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.

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graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

DAGGIA bade everyone to enter into her abode, and she drew the shutters closed. The smell of fresh laundry and sumptious home cooking put everyone at ease, and her charming little home was a good 15 ft above ground. Storm and Morga were taut and alert, but also at ease. Storm took it upon himself to sample a wooded spoon full of the stew she offered, as if to taste for treachery then gave Morga the nod that it was good, and quickly bowls were dispensed to the children and Storm gave her a appreciative look of admiration, ‘Crone, though I’ve only met you now my thanks. You cook better than any master chef I’ve sampled!’ he completed three heaping bowls and a gallon of water, then said “Amazingly spacious and deceptively so, you’ve a little castle here madam!’

Daggia smirked, “I was afforded such by the castellan for years of service in the Duke’s kitchen. Our Lord Duke is a kingly man, some say he ought to ascend to the throne. However, there’s been conjecture that Lord Kraybor lusts for that coveteous seat of power. Why, in the noon of tomorrow there’s going to be held council, seems Kraybor has some significant issue to raise concerning Queen Everanteska’s right to rule. I believe he will seek a vote of no confidence in her abilities, and if that is passed he may claim the throne as Lord Regent. Only Lord Daynar would have the stones to oppose such a vote”

When you were seated Daggia turned towards you and said “There’s been fell things that lurked the cemetary in the wee hours of the night, dreadful things, restless spirits and horrid creatures. A teacher was found just last week, her body drained of blood and her skin as gray as a dead whore, then the watch found ten bodies of similarly kilt prostitutes and four of their pimps, all of these were the more flashy of the night dwellers and their ilk. They weren’t bad souls, just down on their luck and had to work to earn their keep. The Watch try but they’re too damned terrified out of their wits to patrol late at night”

Daggia snickered at you, “What’ye be wanting to know about some silly events in the yonder graveyard? Ask Seth, the nightkeeper if you're interested in learning a wee bit bout happenings theren lad. It’s said there’s a hidden treasure thereabouts, and those who seek it usually the graverobbers and fortune seekers try their luck. Serves em right I say if some fiend from the old world’s bleeding em. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the tavern owner of the Hooknose tavern, she’s one of the kindred, a vampire they call her Dressla. The only known of her kind to dwell in the world of mortals”

She drew closer to examine you intently, and Storm placed a mailed hand on her shoulder ‘ware yerself old hag, that’s me friend’ and she touched his hand and Storm shrugged it away as a electrical discharge zapped him, “Bugger off, lad. I’m not addled in the brain!’ she said, ‘I’m a bit of an oracle, a seer with the gift. You lost fools came to me, remember? And I’ve a premonition it wasn’t purely accidental. That amulet this thieving sneak wears, I saw it in a dream just yestereve as vividly as I’m standing here before you now. And you, Whisper by name, with a baby dragon on your shoulders the color of pure silver, then another of pure copper. Dark men pursued you through dark woods, and many traps were laid in your path at every twist and turn but somehow you evaded all treachery!”


Whisper
Whisper

Whisper took in as many details of the hooded man as he could see and he asked Septul to gift him with a better view of the man as well as the route back to the charnel house.  He planned on returning as quickly and silently as possible to help lead everyone out of the graveyard.  If the situation permitted he would try to stop back at the home of Daggia and learn more about these rumors swirling about of assailants in the night.  Besides he might be able to get a warm meal simply by stopping by, her cooking did smell heavenly...

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

You scaled the wall to no avail, the guards have lost interest in you entirely and are engaged in a game of bone dice.

Guard #1: “Barg, swap posts with me on the eve of morrow, bit o’ coin in it for ya”
Guard #2: “Nothing doing, my fat wife’s making her chicken pie. You know I don’t go the late night shift, worries the hell outta the old ball n chain’
Guard #1: “Fine, I was in the mood to see the sea the view’s better on the north tower. Next time I suppose”
Guard #2: “Aye, asside there’s more wages to be had on the south wall. Nobody wants the ‘graveyard’ shift, get me drift. Tavern talk of strange happenings and all, you know the stories of drunkards and charlatans. Though, I confess I did think I saw some pale faced fiend lurking near one of the graves. Ever since that young Lord went missing in the cemetary I’m not so certain there isn’t some bloodthirsty creature of the night terrorizing the shadows”
Guard #1: “Perhaps, lots of tall tales are told to explain the unexplainable. Last time I heard tales of ghosts and the undead it turned out to be a lone hobgoblin who was wandering the entire countryside putting the fear of the Gods in old farts and addle brained vagabonds”
Guard #2: “Oh yes, that blasted Hob. What ever did happen to the damned fool?”
Guard#1: “Lord Daynar had his entrails torn to pieces and fed to the dogs”
Guard #2: “Lovely, I’d say make him the south guard mascot! That Hob brought a wee bit o’ excitement to the district”
Guard #1: “Bah, excitement indeed! What you WANT is boredom my friend, trust me. Excitement is usually a no good thing, gets you dead quicker. You need to kill those foolish dreams of yours my young friend, go grab you some fat whore for a wife to make you sufficiently miserable, and learn ta read and write. The Duke is asking for us all to learn to read and write now if we wants promotions”
Guard #2: “Ah for the love of hell!” (flips bone dice), ‘Six beats out your two’s, looks like you lost this round”
Guard #1: “Lady luck spreads her legs for ye yet again”
Guard #2: “As well she should, fortune pisses on me far more than she does let me fuck the crazy bitch”

Since the wall sentries had all but forgotten you, you clambered back down and came upon a window to a corridor in the wall, and you overheard a conversation as you paused briefly to peer inside. Within, you spotted a hooded man and a wall guardsman. The hooded man handed the guard a leather drawstring pouch “Here, my shipment should arrive on the morrow at midnight, slip 16. Just be sure the harbormaster turns a blind eye to my special cargo, if you’d be so kind. There’s more where this came from, and Narn, you’ve my thanks. If you need any more for bribes, let me know”

