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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Rules-based RPGs --> Dungeons and Dragons --> Continuing Where We Last Left Off
Related thread: Continuing Where We Last Left Off Q&A
GM for this game: Alacrity
Players for this game: t_catt11, Admiral, Raven, Vanadia, Bromern Sal, Eol Fefalas
This game has fizzled.
    Messages in Continuing Where We Last Left Off
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I'm doing SCIENCE!
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Karma: 164/50
1836 Posts

What about her!?

The battle was intense, but it was finally winding to a close. The mantis warrios with which Adrian fought was cunning, and well able to crush them with reinforncements if he was allowed to leave. But whether it was the weakness of all the casting, the trauma of Wind's situation, or perhaps even the death of Jal... Valentine simply could not close the deal. A deep cut forced the warrior-mage to back away, almost too weak to continue the chase. But he had to, his companions and his job depended on it. In this desparate time Adrian could see how Jal could find comfort calling out to his love - if Adrian had a guardian spectre, this would be when he would call for her. But he didn't, and thus he had nothing but his own power upon which to draw.

Then, just as the sky began to black, a well placed missile spears the flying mount - and with an assist from gravity ends the life of the mantis rider. "Thank you..." Valentine muttered in a surely inaudible manner before plummeting to the ground and using the last of his energy to half-break his fall. The sight of Kilgrim rushing towards him was the last thing he remembered before slipping away.

A few minutes later after regaining his bearings and consciousness - there was only one thing on everyone's mind: all their wounded allies.

With a quick thank you to his dwarven companion, Adrian turned to the tower and the only thing on his mind.


Killer, are you ok? Valentine called out to his trusty familiar, who hopefully had found relative safety deep underground, as he dashed to where he had left Wind's battered body. Hopefully she was still alive, and could fight her way out of this mess. "Kilgrim, is there anything you might be able to do to help her?" he called as he ran to where he left her lay...

(OOC: Well doc? Is she gonna be ok?)

Posted on 2008-07-30 at 19:08:37.
Edited on 2008-07-30 at 19:09:05 by Admiral

Resident Finn
RDI Staff
Karma: 74/3
1103 Posts

And so it ends?

It was all chaotic as combat often was. For a moment though, the logical mind of Kilgim could see light at the end of the tunnel, he could see a direct route through the chaos. The tower had collapsed, but the mighty powers of Jal had kept it together long enough for them all to escape alive. Most if not all of their little group were wounded, but still in good enough condition to keep fighting. With the imperial wizards gone and not (for now) taking part in the battle, things were looking surprisingly good. They might still all come alive from this.

He had to hurry. Arien needed healing. They could not stand losing the knight now. Not when they were so close to Alloryn, so close to their goal. Me can't lose ye, dear friend. Not now. Though the strange mutated Green had the upper hand and was giving Arien a hard time, the dwarven priest had all faith in his armor-clad friend. All he needed to do was keep the blows at bay for a breath longer and help would reach him... Just one more breath.

But then it all changed again as was true to the nature of chaos. It was good there and then that the mages had launched themselves to the skies... or so the warrior-priest thought. The ground shook again sending a familiar though uncomfortable tingle down the bald dwarf's spine. Two huge Ankheg heads burst through the surface of the land sending more soil in the air. It always surprised Kilgim to see such large creatures moving so fast and digging through earth like a hot knife through butter. Stopping Kilgim's charge in midstep, the monsters moved in for the kill.

Had Jal and Adrien been with Kilgim, Char, Maximus and Dapple, they would've been a nice snack for the Ankhegs. But fortunately they were both safe beyond reach... It became very clear to him very, very soon, how wrong his first impression had been. The ankhegs hadn't come alone. Instead, accompanying them were once again a group of Mantis warriors, and their gigantic dragonfly mounts. In a blink of an eye the situation had turned very grim again.

From there onward Kilgim was forced to concentrate on the new enemy and on finding a way to get around them to Arien. For the time being he wasn't able to check how the mages were faring with Alloryn. What he didn't miss though, was the fact that the Mantis warriors turned towards the trio of sorcerers and cared nothing about the big gladiator or Dapple. It was a fatal mistake as they were soon to find out. Fortunately for him and Char, Ankhegs weren't the brightest of creatures and weren't able to coordinate their attack in any way. The ranger danced easily passed their reach and for once the shortness of his frame came into Kilgim's rescue as he managed to dive under the monsters' maws.

