Epitaph of Revival By the time the last blow had been struck, and the smoke and ash had settled, the world as we knew it had all but disappeared. ~ Flint Sorrowsong: Elven Minstrel Day of Reckoning, 2512AL
It was out of that same smoke and ash that the city states comprised of the survivors of the Titans/Divine War upon the Eastern Continent scattered and erected a triumvirate of power on all sides of their land . In the Northwest, under the extended shadows of the Nabaresh Mountains arose the settlement of Formidia, under the leadership of a stonemason named Aradan Trice VII, while in the South, Ravenswood was formed, ruled by an Enchantress only known as the Emerald Lady. Lancôme arose in the Northeast governed by a trading guild of some notoriety. As the settlements grew in size and prosperity, Aradan was elected to be the first King of the new empire, and Thus Trice was born. The Emerald Lady on the other hand, fortified the natural border presented by the thick briars separating the two regions, and Ravenswood all but fell off the radar for some time.
Trice on the other hand, became the figurehead for the entire Midwest. Villages sprang up around the growing kingdom, and with each passing day more and more refugees filed through the city gates. In a decade, the Kingdom had erected stone walls mined from the nearby mountains and the population had grown to over 100,000 people. An alliance with Lancôme was formed and both kingdoms flourished, and King Aradan VII watched in adoration of his people who had fought so hard to survive, as businesses and new opportunities appeared within his great walls.
King Aradan had figured that behind their walls nothing save the God’s would bring harm to the people of Trice… and he was right—for the next years at least. It was in the year 2512 that disaster sought to strike. From below they had struck, the drow instigating a conflict that would ravage the lands. Commanding vast forces of lesser races—which were anything other than a drow in their minds—brutally attacked the kingdom of Lancôme, sending the populous scattering. Like cattle to the slaughter, most of Lancôme was herded right into the monstrous horde that awaited them. While the horde moved unhindered throughout Lancôme, a small group of strangers, brought together by destiny emerged, joined by a single cause; survival. The group went unknown for the longest time to both sides of the war, facing against great dangers and untold perilous adventures… but that is another tale.
So it had come that with the mustered forces of the Under-mountain stacked against them, Trice’s walls had began to falter. The forces entered the city and the walls that were meant to protect the populous served as a cage to entrap them. Were it not for the arrival of those strangers, and the selfless sacrifice of the Celestial Prism Sera Stormender whose divine light eradicated the darkness, Trice would have fallen that day. But Trice did not fall, and the walls were built taller and stronger, the defenses improved and raised higher, with Lancôme falling under the Trician banner to extend the Kingdom’s influence across the continent.
And so life grew on, the Crossroad’s, a mercantile epicenter was formed between The City of Lancôme and The City of Trice, and as old gave way into new with the passing of the throne from Aradan VII to Aradan VIII new opportunities arose. The new king was young and full of ambition, he sought to expand Trice’s reach beyond what it had already possessed, and marched in the year of 2572 upon the borders of Ravenswood in an unprecedented invasion. Ravenswood however was not without its eyes and ears however, and Aradan’s invasion force was thoroughly repelled, crippled, with many left for dead including the King himself; leaving his 11 year old son to take the throne. It is said that in the briar fields where the battle raged now grows a rose for every soldier slain, and thus was given the name The War of the Roses. In retaliation to the invasion the Emerald Lady mustered a counter offensive, and were it not for Trice’s pact with a Dragon nested in the nearby Nabaresh, the poorly manned Trice would have been hard pressed against the Lizard riders of the south. What of the dragon?; again, that is another folktale that need not be spun here and now.
What is important however is this. King Aradan IX was a young king, an idealistic king, but one endowed with a patience and wisdom far surpassing his father. It was he who established relations with the reclusive elves of the Mirrorwood, and he who established the trade routes to the Nabaresh to bring new stone and dwarven goods into the kingdom. A merchant at heart, the kindly King of Trice formed what is now known as the Council of Six, with each of his trusted ministers handling affairs under his watchful eye. It is under the reign of King Aradan IX of Trice that I find myself today.
And from the rabble arose a testament to human defiance. For in each stone of the great walls is the story of the countless lives who fought to place it there, and of the sheer determination to survive that would carry them through generations to come.
~Flint Sorrowsong: Elven Minstrel, 11th of Stave, 2610 AL
Epitaph of Tears It has been three years since the horde swept across the countryside converting or consuming everything in its path. Villages and nations burned, entire bloodlines were erased from history and the earth was stained a deep crimson. Trice fought to the very end, every man woman and child of the great kingdom took up arms when necessary and refused to surrender as it had done so countless times before. Unlike before however, the greatest threat to the kingdom lay not outside its massive walls but within.
~Flint Sorrowsong: Elven Minstrel, 12th of Stave, 2617 AL
The Council of Six will forever be heralded as words of blasphemy, interlaced with vulgarity and spoken with only the utmost of hatred and sorrow. In what has come to be known as the War of Betrayal, it was the Council, either in part or as a whole who let down Trice’s defenses while the Emerald Lady, along with the Blood Eye Clan, and the Black Claw Mercenary guild riding alongside her banner assaulted the Capital’s great walls. The enchanted ramparts had done well to deflect the boulders and spells flung by Ogre or wizard, the forces of Trice resolved to wait out this war safely behind their sturdy walls as they had countless times in the past. For months they lasted, spells flung from on high, aerial attacks mounted on the backs of Giant Eagles laying waste to the enemy forces below, it seemed as though this war of attrition would end in Trice’s favor…
Then disaster struck…
One night, without warning the massive drawbridge which severed the armies of the South and the populous of Trice was lowered, bridging the gap and circumventing the great walls. Lord Mortricus, the Archmage of Trice and leader of the Arcane Consortium was summoned immediately to rectify and reinforce his protective wards, but never answered the plea. He and the other members of the council had vanished into the night, the greatest heroes and advisors to the king having abandoned the kingdom to its fate. It was only a matter of time then that once more history had repeated itself, and the great walls of Trice served not as a field of protection, but a cage in which all within found themselves trapped; at the mercy of the monstrosities which stormed through, blood and ichors filling their eyes reflecting their hunger for murder.
The city fell ward by ward, the allied forces being pushed back to the Castle itself until one last desperate stand off was made. It was humanity’s final hour, and that hour ended in darkness, bloodshed and the eradication of the finest kingdom Nomachron history had ever known…
Posted on 2007-08-16 at 15:23:43.
Edited on 2007-08-16 at 16:17:47 by Kaelyn
The architecture fell with each passing day until there had been hardly anything dotting the landscape but rubble and death. The war had ravaged the entire countryside, staining the once rich earth a deep crimson as more and more bodies fell. The Emerald Horde –as it would come to be known – outnumbered the defenders ten to one when the battle began, and though their numbers were great, Trice and its allies fought for something far greater than glory, bounty or conquest, they fought for their very survival. Now, with each building that toppled; a tower of corpses was erected in its place, the stench of death and decay blanketing the battlefield like winters first snow.
Ironically, first snow had come early casting its chilling white flakes over the landscape providing a stunning contrast to the heat of battle –and the many pyres which burned constantly day and night, fueled by the bodies of the fallen. What once had been an organized defense now lay as scattered skirmishes and encounters with the enemy which swarmed the once proud streets of Trice and the countryside surrounding it. A sea of enemy banners waved in the cool autumn air, a seemingly insurmountable force of evil marching on, and over mankind’s last defiant stand.
High atop a nearby hilltop once renowned for its pristine view of the countryside now laid a group of combatants locked in deadly combat. Sparks flew as steel met steel, and cries of battle, bloodlust, and pain echoed all around.
Atharam, Paorn, Donia, and Tai-Laan had worked amongst their peers for over a year now; their training and teamwork had kept them alive. But even now it seemed like their skills would be outmatched by sheer numbers. Trice’s protective walls now lay under enemy control, and the heroes had found themselves lost in a sea of evil, tossed about by wave after wave of terrifying enemies. They had fallen back a little at a time, giving the enemy more and more of their precious homeland not through cowardice but decisiveness. Trying to salvage Trice now was suicidal, and each still bore the memories from the carnage of Stratford some years prior, where hasty decisions had cost the lives of many.