Whisper
Whisper

Whisper's suspicions were not laid to rest after the scrutiny the old woman gave him.  Tucking the amulet back under his shirt the thief smiled and responded to the woman's request trying to be as charming as possible.  "Normally, I would love nothing better then to spend a night in the company of a beautiful woman.  Might you allow me to return in just a short while my dear Daggia?  The guards at the top of the wall are rather trigger happy and if they were better shots they could really harm someone.  Someone needs tell them to ask questions before putting arrows into those mourning the loss of their loved ones."  Whisper intends to pause only briefly before climbing the wall to draw the attention of the guards and possibly disarm them allowing those in the charnel house to leave.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

When you crept along, your foot ran afoul some loose rocks. One of the wall sentries shot at you with his crossbow, the missile whizzed past and the second tore across your ankle (-3 hp dmg) when you came to the wall you heard one of sentries say “damned grave robbers, when will they ever learn?”
The old crone was sampling her own culinary handiwork, inside of her small humble apartment built into the city wall, 'hmmmm, could stand a pinch o' nutmeg' she said to herself, then she turned her head toward the window sill: ‘eh boy, what’re ye fer?’ she asked, moving toward the window one of her eyes was milk white and her skin weathered, though you could tell she might have been fair in her youth, ‘what mischief are you about, you handsome devil? Come to steal some o’ Daggia’s stew? You little miscreant!’ she said with a laugh. She noticed your crossbow injury mending itself, and also saw the amulet you wore before returning to her labors, filling a bowl and then returned to the sill ‘not sure what yer about, skulking around late at night. Better git indoors laddy, heard dark tales about the evil one who feasts on blood of fools. Have a care, ere the fiends of hell claim you boy”

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

When you crept along, your foot ran afoul some loose rocks. One of the wall sentries shot at you with his crossbow, the missile whizzed past and the second tore across your ankle (-3 hp dmg) when you came to the wall you heard one of sentries say “damned grave robbers, when will they ever learn?”

The old crone was sampling her own culinary handiwork, inside of her small humble apartment built into the city wall, 'hmmmm, could stand a pinch o' nutmeg' she said to herself, then she turned her head toward the window sill: ‘eh boy, what’re ye fer?’ she asked, moving toward the window one of her eyes was milk white and her skin weathered, though you could tell she might have been fair in her youth, ‘what mischief are you about, you handsome devil? Come to steal some o’ Daggia’s stew? You little miscreant!’ she said with a laugh. She noticed your crossbow injury mending itself, and also saw the amulet you wore before returning to her labors, filling a bowl and then returned to the sill ‘not sure what yer about, skulking around late at night. Better git indoors laddy, heard dark tales about the evil one who feasts on blood of fools. Have a care, ere the fiends of hell claim you boy”

Whisper
Whisper

(insect wounds healed)
Whisper indicated the presence of the sentries to those a few steps behind him on the spiral staircase or scattered about the charnel house.  Whisper then attempted to silently make his way unseen to the wall close to where he could more easily observe the crone that had caught his attention.  She might be simply cooking the day's meal or she might be up to something much more sinister.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

 GIANT TICK #1 leaped out at you and tore into you with its fore appendages piercing into your skin (-6 hp dmg) then it sprung back to the ground when you launched your first dagger, eviscerating the parasite in its bulbous abdomen a green spray of its lifeblood shot out of the crack in its exoskeleton. Your second throw proved devastating, the sistari dagger plunged into the tick’s bloated abdomen, spliced it directly in half like a melon killing it instantly.

Jorell:
“Indeed!” he simply said, leaped forward and kicked all of the grounded ticks in dextrous ways like they were nothing more than juggler’s balls, kicking them up then using his leg as a baseball bat sending the ticks flying into the advancing shock trools of the black guards. The guardsmen withdrew when they saw the floating parasites swimming towards them with menace.

Morga and Storm were cutting through the water and brought up the read, Jorell took point and when he came to a tight fitting antechamber he lowered a lever and brought down a sliding wall that sealed the passage, cutting off the pursuing enemies.

Jorell turned his sights towards you: “We must brave the crypt if we’re to out manuever the Black Empire. It’s only a mile long, be brave little ones, stay close to these nice people they’re my friends” the monk leveled suspicious eyes your way, and continued: “If anybody should try something, remember what I’d taught you!”

The party was lead into a long crypt with twists and turns. The dead here were former minor lords and ladies in life, representing various great houses of Nyr.

Jorell: “Here’s House Telemvor, war-knight. Some of your cousins and ancestors” Storm nodded, “I’ve been here as a child, with mother and father” he said. Then, an apparition materialized before the group. It was wrought from brilliant white light, but subdued as to not pain the eyes, and appeared as a regal looking knight, “Do not be afraid, mortals. I come in peace. I sensed the presence of one of my descendants in close proximity. Storm Telemvor, I am Aerkon Hammerwind, your great great great grandfather, though I fell in battle much younger than you are in the present age”

Storm’s eyes recognized the name, but not the face. He nodded, then said “I mean you no disrespect, father of my fathers, but we are dogged by relentless enemies. And already, my father visits me in spirit form to train me in the secret techniques of blade mastery. Why have you journeyed here from the void?”

