The Dark Elf Lands

Zor Everhate

Zor Everhate

Zor: “I shant fail you, sh’aklah’

Morga gave the drow elf a disapproving sour look, ‘I heard about you hated ones from the Ice Elves back home. Heard you’re a foul bunch of sorry demon kissing scum. You so much as break wind in my general direction and you’ll taste the kiss of Morga!’ she growled like a ferral animal to accentuate her point. Turning to you her beautiful features melted instantly then she took point and guided you out of the woods. A half hour hike through the forest when Morga held her arm to the side and made a halting clenched fist. A growling howl like a monstrous wolf pierced the eerie tranquility of the shadow drenched woods.
Worgrider
‘Draw steel’ she hissed, leaped straight up into the trees like a leopard. She called down ‘Worgs! Rode by Goblins, twenty of them heading our way!’ she peered down at you and shouted ‘get your ass up here!’ and lowered the tail end of her chainwhip, which was fitted with a mace-head. With a few pulls hoisted you up, and she was spying with her new toy the spyglass from the bandit, ‘damn it we completely left our bounty back there in the tree. We have to go back and get our prisoner’

Zor nimbly climbed up the adjacent tree, and he fitted his tiny crossbow with a pair of bolts. It seemed to accomadate two versus one. Morga unleashed two wrist-bolts which detonated in a contained grenade blast-radius enveloping six Worgs and their Goblin masters, she grinned devilishly as they were incinerated in a fiery blazing inferno ‘Thank the Dwarves for their dark sorcery’ she laughed. The first Worg that came in close Zor fired upon, and it as well as its rider took a pair of bolts each. They collapsed as poison claimed them.

Zor: “Cerranis’s Goblin shock troops. Rather insulting to send goblins, orcs might have been more flattering’

10 Worgs ran into viewing distance, you could see the grotesque faces of the Goblins riding their backs and their weapons were a higher grade than usual goblinoid racial weaponry. The way they rode their fierce mounts was more skilled than you’ve seen. One Worg carried two Kobolds on its back.

Zor: “There’s another pack splintering off from the main, heading west’ the drow elf wove a hand in the direction of the approaching Worg riders, and their forms were outlined in crimson red flames. The Goblin riders freaked out and began trying to douse the fire, their eyes widened with alarm.

worg battle map

worg battle map

DECISION

83 comments
Whisper
Whisper

(23)
Whisper noted that the fighters of the group had advanced to contend with some of the enemy front lines.  His keen eyes looked about for targets that might threaten their spell casters...

OC: should no target be an immediate threat to him and the spell casters he will send another arrow or two at any of the remaining Norkers.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

THE PARTY SET FORTH AND CUT NORTHBOUND THROUGH THE DARK ELF LANDS, when the forest roof blotted out the sun entirely and the woods took on an ominous dark. An hour along the elves called for a halt, and ahead the eagle sound of Kessa that announced her presence in hiding ahead. She and Morga emerged from shrubs, and Kessa said ‘we slew a Hobgoblin scout, at least thats what I thought it was. It differed from a common Hob, lacking any hair and look, it has this leathery hide’ Morga cringed visibly, ‘they smell more horrid than a orc lathered in shit’

‘It’s a Norker’ Zor said, ‘they’re a lesser cousin of Hobs, armor like hide and large fangs. Stay alert, they’re more cunning than they might seem’

With so many stealthy individuals in the party you come across a small force of these Norkers a mile north, 25 in total. When you happen upon them, a pair of ordinary Hobgoblins are in the midst of handing the group of Norkers a pair of children both a boy and a girl, whom they shove forward with evil grins revealing their yellow jagged teeth, ‘xulg dogra moriag’  ‘have these two useless brats, their blood is not fit for Tharizul. The boss say their born from the cunt of whores

‘Then why don’t's you eats them!?’ one of the Norkers challenged.

‘shut yer maggot hole, shiteater, fore I stick my spear down your throat!’ Hobgoblin #1 snarled angrily, cowing the insolent Norker with his spear 'lucky fer you we're not feeding you a bucket of dwarf beard hair for dinner!'

‘fine, we’ll have the brats...fetch us some more substantial manfleshlings’

Storm made a signal to the Elves, who silently withdrew their longbows and had them knocked with two arrows each. Kessa took her spear and snapped it into two lesser spears, with a hidden blade at the opposite end of the shaft.

Then, a storm of arrows tore into the stunned Norkers:

Norker #1: arrow pierces neck, dead.
Norker #2: struck, arrow sunk through
Norker #3: avoids arrow
Norker #4: struck, minor hit
Norker #5: minor hit, grazed
Norker #6: killed by a masterful shot to chest
Norker #7: arrow straight through jugular
Norker #8: avoided arrow
Norker #9: avoided arrow
Norker #10: grazed by arrow

second elven arrows:

Norker #11: killed
Norker #12: fatally shot, but refuses to die
Norker #13: arrow pierced stomach, dies
Norker #14: avoided arrow
Norker #15: arrow punctures lung, dies

The two Hobgoblins bolt towards a structure you see in the distance, that appears to be a vine enshrouded ziggarat. The Norkers are totally taken by surprise you gain the element of surprise.

Kessa, Morga, Storm rush out to confront the stupified Norkers, and Ash lays a hand on your shoulder whispering something beneath his breath filling you with intense heat that lessens the fiery wounds you received (+9 hp dmg restored) while Zor stood near you defensively and withdrew a longsword and shortsword.

Valtor unleashed an acidic arrow that thudded into Norker #14, splashing a splash of corrosive acid that melted away at the hideous Goblinoids leathery hide.

Liera spoke a command to the elven scouts who accompanied the party, ‘the Hobs, before they make it to that structure’

*TWIPPPTTTTTTTT* you loosed your bow and shot down one of the fleeing Hobgoblins your missile piercing the small of its back dropping it face down to the ground.

The remaining Hobgoblin is shot by a hail of arrows.

There's 10 Norkers still scattered and surprised to contend with.

DECISION?


Whisper
Whisper

(14)
'Very thorough, there are lots of details to think about indeed.  I shall tread even more carefully around Valtor from now on.  Thank you very much Septul.'  Whisper took things at an easy pace until the group set out.  Noticing that his wounds did not heal over time, he hoped that his next victim would allow Septul to heal some of his wounds.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

 The fire damage doesn’t heal, you only regenerate from wounds sustained by ordinary weapons or when Septul drains a victim.

The big bellied Elf nodded, stroking his goatee as you spoke. He waved a dismissive hand, 'no matter, keep your eyes sharp kid and stay alert. We're in this thickly now, lets see what your penchant for stirring up the hornets nest shall unravel' he turned to Liera and snatched her hand, catching her off guard and kissed it. As she retracted her hand in bewilderment the mage smiled devilishly as if sizing up a delectable meal, 'such exquisite beauty even amongst high elves' he said to her flirtatiously. She seemed incredulous and taken aback but quickly regained her composure.

SEPTUL: “Aye, lets see here...

Accessing the Lorian archives.

This looks like what you requested:

Valtor is a Vadhagh which are a near extinct elven bloodline, one of a race of long-lived beings with limited magical abilities dedicated to peaceful pursuits such as art and poetry. Due to this no Elf may accost or even arrest him, even Empress Isiona. He operates several lucrative enterprises throughout Nyr, and owns a substantial number of villas and castles throughout the Nyrian countryside out of Corealus, Lor, and the village of Grea. It's not known why he adventures other than the thrill and the opportunities to collect rare treasures. He is perhaps the most gifted alchemists throughout the kingdom. He has a deep appreciation for art, sculpture, and music and a loathing of slavery. Considers himself a Nyrian at heart. He fancies himself an involker and prefers highly destructive spells like fireball or acid bolt, but also employs enchantments to enhance his natural abilities of diplomacy and statecraft. A common trick of Valtor’s is to use charm person, suggestion, or friends to convince a would be hired killer to turn on his employer and assassinate them instead, and then kill the killer as well.

It’s known his genesis starts from Old City in Lor, where he was a prominent loanshark who rose to fame as the ‘singing loanshark’, as he would sing delightful songs every time someone paid him back what was owed him. Although evil, he’s been known to bequeath substantial interest free loans to widows and prostitutes in Old City and at times forgetting to collect, or collecting in the form of cancellation favors like baking of a pie, or having his portrait made. It was then that he disappeared mysteriously for 10 years to escape the wrath of other more established loansharks. When he came back all of his competitors either left town or had terrible accidents that befell them. It was determined by Vortigen Graymind that he had journeyed to the drow city of Web Ulariz to study magic under the Lich Zegyig, and from the drow learned the art of the assassin.