It didn't take long for the orange-bearded cleric to reach his friend's side. But it took him long enough to witness another burst of chaotic events. It was one of those situations when the time itself seemed slow down... First the mutated imperial champion struck Arien down with a mighty blow of his green fist. Dodging another attempt to bite of his head, Kilgim then watched how the unnatural arm turned to point at the charging ranger halting Char's attack in mid leap paralyzing him. No... Not like this
The priest barely noticed the head of the ankheg drop on the ground right next to him as Maximus cut it off. He was forcing his legs to obey and move the rest of his body ever faster towards his helpless friends. But as surprising the events so far had been, the next one topped them all: The aberration's magical powers were already squeezing the life out of his dear friend when something terribly reminding a human body fell from the sky at the Green's feet throwing him on his back.

Arien was not one to miss an opportunity when given one. Kilgim could hear the knight grunt in pain as he forced himself on his feet. The word of power ignited the ancient blade once again a heartbeat before it delivered death to the monstrous being. Though not a malevolent being, the death cry of the imperial mutant brought a smile on Kilgim's lips. A smile that faded as fast as it appeared when the black eyes in the battleworn dwarven face recognized the torn body on the ground. "No..." A whisper escaped his lips. "Not another... another friend... lost."

Suddenly the strong, stout and muscular body felt weak and the bald, orange-bearded head very heavy. Kilgim fell on his knees beside Jal and softly laid a hand on Gwanele's former apprentice's forehead with a silent prayer to the gods. Goodbye, young friend But there was no time for sorrow yet, for the battle was still raging on around Kilgim. Fortunately Arien had had enough strength left in him to heal himself with a potion. Which was just fine, for the priest was already feeling weary of all the spell-casting. There wouldn't be too many more prayers of healing he could complete today.

Then the chaos came to an end. Adrian managed to free Alloryn of the possession and the girl stayed in her senses long enough to avoid a certain death by blurting out a few words of magic to slow her fall. Kilgim could only watch in amazement at his friends, who even at a time of loss and despair did not give in. Instead they summoned enough strength to destroy the Mantis warriors, the dragonflies and ankhegs with surprising ease and speed. It was good to be on their side.

Kneeling beside Alloryn, Kilgim touched her with the magic of his god. But as he probed her senseless form with the power, he could immediately feel the girl was fine. Physically she was worn, and her mind was exhausted as well due to the terrible torment and pain she had gone through, but otherwise she was in good health. It brought back a memory of another friend not so long ago... Shona...Me misses ye...
It took all of his remaining power and the rest of the potions to heal everyone back to full health and Kilgim found himself lying on his back watching the sky. He was fatigued and sad, but at the same time a happy warm feeling was making its way to his heart. In exchange for the life of a friend, they had been given another. Jal's sacrifice had not been in vain, but it still ate Kilgim from inside. He hoped he could've done more to save the young mage... Hoped he could've done something... Anything...

Then all of a sudden he could feel something. It was only for such a short time that he thought he'd imagined it. But it made him feel warm and happy and it made him think of Jal. Kilgim raised his head enough to look at the mage's face. Secretly hoping... But he was still very much dead. But still, even in death, Jal appeared to be smiling at him as if saying Kilgim was not to worry about him... as if he was saying... goodbye. The dwarf could feel the smile creep on his face and a single tear in his eye as he nodded to Jal. "Goodbye, my friend. Goodbye."

Posted on 2008-08-07 at 13:25:59.

Den Mother
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Karma: 111/12
1188 Posts

Tidying up

Dapple stood apart, as always, in the aftermath of battle, wrapped in isolation as much as her cloak and hood. Adrian had dashed back into the tower after Kilgim had healed him, and Dapple knew she should return to the remains of the keep, scouring for clues as to what had happened here.

Cold grey eyes scanned the area, veering away from Jal’s crumpled form, coming instead to rest on Arien and Alloryn, the two raven haired heads close as brother cradled sister with the tenderness of lifelong affection. The little thief hung her head, a look of longing on her pinched features, while a grotesque parody of child’s nursery rhyme echoed in her mind.