Aerkon: “Not to hinder or malign you, rest assured. You’ve come back to Lor to destroy Kraybor, as you ought for it tis the will of Wrath. But I sensed another friend of our ancient line, and my heart was gladdened. This scoundrel beside you, Whisper is no other than the lost heir of an equally ancient house that has endured throughout the ages since the olden times. The true son of Lord Ardiz Tangorian is he. Young man, you’ve the blood of kings coursing your veins, not of rapists, assassins, thieves and knife-men as many would declare to you growing up. However, your father is a mad, and evil man whose the architect of your present predicament. In order to inherit your blood right, you must seek him out and destroy him eventually and reverse the evil works he’s set into motion. Only then will you know true and everlasting peace and prosperity, and love”

Storm looked upon the ghost of his ancestor as if he were slapped, “You’re telling me this one here is a descendant of House Targonian!? The most powerful and enviable clan in all of Jez’zur? Am I to kneel down and swear fealty to a man who holds no regard for honor? My apologies my friend, I mean no real disrespect, Whisper.”

Aerkon: “Put away your pride, boy. This isn’t about honor and codes of chivalry! I’m saying ours and his houses were once united in a common alliance until enemies of both also united and plotted to sabotage that alliance through intrigues, deceptions, and elaborate ploys. When House Targonian under false evidence conveniently given by Kraybor himself killed and betrayed House Telemvor twenty years ago, during a horrific act called the Black Celebration. Now I tell you, your houses must unite if you’re to flourish against your enemies, but in order to do so on a clean blank slate you must avenge both of your houses against the architects of the Black Dinner whose treachery had gone unoticed and unpunished. Once you’ve slain Kraybor, you’ll find the rest of his treacherous brood of poisoned vipers in his employ. Kill them all to receive the blessings of Wrath, and of Lor I would wager”

Morga interjected, "Ser Ghost, though this young thief is a no good, dirty scoundrel with the habit of procuring coin through illicit means, he has a honor of his own choosing and has rescued us out of certain perils. His mind is sharp as a blade, and he has great cunning, and great worth as a potential mate to Morga whose honor and worthiness there can be no question concerning"

Aerkon said: "I leave you with these weighty matters to consider, and with a good sending. Ordinarily, there are undead servitors that rise and assail the living who dare to trespass these sacred halls, but I have commanded them to avoid you entirely. They will obey my commands without fail. But for those evil doer's who pursue you with murderous intent, and especially towards these young innocents they will rise up and claim them, as shall I. Go in peace, young Lords and remember all that I have said here"

When the party emerged from the crypt after a mile of journeying down a long winding passageway, filled with skulls, bones, and other remnants coated with embalmers fluid you came upon a spiral staircase that rose straight up and was narrow, tight, at least a half mile upward. It came into a charnel house at the top landing, and through the metallic door that lead outside you saw you were in Valhygian graveyard just outside of Lor's northwest gate. A pair of wall sentries could be spotted high above, some 60 ft on the battlements and they were engaged in idle chit chat. Various apartments built into the wall were also visible, the lowest of these you saw a haggardly crone intently hunched over a black cauldron, adding something to it, some kind of spices.

DECISION



Whisper
Whisper

Whisper attempted to fling the pair of Sistari daggers he had at two of the other ticks.  "I am not a fighter, I'll gladly guard the children if you can engage these giant bugs and lead us onward."

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

Instead of answering, you KNEW that you could transport the children to the shadus, AND be on the prime. The Shadus Plane was a demi-plane crafted from the dark materials of devoured souls. Every time Septul consumed these doomed beings, the essence of their soulstuff were ‘digested’ into the dark shadowy stuff that formed the plane.  

Septul: master, I fathom your thoughts, however I would not hazard boring them to the Shadus just yet. The black cloaks have a wizard nearby of considerable skill, yet he has not detected ‘us’ just yet. If you wield my greater dweomers he will be aware of your presence, and he will also be able to track the children to the amulet, hence you.

Four large hounds leaped through the narrow gaps between the barricade Morga created. Storm clasped your shoulder “go with the monk, assist him with the little ones!” Morga’s whip flew around dextrously tearing into the dogs with devastating effect. The first she lashed went flying hard against the limestone wall, the second issued a loud whelp as it was struck in the side of its muzzle and its fangs came dislodged from its drooling eager maw. A third came snapping at her and she skewed it with her curvaceous shortsword, fearless of its threat. Storm bashed the fourth with is shield, ending it with a easy delivery of his blade. He turned to you and cried out ‘go now!’.

Jorell bore four childen on his back, and two on his extended arms, the rest clung to him and he moved without the slightest slowing through the waist deep water. You managed to use your natural dexterity to navigate a slim slight ledge scarcely wide enough for a rat to walk comfortably upon. While the monk, who seemed to be in a meditative trance of inner calmness moved you noticed four black giant ticks clinging to the ceiling approximately 25 paces ahead of him. As you passed the monk, the ticks tensed as they detected the approach of fresh prey, and one of the little girls Valaryia gasped and cried out, pointing at it.

Storm and Morga leaped into the water filled tunnel, and after a long minute the black guard already breached the blockade mini-avalanche which melted under the pelting of green bolts of light that incinerated the stoney limestone blocks like they were made of paper. Two black guards threw torches into the water and it became ignited with fire, and the flame-wall was gaining on Storm and Morga. Several other guardsmen spent crossbow bolts at the pair, one grazing Morga and another Storm but they ignored the superflous injuries. Morga spun and sent two whirring glaives at the guardsmen, the first sliced a crossbowman’s head into two equal halves, and the second dismembered another of the metalic slothy metal men with the glowering green staves. The second automaton unleashed an arc of the glowing green energy at Storm, who turned and deflected it with his sword, redirecting it back and cutting down the automaton and six guardsmen became ashen husks, their flesh dematerialized. One of the guardsman was aghast ‘that’s not supposed to happen like that!’ he bellowed, red faced, ‘reload your crossbows you shitheads!’ he screamed. Meanwhile, 15 more black guard leaped into the water, giving pursuit.

Jorell leaped out of the water where the passage became solid ground once more, the first giant tick landed before him. He spun and roundhouse kicked the abnormal mutant sized parasite like one would strike a ball at a softball game with a bat, the tick flew further down the passage and was knocked on its back, its spidery legs flailing and animated in frustration as it couldn't find purchase on solid surface.

