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?

The path to Lor

Septul: you needn’t the Nyriddian to kill Kordaz, master. You’re thinking as a swordfighter might, not deceptively. A well placed dagger or garrotte will finish him. Just round that boulder and come alongside him unawares. Your Nyriddian hellcat is fierce, but too honorable. Kyrillia chose you for a reason! Be swift and merciless, master. You can do this! And you needn’t her permission to kill whom you please.

‘Be off with you lad, leave me in peace’ Kordaz said dismissively.

Back in town

The mouthpiece was more utilitarian than aesthetic. When you placed it on, you realized several things immediately, also realizing that it was Septul’s subtle influence that brought instant awareness of these many fine details: the mouthpiece masked your breathing sounds confining them from within, it also seemed to generate clean air within it that bore a near flowery aroma. This cleaner air had an invigorating effect, sharpening your awareness significantly. Further, you could actually talk but it sounded nothing more than a whisper to the hearer, as Gwen observed. You realize you could remain underwater or in airless pockets for extensive periods, and be impervious to gaseous traps.

‘Suits you actually, makes you look more terrifying’ Gwen said with a laugh.

She slowly nursed a glass of expensive wine, feigning a frown ‘Oh what, you’re so eager to be rid of me so quickly?! You little bugger it’s another woman isn’t it!?’ she snarled dramatically, feigning anger then laughed, ‘Kyrillia’s cause? I’m not entirely sure what her cause is. Well, I’d always fancied wielding a proper brand. Me daddies a blacksmith fore his business ran dry. Bloody Elsmyrian steel nothing can compare to it. Tell me more about your adventures…’ she caressed your naked chest and fondled Septul quizzically, enamored with it ‘it looks fit for a king to wear, you devil you how on Earth did you ever aquire it? Forget it, i don’t think I want to know! Save the story for more…romantic setting’

When Gwen slept after a mere glass of expensive wine, you stole from the room through the window. You ran rooftop to rooftop, coming upon a distant tower you somehow knew was Thrag’s personal tower. Scaling it was not much of a challenge, when you gained height there were fewer handholds and the walls were smooth. As you studied the top turrets you realized it will require a longer time to properly gain it.

The climb was a pain in the ass, but you managed it despite its incredible difficulty. When you neared the top, you heard a distinctive whistling alerting you to a guard. Your spectral vision came to life and you noted the two stationary guards hunched over a game of craps, drinking and gambling. Both had a pair of guard dogs who were even more bored than their masters, lazing about uninterested in their masters uninteresting game of chance.

When your foot touched the ground, you snagged a tripwire that rang a series of small windchime bells nearby.

Guard #1: “What in the bloody hell?”

Guard #2: “Ah relax would’cha? It was prob that worthless cat, or the wind it gets pretty fierce up this high’

Guard #1: “Cat aint worthless, she’s a natural born mouser’

Guard #2: *farts obnoxiously loud* ‘well bugger off and go check it out, for fooks sake why do you think I got you this job! So I can take it easy!’

Guard #1: “Ah very well, have to take a shit anyhow. Mind the fort’

Guard #2: “Bring a bit o’ bacon and some fresh beer while yer at it eh?”

Guard #1: “Why yes mi’lord, a splendid idea. Perhaps I’ll bring ya back a cheap whore to fuck while I’m at it!’

SEPTUL:Lord Thrag is one of the more loathed of houselords for his various perversions. His weakness is women, as well as his intense greed. If you were to rob him properly many other houselords would lavish you with respect and admiration. It’s known he keeps a dungeon-harem where he takes his sex slaves and ‘breaks’ them in. Slavery is outlawed in Nyr, and highly punishable by royal decree.
While the guardsmen prattled, you moved towards an unguarded door facing the coast to the north. Within a few minutes, you had the lock opened and slipped through, just as a guard was slowly turning the corner.

“Thought I saw something” he muttered, then you heard the same guard fishing for a keyring.

“Damn it which key was it now?” you heard the man through the open window to the right of the door.