It had been decided that they would make for the Nabaresh, where they could once more reunite with King Nabar and his clan. Surely the dwarves would have withstood the onslaught in their fortified tunnels better than Trice’s grand walls?
For weeks the companions made their way to the north, along with a small detachment of survivors. The others consisted of two Alerian soldiers named Arlan and Raymond, one Trician field medic named Hope, seven civilians including elderly, women, and children and a very interesting character by the name of Drake; an Alerian Pirate who had joined the war seeking booty and fame, and was probably now wishing he had never stepped foot off the The Saucy Wench and onto dry land. The Horde was always quickly upon their trail, it was rare to last a quarter-cycle without some sort of skirmish of some sort, and everyone bore the scars of a battle hard fought. Even the civilians bore scars of battle, farming implements and other non militant weapons of opportunity wielded for security. Everyone knew this was a matter of survival, everyone was frightened, but they firmly believed they would make it through this, for they had Atharam protecting them. His demeanor even in the face of terror quelled their desire to flee into obscurity, into probable death or enslavement. The Mithril Knight bore an aura of courage about him which all around him took comfort him, and he in turn took comfort in those around him for that same strength.
It was night after a hard forced march. Rations were low considering the number of people to spread them amongst, but thankfully Paorn and Donia both had means to supplement nourishment. No fire would be lit this chilled eve; it would only serve to give away their position. They would reach the looming Nabaresh on the morrow and the God’s willing there would be a place for them there.
The night crawled along at a snails pace, each moment an eternity as paranoia and caution plagued anyone from gathering a full nights rest. It was only a couple hours into the respite when the solid wail Donia’s alarm spell went off, waking everyone to the presence of an intruder.
A light, faint at first but growing steadily in size began to swirl and form a portal just outside of the group’s encampment. Dark purple bolts of lightning crackled and shot out at random intervals along its expanding edge, and soon it stood as high as a man… and kept growing. The portal continued its expansion, and though Donia tried, she could not dispel the otherworldly doorway. When the portal reached almost twelve feet in height, it exploded in a flash of violet light, leaving a horror in its wake.
Standing before them stood the hulking 12-foot frame of a creature which looked like a cross between a manticore and a giant; one of Vangal’s own dark race. Her build is adorned with filth encrusted armor, lending her a likeness similar to Vangal himself. Her face is human, but her teeth are twisted fangs, capable of tearing through leather with ease. Her twisted claws look ready to rake anything and everyone with ease, but most threatening is massive greatsword she bears, its length shimmering in a dark violet glow, heretical runes of power etched along the blade.
Paorn remembers something about the herald’s of the Dark God, something much more important than the fact that these creature’s once served as the generals of Vangal in the divine war against the Titans. He remembers that after the war the shattered remnants of Vangal’s army were cast into the abyss, as was privy to the god of apocalypse’s way. For the last century and a half they have waited, repairing their shattered spirit and if now they too were returning to the material world. Truly all hell had broken loose. Paorn also knows there is something really important he should remember about that Fellblade the Herald carries, but for the life of him cannot bring the knowledge to bear.
(Information garnered from Knowledge religion Checks)
Without warning she begins her approach, her feral eyes aglow in the night, and as she nears pair of children see her nightmarish vision… and scream.
Posted on 2007-08-16 at 15:25:56.
Edited on 2007-08-17 at 21:44:12 by Kaelyn
For the citizens of Trice the war had been a terrible thing. Countless lives and homes had been lost, histories erased and futures never to arrive. There was one thing however that Trice had that many of the outer settlements, or simple innocents caught unawares did not; forewarning. To the south of the Nabaresh the entire country was in an uproar, making plans to either join the fight, or seek shelter or solace from the battle ahead. What impact would a war For the citizens of Trice the war had been a terrible thing. Countless lives and homes had have on the other side of a thousand tons of snow, rock and earth?
Taklinn and Gideon had met as kindred spirits, wandering the frozen tundra of the north in search of a purpose greater than them, and had become a strange but efficient duo in their short travels south to the wind swept banks of the Nabaresh. There they encountered a rather large encampment of orcs, settling in for a harsh winter and preparing to lay siege to the dwarves of the mountain. Taklinn and Gideon had delved deep into the settlement, using both stealth, and brute force to clear a path. Many an orc or warg fell to the pair as they quickly penetrated deep into the camp. It was their haste which inevitably got the better of them though, as Gideon fell into a deep pit filled with poison laced spikes, from which he unfortunately ne’er escaped. Taklinn, in his effort to safe his companion was captured by the orcs, the hateful looks of vengeance and cruel looks of torturous intent lighting the black eyes of his captors as he was taken to the chief’s tent.
It had been what seemed like ages. For days without end he had been bound in a dark room and tortured without mercy. The Blood Eye Clan had burned out his eyes only to restore them via magic to let him suffer the fate again, they had severed limbs and reattached them for their own sick pleasure, all the while pressing Taklinn for information regarding how to penetrate the Nabaresh to reach his distant kin. Taklinn, despite not knowing the answer having never been there he let them know throughout the course that he was dwarven, and upon his death Corean would reward him for his resolve and loyalty to his kin and God. For a year Taklinn had endured malnourishment, torture, ridicule and hopelessness, bringing brought to the verge of death which must have seemed like a blessing at times, only to have the ultimate rest plucked away from him for the countless time.
The box, for it was a coffin he was caged in much of the time was opened for the first time in days, and Taklinn was released before a hulking man in a tent surrounded by flames of blue magic. His captors left him their, his old weapons and gear but a few feet to his left at the bidding of their chief.
“I am Gu’nark, son to the chief of the Blood Eye Clan. You dwarf have killed many of my warriors and endured more than any I have ever seen. Do not think my kind without compassion.” With that Gu’nark sneered a tusky grin. “I will give you a chance to win your freedom back. This war has carried on a long time, and my men require entertainment to keep their spirits bolstered while we continue the eradication of your dirt cousins.” The large man paced back and forth around a hole in the floor which led down into the icy depths of the earth itself, his hide armor stretched tight across his incredibly muscled frame; a halberd bearing a crescent moon blade held under one arm.
“You will be thrown into the Yeti caves --he points to the hole as he speaks,-- where you will be given your chance to escape, or feed our beasts. Either way you will have served your purpose and I will have the means to keep the troops appeased.”
Gu’nark looked at Taklinn and let out a deep hoarse laugh. “Not that you have much choice in the matter dwarf, but do try and last a little while? The longer you fight, the more my name will ring on as the greatest general of the clan.”
Gu’nark turned his back to Taklinn and began rifling through some items in a chest at the back of the tent. The orc was insulting Taklinn greatly, giving him his broad shoulders instead of his face. Surely he thought the Arctic Dwarf’s spirit had long ago been broken, but dwarves have long memories, and hold even longer grudges. There was a year's worth of torture and malice that need be repaid in full… and Taklinn hadn’t realized his knuckles turning whiter than snow as he clenched his fist in absolute hatred.
Posted on 2007-08-17 at 19:07:41.
Edited on 2007-08-17 at 19:12:52 by Kaelyn
Temper had put miles of snow laced wilderness behind him as he tirelessly pursued his prey. A small fishing community had hired him for a weeks’ supply of fresh fish and furs to hunt down a viscious beast which had been stealing their catches, and even going so far as to eat one of their pack dogs. They had described the vicious beast as reptilian, winged, and with breath that could stop a man where he stood freezing their blood cold. The Dragon disciple had never seen a full blooded dragon before, but he knew in his heart that this is what the men spoke of. At the thought of being able to prove himself against a full blooded member of his distant kin, the warrior had set out into the night, following clawed tracks which went on and on.
Into the tundra Temper went, hell bent on claiming the dragon as a test of strength. He followed the tracks until they led to a small cave opening in the snow, a shelter from the blistering cold winds. Moonlight shone down reflecting upon the icy layer which coated the walls, and danced upon the copper flecks which had begun to appear upon Temper’s skin.
