Ascendancy of Altradeaus

Whisper and Kallathan entered through the door Hopestealer indicated they should go.

When you emerged out the other side, you stepped into a ramshackle apartment overlooking a narrow street below. The sound of church bells reverberated throughout the area. Below you could see a pimp slapping one of his whores around, and she was roaring in defiant indignation. Black cloaks littered the streets, several on each major intersection.

Kallathan: “Looks like we’re about two city blocks shy of the Lor temple. I don’t like the feel of any of this, those damned priests are a cunning lot, they’re not the ilk to let two brazen fools like us just come in and take what we want. We need a good plan”

Welcome, beloved. It has been some time. I was starting to think you’d forgotten all about me. purred Septul’s voice in your mind. Your friend speaks wisely, these priests are using me as bait to entice you…at behest of the queen. But there is more. This is a test, if you follow it, you will fulfill the prophecy of your house, of your ancient lineage. If you fail, you will be denied the fruits of that fate. You shouldn’t have come, I was rather looking forward to the eternal ecstasy of my destruction. Somehow, I sense you will deprive me of such sweetness. I was never much of a gambler, master.

Kallathan: I have an ingenious plan, but its going to require a bit of thievery. There’s a currency exchange near the corner of whore and sword. I know the fat fuck who operates that place. We need to rob it, tonight.”

Zakara returns

‘Zakara’ purred a harem girl. The girl had long raven hair and tantalizing eyes, and a body of a Goddess of fertility.

‘What sort of barbarous name is that?’ chimed another girl, who began wrapping her mouth around his manhood in eagerness. She had a devilish grin of ecstasy and her eyes bore into you with lustful gleaming.

Then, you woke up. The dream disrupted, and you were hovering mid-air above a bed. Surrounding you: an bubble of yellowy-orange light that was warm and sustaining.

Then you fell to the bed in a thump. Whatever spell Sebastian laid on you fizzled. You were fully healed, and the poison left your body. The veteran man masterfully extracted all of the black imperial crossbow bolts out of your body.

You walk over to the bed. All of your equipment is laid out:

black imperium armor
cloak of air
the kingsglaive
the glaive Kyrillia had given to you
a longsword given you by Zor
several daggers (2 wrist daggers and 2 boot daggers)

there’s a note that reads:

Zachara, we are bound for the hidden resting place of the last Nyrian blades. It rests in the stormwatch mountains, two days north of here. Follow signs of our passing. We hope to procure some useful information therein. Our cause requires supernatural assistance from the beyond.

-Meister Sebastian

As Angel growled at the door, alerting you something was in close proximity. The door burst open, and in came six fully clad black guardsmen ‘there’s the renegade!’ a cloaked & hooded man from behind said in a raspy voice. Two black cloaks leveled crossbows at you and another two ripped longswords from their scabbards ‘where’s your conspirators you stupid fuck!’ one of the fighters growled menacingly. Angel attacked but the soldier kicked it in the snout and sent the dire-wolf pup flying backward. “Plug that vile beast” the one cloaked in inky black hood hissed with an emotionless voice.

Return to the surface

The party spent an hour journeying back from the mountainous cave back entrance to the cultist’s annex, escorted by the mounted patrol when, out of a small cloister of trees emerged six men clad in studded leather armor, and you noted most of them bore weighed nets, lasso’s, and javelins. Their heads hung low over their faces, concealing their faces from being recognized.

The leader apparent came up, a hard looking man with a weathered face and a shadowy cluster of gray-black stubble. He had a gleam in his eyes and said ‘well shit on me, this is a first. Do I bow or courtesy?” he grinned and spat, his mocking fake smile turned to a serious malevolent look ‘there’s a fat assed bounty on your heads, not you stupid assholes from town. You sons of bitches can ride like the wind or die where you stand. We’re taking in the Keltari, the Nyriddian dog, and that Jez’zurian high lord kid. Tell ya what, you can tell that cunt commander of yours Lord Duncan you were ambushed by orcs. Look” just then, an arrow came out of a distant tree. There was a archer there, camouflaged with leaves and he sent a black orc-arrow into the neck of one of the soldiers.