The monk turned towards you, "You said Eldanar sent you to be of some use, now would be a most opportune time"

DECISION?

Whisper
Whisper

Whisper silently sent Septul a question, 'Septul, if I would send the children to the Shadus plane as guests would there be any physical trace of their bodies here on this plane?  Also if I returned them to this plane later on but I myself have moved on from this place what would happen?  Would they join me wherever I was at that time or would they be returned here?'  Whisper set about setting traps on this side of the door.  "Jorrell Koth?  Your friend Edanar has requested that we aid you with the problems you have been having lately with soldiers.  Those children left upstairs have been captured already."

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

Morga emptied the barrel and opened the hatch that lead below, not hesitating to clamber down first and Storm peering intenly looked a bit disconcerted, but followed after you. “I can’t see a damned thing in this darkness” the ladder went down 25 ft til it reached the dusty sub basement cellar chamber.

Septul: the Dark Moon Sons are a secret society of black clerics who are highly secretive, feared, and hated. They worship the Demon Lord Orcus. It would seem, now that I’m perusing records that they and Kraybor are in league with one another. These children are marked for death because they bear a unique identifier some sort of birthmark which portends of future greatness and that their maturity would present a future threat to ‘the master’, the faceless one who is head of the Dark Moon Sons, and potentially Kraybor’s secret lord. The Dark Moon Sons were once known as the Anarchy Warriors, until House Succundus destroyed them ten years ago. They later reformed into the Black Rose Commando Assassins until the demoniac priests wretched control of their order and made it into a cult. Five years ago, Queen Everanteska issued an army of paladins to destory their hidden base in the Dire Wood northeast of Lor, which severely crippled their ranks but only weakened them momentarily. Yes, master, you should know there is no will that I cannot bend to your will, however even these dogs may resist the command to turn on their masters.

“We’ve searched all of these rooms’ you heard a guardsman from somewhere nearby.

Morga said to you: “No, we haven’t time to waste on these. Make for the door! There’s something of significance about these young ones’

‘Come, lets move’ Storm said, and the three of you sprinted toward the Iron Door that was in viewing range on the far northwest wall. You heard men crying out in the distance ‘there, I saw someone!’

On the opposite side of the round shield-like door, a wide tunnel proceeded straight ahead as far as your eyes could make. You heard more black guards approaching as the door was shut, and Morga slid the bar-lock into locking position. Suddenly, a man leaped down from the ceiling above between a startled Morga and Storm, punching both in the chest with tremendous force. As you turned to face this new foe, the man kicked you hard in the chest. Morga and Storm came at him, but he interlocked both of their weapons with a pair of peculiar weapons that looked like pitchforks, entangling then disarming them as effortlessly as a master would an apprentice. “We’re not your enemies!’ Morga snarled, then the man paused and gave her a distrustful stare, ‘You’re Kraybor’s assassins!’ he hissed. Then Storm said ‘No, I’m Storm scion of house Telemvor”

The man looked to be a strong, youthful man of dark eyes and features, his eyes were deceptively kind but fierce and he had a humble, withdrawn air about him. He said “If you’re hired killers, I’ll know at once make no mistake’ he punched at the wall and left an imprint of his fist there, ‘and you’ll feel my wrath’ he looked towards you, then back to Storm ‘House Telemvor? Thats Kraybor’s house!”

Storm winced then said ‘Aye, he’s my uncle, but not by blood! He’s...he’s my parent’s assassin!’

Then, the man relaxed a bit, the sincere and painful admission was convincing proof. The monk placed a hand on Storm’s shoulder, ‘Ah, I see, you want revenge against him. These young ones whom I swore to protect, are in grave danger. Help me bore them somewhere where nobody can malign them. Not your home, not in the city yonder. Somewhere where none would ever be able to get their hands on them’

There were several children hiding nervously in the passage ahead, all between 6-10, one 13, and 7 total. 4 were boys, 3 girls.

Whisper
Whisper

Whisper revealed the opening to his companions, and quietly informed them "4 guards with a dog each search below.  Should I bring them back to the two of you for a quick dispatching?"  He sent his thoughts to Septul, 'Septul, who are the black moon suns?  Can you charm on of the guard's or their dog's?  I hope to give you one of their souls to consume, perhaps we'll learn more about what they are doing here.'

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

Galdere nodded, and he sifted through the contents of a locked chest and handed you a shortsword in a exquisite scabbard that bespoke volumes of quality in its craftsmanship, “A sword from the bright age, before the second blight. It’s dubbed Agonastor’s Razor, from my Dwarven friend’s forge. Hold it dearly, it is a rare blade’

The remainder of the night was spent resting, eating, stretching, and healing. A decent nights worth of undisturbed rest in the Shadus plane had you fully restored to your full state.

In the morning you, Storm, and Morga headed out on foot, at suggestion of Galdere. Before leaving after a hearty breakfast and relieving of bladders, he says to quickly return when you’re finished. You leave through a series of interconnected lesser caves that exited outside the city wall, the exit was concealed by a permanent illusion that made it seem like nothing but a cluster of thorny black briars.

As the three of you approached the orphanage, you came upon some Nyrian soldiers who were on the opposite side of the place which appeared as a ivory white  mansion in slightly disheeveled state. The soldiers were rounding up orphans and thrusting them inside of caged wagons. One suddenly broke out of line and bolted back toward the mansion, but was shot down by a soldier with a crossbow bolt. The soldier wore a glazed expression, cold and emotionless.