Valtor differs from the common cold blooded killer. He uses deception, patience, and guile to orchestrate murder, in which he sees as a rare artform. His trademark is to manipulate actions of others that leads to the eventual death of his intended prey, then offing any traces that lead back to him. Being exceedingly wealthy he has access to an assortment of rare weaponry, keeps a supply of explosive powders, poisoned crossbow bolts, and other strange devices on his person. It was when he managed to beguile Ash Elkeroth who had been sent to kill him to defect instead (with cunning use of a ‘friends’ spell) and pursue a life of pleasure and decadence that he gained Lady Kyrillia’s notice. He agreed to join her crew in exchange for personal tutelage in the arcane arts.

It’s unknown why that he keeps a lowly Goblin runt aptly named Turd in his employ but it seems he does so in leiu of a proper familiar, and uses the Goblin as a spy and messenger often turning him invisible, or enhancing his strength magically to better serve him in different capacities.

Known weaknesses: Valtor has a soft spot for children and often goes out of his way to help and protect them.

Ash said 'I'm unsure as to why you keep such foul company as this bug eyed little bugger, wizard. You who convinced me to pursue beauty and love!' he glared in distaste at the short little Goblin at his side. Turning toward you Ash said 'thanks for filling my request, you restored my dignity in Southern Cross' he said with a chuckle.





Whisper
Whisper

(14*)
Whisper was a bit shaken by the close call with the trap still, his hand trembled some as he forced himself to focus, breathe, and calm his nerves.  "Thanks for treating my burns.  Be careful of Alcar."  He offered a smile of thanks to Leira.  Turning to answer Valtor's question he flatly explained his actions, careful not to provide too much of an indication of what he knew.  "There were rumblings among the underworld of Southern Cross that Shade had one of the map fragments Tharizul's minions are seeking tattooed on her body.  Perhaps she did at one time or perhaps his minions are spreading lies to keep people busy and away from his actual works.  I know now to be more careful in the future."  Whisper was ready to set out, he trusted that the spell casters in the group would speak up if they needed time to prepare spells or mend wounds.  He thought to Septul, 'Septul, do you have information do you have on my mage friend Valtor?  He is a skilled assassin and an even more dangerous wizard, but I know little about him.'
OC: Do the fire wounds start to mend or does he not heal from fire based wounds?

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

When you came upon Shade’s lifeless body you searched her body for the map fragment. Spinning her body around and looking along her buttocks you spotted a rune when as you read it out of it came a fiery inferno engulfing you entirely (-17 hp fire damage) the scorching fire roasted your flesh and burned your clothes, bit of your hair and your cloak was destroyed. You fell to the ground and rolled out of reflex, accustomed to being set ablaze during your circus days as an assistant to a pyromancer. The fire doused you got up and collected your wits. It seems someone anticipated somebody might search in the same spot. 

Kessa and Morga ran to your side, and Valtor stepped forth, ‘explosive rune, what were you searching for there?’ he scratched his head his eyes narrowing at you decidedly, ‘spit it out, lad. No need for secrecy for such petty details’

Morga: “Now’s not the time for your queries, wizard. Don’t be a fool!’ 

Liera came up to you with concern, and Kessa as well as Morga gave her suprised looks at first. She poured some soothing liquid that felt tingly as she applied it to the worse of your burns, ‘tis burnsalve, juniper mint and tea tree oil, with kingsfoil and giant honeybee royal jelly’ Valtor nodded, ‘smart recipe’ as if giving his approval, ‘well? What’re you waiting for administer it to the lad!’ he said impatiently towards her. The female elf kept looking towards the disguised Zor curiously, and Zor kept averting his face as if not wanting to get recognized. Liera looked to you and asked ‘friend of yours?’ indicating Zor.

Storm placed a hand on Liera's shoulder, 'enough pampering the little rascal' he lifted you to your feet, saying 'Valtor, fetch a raven' and the big bellied mage complied 'we need to send report to Lady Kyrillia for further orders, but for now as much as I'm loath to doing so we need to hand over this Alcar to you Liera. Give him to your Empress, he should face Imperial justice swiftly. I fear he'll only draw too much attention to ourselves and now I'm desiring for stealth. Liera can you give us an escort to the north? I think it's high time we venture forth and invade the rats nest, fore they are able to further marshall their strength. My blade's wet with black scum blood, but not even close to slaked. Morga, you and Kessa are needed. Scout ahead. Whisper stay next to me, we'll need your eyes and ears. Valtor can you make Whisper invisible?' Ash, Valtor take up the rear.

DECISION

Whisper
Whisper

(31*)
"Inflicting a modicum of pain on Sir Alcar Ablefinger is all, I owe him more."  Whisper replied to Valtor's question in thieves cant as he stood and extracted himself from future questions by either elf.  He strongly suspected that both of the dangerous elves understood him perfectly well enough but caring little if something was lost in translation.  

Whisper set out looking about the battle field for the female half-orc's corpse.  He focused his thoughts on a response to Septul's questions and statements.  'Tharizul has some worshipers and forces searching in the Dark Elf Lands for map fragments to something.  One of those fragments is likely among the dead here on this battle field.'  He was curious to find out if the rumors he had overheard were true about a map tattoo being on her person.  Whisper had several parchments, the half-orc's journal, and a few charcoal sticks to replicate the tattoo a few times(an accurate replication and several flawed duplications).  He doubted his companions would allow him to simply carve off the tattoo and take it with him so he would trust his skills at forging documents.  When finished he hoped to dispose of the tattoo using one of his vials of acid preventing all others from seeing the mark.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

SEPTUL: the ruby red light bathed Alcar and he gave a little gasp but snarled and screamed, and thwarted the amulets hunger.  ‘Impertinent Elf thwarted me! His lifeforce checked my attempt to drink of it. Elves have more resistance than humans to such attacks, they’ve not souls but spirits’

‘What are you doing, lad?’ Valtor asked, suddenly next to you.

SEPTUL: hide your power from this one, he lusts for it like a husband of a fat old hag lusts for fresh whores.

STORM: “Thanks Kessa, Morga, Valtor, Zor for getting here timely, we would have been doomed. The black guard, here! And I heard a good deal from the cleric who had abducted me. The blacks are taking orders from the boss that Zor warned us about, and they’ve been searching the local orphanages outside of Lor and Southern Cross for children bearing some mark, rounding them up and sending them deep into the forest never to be seen or heard from again”

ASH: “These black clerics venerate Tharizul, a minor demon lord. Undoubtedly they’ll sacrifice these children in their bloody rituals. When I was leader of an assassination team sent on missions into Nyr, they had us keep eyes keen on children bearing unique birthmarks, I believe each of these children had a distinctive one though subtle and not easily recognized. There were six such children I believe, three boys and three girls at that time they were mere babies, by now they should be betwixt 9 to 15, give or take. That was when I defected however, so the devilish details escapes me, because I was too busy escaping the empire. Love is my master now, and if little orphans are in peril Ash Elkeroth shall liberate them’

SEPTUL: “Tharizul!!!!!!! she hissed emphatically, ‘Tharizul is the modern name for an ancient demon God, a fell demon God. His real name was Tharizdun, God of Eternal Darkness, Decay, Entropy, Malign Knowledge, Insanity, and Cold. He was imprisoned eeons ago by a council of Godheads to thwart the annialation of existence itself. His holy symbols are a dark spiral rune and a two-tiered inverted ziggurat known as a obex, and his holy number is 333’

REACTION
 

Whisper
Whisper

(30*)
'Septul, If you are able to steal some of Alcar's life do so now!  Better to know a chapter or two of the book then perhaps never get the chance to read any of it at all.  Besides, it will make hunting this dangerous bastard that much easier.'  Whisper thoughts seethed as he held his blade in check for the time being.  She had a good start to a plan but they needed knowledge of their enemies, while he needed to feel some small amount of revenge against the elf ...

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

SEPTUL: don’t kill him yet, not deliberately your ‘friends’ will not look upon it favorably. Elsmyrian, Nyriddian, and Knight...they will seek more lengthy drawn out dramatical ends for this one. Loosen his bonds, ever so subtly let him think he’s some hope of escape. If he flee’s injure ever so slightly, he will go fleeing straight towards his secret master and lead you to the larger prey. We hunger for such morsels, do we not?

Hedron was from Tunis. When I partook of his black soul I gleaned some things you may find intriguing. Apparently you’re the heir apparent of a Jez’zurian highlord, a man named Lord Baelin. Your mother performed excellent spy work in his service and helped him elevate his power to incredible level in Jez’zurian high society. In gratitude he’s named you his heir, but his illigitimate brats all snobbery with delusions of fanciful decadence have hired this Hedron to snuff out the lights in your pretty little eyes. They clearly overestimated him, and underestimated you. They shant make that mistake twice.

