, while Drog and Seg Kargar exchanged knowing looks with the slightest hint of a grin at the corners of their mouths.

Meanwhile, the four newly hired guardsmen responded to the scene of the burning corpses in their own personal way, each recalling a time of pain of sorrow hidden in their own memories from days gone by.

Fredrico allowed but a few more minutes to pass, then he ordered the wagons to move on in the direction of Lasch, trying to put enough distance between them and the unpleasant odor of the burning corpses ... especially the goblins.

Another 5 miles was covered before the approaching signs of night made it necessary for the wagon caravan to stop and make camp about 25 miles from their destination. Fredrico makes it the responsibility of the guards to make the camp secure while the meal is being prepared.

The 4 exotic human maidens are called upon to cook and prepare the meat and vegetables. plus serve the generous portions to each person in the caravan. Juice, water and only 1 serving of a fine wine is allowed by Fredrico. He insists the guards not have their senses impaired during the journey.

"For there is plenty of wine, women and song to indulge in once we have reached the safety of Lasch my friends!" declares their employer with a hearty toast to a safe journey.

Two guards are posted at each end of the front and back wagons, while the other two are allowed to rest on either side of the second wagon during 3 hour shifts. These watches begin at 9pm and conclude at 9am in time for breakfast before getting underway promptly at 10am the next day.

Fredrico assigns Toraad and Danamar to split the shifts guarding the front wagon (northwest) and resting on the left side of the second wagon (south) ... while Rextugenous and Sir Calmindon split the shifts guarding the rear wagon (southeast) and resting on the right side of the second wagon (north).

The other characters sleep inside their respective wagons ... with the full understanding that the 2 exotic human virgins have separate sleeping quarters from where Fredrico and Lars are sleeping. Both are honorable men and have their sleeping area fixed where they can jump into the drivers seat at a moments notice to get their horses moving. All the horses remain harnessed to the wagons and will be nicely rewarded for the inconvenience once they arrive safely in Lasch.

Drog and Seg Kargar have similar sleeping arrangements, but their amorous activity together can be easily heard from time to time throughout the night. They also seem to enjoy spending time together among the treasures in the wagon, which may seem to be a bit unusual, but Fredrico has already informed the guards that he and Lars have gotten accustomed to their strange nightly behavior.

The reason given for overlooking their strange behavior is because the Halflings have proven to be trustworthy enough ... since the time the brothers had rescued the couple during their search for the hidden treasures deep inside the Voralberg Mountains.

Sometime during the hours of the second and third watches (between 12 and 3am and again between 3 and 6am) each of the four guards notice a group of glaring yellow eyes prowling about the outskirts of the campsite.

When they investigate they discover it is just a pack of wolves on the hunt under the cover of darkness ... but they hurriedly disperse without incident.

What each of the guards fail to notice is the much smaller sets of red eyes further off in the distance beyond the range of being detected by any of the guards!

During breakfast the next morning, everyone compares notes prior to preparing themselves (spending time communing with their deities) before resuming their journey to Lasch.

Remember that the Wolves ran off whenever you went to investigate the 'Yellow Eyes' staring at the campsite in the darkness. You did not have to fight any or cast any spells!

As for the small beady red eyes off in the distance, none of you (including Rextugenous) are aware of their presence!

You all stayed relatively close to the wagons as per the orders of Fredrico. There are a few hills in the distance and scrubby plains on both sides of the wagons. Where you are currently camped no known creature could sneak up without being seen or heard in plenty of time to alert the others to danger!


Posted on 2011-11-11 at 04:35:56.

   
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