“Sorry your man had to die like a pig, it was only to legitimize the story you can give to your boss. Here, here’s a flask of Melkyrian brandy for your troubles. This is worth more than you make in an entire month in wages, you’d be a fool to ignore that”

The patrol leader, Neltan said ‘damned bountyhunters, what do we do?”

Defeat of the Architect

Current player map

Whisper had finished checking Balog’s body, his dextrous digits delicately inspecting, prodding, and probing for secrets on the dead cleric’s body.

This is what he discovers:

  • A ring made of pure platinum, encrusted with a valuable diamond
  • A kris shaped dagger with abysmal runes engraved on the blade, a +2 dagger, +4 versus women & children he remembers from his amulet’s knowledge
  • a scrolltube
  • a long flowing animated cloak, when you wear it you feel light as a feather
  • a pair of soft black gloves
  • a morning star
  • a garrotte (a testament to his other profession besides being a evil priest)

 

 

Plans within plans

The black orc’s eyes filled with crimson light as it succumbed to the irresistible dire charm of the amulet. It charged at six other orcs nearby, bowling them over the side of the knoll.

The troll’s claws assailed Storm, Kessa, and Morga who quickly surrounded it, none of its fell attacks connected. Kessa’s brass wrymling unleashed its breath weapon at it, consuming the troll in a blanket of scorching flames. You heard your now dead father’s voice resonate in your mind ‘You’re destroying your own army that I built for you, my misguided child’ and your own silver wrymling breathed a stream of silver gaseous spores now and orcs and goblins throughout the vicinity dropped like flies as they inhaled it.  A storm of arrows flew into the hilltop from below, and the orcs and goblins sped off toward the northeast. Most of the arrows were retreating cover fire, 2 snagging you (-5 hp dmg) when you plucked the arrows out of your leg, you saw the arrowhead was smeared in worg dung. Zor, Kessa, Morga, and Storm hacked the troll into pieces and the wrymling incinerated the bits into a charred husk.

Zor: “weak troll”

Valtor: “Silly drow, I blasted the damned thing with my magic missiles earlier in the fight, when you were squaring off against those orcs, my thanks for that”

Zor shrugged, ‘And I thank you for your magic missiles” he said with a grin.

“They’re retreating, without the vampire at their lead they quickly lost all lust for battle” Morga said.

Kessa: “We should hunt them down and slaughter them to the last, if I’d only had a small force of my sisters” she lamented.

Storm: “Let’s get out of here, we’ve seen enough battle to last us the rest of the week. We should head toward the capital, stay on course. Morga, Whisper can you go to the river and start searching for any transport out of here? We’ll be right behind.”

 

 

Journey to Nyr

Zakara awoke with a sudden fright, his hand rested on the hilt of his sword. He was in a long stretch of mountainous tunnel. This was the highway that cut straight through the Ashblood mountains between Nyr, and Nyriddia. Legend speaks of a powerful wizard that made this passageway aeons ago before the first blight, when the world was beset by the ire of the God named Wrath, Lord of Swords. At long last you finally saw a bit of daylight far ahead. Running towards it, you emerge out of the long tunnel at long last. [Read more…]

Caer Conig

Tharngrym Stonecleaver:

After leaving the city of Ironholme behind, you journeyed with a human caravan bound for Caer Conig. These men were agents of the craftsmen of their town, shrewd in business dealings and most spoke good Dwarven and were literate in it written form also. Their escort are hired human mercenaries who seem to be unafraid of the wilderness or what may come at night. Many of them piss away their wages in bouts of craps and purchasing strong liquor from passing merchants on the roadside. It takes approximately 3.5 days of this slow pace to reach the town of Caer Conig. This train consists of 4 large wagons, six pack horses, two dogs, 12 mercs, 4 human traders, 1 human teamster, and 1 human cook.  The next day is blissful, you enjoy the beauty of the thinning landscape as you come down from the majestic Gate Mountains and see nothing but lush green pastures, emerald hills, deep valleys and far south the enormity of the Black Forest Kingdom, where the Elves dwell.