“Those are black imperials” Storm said, gritting his teeth in anger, “Prepare for the slaughter!” when Morga collapsed her spyglass and placed a restraining hand on the fighter ‘No, we’d be easily overwhelmed, and they’ve a black mage with them” she was thinking and turned to you then said “Let’s sneak into this orphanage and see what we can within, while these squander their time examining their haul’

It was childs play to simply move into the shadowed side of the great manor, when you came to a hault at the side where a barrel full of rainwater resided. You overheard a pair of disguised black guardsmen in the window directly above you conversing:

Guard #1: “tell the commander we’ve cleared the manor, it seems the monk managed to escape into the lower halls”

Guard #2: “those halls lead into the underground crypts beneath Valhygian cemetary, then into the sewers. Nobody can survive that!’

Guard #1: “We’ll be waiting for him, meanwhile send an attache to investigate the lower halls and give pursuit. I think these were the little shits we’ve been searching for all this time. The Dark Moon Sons will pay a kings ransom for the brats”

Guard#2: “All this trouble for a few ill fated bastards of harlots and drunkards? I wouldn’t pay a copper for the lot of em, you sure they’re worth it?”

Guard #1: “Aye, that they are, and the commander’s giving us a cut, so don’t ask any stupid questions. They’ve the mark on em alright”

Barrel: you detect a hallow opening beneath the barrel that opens downwardly. With the amulet's enhanced vision you see it enters a sub basement beneath the manor, where four guardsmen limned in yellow aura's are searching the interconnected rooms that are adjacent to the sub basement, each accompanied by a warhound. 

Kyrillia's projected visage materialized before the three of you: greetings my friends, make haste to the lower halls at once. The black guard will find the trail Jorell left behind. You must move swiftly head for the round iron door, if the black guards should gain and lock it you will have no choice to backtrack and enter the underground warrens through the sewers or the graveyard charnel houses.

Whisper
Whisper

"Stones the size of an Orge's.  That is what a few other's have spoken when any of us have inquired in any depth concerning learning more about Lord Kraybor and any link to what we have begun to uncover."  Whisper paused to reconsider their situation and then silently focused on swirling the contents of his nearly full wine glass.  Perhaps they were the lure to draw the predators away from Southern Cross?  After all, they couldn't be expected to be much more then a fly in the ointment with just the three of them arriving here in Lor to look into whatever the hell was going on.  The orphanage of Jorrell Koth then seemed like a good place to start their search and solving Jorrell's problems would square him with Edanar.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

Galdere: "I wouldn't bet on that, lad. Kraybor's a master of statecraft, if he can beguile those in power with effortless agility, he would have thought of any potential harm any of his lackey's might present. I'm sure they'd be swiftly eliminated if you sought to exploit a weakness in that respect" he mused. His henchmen aren't merely one man, but he wields entire guilds and organizations to do his secret works"

Whisper
Whisper

"The elusive Mr. Ablefingers might have had an influence in some of the information we have uncovered my dear Morga"  Whisper nodded and held up his wineglass to toast the beautiful woman seated next to him.  Morga had learned a bit about his past from Galdere.  Perhaps she knew more of his story or it was new news to her?  It was impossible to judge from the boisterous persona the woman portrayed, he wondered if his past mattered at all to her.  "Before we make an enemy of one as powerful as a citylord, and of some relation to our companion Storm, we best be beyond certain of what is going on."  Whisper leaned into the table after Galdere had finished with his commands to Storm and asked of the man who he was finding more intriguing by the moment. "Galdere, would Lord Kraybor have a second in command or perhaps a trusted adviser here in Lor?  Someone that would know much of Kraybor's dealings but would be much more 'approachable' and unwilling to go to their grave for him?"  

OC: I have an image of the Dos Equis guy in my head when visualizing Galdere.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

Septul: give me a moment master, the archives are vast. I’m accessing the forbidden archives and searching back within the last twenty years. Hmmm, here we are, it took me longer because the archives were encrypted with the highest levels of Lorian cyphers. I’m erasing any traces of my presence, please be patient.

Galdere Valdurim, he has quite a lengthy history, master. I do not wish to bore you with details. He’s from old Valyris across the planar sea, and his parents bore him here when he was but a baby. He was born in the sea during a raging storm, and his mother was an enchantress and merchant woman, his father a cartographer.

He attended university in Corealus and became adept at fencing, poetry, and archery and gained the enimity of his peers. His father was employed by king Rodac’s court as its chief map-maker and weather predictor. He was beheaded for wrongful predictions and an entire seasons worth of crops were destroyed by a fierce storm. However, it was later discovered the error was the work of an evil cleric who summoned a locust swarm to bring suffering to the realm.

Galdere later became a knight protector of the young queen Everanteska, and later a spy in the royal organization called the Watchers. He’s credited with a particular knack for slaying of assassins and enemy spies. After his unblemished career as high protector he left the realm and returned many years after as a wizard of some notable rank though he maintains a discreet presence in Rorig as a remote counselor the queen regularly visits for outside sagely advices, though he’s since ceased his studying of the arcane arts when he reached a decent level of proficiency. His preferred signature weapons are always bladed weapons, and he’s owned several long lost brands that were legended to bear extraordinary dweomers seldom seen these days.

He has a vandetta against the Suel, and a deep hatred of brigands from the bandit kingdoms. Besides art he is a master of smithing magical weaponry designed to harm evil doers, evil wryms, devils, and assassins’

“The orphanage?” Galdere asked, stroking his chin, ‘It’s a half mile east of here in a farming community of the halfling folk. He shrugged then as he poured some more wine, ‘As for Lord Kraybor’s private estates they are many, a castle in the Gate Mountains, a fortress at cape Wrath, a villa in the Black Forest. All protected by his own personally trained militia. What do you seek from a citylord?”