The monster stands alone, the monster stands alone, hi-ho a-derry-oh, the monster stands alone! She shook her head, willing away both song and unspoken wishes as foolish, and continued her scan. It was then that she realized that the altered Green that had nearly finished Arien was gone.

“Where’s the commander’s body?” the rogue questioned out loud, her voice hoarse. As the others look, where the body of the commander was, is now vacant. There was still the blood stain, and bits and pieces of charred flesh and grey matter – but no body. “More importantly,” Dapple muttered to herself, ”no booty. Bloody waste of time.”

Still, there was the matter of Jal. Dapple was an outcast, a misfit on the edges of society, but was old enough to be bothered by the thought of a body cast aside, a broken toy of careless gods. The idea of stirring herself for another caused the dead thing within her to growl with displeasure, but she couldn’t leave it alone.

Almost angrily, Dapple stomped over to the big gladiator, who still looked bereft over the loss of his strange little friend. “C’mon, Maximus, there’ll be no bone men coming for Jal,” she rasped, using the Empire’s slang for those that tended to the dead. “There’s good clean stone here, we can build a cairn over him to keep the scavengers away. Somehow, fire just wouldn’t seem right.”

Not waiting to see if he’d follow, Dapple trotted over to Jal, and used the little mage’s cloak to wrap him into a tight bundle. With a muffled grunt, she hefted the body to her shoulder, and began to move him away from the shattered remains of the battle. She intended to find a clear place for Jal to rest, and use the broken stones to the tower to cover him, after removing staff, dagger and cloak.

Posted on 2008-08-10 at 20:42:46.

The Tired
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Karma: 291/33
6340 Posts

stand back - WOOF!

The battle is over and only so much remains of the tower. Dawn approaches and the sun comes out like a promise of a new beginning amongst the rubble and the dust.

Adrian asks Kilgim to look at the red mage Wind. The collar she wore is not shattered and holds no power over her. Her eyes stare fixed ahead but see nothing. If she was still in the hands of the empire, she’d be sold on the slave market now as a doxie or worse. The dwarf has seen Wizard’s Twilight before and can do nothing with his own powers but offers the solace that he has seen powerful priests pull the mind and soul back together in one so damaged. Until then, she isn’t a threat to anyone.

Char does a search around the missing body of the commander and finds no trace of anyone coming near the body to pick it up or drag it away. It simply vanished, leaving behind the commander’s sword (a fine specimen of Imperial Steel masterwork) and a single golden ring.

A search of the rubble finds many of the Greens in various forms of dead and mangled. You find a journal, written in some sort of code that Dapple recognizes as Imperial Book Code – impossible to break unless you have the source book. You find a diamond, a ruby and a sapphire, all cut into a strange polyhedron shape – not a cut any jeweller would do on purpose.You also find a sword in a sheath. The power of magic from the blade is very strong, so much so that even the fighters of the group can feel it when they put there hand near. Kilgim recognizes it at once –Nemesis. A legendary sword lost during the second Elven Blood Wars. When drawn from the sheath, it will take on whatever powers necessary to defeat a single enemy – the ultimate assassin’s sword.

Away for the ruins, the body of the other red mage you fought is found. Her neck is broken and the collar she wore is crushed deep into her neck.

Dapple and Maximus build a cairn around Jal’s body using the stone of the tower. (if you want to write out a funeral post, feel free – otherwise nice words are said and move on). A litter is made to carry Alloryn out and on the way home.

The journey back is uneventful. After the second day of traveling back to Freegate, you meet up with a patrol out looking for you. They escort you back to the city and along the ay you hear talk form them of strange occurrences lately. Apparently a dragon was spotted near Freegate, scaring many of the locals. There is also talk of a problem to the south – disappearing people.

Once in Freegate, you give your reports to Dwan and Gwanele. The Mage is clearly saddened by the loss of Jal. Dwan is grimly satisfied with your tale, though clearly the unanswered questions of what was going on and why are eating at his mind. Gwanele is very intrigued by the three oddly shaped gemstones and asks to examine them in detail.