A fierce roar echoed from somewhere deeper in the cave, and only bolstered Temper’s resolve that he had cornered the beast. He marched on, and came to where he believed the dragon rest around the bend. Raising his enchanted scythe ‘Thunder’ high he charged around the corner…
Only to find that the great Dragon he was to slay was barely three feet tall and half again that size in length. Hardly a frightening thing, the child dragon barked its roar, amplified by the tunnels towards a creature much more imposing. There, having cornered the beast stood a hulking brute covered in white fur. It stood taller than a man, and must have weighed as much as three. It bore muscular arms which ended in talon nailed fingers, and large fangs already dripping with ichors and saliva as it fantasized its next meal. As Temper entered the room the Yeti turned to the sound of the intrusion, and as the hulking beast shifted, Temper was able to make out another creature in the room. Standing with her back to the wall was an elf, clad in the armor hewn of white dragonhide. Her pale skin was devoid of almost any color, as was her hair, and she blended into the ice and snow packed walls like a thief might the shadows. She wielded only a paltry dagger forged from a dragon’s tooth, probably the same one her armor was fashioned from; and seemed to be doing all she could to keep the Yeti away from the young dragon which skittered over to her side seeing Temper join the scene.
The Yeti, aggravated and driven by hunger let out a terrible roar which shook the cave, thick icicles the length of longswords clinging to the 20ft ceiling vibrating and jingling like a wind chime… or perhaps a dinner bell.
((This Cave is as follows. 300ft at a gradual decline from the surface opening ends in a curve to the right turning right opens into the roughly oblong room 15ft at it's widest, and 30ft at its length's entirety. There is another passageway leading into the darkness behind the Yeti towards the right.))
Posted on 2007-08-17 at 19:08:05.
Edited on 2007-08-17 at 19:17:45 by Kaelyn
Pain. Suffering. Torture. These things and many more were all Taklinn knew for the past year. But Taklinn was a dwarf. and not just any dwarf, he was an arctic dwarf. He faced the harshest of winters beyond anyones imaginations. These orcs were not going to break his spirits. These orcs were only doing one thing. Fueling his rage. The longer that they kept this up, the deeper his hatred got for orcs. But not just any orcs, orcs of the Blood Eye Clan.
These orcs only wanted one thing. To know how to get into a dwarven hold. He had only been into one dwarven hold, and that was the one he had hailed from. Iceflow. Regardless though, he did not want to give the orcs the idea that he did not know. He wanted to show the orcs that dwarves were better in all aspects to orcs, and that he would never give in. So for a year, they tortured him, plucked out his eyes and healed them back with there shamanistic power, lopped off his arms and healed them back on. It continued like this for a year, but nothing could last forever.
It had been days since he had been let out of this box. He cramped up in his legs, but he did not whine or speak a word. To give these orcs the satisfaction of torturing him would be worse than anything else.
The lid was opened, light pouring into his coffin, eyes squinting and looking up into the face of an ugly green face. He thought for a moment, and wondered if he had seen this face before. Out of the many faces that had tortured him for months, this one was very memorable. And also he had an offer.
“I am Gu’nark, son to the chief of the Blood Eye Clan. You dwarf have killed many of my warriors and endured more than any I have ever seen. Do not think my kind without compassion. I will give you a chance to win your freedom back. This war has carried on a long time, and my men require entertainment to keep their spirits bolstered while we continue the eradication of your dirt cousins. You will be thrown into the Yeti caves, where you will be given your chance to escape, or feed our beasts. Either way you will have served your purpose and I will have the means to keep the troops appeased.”
The orc looked at him, and laughed.
“Not that you have much choice in the matter dwarf, but do try and last a little while? The longer you fight, the more my name will ring on as the greatest general of the clan.”
Taklinn thought he was going to break his own hands by squeezing them so hard. Out of the entire year of torture, this was the worst treatment he had been given. He had spotted his gear and he had wanted to take up his axe and strike down the beast where he stood. But no, not now, not like this. There would be a time where he would get his revenge, and by Corean was there a lot to pay back for.
Taklinn thought for a second, and came to a decision. He walked over to where his things were, and started to don his armour. He felt a sense of security in his breastplate armour, and grabbed hs axe, gripping its handle, getting the feeling for it all over again. He spoke as he gathered his things.
" Gu'nark, son ta chief of the Blood Eye Clan, I will take this deal of yours. I will go into the Yeti pit and find mah way out. You meh think I will falter and find my end in the depths below, but I wont. Heed my words orc, I, Taklinn Gnarlstone of the Iceflow clan, will beh back. I will make you pay for teh full year of torture and the life of Gideon. You and all teh other orcs of dah Blood Eye Clan have chosen this fate. Remember this and remember it well, orc. This is not the last you have seen o' Taklinn Gnarlstone. Dat is a promise I will dare not break."
Taklinn looked at him, and looked into the pit that he stood infront of. Its icy walls reflected the blue magical light down into it and gave up little on behalf on how deep it really was. But there was no other way. This was it. The beginning of his second chance at life. There so many things to do. Find a way out of this cave, warn the dwarves nearby that the blood eye clan are on there heels, and avenge the death of Gideon and the years worth of torture that was bestowed upon him. There was always so much on a dwarves mind, and good thing there was to, it kept Taklinn distracted from the fact that he had just jumped into a hole that he did not know the depth to, but soon would find out.
Posted on 2007-08-18 at 02:09:10.
Edited on 2007-08-18 at 03:02:26 by Jozan1
This… is this what he had toiled over? The fisherman’s claims were as many fearful people, exaggerated. Temper scanned the walls of the cavern, watching as the lizard pup crawled into the corner, seeking what he could only conclude to be protection from this elven wench. His sloth-like mind whirred for what seemed like ages, but still he found no resultant explanation for the dragon’s actions. Were it not a noble creature, more than the flesh and blood of mortals? Why did it flee from this yeti, this monster of mere mortality? The half-orc turned his attention to the yeti once more, who had seen him now, and roared with such boisterous strength that the enclosure around them shook, and the frozen water that stretched to stab the earth with vengeance threatened to stream down upon them and claim its prize upon the backs of flesh and hide.
Oh, great giant of old, what thunderous roars my scythe could dig into the very stomach of you, so that the rumble might vibrate through the nonsense of your worthless bones… or so he thought. But this was no duty to be had of his ‘Thunder’. Temper had wanted a fight, a test of his mettle. Proof of his strength. This young pup he could blow away with acidic vomit of a mutant’s foul breath. The dragon was little but an amusement. This yeti possessed the same hunger as the barbarian, though more primal… but what was more primal then dominance? Predation was founded through dominance. Temper would be the top of the chain. He would be all consuming, and there would be nothing left that could survive his fury, if ever provoked.
The large barbarian tossed aside his ‘Thunder’, and cracked his knuckles with a clench of his fists. Blood dabbled from his palm to the floor of the cave, soaking the tracked in snow with crimson. Thick and knotted nails proved to be the cause of this blood letting. Nails that had been sharpened to a point, ready to tear out eyes, and gouge flesh. Still his grasp tightened, and his skin steamed. The air around him blistered, and his skin began to crawl. His muscles flexed and waned, growing bolder and more violent in their wave as the time passed. He began to sprout upwards towards the knives of ice, until soon he was tall enough to look the furred monstrosity in the face. He grew still, his muscle exploded, and his skin cracked and sealed, making veins out of scars, as if this underskin had witnessed such stress before. Within moments, a second giant stood amongst their midst, his eyes storming like a silver blizzard.
He roared, as vicious and booming as the yeti, only from twelve feet high. Temper stepped forward, unafraid of the ravenous beast, knowing his hunger was by far the greater danger. The fall of his foot was like the thud of a boulder, as though he pushed the earth from underneath his mass. He was the weight of himself eight times over, and indeed measured more than a ton. He was an earthquake that would consume this pitiful creature. Thus, Temper charged, his jaw, unhinged like a snake preparing to devour his meal, and his claws sprung forth to tear the hide off, and sink into the very heart of the yeti, so that he may grasp the last beats of his life, and feel them seep through his fingers.