the view
The view

 

At night, one of the mercs is overcome with sickness and his buddies summon you to his tent excitedly. He’s sweating and gasping heavily, and some of his friends were idly commenting that he had slept with a few whores back in Ironholme at the Screaming Banshee bordello there, most of the girls by which are slaves from the eastern kingdom of Jez’zur. “Save my life dwarf, and I’ll give you my month’s wages and a bottle of aged Elvish wine” he said to you pleadingly, fear in his eyes.

REACTION

 

Defying destruction

Hendrack suddenly backhanded you with speed belying his tall frame, then he snatched the amulet around your neck and placed it in front of your eyes, “Discover your own answers, thief! With this!’ he hissed angrily, ‘you wear this potent amulet, so you would know more than I!” he pointed towards Norris “Tarry alongside these two, and keep them alive in what way you know best”

Agents of the Dark Moon Sons dwelt in caves and ruins in deep forests and near the sea.

Septul: “No, master, I’m afraid the gold death orb is of little use in the destruction of a theorpart. You can’t rightly destroy an artifact with another. There’s special methodologies which are lost to time. Some speculate the breath weapon of various dragons, like a Red will do the trick. Or, the heel of a God”

Lord Daynar

When you called on Septul for dissimination of the dragon’s knowledge and memories, she tells you:

Master, Emmera Dracos was a adult female wrym that dominated northern Direwood for centuries since the Drenai dynasty, approximately 10,500 years ago. Her lair lies in the heart of the northern sector of the forest, in a ruins on an isle in the middle of a cloister of dense bogs. Various creatures invited by Emmera to safeguard her lair make their own dens in a 3 mile radius outside of the bogs she called home. Beneath the ruins is the Dungeons of Draxcon, also known as the shadow vault, which asside from her lair there’s no telling what still lurks therein. However, it was heavily trapped and she had numerous mercenary servitors to protected it, undoubtedly still does!

When the Duke strode into the chambers, he made gestures that told his servants to fetch food and drink, minor facets of decorum he delegated to his vassals, hating them. He sat himself at a large throne like chair at a long rectangular table, eying you briefly while consuming a large cup of beer, wiping his mouth and sighing in appreciation of the ale.

He turned his eyes towards you once again, ‘So boy, and the rest of your little wolf pack here have been stirring things up in my city, eh? Heh heh” he laughed as if it all amused him. He was a sharp eyed man with dark wavy brown hair, and eyes lit with a blend of mirth, intellect, and curiosity. ‘Let’s see here, you’ve killed Lord Kraybor, several city-lords, a Green Dragon, and some escapades down in the southlands. Ah, you saved Lord Dreygar  and defeated many assassins sent to you by a Jez’zurian highlord whose sired enough whores sons and daughters to build an army. Seems like your own brothers and sisters are a litter of cunts! But you managed to escape all of their schemes to end your existence prematurely” he took the document report he’d read concerning you and lit it under a candle flame, watching it consume with flames, ‘Well, seems like Lady Kyrillia’s not just blowing sunshine up your arses!” he snickered as some servants brought platters of meat, fruit, pitchers of mead, wine, and smoked Direboar. He didn’t seem interested at all in any of the fare, as though it were all common foodstuffs, and he insisted the party eat over talk.

“Look, Whisper of Jez’zur. I’m the queen’s hand, which means I’m in charge of things here. Lady Kyrillia, the queens second cousin once removed had been assigned a special task of great import to the throne, and for the weal of the realm. I shant lie, I had a hand in her choosing. When I was a young, reckless, rebellious fool adventuring in the land you grew up in, I’d met a curious lady who was a natural born enchantress and a master assassin, your mother. She taught me a charm person and friends spell in exchange for one day lending her an aid, a favor of some sort, whatever it would be. Of course, at that time I was stupid and eventually she cashed in on that favor. Which was helping you in some fashion, to provide you with a fighting chance at life.