You started to see real life imagery absorbed from Hedron’s soul, memories of his past, dastardly deeds, whoring and raping various women, killing men in their sleep, even putting a pillow over a baby and smothering it. Septul said ‘these will pass, they’re residual fragments of Hedron’s soul. You will see these often, it is like being drunk on good whiskey, you begin hallucinating and seeing incredible things then it passes’



Whisper
Whisper

(30*)
Whisper left the side of the dead traitor Hedron and quickly tumbled to Alcar's prone form with his short sword ready to dispatch the elf.  He pushed aside the worst of his anger that urged him to separate the man's head from his neck and sought Septul's guidance.  'Guide my actions so that we may learn his secrets and end this tricky one, once and for all!'

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

A CRIMSON LIGHT SHOT OUT FROM THE AMULET AND IT TURNED QUITE COLD, the light bathed Hedron whose palour turned ash gray as life stuff was siphoned from out of him, then he leaped backwards in a ferral snarl. As his life force energy filled Septul she shared her stolen vigor with you and you felt empowered from the life force essence. You’re now a 1st level fighter!

SEPTUL: you have to bring him to deaths door for me to properly annihilate his soul.

Hedron: “you filthy bugger, what in holy hells did you do to me!?” he flew toward you and tripped over his own cloak, staggering and regained his composure. Out of the corner of your eye Kessa and Morga were double teaming against black guard who were hard pressed by the two raging hellcats, and Storm was decimating orc and black clad eunuch alike, plowing through them as if they were mere obstacles and finding their vulnerabilities with scary ease. Valtor released a deadly arc of lightening that tore down eight black guardsmen and four orcs approaching from the east.

ROUND 2

Gaining the initiative you slid in and plunged your shortsword into Hedron (critical) plunging the blade tip first into the mans stomach and sensing the tip burst out of his backside (-28 hp dmg) he fell over onto his back, clutching at you in horrified realization he was dying. As blood flooded his mouth he reached out towards you as if pleading for mercy, or forgiveness perhaps both, ‘forg...forgive me...’ he pulled you closer, despite your resistance ‘forgive me, brother. I shouldn’t have tried to kill you’ he was fading fast, then said ‘the game is afoot, others are coming for you. You are the heir apparent of Lord Baelin. However *coughs blood* his bastards have plotted to kill you dead. I’m not a bad man, just a gambler deep in debt. It was either kill you or suffer my debt collectors, guess which I choose?” he laughed in deprication, then his eyes seemed to gaze into oblivion as he died.

After the next two rounds the tides turned against the black guard and their orc shock troops as the Elves and company tore their ranks asunder. To their credit the black guard put up terrible resistance and the Elves took three to a man to overcome their strong discipline. 

'He's getting away!' Kessa shouted out pointing excitedly towards Alcar who was vanishing northward through the trees. Zor spent another volley of his hand xbow bolts, and then Alcar who was shot in the back crashed into a heap on the ground a mere yard away. The drow elf moved over towards you and said 'shak'lah, enemy of my friend waits'

Whisper
Whisper

(23*)
'Septul, enjoy consuming this traitor!'  Whisper thought as he grimaced and feinted with his short sword.  Hoping that Hedron would not be able to keep up with his enhanced quickness and allowing him to attack from a different angle. "I shall soon know who that was when your body is reduced to nothing but ash you blabbering fool."

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

The elves guided you, Storm, and Hedron toward the moon gate you and Arbane had used mere hours ago. Staticky white light filled the center of the gate when you approached as you pulled through feeling a subtle disorientation that ceased as quickly as it began. When in an eyeblink you emerged out of another in the midst of Elven ruins. After the teleportation you felt all of your injuries were completely healed.

Alcar was on his knee’s before a nearby altar, and you saw what looked to be a flaming skull with crimson light blazing from the sockets. The Elf was pleading as if begging for mercy. The skull said in a cold tone ‘you bungling fool! You allowed yourself be followed by these meddlesome mortals. Count your minutes, hours, or days my sweet slave they are truly numbered. Tharizul does not abide incompetence!’

‘Nor does Alcar!’ the Elf angrily hisses, then made a thunderous booming call. 15 black guardsmen, accompanied by 15 black orcs poured into the area from the side slopes, readied for battle lead by Shade, the female half-orc had a triumphant grin on her face and a broadsword firmly in her grasp ‘well well looks like I finally caught up with you, you little shit!’ she crooned towards you, when...

The moon gate cackled back to life as someone or something activated it unexpectedly from the other side. Out of it came Kessa, Zor, Morga, Valtor and his Goblin Turd, all of them prepared for a fight. ‘He stands not alone, half pig!’ Kessa shouted loudly in a warcry style with her curiously feminine yet stern voice. Morga laughed ‘Aye that, you lowly bitch I put you in Lord Dreygar’s dungeon I see you must have fucked your way out!’

Shade was furious and screamed ‘kill them all!’

Valtor sneering in a cold face shot out ‘you first my dear!’ when a fan shaped tongue of scorching green flames shot out of his cupped hands, incinerating five orcs who ran at the group. Ash unleashed a spell when a shimmering blue greatsword materialized over his head and flew towards Alcar to attack the Elf, tearing into the Elf’s leg with a brutal blow. Hedron rips a longsword and dagger from his belt, Storm places his shield on his back and rips out a pair of morning stars, the left handed one emanated cold, and the right became ablaze with fire. ‘Master kills all! Always always does!’ Turd jaunted from behind, cheering the big bellied elf.

The orcs not consumed by Valtor’s burning hands spent their crossbow loads into the party but the projectiles all fly wide and thud harmlessly into trees. Hedron and Ash both take strikes from five black guardsmen and you saw Morga take a hit from a guardsmans longsword and she grimaced under the painful blow but had felt far worse before.

Morga tore into the Orc that had struck her with her bladed boomerang, slicing through its filthy hide armor. Kessa launched a spear, and the tip pierced into the leg of black guardsman #1. The guardsman didn’t so much as grunt in register to the received blow.

Zor unleashed his twin hand x-bows into black guardsman #15 who was just running up the northern slope and reached the top, who received a bolt into his neck and crashed down the slope in a roll, tripping his other 4 unit members in the process.

You ducked out of the way as Alcar sent a flying hand to strike at you from afar, the hand was clutching a dagger and spun around with the weapon poised at your back.

The Elven imperials organized in a single file front wall line and lashed out with elvish katana blades as more black guards came to overwhelm.

Elf #1: strikes Black Guardsman #1 and kills him
Elf #2: misses
Elf #3: falters, leaving himself open for a counter
Elf #4: strikes Black Guardsman #4
Elf #5: eviscerates Black Guardsman #5, killing him with a clean blow
Elf #6: ‘For Lady Isiona!’ and upper cuts black guardsman #6
Elf #7: misses
Elf #8: misses
Elf #9: misses
Elf #10: The elf’s blade cut into guardsman #10 easily and with brutal effect, but the guardsman was far from death.

Storm pointed his sword toward Alcar and said to the two elven archers ‘take him out!’

Shade fires a light crossbow at you but you ducked as the bolt flew overhead, thudding into the tree just behind.

It was then that you felt the agony of betrayal splice across your back as Hedron’s blade ripped a bloodied line down the length of your backside (-9 hp dmg, save vs. poison: succeeded) ‘sorry friend, nothing personal but someone paid me an obscene amount have you eliminated. Amazing that you withstood the venom of the blowfish, I thought I coated my blade rather well. Nice armor you wear!’ he said sarcastically.

ACTION




Whisper
Whisper


(27*)
Whisper placed the orchids deep within his pack and readied his equipment to silently move out.  He ate some food as Storm and Hedron equipped themselves from the fallen black guards.  Nodding to the two elven women who were to accompany them he wanted to set out soon and move quickly northward.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

Halflar paused for a moment to consider your words, “Yes, and no. You risked a considerable deal on obtaining the secret orchid, and the amulet, and for my Empress’s mercy and by the blessed Empire I serve I charge you and your fellows to help hunt down the renegade Alcar who’s evaded my lady’s wrath for far too long. His dimensional door spell couldn’t have gotten him that far, he’s not that powerful a mage’ he turned to his two beautiful female scouts, ‘noquar illuliel mojanra aszulliol kandrea’ (go and scout the woods, loose the koshee)

vial of accelerated healing: the glowing milk white liquid, with consistency of water was like liquid made liquid, filling you with a brief burning in your chest similar to strong whiskey (+14 hp dmg restored)

Septul: The prey that gets away always tastes best another day. I've analyzed the codex, here you might find this intriguing. 

Then, before your eyes hovered several images vividly glowing with blue and gold light. What appeared to be a scroll unraveled before your eyes and it bore a drawing of Alcar, with some cryptic runes you couldn't understand at first. The runes underwent a gaussian blur and were rendered into ordinary common. They read:

ALCAR ABLEFINGERS: A freelance spy, assassin, and seller of stolen religious relics and artifacts on the black market. Maintains several aliases and false identities, uses magic to manipulate others minds and typically employs illusions or enchantments to great effect. Evidence that he works for The Black Sect as a agent is compelling. Known tactics: Alcar's tactics are often pragmatic and deceptively simplistic, often working in his favor. What he lacks in creativity he makes up for in logic and maths, using mathmatical precison, timing, and estimation to accomplish his ends. He is a master of dagger throwing, and traps.