(I know this is a two round post… firstly, I cast enlarge, and secondly, I attack. If I cannot reach him from 10 feet, which is my newly acquired range as a large creature, then I will charge, and bite. If I can reach him, then I will use a full attack. A full attack with my teeth and claws are exactly as shown on my character sheet, with my bite being the primary weapon, and my claws being my secondary. Oh, and one more thing, if I am only 15 feet away, treat that step forward as an actual step, which is a non-action, and will not disrupt my full attack, yet it will get me within range.)
Posted on 2007-08-18 at 23:53:56.
Edited on 2007-08-19 at 12:25:46 by Philosopher
At the forefront of the regiment he’d put dozens of short but hard-pressed hours into training, Atharam fought against the hordes of darkness. While at first, he’d merely been laughed at, being many winters earlier than most of those he’d been given command of. But, in the end, he’d earned their trust and respect, and as such, fighting to help him in the struggle for his homeland, they’d responded to every command, rallied to his every shout. His teachings had served the men well; holding formations, they were much more an efficient fighting force to repel enemy assaults, standing firm in the face of oppression.
Atop his gallant steed Raykel, the young, battle-hardened knight led charge after charge, trampling the fallen bodies of both goblinkind and humans alike, striking at weak points in their armies and rushing about to defend such breaks of their own. But every time it seemed as though they made some ground in the name of the Free Nations, they’d lose it elsewhere. After all, his regiment was made up of only so many men, and the numbers constantly dwindled as the fighting went on.
It was not long before that hundred men fell to fifty, then twenty, then ten. And then finally, Atharam was the last one standing, and in order to keep fighting, he was forced to make a swift retreat, though in his heart, he desired deeply to keep his sword swinging. To avenge those who’d followed him here from across the sea. To make sure they didn’t die in vain.
He’d reunited with his friends, and with their combined efforts, had formed a valiant strike team that constantly pounded away when and where they could. But even they could only fight for so long before having to withdraw to rest for the night, lest they collapse and be overwhelmed by the numbers that seemed to bear no end. Were it not made of mithril, Atharam’s armour would have long-since been stained a dark crimson with the blood of his foes and allies. His cape was tattered, and even his regal breastplate and helm carried their share of knicks and dents. He’d been forced to call upon Corean countless times to bestow strength or resilience, or even just to instill courage in others, though he’d been told it was his figure fighting high above all others in the midst of the melee that kept the men’s hearts steeled.
They’d been forced to flee to the north, to leave his homeland behind to be trampled and raped by the orcs, though their retreat was not easily earned. A small band of survivors had fled, his closest companions included, as well as a few others who’d been picked up along the way. Atharam had been forced to adopt the role of guardian, for his god-gifted aura that fortified the hearts of men around him kept their hopes up, kept them moving when they’d otherwise collapse.
Trice had fallen. There was no taking it back at this time without immediate demise. He knew this. He didn’t try to fool himself into thinking a dozen and change could retake the whole nation, against the biggest horde they world had ever seen… Atharam no longer battled for Trice. Atharam fought for these people with him. His friends, the closest he had to a family. Those he’d been with from the start. For Paorn. For Donia. For the women and children who followed them. For Tai-Laan. Sometimes, he thought he fought merely to keep Tai-Laan safe, but quickly shook the thought away, and certainly didn’t let her know it.
Finally… They’d earned their respite. For the moment, anyway. Though Donia had warded the area, Atharam found it especially difficult to rest. The ground was cold, even through his bedroll and blanket. Flakes of snow landing upon his unshaven face melted down, creating a dampness that frosted over as he lay still. Inside, he knew that he should be standing watch, but his body was exhausted, his arms heavy from swinging sword and hefting his shield.
Due to constantly being on the move, Atharam had learned to rest with most of his armour on, although it often deprived him of anything resembling a decent night of rest. Times when he was certain they were in a relative safe zone, he removed his breastplate and parts of his arm guards, but tonight he knew they’d quickly be on the move again, and opted for the discomfort of cold armour. His sword, shield, and helmet were always within arms reach of where he chose to sleep, for even if ill-armoured, his arm was still strong.
His back to the fire, the image of the trees etched into the back of his eyelids before darkness overtook. Near him, he could hear Raykel breathing softly, his nostrils flaring with every exhalation. Atharam had exerted almost more of his divine energies healing his beloved steed than tending to his own wounds, for the horse had fought at least as hard as he had in this struggle. He’d had the chance for a Hippogriff, though that seemed so long ago now… Atharam had declined the chance, and never looked back on it. Raykel was as much a part of his family as were these others.
Barely a few hours had passed before the all-too familiar sounds of Donia’s protective wards went off in his ears, and the knight bolted upright, shaking away a light layer of snow from his blanket, and hurrying to his feet, buckling on his sword belt.
“What’s going on?” He shouted, seeing everybody hurrying about. Even Raykel was already up, hooves tearing at the frozen ground and snorting heavily. Like himself, the poor horse had learned to sleep with his heavy barding on his back. Although Atharam preferred to remove armour and saddle from the mount, getting him set up and ready to move was too time consuming for their flight.
Snatching his helm from the ground, he shook his hair out of his face and clapped the chilled casing over his head. Beneath its smooth brow, he spotted what had triggered the alarm; a portal opening form nowhere, casting sparks of energy. Atharam’s heightened senses told him that something dark, something terrible was going to step forth from this crackling gate.
“Arlan! Raymond!” The knight called out to the two Alerians who accompanied them while he hefted his shield and mounted Raykel, He’d have liked to take his lance, but he doubted he’d have time to use it to ram whatever stepped forth, judging by how fast the portal was expanding. “Take the survivors, and get into the trees. Hide, and protect them should something happen! This place will not be safe much longer!”
Almost upon saying that, the gate reached its fullest point, and formed. From within its darkness, a terrible creature stepped forth, a dreadful monster form the realms beyond this one. A demon, most definitely, and bearing a weapon from hell, a huge two-handed sword that was carved up and down with vile glyphs.
Atharam steeled his gaze at the thing as it took a step towards the children, drawing sobs and shrieks from them.
”Fah’rahell anack.” The templar knight uttered the words to cause his long sword to become sheathed in magical flames. Not that he was certain it would do much against this fiend, but its sight seemed to always inspire courage in his companions. And against this creature, it was courage they would all need.
He’d need both hands for this, but Atharam was an expert rider, and he and Raykel were bonded by more than just titles. With his shield held high, and his sword ready to swing, he dug his knees into his horse’s muscled flanks, and quickly accelerated to a gallop.
“To my side, friends! Corean looks upon us with favour today, and guides us to purge the world of those who would seek to defile it, to kill and destroy those whose hearts and souls are pure! United, we shall never break, not even if the fires of hell should blast at us and burn our bodies, for our souls shall remain as strong as the mightiest steel!” Atharam cried out while the icy air seeped into his helm, the distance closing greatly as he readied his blazing sword, drawing upon the holy powers of Corean as he’d done so many times in his growing into this position, his ascension to the knighthood, and to the protector of what remained of Trice.
“For Corean!” He roared, and swung with all his might.
(OOC: Hm. Not great, but it will improve as we get more into this. Its been a while!
You’d guessed it; my solution to everything. Smite Evil with his flaming longsword, and… Yeah, let’s go for a charge, too. Try to hit this thing hard before I get unhorsed.)
Alone in the dark but just yards from the camp Tai-laan had found an small patch of ground that would serve as a training ground this night. Despite the almost daily skirmishes that the beleaguered little group suffered through, and the brutal forced march that was necessary to keep them ahead of any pursuit she refused to lessen the practice regime that allowed her to keep her skills sharp. Without that sharpness she surely would fall. And besides, the constant training, the routines of unarmed combat, of the Sai and of the Kama had another advantage - they prevented her from having time to think.