“His loyalties questionable” Morga answered swiftly, “He’s guilty of high treason and other acts of sedition, and who the hell knows what else we’ve not unraveled”

Galdere stroked his chin in deep contemplation, ‘This is quite disturbing news, indeed. I’ve heard some reports of events scattered throughout the land: mysterious disappearances, random assassinations of insignificant administrators, corrupt guards, other black deeds and all seemingly to have their roots in Lor. And now, the queen has issued a royal mission to uncover at all cost some dragon eggs said to be somewhere in the kingdom, and it has been a massive war of shadow games since that dark order was issued. I love the queen but she is a bit of a cunt when it comes to matters of reality and what can realistically be achieved. Magic has its limitations and can be easily deflected by the masters of it.”

Morga smiled wickedly and sat you in your seat forcefully, ‘Nevermind Storm, he’ll find us within the hour” she chuckled, ‘you worry too much, sit your ass down and have some merrymake. What good is a blade if its not polished with wine and good times?!”

Galdere said: “Storm? Storm Telemvor?” he asked, “Another of my apt pupils returneth. A peculiar circumstance, and not by chance I’d wager. Something stirs, or I’m a oversized Dwarf” he began chanting swiftly, when in his cup of wine formed a living image of the warrior on horseback riding into Rorig. Galdere spoke: “Storm, it tis thy old mentor Galdere. Follow my voice, it will guide you to my secret dwelling place. Your boon companions are herein, supping. Follow the hummingbird’ he said.

Whisper
Whisper

Whisper felt outward for Septul's presence through the amulet, seeking clarification and confirmation on one Galdere Valdurim and his identity.  "Galdere, from this location where would Jorrell Koth's orphanage, the Rusted Dagger Inn, or Lord Kraybor's estate be?  Morga might have some other sites or sights that she wishes to see on our, how did you put it my dear?"  Whisper asked with a wink and a smile directed to the dangerous bounty huntress while eying up a selection of wines among the chambers racks(Non Weapon Prof: etiquette/appraisal).  Selecting a bottle that had caught his eye he returned to face the pair, "Ah yes, a romantic getaway?  Should I leave you two to discuss the lay of the land and what sights to see over a good bottle of wine?  One of us should keep an eye out for our wayward knight after-all."

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

Galdere smiled, waving dismissively ‘no need, my home is the best luxury in Rorig, that’s no conceit, lad. A side effect from dwelling amongst princes of men for far too long, you pick up some of their..softer creature comforts' he chuckled briefly, "The Inn, for all its inviting warmth is lacking in spice and spirits. I keep a plentiful larder and have more luxuries than a sharp eyed rogue such as yourself would suspect” Just then, in burst Morga who flew across the interior of the cottage in a single springing fluid leap, her sword poised menacingly at Galdere’s throat, and a leg pressed firmly against his chest. The older man chuckled, even if the tip of Morga’s blade slightly cut some of the mans flesh, ‘who is this white haired bastard?’ she asked threatningly. Then, quite as fast Galdere snatched her twin shortswords and placed them into her sheathe in a impossibly fast display, beguiling the deceptive look of his slightly elder age, ‘Nuff of that, beautiful Nyriddian girl. I’m no enemy’ he said and his voice carried incredible power and there was a secret power that made Morga smile and was momentarily calmed, she withdrew her signature chain whip and twirled it masterfully before her ‘speak old man, or I’ll cleave your damned skull in!’

Galdere chuckled, not at all offended but rather bemused by Morga’s fierceness, ‘I’m Galdere Valdurim and many differing last names, just an old Valdyrion from lands far away. Be at ease, girl, and partake of some sumptious viddles. You’re the guest of this house, so do not sully the mood of it. If you must know I’m Whisper’s first tutor, from when he was a little brat who stole candies and threw his mothers underclothes out the castle windows in Castle Grey back in Tunis. But I was many things in my prime: knight, wizard, raider, counselor, adventurer, explorer, spy, ranger, ambassador, merchant, the list is long”

Morga nodded, ceased her hypnotic twirling of her chainwhip then lashed out with it in a flash and snagged a dagger at Galdere’s belt, unsheathed it then snatched it out of the air, sneering ‘And I’m Morga, nobodies fool, huntress of the most detestable scum in the thirteen realms. I’ve captured men who’ve fled across the six seas and thought themselves safe and beyond my reach’ she twirled the dagger then hurled it exactly between Galdere’s legs just an inch shy of his manhood. He didn’t even so much as flinch or blink, then plucked the dag out of the chair wood and casually sheathed it, grinning and rising fearlessly, offering her a chair ‘there there now, lass. You needn’t prove your weapon skills to me. I’m a personal friend of your king, do you think he would deign to consider me an honorable man if I were of questionable character?” he asked simply.

Morga’s expression softened, ‘You’re friends with the King of Nyriddia!? Indeed! You're certainly a funny man aren't cha?!’ she laughed, something between sarcastic and genuine, grabbing a cup and pouring herself some wine and draining it in a single swill, emptying the pitcher into her cup, grabbing a pear off the table and sniffing it before devouring it “Well then, if my trickster friend here hasn’t sliced your throat by now I suppose you’re not half bad. You move pretty quickly for an old fart, guess you’re not headed for the grave anytime soon’ she laughed, then her expression turned serious: “I fought a group of men behind the Inn, they were looking for us. I didn’t kill them outright, just their pride. They’ll have a bad hangover come morn. They’re Nyrian guard, but not the common lot. These fight amazingly good, and they had a sigil of a Pheonix clutching a quiver of arrows’

Galdere drunk this in intently, his eyes darted to you, ‘That’s house Succundus, the Lord Duke’s house. Fortunately you didn’t kill them, he’s an honorable man. I don’t think they meant to malign you, my sweet”

Morga: “Perhaps, but then perhaps their trick was to appear as the Duke’s men. Outside and inside the establishment were stacked bodies of revelers, travelers, patrons all with their throats slit, or death from crossbow bolts. Besides, why would someone as important and powerful as the Lord Duke seek out two strangers from the south? We’re naught but simple merchants from Impiltur come to seek supplies from the Lorian markets”

Galdere: “Come” he twisted a book holder that resembled a horse chess piece and the fires of his hearth ceased then the fireplace twisted to reveal a spiral staircase which decended into the earth. When he lead you down the steps, with a bullseye lantern he placed the lantern onto a table and chanted softly, causing the chamber to be bathed in beautiful white light. Before you was a small wine-cellar, and in the middle of the wall ahead a rounded door, like a hobbit portal. He opened it to reveal a series of interconnected lesser chambers, and a sizable fencing gym. One of the rooms was an arcane blacksmiths workbench, containing very rare and expensive tools of the craft. Another room was an artiste’s den, and another a library. There was also a large bed chamber with a four poster king sized bed.