Halflar : “Well then, Whisper, I’m tasking you and your two comrades here to this place here’ (unfolds a beautiful map of the immediate area and points to a mark approximately 20 miles north according to scale) I believe that Alcar is heading for this place, the ruins of Then. Twice I’ve cleared the area, and only a matter of days before others emerged thereabouts through a ressurected moon gate closed over a century ago. Take this, it’s a gate key. It will activate the nearest moon gate and guide you to it and it opens the destination of the last person to have stepped through. Worry not, it will erode after three uses. It will also identify you to any patrols you happen upon as a agent of the throne. We’’ll come in from behind from the south, expect us within an hour if nothing transpires to thwart our advance. I’ll stop here at the south bank of the underworld river. Loose an arrow over the river as a signal to charge in, and we will make our approach from the southern slope. The ruins crown a summit, and the side slopes are treacherous. Be on your guards! Fell beings have sullied the sanctity of the kingdom lately’

Storm chimned in: "Ser Halflar, we're indebted to you. Where my boon companion here goes so does the blade of his company, a fellowship forged by my Harkonian mistress Lady Kyrillia of which we both are part of. For her honor do I serve your Empire, not for your own Immortal queen. That said, I would have you deliver this letter to your lady. It never made it to her majesty before now'

'Very well, I must leave you and return to the Imperial capital at once. These two elves have some explaining to do. I must investigate what manner of scum planted a yellow creeper so deep into the heartwood'

Ash said: "That's already known to me, ser. It was the Elf you mentioned, this Alcar that seems to have gotten your underclothes all knotted up over. He's been working in tandem with the Black Empire. They wanted to put a stop to Whisper's gaining of the orchid, apparently so that Lord Dreygar eventually dies. Without Dreygar the southlands will be pure chaos. The Black Empire is working discreetly on something throughout the southlands. Whatever it is is big, the Empire doesn't think small and insignificant that much I assure you'

REACTION

Whisper
Whisper

(9*)
Whisper tried but could not suppress a smile at Septul's thoughts or were they his own sexual fantasies merely being given a voice?   It didn't matter in the least, but more importantly could the attractive female elf be used as another bargaining chip to lure Ash into service to him?  The cleric had a weakness for women it was a weakness he would gladly exploit!

When prompted for his name he took a moments pause to consider coming up with some bullshit name or to allow a link to be forged binding him to this place.  A link that others seeking the amulet might use to seek him out.  "Whisper, from Jez'zur will suffice.  Are we to be escorted to the edge of elven lands then Sir Halflar?'  The rogue responded to the elvish knight, unsure why exactly he had chosen to create that link...

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

ELF-KNIGHT: 'Ah, they'll be restored in a short while. They've been made juju zombies, a yellow creeper does this. It's a strange tree that can ensnare men and even elves with its treacherous spores that dominates the mind. Someone planted it near the moon gate purposefully' the knight said, and he ordered his subordinates to bring the bound elves to him. Liera smirked at you as you looked for your amulet, which was still there and growing cool against your skin. The knight said to you 'Ser Halflar of House Demuth, at your service. What is your name then?"

SEPTUL: You ought to bed this she-elf, she's giving you a slutty eye since she came out of the woods. Elves do so enjoy human cock do they not?


Whisper
Whisper

(8*)
"Have you no need of a few of these orchids to cure the two elves with jerky movements and branches growing from their skin?"  Whisper quietly asked the elven woman who stood next to him, Liera he thought her name might be.  He felt about his neck for the amulet, she might have quick hands ...

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

Before she answered, the Elven Knight smiled at something, and he handed you a pouch with the sapphire orchids. He said 'I switched the pouches when that snake wasn't looking, figured he might try such a thing here, give this to your lord master'

Storm sighed as well, 'we'll catch him before long, I've grown weary of these woods I fear, no offense my elvish friends. However, since I've been brought here, perchance would you offer your queen a request? I would seek an alliance of mutual gain if she would humor me an ear. I will send her a raven in one day to tell her more of it. You would serve her well to consider my proposal, and your Imperium will reap the rewards'

The knight's eyes ignited with curiosity he held back, then nodded 'aye, I believe she would be receptive to hearing it if it is as you state. I will keep an eye for your raven, ser Storm'

'You know my name?' Storm asked.

'Yes, and no. I heard the Lord Commander of Southern Cross was a dignified and capable man, like the men of the olden times and that his nephew was summering in the southlands. I also noted your sigil was that of a winged lion, house Telemvor no? Not very difficult to make a guess from this'


Whisper
Whisper

(7*)
Whisper sighed as Alcar disappeared from sight, had he brashly acted instead of speaking to the elves he assumed that he would have been swiftly cut down.  He was certain that somewhere down the road he'd run across the rogue and then he'd have his vengeance.  Looking to his captors he thought it was a lucky break for him that there was just enough truth to his lies to fool the elves.  They might just get him out of this jam, but what about the orchids?  Whisper focused his thoughts inward, 'Septul, I suppose there is no returning through the tunnel we exited by to gather a few more of those orchids?'

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

SEPTUL: aye, that was what the corrupt priest intended when he made me a vampire. Imagine the secrets you could pluck from that wily little creature!

ELF-KNIGHT: the elf’s stone faced features relaxed a little bit as he digested what you told him. He still eyed you with distrust, but carefully considered what you said despite. He turned to one of his female aides and said ‘search them both, the human and the exiled’

One of the female archers dismounted and put her bow over her shoulder as she patted you down, her hands probing you with practiced skill. The knight walked up to you after the rudimentary inspection, ‘well Liera?’ the female elf turned to him ‘he’s armed to the teeth, and has this’ she opened your tunic to reveal the amulet. The elf’s eyes widened in shock, ‘how in the Empress’s name?’ he said, incredulously. He whispered something in a higher form of elvish you couldn’t understand, then reverted to common. In the exchange the female elf-archer said something with a wry mischievious grin on her face.

The knight said ‘my scout tells me you were of the party responsible in cleansing Sograth keep, gaining my Empress’s respect. Now that I know what brought you to violate ancient edicts that’s customarily  punishable by swift justice, and demonstrating concern for elf-folk you know nothing about I grant you your requests. Secondly, this cave was guarded by my folk at the request of the order of Lor, nobody was to enter or egress from it alive, on pain of death. However, since it seems you came from the rear entrance and not this one here I consider your daring theft exempt from this clerical law. They only said anyone emerging from the cave on this side, nothing about the rear one’ he smiled. Then, pausing for a moment in contemplation he must have taken ten minutes before saying ‘well, I thought about Alcar’s execution method. The usual way is death by a sanctified elven blade, or fire’

Then, Alcar lashed out and his animated silver hand snatched the pouch taken from him by the female elf-scout. He incinerates the pouch of orchids in his hand and laughed, ‘execution indeed! You clueless simpletons prattle about laws and rights, but you’ve not the damndest clue what plans my handlers have, and what things I’ve heard. Prepare yourselves, for doom rises and a storm brews!’ he leaped up and dismounts one of the other elves ‘out of my way!’ he rode off toward the woods. As the other elves take a bead and loose arrows after him, Alcar causes a shimmering azure blue disc of light to materialize ahead of him and disappears through it.



Whisper
Whisper

(6*)
'Septul, could you acquire Alcar's knowledge should you consume him?'  Whisper thought to the amulet as he raised his hands and spoke to the elf knight.  "Lord elf knight, Alcar's poisoned Lord Dreygar, the watch captain of Southern Cross.  The only remedy to Alcar's poison is the sapphire orchid of which I have 25 blooms in that satchel.  Enough to cure Lord Dreygar and the two elves that are about the area here with some odd affliction.  I regret to inform you that Arbane Arrowind perished while aiding me in dealing with the black guards that Alcar brought here with him.  We were only trying to acquire the flowers for Lord Dreygar and the pair of elves.  I have carried Arbane's personal belongings from within the tunnels to be given to any family that he may have.  To honor his sacrifice I humbly request three small boons: that I be the one to carry out the sentence you have given Alcar, that you take enough of the orchids to cure the two elves with the odd disease, and that us three humans be allowed to return to Southern Cross with enough orchids to cure Lord Dreygar."

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

SEPTUL: where in the nine hells are you going? I don’t want another eunuch, their life force scarcely sustains my insatiable hunger. Get that damned elf! Every time I devour a soul you reap the rewards, remember that.

ASH used a dropped spear to free Storm, and Storm who leaped onto his feet snarling ‘I’M GOING TO DESTROY YOU, ELF!’ you sensed the presence of horses nearby, and heard the twang of bowstrings, the screaming of magic missiles and spells detonating into presumed targets. A black guard ablaze with fire came running out of the trees, shot down with four arrows to his backside.