To think of the carnage on the fields of battle, of friends lost, of the brutal series of defeats - of winning her own small fights only to find the hordes of invaders pushing everyone back, back until only the Capital stood defiant... and of the fall of Trice, the massive bridge lowered for the enemy, the desertion of the council, the horrific house to house fighting in the streets.
Nearly at the end of her session for the night the routine called for meditation, but allowing herself to pause for just a moment allowed all the despair and frustration to crash down on her shoulders and in a rare moment of weakness she allowed herself to cry. It didn't last long. Swiftly wiping the tears from her face, a deep calming breath was all it took for her to regain control - weakness was not something she could afford right now. Donia, Paorn, the civilians, they all relied on her. Atharam relied on her.
That thought brought a small smile to her face as it always did and with her mood improved, the tranquility of meditation came quickly. Unperturbed by the cold Tai-laan settled crosslegged on the ground and took.....
The strident wail of Donia's wards snapped her eyes open and she gracefully rose to her feet, simply uncoiling from a sitting position to standing without using her arms for support at all. Her breath hissed between gritted teeth in frustration at the sound - they were so [i]close[/i] to safe haven! Quickly she secured her gear, buttoning the Vest of the Heart and adjusting her gloves before checking the rest of her meager possessions, securing her two precious books tightly before slinging her backpack across her shoulders in case sudden flight became necessary.
The rapidly growing magical portal was not a good sign she knew, ghosting quickly off to the side of the encampment and watching the preparations of her companions with a practiced eye, silently willing the civilians on as they prepared to flee if they had to. Atharam was taking up arms of course and the sight of him mounting Raykel, his burning blade held aloft was as comforting as ever. Donia and Paorn would be preparing to fight as well, as would the other men-at-arms that accompanied them. No initial charge from that portal would reach the civilians, that was certain, so Tai-laan prepared herself to join the battle from the flank, possibly to take someone by surprise, or blindside a magic wielder.
The portal continued to grow, the crackling purple lightning almost painful to watch until in a sudden flash the foe was revealed. The horrible vision was enough to send a chill of fear racing down Tai-laan's spine for a moment, for this was truly an enemy to fear - and then Atharam was charging at the demoness and the time for worry was past.
Exploding into motion the little Monk covered the ground between herself and the monstrous demoness with speed that would startle anyone who hadn't seen it before, attempting to time her arrival just moments after Atharam's.
(OOC: Damn! out of practice much?! That was hard! Okay Tai-laan can see Atharam charging and wants to arrive just after him with an attack of her own, hopefully flanking the critter and kicking the nearest thing that looks like it might hurt to have kicked.. like a knee or something.. 12 feet tall is hard work I say!)
Drake had figured the war would be more glamorous, or at least more profitable. From what he had pictured, they'd fight long during the day and grab some booty for the field at night. It had seemed so perfect, all you had to do was survive and you'd come out rich. This would be it, he had figured, he'd make his fortune, buy a well defended island and spend the rest of his days lounging on a beach with beautiful women. Yes, that would have been good. Unfortunately for Drake, war was not quite as he had envisioned it.
The vicious attacks and setbacks he had suffered throughout the past few weeks had been horrendous. Worse still, he hadn't seen his ship for days, having ordered his first mate Dart to take The Saucy Wench out of the harbor and keep her laying in wait of the coast of Trice. Every day he spent on land made long that much more to be on his ship, feeling the soft sway of the ocean waves and the cool breeze through his hair. It was times like this that he even missed the constant squacking of those ubiquitous gulls. His boots had been coated in mud, he coat in blood, and his face in the saliva of an overactive troll at one point. This was definitely not the way Drake had thought his life would be going.
Having sent his crew back with Dart to tend to the needs of The Saucy Wench he had been alone for nearly three days, traversing the wreckage and battlefields of what had once been a great city. He enjoyed but one minute of the ordeal, when he found himself in the remains of what had once been a tavern, the cellar still stocked with a few bottles of fine wine. While he still preferred his own rum, he doubted that he'd be finding any of that and drank heartily from the stores provided. The next day wasn't nearly as fun however, as he had neglected to consider the possibility that he would be staggering through the wreckage with a splitting headache.
It had seemed that just when he had resolved to never see a friendly face did he literally walk into a group of survivors. There were of course, the stand issue infirm, the weak and the elderly, but he was relieved to find that there were able bodied warriors there as well. There were two soldiers and a medic, but they weren't the ones that caught his eye. A powerful man in a suit of resplendent armor, an unarmed but well toned woman, another unarmored woman, and a sturdy looking dwarf in cased in armor. Although he was leery of the first one, he always seemed to be on the wrong side of the righteous due to his profession, the latter two proved to be beyond useful, seemingly having the magical ability to create food, and to Drake's great enjoyment, rum. Things were finally starting to look up for the Alerian corsair.
Despite these newfound comforts, the next few days were hard. They traveled for days without end, battled the hordes constantly, and slept without the warmth of a fire. Everyone, even the young 'uns fought with them, the very presence of the one Drake had come to know as Atharam seeming to embolden all those around him, inspiring them to never give up, never give in.
However, this did little to satiate Drake's longing to return to his ship and crew, sailing the deep blue seas and forgetting this part of his life ever happened. Despite what they had been going through, Drake was still here, on the land. Adding insult to injury, the magically conjured rum had been tasting worse lately, most likely due to its very nature, an this did little to alleviate Drake's misery.
One what had seemed like the hundredth sleepless night, Drake was suddenly aware that something wasn't right. Moment's later the wizard Donia's wards triggered a loud noise, rousing those assembled. It was only moments later that the portal opened, and despite the best efforts of the spellcasters, a beast straight out of the tales Drake had heard the old sailors of his home tell. It took Drake nearly a full five senses to regain his composure and was brought out of his reverie by the swift and thunderous charge of Atharam on his steed. The swift and beautiful Tai-Laan was one his heels, charging off toward the beast without a thought of personal safety. Drake looked about him at the survivors assembled there. Some of them were young, Drake guess one lad had yet to see tenth year. Being surrounded by them made him feel slightly more at home, like he had his crew with him, counting on him and fighting with him.
A small swell surged in his heart, remembering once more the thrill of a glorious battle. In one swift moment his rapier was in his hand and he was charging towards the hideous beast as well. He heard the voice before he realized it was his.
"GET'N GO YOU SCURVY DOGS! LET'N THIS FOUL URCHIN HAVE IT!"
(OOC: Drake is charging in and helping flank the thing. He's using his Rally the Crew ability to boost everyone up and using Combat Expertise the to max, hoping to stab distract the thing with trying to hit him while everyone else has a go at it.
P.S. I just noticed I have a 25% of checking for a critical. Righteous.)
Posted on 2007-08-19 at 16:39:31.
Edited on 2007-08-19 at 17:17:43 by Grugg
The rain had been falling for nearly four solid hours and the mountain passes of the Nabaresh were now treacherous in their passing. What little footing could be found upon the shallow routes and sparse footholds was now almost nonexistent, as the little pebbles fell freely with the slightest of vibrations, and the earth itself was now slick with rainfall. Looking down upon the landscape below stood more than two score men each bearing the heraldry of some distant land; their black cloaks and white dragon emblems now a muted grey in the downpour which assaulted them constantly. The sound of rain upon their shielded dome echoed like thunder rolling upon the plains. The pitter patter had consistently rung in the weary soldier’s ears for what seemed an eternity, enough to drive any but the most stalwart man insane.
The soldiers had been through hell since their exile to these foreign lands. Days without food, nights without rest, and now they found themselves half way up a mountain trying to make for the kingdom of Trice, the greatest known kingdom upon the continent according to Alexander who was heading there himself in hopes of marching against those who took everything from him. Perhaps there they would find some new cause to swear allegiance to, some new meaning for their livelihoods. The Altressian’s were born and bread for combat, and now they were upon distant shores with no way to--or even knowledge of-- returning home, the men were restless and on the verge of breaking down. Steel clattered inside their scabbards as their bodies shook from the cold, and it took everything Arthass had as a leader to keep the men from breaking ranks and taking off into the snow swept mountains.