“Permit me to get to the bottom of this mystery for you” Galdere said, ‘Make my home yours, for it is. This is my little secret annex, the walls are protected from intrusive eyes of the magic kind” the secret passage slithered closed of its own accord approximately 10 seconds after you each took the last step from it.

‘How far does this go?’ Morga asked.

‘It reaches to a tunnel that heads to an underground cave network, with rooms for various uses. Some for hiding in and resting, and some are stores and caches that contain food, weapons, equipment. The largest of these is a stable with two horses, there’s a secret cave mouth that deposits to the Splinterwood, its a small copse just outside the city wall. Nobody can see you emerge as its covered by a permanent illusion”

Whisper
Whisper

Whisper was glad to have spent some time with Galdere and to learn more about what had scattered his family.  "Would you do me the honor of enjoying some fine Jez’zurian brandy and a proper meal at what passes for an inn in these parts?  My traveling companion and I have arrived in Lor to look into a few things of great importance.  Since you have retired to this area your knowledge would prove valuable in allowing us to avoid stirring up too many hornets nest's as we poke around."

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

The home was cozy, simple, and meticulous, but nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary.

You stretched your mind to the distant past, but nothing came to mind. Those years were you playing many games with other children and many of your mothers friends teaching you about a great deal of subjects.

Galdere got up to refill his bowl near the fire, the shadows danced across his noble face and he refilled your own bowl courteously, “Tunis is always the city of adventure, so as you well ought to know my boy is that its overflowing with its intrigues. I wouldn’t worry too much about treachery from your ahem, ‘rivals’, they’re all very much done for” he grinned and refilled his drink, and yours casually, “One thing you must understand about your father, if he is your real father even, is that he is a man of extreme dignity and is a bit of an eccentric. Of course, he needed a heir apparent so just to rile the nest of vampires vying for that coveted esteem he choose you and your mother, declaring you publically to be the son of his loins! However, he made a game of it. He pitted your jealous half sibblings against you in a contest. If they could kill you, the one who succeeded would be declared his heir. Naturally, the bastards conspired to end your life even pooling their considerable resources. However, one of your half sibblings only pretended to go along with their designs instead secretly informing your mother reports of their nefarious schemes” he drank some more, sighing, “Your father wanted to prove to the circle of snobs you were worthy of his name and his blood. Now, the conspirators who plotted to destroy you have become bankrupt in assassins fee’s and have become slaves to the guild in Tunis, ironically. They’ve become spies in truth, they haven’t much in the way of raw skill as you do lad. Your mother did you justice”

After easily devouring the stew with some bread, he continued: “I came to be here as I’d always sought the quiet life, it’d been a dream of mine since I was younger, brasher to live by the sea, and to write and pursue my artistic talents, such as they are. I once served as the captain of the queensguard for Queen Jazreel of Jez’zur. However, I fell in love with her niece and scandal had me expunged. The queensguard aren’t permitted to indulge in carnal pleasures, its an oath for life. My honor was stripped of me and I found life as a intriguer for the royals of Nyr, though some of them are distrustful of me. Except Lord Daynar, who helped me find my honor when I thought it destroyed” he drank some more, then churned the firewood with a poker. He turned his eyes upon you then back to the fire gazing into the flames ‘yer suspicious of me, good that you ought be. Shows you’ve grown some survival instinct. You look fairly scrawny, but your mother tells me you’re swift of mind and body” he said casually, smiling, “A good thing, too that. Footpads do exceedingly well in Lor, there’s apt coin to be made therein. Keep yer wits about you my lad, Lor’s not like Southern Cross. It’s a magical city, even by Jez’zur standards. Tunis was big, but full of perfumed dandies, and greedy merchants. Lor is full of mighty houses who fight for favor and power. Politics and statecraft rule her, but ultimately the God of Light’s servitors dominate the bitch” he paused, allowing you to drink it all in, ‘be weary, the Black Scorpions guild are territorial. They won’t take kindly to outside talent doing jobs in their turf. However they do employ outside talent to take on special tasks their ordinary members aren’t equipped to undertake”

Whisper
Whisper

(Current carried $ totals: leather purse ,100PP, 14 GP,30 silver, signet platinum ring - symbol of black claw)
OC:
Does the PC recall the dog or this man from his past?
IC:
Whisper politely ate the food he was offered and sat quietly as the talkative older gentlemen explained himself.  "I have heard of this inheritance as well as dealt with a few unsavory characters intent on eliminating those ahead of them in the order of the inheritance.  I assure you Galdere that myself, my mother, and several of our family made it out of Jez’zur safely enough all those years ago.  Though we have been scattered by the winds of fate, mother seems able to keep tabs on us from wherever she may be."  Whisper set his empty bowl down upon a wooden table and retrieved his cup, taking a moment to scrutinize the interior of the building for traps or anything that might be off.  "I've not heard much of Jez’zur and its politics as of late.  News of Jez’zur takes a while to travel to Impiltur and when it finally does it can hardly be believed.  What is the news of the day there and what brings a man of your skill to Lor?"  Whisper did not know how truthful to be with this man or why he had supposedly killed two people so he kept to his story and stayed alert...