GUARD ROOM:

You stealthed inside of a tower guard-room, furnished with a wooden desk, a weapon rack, a cloak mounted on the wall, and some sort of log book on the desk with various notes written in it. There’s a single square shaped trapdoor in the floor with an iron loop for a handle as well as a rope ladder thats next to it. You struggled fiercely but managed to pry it open using your legs and pulling hard. Leaping through and closing it quietly you slipped into a circular passageway. When you landed the new boots you wore absorbed the brunt of the impact and doubly soaked up any damning sounds you might have ordinarily generated.

As you fell quietly, you spotted the back of a soldier walking away from you a dagger toss ahead. Another was coming your way from the opposite direction! You slipped into the shadowy section of the wall and stood perfectly frozen when the guard and even his shepard walked right past you entirely. Though you were motionless, the tip of your shortsword made a click against the stone wall. The guardsman drew his sword instantly, growling ‘whose there?!’ then, questioning his own sanity sheathed his weapon, ‘damned rats’ and continued along, ‘where’d that fucken cat disappear to?’ the guard said to himself.

As you followed after the guard you came across a door where a 3rd guard was posted and stationary. Meanwhile, the trapdoor above crept open and the ladder dropped. The guardsman from the roof slid down and walked right past you as you became one with the wall. The inky black cloak of Ash’s seemed to be a portable curtain of darkness entirely.

When the guard reached the door he barked a command to one of the other guards ‘go down to the kitchen and bring a bit o’ bacon, some beer and be quick about it! Oh, send one o’ yer little shit for brain ‘squires’ to fetch us a proper whore, we’ll pitch in for her. Go try the Banshee, ask for Numaress or Helena. Those sordid sluts seem to delight my cock rather than coin, heh heh’

The same guardsman returned toward the rope ladder,  turning ‘and be quick about it!’ then began climbing up the ladder.

One of the two hall guards said ‘come on with me, need your help fetching one o’ the barrels of beer from the winecellar, and I have to take a monstrous shit’

The two guards sauntered off leaving one at the door. The guardsman stood taut and alert, ‘nobodies going to get past Duncan!’

Septul had exerted her dominance over the man who was entangled in her infuence, you saw for a moment a red aura of crimson light surround the guardsmans head and he clutched at it in agony for a spell before succumbing to her will. The guardsman smiled and beckoned you over toward him, greeting you with a grin ‘ah, good to see you. Listen, go on in, have yourself a time. Don’t worry about a thing, nobodies getting past me. Just try to keep things down, though I somehow doubt you will you cheeky bastard! Mainly for me, or I might get jealous hahaha’

When you stole into the bedchamber, with a guard at your command you came into a luxurious, kingly loft fitted with a sea of plush cushions and exotic easternese rugs. There, laying lazily in a four poster king sized bed with her back toward you was a full figured goddess with long wavy tresses of dark coffee colored hair, and a body that would bring most kings to their knees. She was clad scantily save for a jeweled thong-like cloth and bra-top. When you dared draw closer, a black panther came out of the shadows and caught you off guard. The adult feline drew you into a corner with deliberate terseness in its poise, prepped to spring upon you at any given moment. The woman spun about, her gleaming eyes eying you with a cross of curiosity and bewilderment ‘just who in the nine hells are you!?’

WHEN YOU STOOD THERE HUNCHED BEFORE THE MENACING FELINE ITS YELLOW HOURGLASS EYES BORED INTO YOU, YOUR MIND GLIMPSED FRAGMENTED IMAGERY you knew were thefted from the raven haired woman’s mind. The panther’s name came to mind: Talon, this beautiful slave had named it. Lord Thrag had gifted it to her as a birthday gift, yet you somehow came to realize Thrag who worshipped women was ill equipped to pleasuring them. It was his habit to prevent some from obtaining love except through himself, or to inflict hideous torments on those he wished he could lavish ecstasy upon. Realization came that Septul, refreshed had an effect of siphoning the thoughts of the living, as easily as the amulet could consume their living souls.