His men were a loyal bunch, but not nearly as trained or disciplined as he was, nor were they equipped with a magical ring which provided energy and nourishment. They would have to find food soon lest they risk starvation along with hypothermia for the poorly equipped Altressian brigade. Alexander Slash however was a native of the land, he traveled wherever the wind, and the gold took him. As a soloist he prepared for everything he could think of, and even now while the other’s huddled together under tattered shields for warmth, the adventurer lay wrapped under layers of travel clothes next to the light of his lantern, within the confines of his tent. Many of the Altressian’s loathed Alexander, simply because he wasn’t Altressian, but none could deny his prowess in battle, and none dare speak their mind to his face lest they find themselves at the end of his blade.
As the night pressed on, the huddled mass which had for some time been shaking from frigidity, soon their involuntary movement coming from something else. Something was moving beneath them, something…large.
Alexander stirred from his sleep when his haversack fell over upon his legs. He opened his eyes to see his entire tent vibrating, the contents upon the ground cover shifting back and forth as something beneath him came closer and closer. The Altressian’s drew their weapons at their leader’s behest, together they were strong he had told them. Together they would tackle anything that stand against them he had assured them, together… They were one large buffet table.
Smashing through the rock and snow came a pair of massive creatures the likes of which the Altressian’s had never seen. They were armored and heavy, resembling an enormous shark atop four incredibly thick legs. As they broke through the surface, a rumbling began to course through the mountain, and the Altressian’s and Alexander found themselves in quite the predicament. They were nestled atop a small plateau no more than 40 ft in diameter, and they had carefully navigated handholds to make it this far. There were no simple paths down which they could retreat, there was only up the perilous mountain face, or down –and there was a lot of way down—where countless jagged edges and blunt rock lay to courteously break their fall… and necks.
The land sharks emerged right in midst of the Altressian’s sending them tumbling outwards like the ripples caused by a pebble thrown into a still pond. Most stammered to their feet, the cold chill of the night air replaced with the warmth of adrenaline as they prepared for battle. Three however were unfortunate in that they were cast too close to the edge, and their combined weight broke it free from the mountain and collapsed down the mountainside with them in tow.
In these tight confines it would be tough to navigate, almost impossible to retreat, and the land sharks were ready to feast.
(Picture a Fireball blast radius grid from the DMG with the top 4 rows cut off representing the mountain face. The Altressian’s were huddled filling the next 4 rows in a 5longx4high square/circle signifying their huddle, but now are scattered about that area from the land shark’s attacks. The bottom two rows in a 2x4 chunk are now missing from the resulting collapse taking 3 Altressian followers with it.) The land sharks are now in the middle of where the Altressian’s were huddling. Alexander’s tent is safely 15 feet away from where they emerged, and is currently in his tent. Welcome to Nomachron boys)
Cold, it was extremely cold here, but they were used to it and knew how to climb mountain faces. Just like back home. This thought was not the first and most likely would not be the last. It had been several months since his army's, if it could be called that now, defeat, several months for them to find some other glorious battle. None had come, and it looked as if though they may never find one.
Arthass looked into the eyes of the man nearest to him, the pale blue almost seeming a gray. He looked into them with a certain confidence that said they were going to make it through these trying times. There were all a single entity, had been trained as such, and needed to work together as such until the gods decided that they were no longer worthy of this world. And even then, they were certain they would fight the of those that ruled the heavens, now different so far from home.
The man looked down at the golden ring with the carved dragon that sat on the mid-finger of his left hand, given to him with his first command. It sustained him while his men suffered thirst and hunger, and a certain weakness followed it. A pain cut through his spirit at seeing them all suffer so while he could do nothing for them.
"Save as many as you can. Mourn those you cant." This was the advice given to him so long ago, but Arthass would not give in to the hopelessness. He would save them all. They had come so far together and would make to the glorious battle that awaited them in this place called Trice.
Arthass's heart stirred as the ground beneath him shook and caused his shield to rattle. It reminded so much of the tremors that ran through the mountains back home. A clamor ran through the men and women that had followed him, worry filling their voices. Morale was low, but he had managed to keep them together thus far.
The Dragons scattered as something or things rose from the ground beneath them. He truly doubted that any one individual got a good look at what caused them to break their huddle, where they had been protected against the cold. As he turned around and got a true look at the beasts, his heart rose up in his chest. Never had Arthass seen the likes of these creatures, never had he imagined anything like them.
Their were appearance was near enough to the creatures that he had seen upon crossing that great sea, except these ones had legs. Their hide looked leathery and tough, but he would see how well it stood up against a good phalanx unit looking to bring it down. Like a pack of wolves looking to bring down the elk. Little bites at a time. It is just that these are looking to bite back.
"To arms! Form up! Work together or die alone! Surround them in groups of three. Protect yourselves and those that stand with you and may whatever gods call this land home be with us."
This is how he knew to fight, working with those that he had been raised as a family with. Now he would see what the beasts of this land were capable of.
(OOC: Gonna take full advantage of the pahalanx fighting feat, which all of the followers should have, to form a shield wall. Using heavy shields and light weapons grant +3 AC and +1 to Ref saves. Had so conveniently fogotten your darker side Kaelyn.)
Posted on 2007-08-23 at 16:02:43.
Edited on 2007-08-23 at 16:06:24 by Vesper
The weather had reflected Alexander’s moods for the last few days and didn’t help to relieve it with the rain having been falling for nearly four solid hours and making the mountain passes of the Nabaresh treacherous for those having to travel it. With little footing to be found upon the shallow routes and sparse footholds and the little pebbles falling freely with the slightest of vibrations, and the earth itself being slick with rainfall not that he really wanted to travel it period but he didn’t see much choice anymore. It didn’t help having to travel with the more than two score men bearing the heraldry of some distant land Alexander had never heard of let alone been to; their black cloaks and white dragon emblems now a muted grey in the downpour which assaulted them constantly they looked somewhat like drowned black sheep. It didn’t help any that they would stop and stare at the world around them amazed by what Alexander considered to be nothing out of the ordinary he was starting to think they may have all been hit on the head really hard. The sound of rain upon their shielded dome echoed like thunder upon the plains and made any kind of game they might have caught for food run the other way not that Alexander was much of a hunter or that there was much game to be seen but he did like to eat more then the rations in his pouch. With the amount of noise it looked like he wouldn’t eat till he got to Trice. The pitter patters having consistently rung in his ears for what seemed an eternity, enough to drive anyone insane. Good thing he wasn’t driven to insanity easily and he was kind of getting used to them he wished sometimes they would move faster but they liked to stay together and act as one. That he considered to be the most annoying part the way they stuck together in everything they were way closer to each other then Alexander had been with anyone in a while he didn’t even think he had been that close to everyone ever.