IT WAS THEN that a cadre of elves burst forth out of the forest, seeing Ash they mistook him for one. But the black clad cleric sheathed his mace and lifted his empty hands ‘stay your weapons, I’m merely disguised as one of these’ he called out with a convincing tone. The archers kept their longbows knocked, and one elven knight spun in his saddle to regard everyone here. His fellows, a pair of female elven archers slew two black guardsmen who wouldn’t drop their weapons in compliance.

Alcar: ‘I’m afraid I haven’t the time or care to sit here and play with you stupid fools for long’ then Alcar made a motioning gesture towards you when an animated silver hand flew out and snatched one of your leather pouches. It was the one with the sapphire orchids, and he laughed triumphantly ‘sorry my foolish friend, but the Lord Commander can die a slow death after all’

There were more elves pouring in.The Elfin knight blurted out in a challenging stern tone ‘by edict of her excellency the Empress you’re all under arrest for trespass in Imperial lands, and unsanctioned use of the moon gate. Crimes subject to immediate execution'

Storm glared incredulously at the Elf, ‘The hell we are! We’re the ones who cleared your lady’s cursed isle, I think that covers our crime’

The Elf-Knight wasn’t impressed, and  said ‘The next time this person speaks fire away at him’ the knight dismounted, his eyes darting to each person sizing them up and he suddenly drew his curvaceous elven sword and leveled it at Storm’s jaw ‘I’m not sure what you think you’re doing but you’re not going to be spilling elven blood in these sacred lands. If you’ve some dispute with this one, you can take it up with a higher court of law. But your lawlessness shant be tolerated my friend’ just as quickly he sheathed his blade and looked toward Alcar, ‘you again, you’re in violation of your exile. The sentence is immediate execution’

Alcar: “Ah yes, but I’m afraid you’d have to actually catch me for that’ he smiled smugly and vanished out of existence. The knight wasn’t surprised and he stopped to concentrate then faded from view as well in the same fashion. A split second later he returned with Alcar in custody, ‘you stupid fool, I’m half Vadhagh I can journey the planes as can you’ he said to Alcar in a belittling tone. Binding Alcar’s hands behind his back, the elven knight declared in an officious cold tone ‘For breaking the Imperial exile placed upon you for numerous crimes against elvenkind from assassination to thievery, dissidence, treason, espionage, and selling of imperial secrets to humans I declare you, Alcar Ablefingers guilty on all counts, and to be relinquished of life forthwith as penalty for your inexcusable blasphemies’

SEPTUL: if he dies, so does all the knowledge and experience he carries with him.



Whisper
Whisper

(5*) (4+1 vampire healing)
Whisper drank one of his healing potions(5 left), as he tried to push his tattered body to elude any more attackers that had an aim on him.  He trusted that Storm, Hedron, and Ash were capable of keeping Alcar busy as he went in search of the man who had put a spear through his leg.  There were other black guards in the forest to hunt down and feed to Septul.  Perhaps the time spent doing so would mend some of his mounting wounds or maybe she had another trick up in mind.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

SEPTUL’S POWER FLOWED OUT OF THE AMULET, AND SHE SUCCESSFULLY DOMINATED one of the black guardsmen from afar. The charm was much more intense than the spell you heard tale of. At once you gained a sense of the controlled guardsmans thoughts, and you realized now you could control him through thought entirely. There wasn't much to learn from the connection, his thoughts were mindless obedience. A blunt instrument in an army of sameness.

WHISPER climbed and stole just above the head of one of the guardsmen, crept down in a crouch behind him and grabbed his mouth then plunged his sword into the soldier’s back killing him with a single stroke (-21 hp dmg) the second crossbowman turned and peered in your direction. You hurled a dagger into the soldier’s left eyesocket, watching it go hilt-deep and killing him where he stood (20: 99% critical) he was dead for the throwing dagger pierced his brain, his body fell over into some shrubs some 10 feet below.

The black sect priest and Elf noticed you first. Then, the dominated guardsman hurled two spears into the back of the cleric who fell face flat onto Alcar, pinning the elf beneath his bulk. A guardsman ran towards the dominated one, but Storm reached out a foot and tripped the soldier up, and Hedron kicked the soldier in the jaw.

Just then a ginormous bear came bursting out of the woods towards the black guard, issuing a threatning howl.  Two black guardsmen raised their shields and prepared to impale the angry animal, throwing their spears and drawing longswords. The bear came in and raked at their shields, standing errect at an impressive 7 ft in height.

Black guardsman #5 flung his spear at you (-8 hp dmg) it gouged you in the left knee penetrating the black armor you wore, blood oozed out of the nasty wound as the spear fell out and tumbled to the ground below.

Angrily Alcar callously shoved the dead priest off of himself and rose up, leveled a wand in your direction and emitted two orange spheres that blasted into your body (-7 hp fire damage) singing your eyebrows and hair, and leaving 3rd degree burns in your skin where the holes were made.

The dominated soldier stole in and plunged his sword into black guardsman #4, then stabbed with his offhanded dagger finishing the opponent off. Two of his fellow brothers tried to end his life but the controlled guardsman wove and ducked their blows easily enough.

THE BEAR fell upon guardsman #1, who crashed to the ground hard and the bear bit a pound of flesh out of the guardsman’s torso. Guardsman #2 came in with a longspear, missed and the bear clawed at his ankle in a fierce swipe of its irretractable claw, causing a bloody tear to rip through the soldier’s black armor.

Alcar extended a hand toward the dominated guardsman, issuing a tongue of flames that engulfed the soldier and put him on the ground. Just as he was dying, another guardsman came up behind another and impaled him with his spear, running him through. You noted the face of the guardsman was Ash Elekroth, who seems to have infiltrated this group. In retalation for his treachery, Alcar sent two more magic missiles plowing into the cleric, who screamed in a mixture of rage and pain. Reeling, the cleric regained his composure and pulled out a lion-headed mace, ‘you’ll pay for that, you pointy earred pissant!’

‘Somehow I doubt that’ Alcar checked.

DECISION
 



Whisper
Whisper

(19)*vampire healing rate
Whisper used his enhanced vision to find the closest of the strategically placed crossbowmen among the boulders.  His keen eyes then tried to pick out a route that would keep him out of view of the two archers in the trees.  'Septul, it will be done as you have suggested.  The archers are a greater threat, Storm and that blabber mouth Hedron will know what to do when freed.'  He tried to quickly and silently skulk off in order to catch his chosen victim unawares.  He held his short sword at the ready, just in case things didn't go as planned ...

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

YOU SAW ALCAR emerge from the bowels of the cave as you stealthfully crept closer and spied on the guardsmen. When you circled the cavernous walls, you were able to peer around a bend and could visually see them from afar. There seemed to be some argument transpiring between Alcar and a black cleric:

Alcar: “if the Harokinian's rat gains the sapphire orchid, Lord Dreygar will overcome the poison I had administered to him...and you know what that means. More outside interference with your operations in the southlands. Be patient, if he emerges he’ll undoubtedly be scathed, and won't be much trouble as these two gave you”

black cleric: “slave? they’re not worthy of imperial slave pens! They’ll be sanctified and prepared for ritual sacrifice. Tharizol be praised, we grow closer towards our objective. You’ve served the Empire aptly my pointy eared friend. Though this ser Storm would make a excellent bodyguard. He took six of my men before capture, and he was drunk and armed with a kitchen knife’

‘Impressive, Lady Kyrillia does have an eye for talent’ Alcar said, stroking his chin.

Septul: if you sneak closer, I will bind one with a spell. Whisper a command into his ear to kill the cleric, and to free your companions. Meanwhile take out the elf or the archers’

Whisper
Whisper

(18)*vampire healing rate
Whisper smiled at Septul's questioning, 'Septul, I care little for the black guard and was merely taken a back by his ending.  It was the first time that I had someone's body quickly go from being whole to nothingness while in my very hands!  It was unsettling but I shall overcome it, worry not!'  Whisper took in what the gifted vision showed him, a bit alarmed that Alcar was nowhere to be seen.  'I hope your hunger has not been sated.'  Whisper set out, careful of traps, to silently address the problem of the elevated archers with his granted second sight and short sword in hand.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

SEPTUL: I fear it is beyond my power what you ask from me, though using the dweomer of second sight you will perceive life through solid objects.

Septul activated the dweomer and you suddenly saw through the rocky mound you emerged out of, and spotted several beings through the cluster of rocky mass lurking near the cave mouth you and Arbane entered hours ago. They had with them Hedron, and Storm as captives. There were two black guard archers hiding in the trees, and eight other guardsmen positioned in strategic places each with crossbows loaded and readied.

Septul's voice resonated: why do you feel pity for a black guardsman? He would have killed you without question. To become one they take a young infant and claim its life as a rite of passage. They are also given puppies and are forced to claim them as well, within a years time when the emotional binding is firm.