When you too were but a fool spending your monies on wine and women, befriending whores and thieves in your circus days my servants were swiftly dispatching all manner of scum seeking to snuff the rightful heir of your father, for you wore his face and it was known as scandal in the courts you left behind. His wife, who couldn’t bore children was embittered as the poison of jealous consumed her soul. She and her fellow bitches all sent the first wave of killers to track you down and end you. However, while you were engaged in avoiding deaths tasteless kiss, my men slew the wives. That was my hand in this favor that I owed, however, your brothers and sisters not wishing for your late father to pass down all his wealth to you plotted to eliminate you once and for all.

Truth be known I didn’t think you had a hope in hell, even with my considerable assistance. But when you prevailed against uneven odds, and through some smart tricks came out ahead I recommended you to Kyrillia for her team building project. The queen commanded we assemble a team that mirrored the one who once served her father the high king Rodac, the ‘Blades of Nyr’ they were once known as. Her majesties royal counselor pressured her into reconstructing the Blades once more, that they could be called into action and do the undoable, to go beyond the mere measure of mortal men.

We’d had such a band once before, the Watcher’s had a heck of a run. They controlled the open land betwixt cities in the realm, rangers and thieves, scouts, spies, assassins. They were able to do audacious works and perform missions in dangerous lands, however they were all betrayed by a new enemy that still exists. To this date, only one man I knew of has learned something of this puppetmaster. A ranger named Pride Yorkesdale, until he was murdered by someone in the village of Harby before he could relay the secret.

Since that time and the recent discoveries your party has unearthed, it seems quite plausible that whomever had Pride eliminated was behind Kraybor’s secret agenda. All we’ve been doing is merely reacting, and now the queen wishes to rectify the situation.

Will you take up arms for the queen for the good of the realm once more?”

City of Lor

Jorrell: “My order’s temple is in the castle ward, though that would be the worse possible place I would ever consider of taking these youngsters. Perhaps you haven’t been paying heed to what I’ve been trying to convey, but there are very bad men pursuing these children. Not some two bit sellswords and mercs, but intelligent and capable men. They’ve priests and wizards who direct their efforts and the Imperials do not tire, they do not question their orders but carry it out to the end, and they’re fearless. The Imperials would have already set traps in all possible hiding places, they’d have to their leaders do not accept failure”

Storm: “Worry not, I’ve a trusted friend who can mind after them. He’s honorable and sharp of wit, and he’d be more than happy to house them for a while. In fact, I suggest we venture there first thing in the morning”

Morga: “Who is this friend you speak of?”

Storm: “My house smith, Mace Strom. He’s the one responsible for my joining Kryillia’s band. He’s always been like a father, and he was my real father’s right hand in life. He’s a great man, and no better smith you’ll find in these lands”

Daggia: “Don’t tell that to the Duke, his own smith Rook is a dwarven master”

Storm: “Aye, but I meant amongst men. Dwarves are another thing entirely”

As the party ate its full and drank, the children slept fitfully and rose early, working out and meditating.

Daggia gave the children some biscuits and gravy, and fed the party poached quail eggs, bread and mutton for breakfast. Storm leads you out of her apartment down a flight of stairs and exiting into the streets below and through shortcuts, twists and turns, narrow alleys he guided the group towards Skull Street a main throughway studded with charming little shoppes, taverns, pubs, and businesses. Then, as you all took a turn up a sloped street a cart came into view at the top of the street full of large barrels. You saw as cloaked hooded figure there who slit the restraints of these barrels and gave it a harsh kick, the barrels came rolling down towards the party! You also made out six armed men in the overlaying shadows nearby each brandishing crossbows.

DECISION?