He didn’t have to do anything for these soldiers from another country he only did to try to feel some of what they felt and so that they would stop looking at him with those daggers in their eyes. He went days without food and nights without rest so they wouldn’t feel bad (although he wondered why he cared) and to keep them from killing him in his sleep (he didn’t sleep much anymore in the first place it brought the nightmares of the things he had experienced and seen) not that he thought their commander or whatever Arthass would let them but he seemed to be the only thing holding them together but who knew what might happen he could fall off a cliff at anytime and die and Alexander would be stuck with trying to deal with them he might be able to take them but they could get lucky and he would be dead. Now they found themselves half way up a mountain trying to make for the kingdom of Trice, the greatest known kingdom upon the continent he had heard in the last town he had visited just before he meet them and fought for his life against their leader (thanks to a misunderstanding involving them thinking each other enemies). He would have visited another but these men stood out and would draw to much attention with them liking to stick together so much and he was short on coin anyway. He had brought them with him since he didn’t know what else to do with them he couldn’t leave them to their deaths having met them and Arthass (there was something about Arthass that made Alexander not want to leave him) and he felt like human companions just to put an end to his being always alone anyway he keeps telling himself. He had done a lot of what others viewed as bad things in his life he viewed them as doing what needed doing he has rules he lived but they were flexible they were his rules and he only obeys them to satisfy his need to feel human which he hardly felt anymore until he had met Arthass. He hoped when he got to Trice to leave these men there they were making him feel soft he was starting to like them that he viewed as a problem anyway he couldn’t like people he who had lost everything it was disrespectful to those he had lost. He would have to leave them in hopes of marching against those who took everything from him anyway. Perhaps they would find some new cause to swear allegiance to, some new meaning for their livelihoods as they all seem to care about and talk about. He wanted that for them even though he didn’t know why he should care. The Altressians were born and bread for combat, and now they were upon distant shores with no way to--or even knowledge of-- returning home, the men were restless and on the verge of breaking down Arthass had told him (maybe he felt that they are somewhat like him and might know some of his pain because of it but he couldn’t be sure). He knew one thing though he was starting to care for these people and he couldn’t have that he knew but if they found what they were seeking he wouldn’t have to worry about them. Why did he worry about them everything he had ever had or worked toward was gone he shouldn’t even do half the things he did so why did he. He kept telling himself it was habit but having met these people he had only increased that kind of behavior. He was so confused since having met these strangers from another land. He would be glad to be rid of them then he could go back to being normal he hoped and stop doing stupid things that will get him killed.
Arthass seemed to have his men under control for the most part but Alexander knew that they were starving and they were cold they would need to find warmth or they would die. The monsters of the area seemed to have increased in number just like the info had said they had been fighting them ever step up the mountain it seemed it was to bad none so far had been edible or had fur. They were poorly equipped for this kind of travel and there had been no sizable towns only small villages and he had advised not stopping in them because he knew how supplies would be in them and info would travel even from a small village and they didn’t exactly look like they belonged. Being a native of the land even he didn’t know what all enemies might have been lurking near by those villages. He had traveled wherever the wind, and the gold took him so he ideas especially since they were near where a rumor he had heard was a increase of bandit activity everywhere he had his doubts he had seen on the road signs of better trained forces then bandits traveling recently. As a soloist he prepared for everything he could think of, and even now while the other’s huddled together under tattered shields for warmth, lay wrapped under layers of travel clothes next to the light of his lantern, within the confines of his tent.
Alexander stirred from his sleep when his haversack fell over upon his legs. He opened his eyes to see his entire tent vibrating, the contents upon the ground cover shifting back and forth as something beneath him came closer and closer. He knew they would need to move no matter what it was so he packed up the few things he wasn’t wearing because of the cold or the unexpectedness of a possible attack that he had pulled out quickly which left him with 4 weapons other then his daggers. His bow and quiver of arrows being in the haversack so they didn’t get wet and got ready to leave the tent he knew he would have to leave the quarterstaff it was easy to replace if need be. So leaving the tent he had his swords in his hand and his haversack on a shoulder. He hoped that was all he really need if there was danger. There was nothing he could do about the tent until he found out what was going on and even then he might have to leave it.
Alexander was just emerging from the tent. Only to find what he had overheard a little boy telling his friend was true there are worse things in this mountain then he could ever dream of only the boy had been saying that to try to scare. These creatures he had heard of before from a one legged man he had bought a drink for once when he had asked about the missing leg but he had never imagined he would ever have to fight them or that they were real they looked exactly as he had heard them described when he was told they were unbeatable, they were hard to damage with their armor and they didn’t really seem to feel pain with their tough hides. He hoped that one thing he had heard was true they weren’t very smart otherwise they were in trouble. This was one of those times he wished he would have paid more attention to the stories he heard but couldn’t believe. He knew one thing though he was buying that old man a drink if he was ever in that town again but facing these things he had no idea if he would be again even though he still didn’t believe it. Then again who would believe it but here it was. When the three men fell over the edge they screamed but their screams didn’t end there the echo kept them going so even though he was in the tent as he emerged the screams continued.
Alexander seeing the Altressians forming up into their battle formation which is a sight to behold. Decides he had better help at least since it is his hide also. So he puts on his weapons and slips his haversack on. Draws his great sword and wades into battle to help out.
(Glad to be in game. Thanks for the welcome and this was an unexpected fight and took a bit of thinking I wonder if I can hurt one. It isn’t every game you fight land sharks can’t wait to see what comes next if we live. Don’t forget my bonuses for the weapon feats I think I will need all the help I can get in this fight.lol)
A brief white cloud hovered in front of the bearded face that sat quietly in the dark. Rough hands lay one upon the other over a thick but solid girth, covered by a loosely belted piece of armor. The chestpiece rose and fell a small distance, giving away the presence of life in the stunted man, or rather, the dwarf.
Paorn Earthborer’s beard tangled in a mat of twisted braids was the least of his worries at this time of night. For days on end the party he was with had been hunted by every last manner of beast and orc-friend that existed this side of the Mithril City. Of how many days exactly, he had lost count. All that the cleric of Denev knew was that they were about a days journey, perhaps a little more at their current pace, from the friendly mountains of Nabaresh and the home of his cousins.
Provided, of course, that they still live.
The grim thought had passed through Paorn’s mind more than once since they had begun their reckless flight across the face of the continent and country formerly known as Trice. Disaster after disaster had befallen them since Paorn had first set out from the Trice’s walls on a mission to the razed city of Stratford. Now most of the countryside, including the capital, Trice, had been lost. Small bands of survivors were rumored to be about, but even then, nothing was certain these days. The lust for blood from their enemies was certainly intense and no one could imagine how far it would take them.
This night was like so many others that had passed. Gathering the civilian folk, setting the wards and pushing out as much purified food and drink as was possible whilst still retaining some semblance of supply and energy should they be forced into combat. They had not seen a skirmish for a few days, and even though they were close to the safety of the mountains, everyone had been on edge. Tension nearly crackled. No real rest would be gained this night.
Paorn wasn’t usually a light sleeper, mostly a forcive habit these days. Survival was more important than sleep, even though they remained firmly entwined with one another. At one side he kept his hammer, a Denevian weapon he had been gifted long ago. On the other he kept a rapier he had purchased while on the island nation of Aleria. The boy Kaelyn had shown him the use of the blade while his soul had been trapped within the royal blade Kaelyn had used. The quickness defied even the most veteran of soldiers, and though not a gambling man, Paorn had sometimes fooled unwary foes into a quick end, either to life or pocketbook, with his rapier in hand.
The dwarf’s eyes fluttered for a moment then blinked obviously before he yawned and rubbed sleep from his sockets. Stretching his arms and short legs, Paorn grumbled and shook his head. He looked again at the fingers of his left hand as he waved them in front of his face. This arm he had lost once, on travels to ask the aid of the elements in the conflict. The tale of its recapture was… a long one and he pushed the memories aside as he scrambled to his feet. The shield he had been laying on, Shockwave, had ironically been given by the same man who had seemingly betrayed the Trician nation and all that Paorn had worked for. Still he carried it. The item had been useful in the past and would be useful still.
Tightening straps as he walked a short way across the camp, Paorn turned his head. He could see relatively well in the natural dark, a gift of the blood that ran in his veins. The sight of Atharam, standing as resolute as always, was an easy one to pick out, even on a night with only a little star and moonlight shining from behind interspersed clouds.
But less than ten paces in the dark and Paorn stopped, removing shield and blade, dropping the roll he had been sleeping on. A wail sounded. One of the wards had been breached and every man, woman and child in their small caravan of refugees awoke and grabbed hold of whatever they had. Needless to say, this was not much by now, many personal possessions left behind or shoved aside for more water or food or simply less weight to bear over the many miles they had already walked.
A deep purple light, nearly indistinguishable at first, began to flood the clearing. Its source began as a small pinprick in the air, bulging randomly as its amorphous form either peeled back reality or forced its way into it.