This guardsman had worn the following:

  • black chainmail
  • black bronze spiked warhelm with noseguard
  • greaves & vambraces
  • round buckler shield
  • spear
  • dagger
  • sandals
  • belt, 4 beltpouches one with food and one with vials of water.



Whisper
Whisper

(17)*vampire healing rate
Whisper was dumb-struck by the horrific end to the man's life.  He sat there unblinking for a few moments before he shook his head to clear his mind and a cold shiver ran down his spine.  While there was no body to have to dispose of, and in his line of work he knew that was a very valuable thing, perhaps the fighter's belongings were still about and possibly the man had carried orders or something of use?  Turning his thoughts inward his eyes looked about the hillside searching for the cavern that Arbane and he had entered the Lorian temple/maze by.  Everything looked the same in this natural landscape and he feared that he had only a vague idea of where Southern Cross was from here.  'Septul, I know the elf.  Alcar is quick, skilled and dangerous.  I look forward to ending his life but first things first.  I left behind a fool in the cave entrance who might be of some use as a blade in return for being shown the way back to civilization.  Can you sense if he is still there and if so what direction that might be in?'  He was loathe to try and sneak back into Southern Cross with the chattering ninny but the fighter was a sword arm that he desperately needed at the moment and there didn't seem to be anyone else about that might be interested in heading back with him. 

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

You found the opposite to be true, instead of being distracting her voice soothed and focused you.

‘Call me Septul, it is the rank I held in life before I was betrayed. Ordinarily, I would concur with your tactic. But the Black Imperium are incorruptable and impervious to torture. If he doesn’t succumb to my power, sink that pretty blade into his back’

charm: the guardsman clutched his head as if fighting some invisible force inside, growled and then hissed triumphantly before drawing a dirk and saying 'you're here, aren't you?'

you ran up to the man soundlessly (move silently: succeeded)

backstab: +9 bonus to hit: 17, -6x3=18 hp dmg: you plunged your sword into the small of the eunuch's back. The black guardsman grunted and succumbed to deaths embrace, before falling you caught him and dragged him into the nearby bushes. Then his flesh practically melted from his bones until he was nothing but a pile of ash and salt, all life drained out of him and poured into the amulet.

Septul: an elf named Alcar Ablefingers followed you out of Southern Cross. They're near the front entrance waiting for you to emerge. Six black guards, a cleric, and the elf. They have one of your companions, a knight named Storm Telemvor'


Whisper
Whisper

(11+close to vampire rate healing)
Whisper's keen eyes sought a route that could bring him close to the black guard yet keep the man unaware of his approach.  He was nowhere near as learned as Kessa in the ways of the forest but hopefully he could get in close enough to do what the amulet demanded or to cut the unsuspecting man down with his short sword.  Whisper focused his mind and sought the council of the amulet, 'Amulet of Secrets or whatever you wish to be referred to, before you or we feed upon this fool's life force would it not be wise to search his thoughts while he is under your charm?  Knowledge about why the Black Guard and Black Sect sought you out after so many years hidden away from the world would prove valuable indeed would it not?  Both in keeping you out of their hands and myself alive for a few more breaths.'  Whisper smiled, thinking himself clever, and waited a few moments for the woman's thoughts to enter his mind.  He didn't want to be distracted by her thoughts while sneaking towards the guard, after all that could prove fatal.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

You knew nothing about the ways of deities or religion, other than they were masters of hoarding treasures.

WHISPER’S DEXTROUS HANDS obeyed him flawlessly and with some minor struggle you perfectly aligned the stone symbols into position. Two arrows whizzed over your shoulder and bounced off the walls, using the chains you positioned yourself near the door and inserted the platinum claw. The door slithered open and you leaped forth finding purchase inside a large round tubular tunnel, the walls were studded with torch sconces that ignited as you drew in close proximity to them, but not with fire. Instead, soft continual white light. You took another arrow in the back (-6 hp dmg) and it inserted flech deep in your bod.

THE NEW PASSAGE smelled of fresh air ahead.

You felt compelled to placing on the amulet entirely against your will you wrapped it over your neck, and you felt a rush of ecstasy intwined with an agonizing hunger for something.

THE WOMAN’S VOICE entered your mind, it resonated with fluidity with a detached manner as if neither living or dead. You noticed the injuries you sustained were slowly fading away. She said: “I am the voice of the amulet of secrets, a relic of the God Lor. Once, I was an archivist in my ancient order, until I was elected by the high priest to undergo a horrible transformation. They made me into a vampire, against my will as a secret experiment. They kept me prisoner in secret, unknown to all save the High Septon and did unspeakable things to me, fed me brothers and sisters of the faith who were once my fellow acolytes Yet they stupidly gave me the dark powers of an ancient master, and with it I destroyed the corrupt ones after fifty years of torment.

With me around your neck you will be able to know things beyond the ken of mere mortals. I infused my soul and gifts into this amulet so that one day I would be brought out of isolation and used once again for the common weal. I can tell you the secrets of places and things, give you insights and counsel fitting for the ears of kings and queens. You will see your strength increased, and your cunning, your dexterity, and wounds from ordinary weaponry will fade within minutes’

Once you reached the end of the passage you saw it came to a set of stairs that lead to a vine curtained cave mouth. As you reached it, you peeked through and saw what looked like a single soldier in black armor, spiked helm, and longsword/dagger at his belt. He leaned on a two handed spear and glanced left and right perodically. He was stone faced and didn’t show any signs of unawareness.

WOMAN’S VOICE: ‘Ah, a black imperial guardsman. They are raised from age 5 in the art of combat. Eunuchs each of them, incorruptable and emotionless. Highly irregular for them to be in Elven Lands, but then it is no doubt at the biddance of a Black Sect cleric. A fallen priest of Lor who turn to evil Gods for power and strength. Be careful, they aren’t to be taken lightly. However, if you bore me closer I can ensnare this one with a potent charm, then drink of his lifeforce. I too must eat I fear’

Whisper
Whisper


The shooting pain in Whisper's leg brought focus to his mind and the matter at hand.  His dextrous and sensitive hands each quickly turned a different dial feeling for the proper combination of the lock when its mechanism slid into place.  He was hoping that there was such a feeling, if not he would have to use his best judgement and hold onto the walls and chains praying to find the right combination before time ran out or the skeletons got lucky.  (Does the PC know anything about Lorian teachings that might indicate a likely combination of characters?  If not he will go with the almost aligned symbols of dragon, fox, bat and hope for the best when inserting the claw).

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

WHISPER tried and tried to ascertain a thought out angle of attack for his ascent, his brain hurt for the attempt. The chains, the variables, the ladies words seemed to only confuse you.

You grabbed and held one of the chains, to test their strength and grip. Sure enough, it melted into sand after 20 seconds count, where another materialized out of thin air. After climbing straight up the center chain, you simply latched onto the adjacent one and continued an upward climb. After the 20 second count, you reached and couldn’t grab hold of the adjacent chain in time. You began to fall and grabbed a chain with your right leg, a manuever you learned during your circus days.

You struggled but lacked the strength to hoist your entire body upright. Instead, you used your agility and wove then grabbed hold of another chain, scaled up, latched onto another, continued, and then you neared the ceiling. You spotted the object that had been the source of the woman’s voice: an amulet necklace where the illusory image of a heart made of red light burned within a locket. You also noted a hand-trap protecting the area where it hovered in its niche. Using a dagger you bypass the trap and flung the necklace into your hand, just when the chain melted into nothingness you fell and latched onto another chain and swung to a perch wherein a rounded door awaited. Right when your feet found purchase, the ledge began to slowly sink inward towards the wall. The door bore a imprint where a claw should be. There were three sets of patterned icons each within a circular array:

#1: dragon, wolf, owl
#2: bear, fox, eagle
#3: cobra, scorpion, bat

presently the dragon, fox, and bat were somewhat aligned, but not perfectly.

*TWIPPPTTTTT* an arrow thudded into the wall in front of you, and another tore into your right leg (-3 hp dmg) you spun and saw two skeletal archers on opposite ledges, each with a longbow.

DECISION?

Whisper
Whisper

(20)
Whisper spent a long series of moments where he stood in the tunnel looking about the impaled cleric for additional traps in the passage as well as where he could see on the floor within the chamber.  He hoped to avoid setting off any more traps, gather the claw from the floor, gather up 25 of the flowers(just to have a few extra in case some of the 20 are unusable because he has no way of coming back), and then try and map out the proper approach on how to best gain the center of the ceiling.  He guessed that it would be a mix of wall climbing, acrobatics, tumbling, and sheer luck to avoid falling to his death but he wanted to figure out what looked to be the best route before foolishly starting his ascent.  The mysterious and likely valuable gem in the ceiling of the spider's lair called to him from the back of his mind, but it could wait for the time being!  'Boy, what I wouldn't give for a mage's flying spell!' He thought to himself as he prepared himself to execute his plan.