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

The smith examined the dagger briefly, nodded affirmatively, then looked at your armor closely, ‘”nice armor” he said as his eyes met yours for a spell, “sixty gold for the daggers and armor repair” he returned the dagger ‘I have my own molds, thanks and I'm already too heavily taxed to craft a new mold out of this. You’ll see they’re up to snuff”

Septul: theres nobody else inside of his cottage. I cannot gain a grasp of the young rascal.

When you entered the young boys cottage, the door shut itself behind you. The interior of the cottage was quaint and charming, and a warm hearth roared as well as cauldron full of spicy beef stew. The young boy was a brown haired one, but his eyes betrayed a confidence only a grown adult should possess. He emptied a bag onto the floor before the hearth when out rolled two severed heads of recently slain men.

“They wanted you dead” he explained, “we had a difference of opinion on the matter” he smiled briefly. Then, the boys form shifted and he became a middle aged man with snow white hair and trim goatee, and kind slanted eyes. He handed you a wooden bowl of beef stew and a carved wooden cup of ale he poured from a barrel keg. “Names Galdere. You most likely don’t remember me much, I was briefly your tutor when you were but a little whelp. Taught you to climb and gave you your first puppy from my own kennel. Bit of a wild one when you were a tyke. Ah those were the golden days, when life was good. Ah, these two fleabags: I overheard these two talking about doing you in, and realized who you were when I saw your face on this artists sketch. You’ve the look of your mother, no doubt about it. She’s done me more kindnesses in my time with the guard than any other of those cunts back in Jez’zur court. A bit o’ divination and scrying found you easily nuff. Now, I’d thought some foul fate befell your mother and you, it was good you two escaped. For after you left you were suddenly the hot topic of the town. It was as if you stirred a mighty hornets nest! For a mighty Lord of ancient lineage named you and your mother as his sole inheritors of his namesake and house. The tricky part, is living long enough to do the inheriting’ he said after draining his cup, ‘take it from this old spy, that will take some doing lad. If you’ve the stones and brains your mother and you can rise up and claim your due”

Whisper
Whisper

Whisper cocked his head to one side and slowly nodded his understanding to the figure a stone's throw away while indicating that he needed 5 minutes with a quick flash of his right hand held against the dark shadow's that seemed to follow along with Ash's cloak.  'Septul, can you see within the cottage or more details of this boy?'  

The rogue after a brief pause turned and approached the smith who was focused on his work, "I need my armor mended, would you be able to do so quickly or know of someone who could?  I also need some daggers crafted, I can spare one as a pattern."  Mending Whisper's armor might prove costly in coin as well as time.  Heck, it might prove a tougher task to find someone capable of even working on the enchanted armor...  

OC: I think that the PC's probably short a few of the specialized throwing daggers that fit into his wrist sheathes as well as boots.  Also he'll gently inquire about the orphanage's location.

graphalfkor
graphalfkor moderator

Kordaz nodded, ‘yer a thief I can tell, as such your kind relies heavily on the dag. But you never learn the truth of such matters! Practice, there’s no short cut to becoming a true master’ he bit into an apple, flung it straight up, and flicked two daggers into it slicing it half mid-air. and caught both with his left hand, ‘I’ll give you a free lesson, you can find me at the Rusted Dagger around midnight tonight. I bounce there. Buy me a decent meal, some drink, and bring your fiery hellion of yours. Also, a few coins as a token of your appreciation. Trust me lad, if you don’t pay something you won’t appreciate the lesson”

You and Morga rode up and continued riding for six miles when she paused to explore a sea-cave she spotted on a sandy beachead. She pointed further north along the coast, where you could glimpse some of the battlements and outer wall of the city Lor. She said “Let the horses go, they’ll find their way back home. We’ve only six more miles til we reach the south gate of the city. We’ll have to cut through the south suburbs, keep vigilant. I need a second pair of eyes to watch my flank. Once we make the suburb of Rorig, I'll find us apt lodgings. Stick to our story, we’re a couple Impiltur merchants. We’ll store some of our uneeded gear in the Inn then when it gets dark, head into the city proper”

She entered the sea cave to examine it further, it was entirely empty. The both of you pressed on and walked right into Rorig. The weather was balmy, spring was receding into summer and a light sun shower befell the suburban villa. The local natives were consumed with whatever laborious tasks they were engaged in. Several strawberry farms, vineyards, and blueberry fields came into view. You grabbed a small sliver of blueberries and offered some to Morga, who paused to drink water and survey the area. She looked towards you, “give me some of your extraneous equipment, and have a look around this villa while I get us a room at the Holy Blanket Inn. Go see a smith and use some of your wages to repair your armor, you’re slipping. Find out anything that might be of use to us, tidings and going on’s in the city. Meet at the Inn in an hour. Don’t make any unusually large purchases, such things bring far too much unwanted notice”

As she sauntered off toward the Inn, you navigated the village using the various homes to shield you from open line of sight. There really wasn’t a whole lot to see, but the telltale sound of hammering on metal clamour drew you to the local smiths shop. A fat, sweaty man with half ruined face, a dour stone eyed expression.

As you stood there, a young boy emerged out of a tiny cottage about a half city block distant just west. The boy was covered in hood and cloak and he stood there, staring at you. His eyes were glowing blue. You heard a voice whisper into your ear: “come hither if you have a care, don’t be alarmed I’m a friend’

Whisper
Whisper

"I beg your pardon, I was trying to find the words to ask how much you would charge to instruct someone in the art of throwing daggers.  I doubt that I could afford such instruction after seeing your skills in action.  I apologize for interrupting your relaxing afternoon."  Whisper bowed slightly at the waist and began the trek back to the road from the rocky outcrop.  After giving thought to all of his options it still seemed far safer to address any situation with Morga at his side rather then trying something foolish alone and possibly destroying their relationship and her continued protection.