“Damnit,” came a whisper from across the way. Donia Moonflower, a mage and a friend, worked her hands rapidly, drawing sigils and symbols and reciting incantation after incantation. Paorn let out a silent prayer that her work would result in some change in the growth of the purple light, now nearly 10 feet in height and well larger than any party or man would require. It continued to grow and Paorn saw Donia shake her head and step back, lips moving in either a curse or a prayer. Probably both.
Paorn’s shield went up instinctively now and the light exploded, purple haze clouding everyone’s vision as the creature before them materialized into reality. As the cleric looked back he realized that creature was an overstatement. The abomination before the refugees was a hideous thing, fearsome to the last detail.
“Vangal’s own,” said the dwarf, not so quietly this time. “The true abyss has come to bear. Barriers of the ancient ones have not only weakened, but rather are almost completely gone!”
Now all the remained of the light was the fiery essence behind the demons eyes. Darkness soon clutched at the terrified refugees and one of the children screamed. Paorn could see Atharam mounting his horse, Raykel, barking orders to the only two armed guardsmen that had been among the Tricians with them. At least, the only guardsmen left. Tai-lann, youthful, skilled and sometimes quite foolish young woman, also leapt to her feet.
Damnit, they mean to fight the blasted thing, Paorn thought. He racked his thoughts for the readings that he had done upon the Heralds of Vangal. He remembered their hatred, and he remembered their danger. But something irked him. There was something else, something about the blade that she bore. The Fellblade.
“Beware the Blade of the Herald!” Called out the dwarf. He could not be sure of what the blade actually did, only that its danger was great, as great as the being itself. “Donia, if ye know anything about that thar blade, ye’d best be speakin’ up now!”
As it was, Paorn laid a prayer our to Denev. Her aid would be required, and Paorn knew in his heart that this being was not one of the natural earths, therefore not one that would be welcomed there. Paorn felt the anger of the soil and the rage of the trees and creatures about him, boiling and piling upon him. This anger, this power, was what fueled his call to earth.
“Daemon Inferis!” cried the dwarf, white-hot power burning in him as he directed it towards the Herald of Vangal, hoping to burn the demon from the inside out. “Be wary, you young fools! Being the hero is no good if you are the martyr!”
((Paorn casts Demon Dirge. Hopefully its actually a demon. Do I get two actions if I don't move? Or did I already move? not sure. If Paorn has something left and doesn't have to concentrate on the spell (gotta check that), he'll cast Mass Shield of Faith, which I also have to check on but its too late to do that now.))
The darkness of night had been cast aside by the lights sheathing both Atharam and the Herald’s fabled weapons. Atharam’s was a fiery orange with yellow and red flashes along its length, while the Herald’s blade crackled with purple electricity and an aura of the blackest evil. The Herald bared a toothy grin as it approached, but it would not get far as Atharam atop Raykel charged forward, bellowing commands with steel in his tone. His mighty steed propelled him onward at great speed in such a short distance, and his Flametongue driving deep into the Herald -18hp and sending the large demon stumbling backwards. Seething in anger the Herald howled, but that too was cut short as Tai-Laan appeared out of nowhere to launch a strong kick to the Herald’s knee. Her foot connected with the hard bone of the kneecap and was redirected along it’s shape harmlessly aside Leaving the monk momentarily off balanced… and vulnerable. The Herald breathed a hot stale breath reeking of sulfur upon Tai-Laan as she raised her massive Greatsword. The Fellblade came down bringing doom along with it for the poor disciple of Ravelin. Drake managed to reach the Herald just as the Fellblade came crashing down dragging along deep along Tai-laan’s back as she recovered from her off-thrown kick-18hp , only to find the Herald had brought the massive blade back around with incredible speed to carve a sizeable chunk from her flank, her rib cage visible through the torn flesh muscle and sinew. -26hp (critical)
The wounds crackled with the blackened purple glow, and they burned not only the flesh, but at Tai-laan’s very soul. Drake’s rapier dug in only slightly to the Herald’s thick mantacorian thighs, --9hp) Enough to elicit a threatening crack from the Herald’s spiked tail in response. A dark liquid can be seen dripping freely from the tail spikes.
While those proficient in the art of melee engaged the Herald in dangerously close quarters, Donia and Paorn were far from having a picnic themselves. Grasping his holy symbol, Paorn cried out the words that would hopefully burn the demon’s blood till there was nothing but an empty husk. As the demon’s blood began to boil it let out a howl of anger laden pain -10 A brief shimmer of light threatened to encase the outsider, but with a Growl of defiant rage it broke free of the restricting magic. Not to be outdone by a dwarf of the cloth, Donia quickly fingered a piece of quartz between her fingers and began to chant. Asshe did the quarts crackled and frosted over with ice, which soon elongated into an icicle the length of a lance. With but a thought, Donia sent the projectile careening towards the Herald. The ice lance smashed into the Herald with devastating force; impaling the warrior-28hp and shattering into a million harmless fragments. The Herald absolutely outraged by the mortal’s indignant refusal to bow before a messenger of the God’s summoned forth a blackened aura filled with dread. Everyone except Atharam felt their darkest fears and most horrid nightmares materializing around them, but unbelievably, each was able to pierce the darkness and shake off the terrifying aura, matching it with the light of their combined wills. (Though obviously that’s a metaphor and you’re not all glowing) The Herald was obviously furious, and would happily let the companions know of her anger quite vocally.
Posted on 2007-08-25 at 03:05:12.
Edited on 2007-08-25 at 03:08:16 by Kaelyn
Why does the dice roller roll better the more i drink? *hic*
The Land sharks had appeared in a blast of rock and snow and caught everyone unawares. The massive creatures had already begun their feast even as Alexander crawled from his tent and Arthass bellowed order’s for his men to form up. The sharks clawed and bit their way through two more of the Altressians, their armor no match for the spear tip teeth of these foreign creatures. Seeing a need to distract the land shark’s long enough for the Altressian’s to assemble, the ever confident Alexander waltzed right up to the nearest shark, and with gleaming great sword in hand, took an overhand chop at it. His sword sharp as it was split the shark’s armored hide clean down the middle of its back a solid half inch-13hp , but the hide of the beast was tough and now it was angered at having been distracted from eating Arthass’ countrymen. Turning to face Alexander, the beast in all its girth seemed to defy physics, as it leaped upon him with claws raking his armor and flesh into tattered shreds. (4 hits total a whopping -49hp Alexander stammered backwards almost falling over from the sheer amount of pain he was in. To make matters worse, the other land shark had taken a vested interest in Alexander, and was making its way over to him.
From behind the forming wall of shields and swords, Galbad, Arthass’ second in command watched as Alexander Slash, their traveling companion, guide, and better in many aspects had single-handedly bought the majority of his comrades enough time to organize their defense. Now, he was outside their wall, and didn’t stand a chance against two of those beasts; not after what one did to him. “We need to help him, he’ll die out there alone.”
“So leave him he’s not one of us” Came the reply from more than one Altressian.
“Yeah just leave him, he’ll last long enough we can start climbing outta here.”
Galbad looked to Arthass for some sign of support, but he knew he wouldn’t find any. They would move as a pack, but the pack wouldn’t reach Alexander in time. “If he dies, we’re stuck on this rock without a guide.” And with that Galbad broke formation, and took off running towards the land sharks nearing an already wounded Alexander. Nearing the first land shark, he hurled his spear at it’s exposed backside, but it merely skipped off its tough hide and skittered over the edge of the plateau. Galbad was reduced to banging on his shield with his sword to try and distract the second land shark, who veered away from Alexander began its heavy footed march towards Galbad.
Arthass and his remaining fifteen men took a step forward, thirty feet moving as one. Shields were raised, and short swords were level as they approached Galbad, who moved within the safety of the shield wall. As the land shark approached, everyone nearby struck out at it, -27hp as the wall curved around it to surround it. Two men forward and one back; in case the other land shark turned their way.
(You’ve got one land shark surrounded by your troupe, 10 forward, 5 back. Alexander is wounded something fierce and outside the safety of the group. Galbad however is facing the second landshark. No more posting after midnight... Large quantities of numbers and liquor spell ill fated doom for my players. )