OC: just realized the assassin was in the bottom of the pit, no way am I climbing down there!

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

You found the assassin in the new passageway, at the end of a long stretch of tunnel was an open pit. As you neared it, you saw him below impaled on a spear with two darts protruding from his neck. There were noticable holes in the left and right of the pit that undoubtedly shot these into the man. On the ground here is a platinum claw, worth a considerable fortune.

Before you loomed a massive chamber, the ground was covered with mossy earth. There were white sapphire orchids in the droves grown herein. Hanging from above were numerous chains that reached 100 ft above, and numerous landings embedded in all four walls. In the center of the ceiling, smack middle of an elaborate mosaic depicting a woman with a book in one hand, and a sword in the other was a circular opening where you spied a globe of pulsating white light. Hovering in the globe was a sparkling glint, but you couldn’t see what it was from this distance.

WOMAN’S VOICE: the last test, dear sweet young boy. Be careful, I’m highly guarded. But it takes a thief where a cleric has failed. Use the chains to gain me, but they will disappear after 20 seconds and return. You must be swift, and weary. Gain the platforms and recoup your strength. They are sensitive to touch, and will move about when you land on them though sluggishly.

Whisper
Whisper

(20)
"Thanks Arbane!"  Whisper quietly offered up to Arbane's spirit wherever it was for leaving behind a useful mixed bag of his potent magic arrows.  As he used a dagger to cut his legs free of webbing the young rogue glanced up briefly at the gleaming red gem in the ceiling.(Non Weapon Prof: Appraisal)  Before leaping to his feet he took a few long breaths to slow the rush of adrenaline.  He needed a level head to pursue the assassin as well as to determine where the scent of the orchids was coming from.  'I shall have to come back for you my pretty!' He thought to himself as he gained his feet, shouldered his bow, and readied his short sword.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

WHISPER knocked one of Arbane’s elfin arrows, loosing the missile it thudded into the spider’s bulbous rear then the arrow causes a fiery erruption within the spider, parts of its exoskeleton burst as a fount of its green ichor oozes forth from where the arrow penetrated. The spider looked hurt, unaccustomed to its prey biting back. Regardless it was not going to retreat from its own lair, and it fired another snag-strand of web you easily avoided.

The man was impossible to be used as a human shield. he was suspended in the middle of the doorway his back to you and effectively barred entry through it. A moment later he manages to pry himself free with use of a small knife, and he bolts into the new passage laughing  so long, you little twirp!’

ROUND 2: both you and the spider shoot at one another, missing.

ROUND 3: The spider snags your left ankle, dragging you along with incredible strength excitedly like a fisherman having caught a kingsfish. You plucked another arrow and loose it watching in satisfaction as it struck the spider with a small stinging fire blast. The flames devoured its webbing and it fell off of its perch, using a strand of invisible web to land gently. On the ground it readied itself and resumed pulling you towards its chittering maw. You were a dagger toss away, and its mouth as widely visible, its eight black eyes regarding you in cold apathy like a true predator. You unleashed another of Arbane’s arrows, this time the missile shot through the spider’s gaping maw and detonated within, causing it to rupture and rip in half its green ichor of lifeblood exploding in all directions.

Whisper
Whisper

(20)
Whisper took off in a sprint towards the stuck man, hoping to put the man in between himself and the giant spider on the other side of the room.  Launching arrows with his bow at the beast while using the man as a barrier was the only strategy that he could come up with as he rushed to get off the open ground of the chamber while the beast was still dealing with its own webbing.  He would have to consider the man's request for freedom should the beast approach but for now he would serve Whisper well as a shield ...
(OC should the man be able to begin freeing himself Whisper will put an arrow in his head, leaving a meal behind for the spider should slow the beast down if he had to retreat)

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

WHISPER: you frog leaped over the poisoned caltrops, one snagged the heel of your boot, but didn’t penetrate through. You plucked it out and removed it with your gloved hand and continued down the steps cautiously. When you made the shortened hall below it lead to a door at the end, beyond you saw a cavernous space where a slight wind howled forth from, blowing your hair and carrying the perfumed scent of the sapphire orchid.

AS you got to the cavern, it was littered with rusted bits of armor: greaves, vambraces, helms, and other refuse: a goblin skull, an elf skull, a halfling skull, a dwarf’s ribcage, tattered cloaks, broken axes, rusted swords, splintered spears. Then, in a doorless opening to your immediate left you saw the masked cloaked man suspended by a thick webbing in midair. He was cursing audibly and you saw it: a giant spider at the north end of the cavern clung to the ceiling. Out of it shot a thick strand of web that snagged your foot and it began dragging you toward its animated maw, its two mandibles retracted two large black fangs.

The web-caught masked man peered over his shoulder ‘eh friend, should’a had more of a care!’ he said without any humor in his tone. He was struggling against the webbing but was stuck firmly. Then you pulled against the spider’s web, nearly yanking it from its perch and spliced the webbing with your sword. It sent its own webstrand flying back at it like a torn rubberband.

You saw something glint off of the light generated by your sword, peering overhead in the spider’s roost was a goblin skull and inside of it: a red gleaming gem.

‘hey how bout cutting me down and we take care of that blasted spider?’ the man in the web says to you.



Whisper
Whisper

(20)
Whisper attempted to leap and clear the scattering of caltrops and pursue retreating figure. (Non Weapon Profs: Tumbling/Acrobatics)

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

When your ventriloquism errupted, the lone black cloaked masked man bolted down the steps, tossing a handfull of caltrops behind him. The other two cloaked men were dead, their throats slit. When you get to the top of the steps you see the man’s trailing cloak vanish from view down the long flight of stairs. The caltrops are glistening with a syrupy resin ‘fuck house Everhate!’ you heard the man hiss in a raspy voice.

What do you do?

Whisper
Whisper

(20)

Whisper drank a mouthful of olive oil, swirling the coating liquid around in his mouth before swallowing the buttery flavored liquid.  With his daggers at the ready he threw his voice into the darkness beyond the pair of thieves.  What would frighten the duo?  Drow in the darkness!  He just happened to know one to lay blame on!  A smile curled his lip and in the drow tongue he commanded the men to: 'Drop your weapons and submit to the will of the Lord of House Everhate!'

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

QUAFFING  A POTION OF ACCELERATED HEALING: +10 HP RESTORED.

YOU TOOK THE FOLLOWING OFF OF ARBANE:

  • quiver of 40 elven arrows
  • quiver of 20 armor piercing arrows
  • quiver of 10 flight arrows
  • elven dagger
  • elven shortsword
  • elven collapsable longbow
  • elf-chain hauberk
  • a leatherbound journal
  • elven rations, 2 weeks
  • water
  • pouch of 50 gold pieces
  • 2 vials of milky white liquid
  • boots
  • cloak


As you avoided any more mirror images springing to life using the cloak, you reached the mirror and discovered it to be a doorway after. The fragrant smell of the flowers is intensified, the pollen is sweet smelling, like honeysuckle.


You crept through the concealed door, it entered a short hall that extends 10 paces coming to another passage running east-west. You approached stealthfully when you came to the entryway of this new passage, and peering around the corner to the right you saw three men poised at the head of a stairwell.

The three men were cloaked and hooded, bearing shortswords and daggers. One had a mask on his face, a black mask depicting a grinning demon. One of the cloaked ones said to the masked man ‘I told you, piece of cake. There’s little that Delnar cannot quickly steal’

‘Ah, yes. Give it to me’ the masked man commanded. The one named Delnar reached into his leather satchel and produced a platinum claw. The masked man paused to marvel at it, then quickly regained his composure stuffing it into his own leather satchel. ‘You’ve done exceedingly well Delnar, I’ll have to include a substantial bonus to your usual fee’

Delnar: “Good, that claw was troublesome to get’

‘Unfortunately your bonus prevents you from enjoying your fee. Because the bonus is your life’

Delnar: “very funny, Danthris’

Danthris: “I’m afraid I’m not jesting, never had much of a sense of humor, or so I’ve been told. I really should work on that. But alas, my employers demanded discretion’ when, the masked figure inserted a dagger into the cloaked thief’s neck, and sliced open the other man who stood there before he could reach for his sword, stabbed at him multiple times in the chest. The one named Delnar cried out ‘you foul bastard, how can you do this to me?’ when Danthris laughed and said ‘ah, but this is how the devil repays his helpers!’ Lets face it friend, sooner or later one of your cheap crook friends would’ve stabbed you in the back. Look at the bright side, I stabbed you while facing you head on. Most thieves are always protecting their back. But assassins like me prefer the direct approach, none of this childish shit’ he then said ‘it’ll suffice you to know that the wound is superficial, but you’ll bleed out slowly enough to keep you alive long enough. There’s a giant spider down there, I need to get past it. You’ll serve as its meal this evening. That’s why I only pricked you enough to cause you weakness, but not sufficient to kill you as your friend there. I think it’s more poetic you should be consumed. The spider is a marvelous way to go. It’ll cacoon you in webbing you can barely breath in, then it’ll fill you with its venom. You won’t be able to move or feel anything for days when it decides to drain you completely of blood. I almost want to stick around to enjoy that. it’s like art is it not?”

WOMAN'S VOICE: that man holds the key to my release. He's trying to steal me for his employers, the black sect. If you spook him he may flee, with the key. But that is what you want him to do. Insert a pair of daggers into his back! Be swift and merciless.
 

Whisper
Whisper

(10)
Whisper drank the opened healing potion in the eerie light cast by his short sword.  He knew that his wounds were quite severe and without Arbane at his side he could ill afford to face any foe in such a wounded state.  Whisper then went about the grim task of taking anything of use from his former traveling companion's body.  He filled his half empty quiver with many of Arabane's superior arrows, took any items that were of value or use(Non Weapon Prof: Appraisal; which ever cloak is in better repair he will wear, the other he will place over the mirror, top off his water supply up, take any food, etc..), or to possibly pass on to Arbane's queen for favor, or to sell.  Lastly Whisper retrieved his daggers and then set off down the hallway with care to avoid other traps that may be about.  Towards the mirror he silently crept hoping to place his tattered cloak over the top half of the giant mirror to prevent a repeat of what took Arbane's life should he have to come back this way.  At the side of the mirror the thief took a moment to try and figure out if he could smell the aroma of the orchids and if so from what direction it originated from.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

 Arbane: “No, I told him to stand guard near the entrance. I don't work well with those I don't know very well, so its for the best. Be careful!’

dex check at 1/2 penalty: succeeded

Whisper entered the trapped antichamber, scouring it for any other lesser traps and finding nothing to be concerned about. Positioning your hands, breathing deeply you flicked the cube through the air, leaped toward the door in a roll and caught the cube mid-air. As it landed in your hand you rolled through the doorway as the porcullis fell and tore your cloak in half. Arbane helping you up, whistled ‘not bad for a human’ he said, patting you on the back. “What you said earlier, what makes you so certain its her temple? Nevermind, the answers will come ere long. Let’s proceed, my heart yearns for the woods already. I’m not a drow elf’ he said with a chuckle, then turned toward you saying ‘that was a joke’.

As you continued along the main passageway you came to a circular chamber where runes were engraved in every inch of the walls, ceiling, and floor. What they meant you hadn’t the slightest clue, but the runes beneath you activated with blue radiant light. You saw an indentation in the wall straight ahead, cube shaped. As you inserted the cube the wall seemed to melt away. Beyond, a hall beckoned you. As you drew closer, a humming sound errupted from the bowels of the floor. Then: four scythe-blades swung left to right, and right to left within the hallway. On the opposite end of the hallway you saw what appeared to be a cube-shaped niche in the center of the wall there.

(remove traps: succeeded) Whisper found a mechanism hid in the corner of the new passage before him. It consisted of two gyrating gears that rotated constantly. Inserting a dagger into the gears, the scythes came to an immediate screeching halt. Tentatively you both clambered past the bladed scythes and made it past unschathed.

Beyond the scythe protected hallway, you entered a corridor that veered right and down it nearly 10 paces cut left. When you turned left and entered a new hallway there was a mirror at the far end. When your reflections mirrored in the large wall sized mirror, you noticed your reflection smiling at you even though you didn’t. It sprang to aliveness and leaped out of the mirror, along with Arbane’s own reflection. Arbane’s mirror image knocked four arrows and took a bead on him. While your own mirror image drew two throwing daggers and flung them toward you ‘dodge this, fool!’ he hissed at you .

Arbane is shot with 3 arrows, and he goes down immediately as the missiles plunged deeply into him. Your mirror image hurled two daggers that flew past your face harmlessly. (21, 97%) you hurled a dagger into Arbane’s mirror image, the dag pierced into the elven archer’s forehead killing him instantly.

ROUND 2:

Your reflection throws another two daggers at you then rushes toward you, as you sidestepped he drew a shortsword and dagger ready to face you head on. Your reflection tore into you (-2 hp dmg), stabbing with his dagger missing as you lurched inwardly. You slashed at the replicant (-14 hp dmg) with your sword and dagger. He looks injured now.

ROUND 3:

Both of you leap at one another at the same instance. He swiped at you with his shortsword (-1 hp dmg) scoring you for a stinging bite (-1 hp dmg) you , then you came and sunk your sword into your mirror image (critical: -18 hp dmg) killing your replica.

you've won!

Arbane, croaking on his own lifeblood reached out toward you, grabbing you by the nape of your tunic. As you pried out a vial of the healing draught, he waved a dismissive hand ‘no my friend, I’m dying. The arrows found my vitals’ he grabbed your hand and squeezed hard, and he pulled you close ‘I would have liked to have seen what lied at the end of this place! Farewell, tell the others I’m sorry I failed them. Cheat death at all costs my wily friend, don’t let the others down!’

Then, Arbane gave one last gasp and died.




Whisper
Whisper

(13)
Whisper looked at the elf, "The voice from above is not just an echo repeating itself for eternity."  He indicated the cube hovering above the pedestal in the adjacent room.  "Did Hedron follow?  Anyways, she is aware of us and is learning from us as we poke about in her temple.  She has told me that the cube there is necessary but the room is trapped.  Please stay here in the hallway, should I get trapped in the room we might be able to work together to get me out."  Whisper then took his time and with care positioned himself behind the pedestal so that he could try and grab the cube in mid tumble as he attempted to gain the exit with it as the voice had suggested.  (Non Weapon Profs: Find Traps,Acrobatics)

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

 Arbane: ‘yes, but you’ll require light to see by, which negates my second sight. I’ll tarry just behind your light’s aura and keep you covered with my bow. Use some of the animal noises Morga and Kessa use, barn owl for ‘its clear’, and a snake like hiss for enemies if you see any. If you use the barn owl twice I’ll know there’s something to give pause for. I can loose four arrows at a single time, so you’ll be well covered. However if we do run into anything down there, get yourself hid. You’ll serve best from the shadows. I have heard about such places before, secreted by the order of Lor in random places. The Empress’s spies scour the kingdom for them, they’re well hid. Let’s descend. Also I’ll draw a map in case we get lost, who knows what lies down there?’

THE NEW BRAND you gained from Sograth keep softly emitted a hazy dim eldritch ambient light, enough to see by.

‘Ah, the blade you’d gotten. It seems to bear a dweomer’ Arbane said, ‘good thing’

STAIRCASE: you silently crept down the steps, midway down the light from your sword glinted a sparkly outline of a thin suspicious strand which ran across the stairs. You walked over it, and Arbane did as well. The Elf said ‘press on, we’ve no time to disable traps down here master thief’ he said to you. When you cleared the trap safely both of you came to the landing and saw it deposited into a round curvaceous tube shaped tunnel, where embedded into the side walls were hundreds, if not thousands of human, elven, orc, gnomic, and goblinoid skulls embedded into the stonework in neat arrangement. All of the skulls were coated with embalmers resin.

WOMAN’S VOICE: This place was filled with the remains of those who kept secret and safe those that must not be awoke, and secrets that must not be revealed. Her voice had an ethereal quality to it, detached and indifferent but deep in knowledge. It sounded like a voice that belonged to a beautiful sly mysterious woman, enigmatic and hypnotic.

Her voice was ethereal, detached, but intriguing to the ear. Fluid, full of a certain confident wisdom. It was as though she were confiding secrets, secrets not meant to be.

The tunnel continued northward, when you stepped on a pressure plate. From the ceiling of the tunnel came a long battering ram suspended by metal components, a horned skull of a ram mounted on it. The ram slammed straight into your stomach knocking the wind out of you (-6 hitpoints blunt damage)

WOMAN’S VOICE:
Many men desire me, but none were worthy of my considerable gifts. You’ll have to be sharp if you’re to aquire me, Whisper of Tunis!

The battering ram eerily retracted back into its concealed state, barely noticeable as it mechanically reset. Arbane: “damnable dwemer artiface, in elven sacred lands to add insult to injury’ you regained yourself and pressed on, when you came to a door to your left and to your right. To the left, a room with a single pedestal in the centre. Hovering upon the center of the top of it was a unremarkable cube that was spinning in a rotating way and there was a ray of continual light resting on the pedestal.

WOMAN’S VOICE:you need that cube if you’re to come to me, young child of life. The room is trapped, one which can be circumvented if you’re fast. If you remove the cube from the pedestal, a portcullis will drop over the door, and the ceiling will lower down slowly to crush any inside. However, both your combined strength can lift said portcullis if you lift at the same time with all your might. Though, there have been some who were able to leap towards the door and roll through before it fell, though that has not transpired in some time.

Arbane, grabbing your shoulder said 'what are you doing?'