You are given your rewards (400 gp) and lodgings within the city. Dwan offers the party a finder’s fee of 500 gp each for Nemesis, warning that the blade is by nature evil and he wishes to keep it out of harms reach. There is no grand celebration this time as it is felt that it would be best to keep the results of the mission low key. Dwan tells you that there are many tidings of evil about and he may wish to call upon you again soon. However, no one is bound by oath and could leave at any time.

Alloryn recovers consciousness after a few days and the care of the healers. She has little memories of what possessed her, but remembers it called itself “The Green Goddess” and it drew power from sunlight. Although demonic by nature, there was some tie to earth and its power.

Wind’s condition worsens everyday until she passes away a few days after getting to the city. Between the wizard’s twilight and her weaken state, she was too far gone. But what ended her life in the end was a slow acting poison in her system, so subtle that it was only detected too late. Whatever it was, it was plant based and almost undetectable.

OOC: When we begin again, we will be one month after this. You will have had time to train and level up and news will come that Dwan needs to see you again. If I missed any loose ends, let me know and we will tie them all up before the next campaign.

Posted on 2008-08-13 at 02:52:01.

Trilogy Master
RDI Staff
Karma: 180/118
6515 Posts

The Journey back

Maximus helped Dapple build Jal’s cairn in silence his grief over the loss of his friend very, very real. With its completion and Jal’s personal effects packed safely in his back pack Maximus moved to join the others in the journey back to Freegate.

In no time at all on the second day of the journey back they were met by a patrol that had been out looking for the group specifically and Maximus could not help but wonder why.

“Why is it they look for us now why could they not have come with us before, maybe then Jal would still be alive.”

With his few words spoken his thoughts voiced the big ex-gladiator once again became quiet completing the rest of the trip back in silence. Then hours later with his new 900 gold piece reward in his pocket he said goodbye to the others, letting them know to find him if needed, he went his own way into the city proper looking for some time alone.

(OOC: Ok oh great DM during the time between missions he will use part of his money to purchase a nice wood/stone headstone and place it upon Jal’s cairn. With the rest he will seek out magical items if such is available in this city or in your game. Other then that he will keep to himself walling himself off in his grief.)

Posted on 2008-08-14 at 00:10:08.

Bromern Sal
A Shadow
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Karma: 155/11
4197 Posts

Wrapping it all up.

There weren't any footprints, no hoofprints, hell! There wasn't even a bent blade of grass to indicate the passage of the body snatcher. Crouched over the spot where the gangrenous Imperial had just about ended his and Arien's lives, Char's brow furrowed and his mouth twisted in frustration. He'd so been hoping to look the body over further. Bodies were as telling as the turned stone, the broken twig, the slight imprint from a bootheel. He'd hoped to learn something of the green arm, the strength that the man had possessed, instead, all he could find was sword and a ring that had been slightly hidden by a clump of trampled grass having endured the weight of the knight's knee at one point in the battle.

Breathing in deeply through his nose, the ranger poked at the ring with his skinning knife to make sure that whatever sorcery was afoot hadn't latched on to the piece of jewelry. (OOC: provided that nothing blows up in his face)

Somewhat satisfied with the results (meaning, nothing flashing in his face, no fire burning his eyebrows off, or anything of the sort), Char slowly picks it up between the index finger and thumb of his right hand; nervous despite the leather glove that separated the metal from his skin. This ring went into his belt pouch in much the same fashion as a hot coal would have: quickly and with a slight sigh of relief once it was safely out of sight.

The sword, was studied further where it lay. The intricate scrollwork on the hilt, the Imperial sigil emblazoned on the pommel, the antiquing down the center of the blade. It was definitely a finely crafted weapon, but it was not of the type that the woodsman favored, so his interest was purely academic. After he was confident that no foul magic surrounded it, Char grabbed the hilt and lifted it, checking its balance before turning and scanning the activities of the others.

He stood apart, alone for the moment, as each went about a task that suited them. Kilgim and Adrian were huddled over the inert form of a woman dressed as an Imperial sorceress. At first, the ranger thought they were searching the body, but Char was pretty sure Adrian wasn't as...different as all that, and the way he was holding the body spoke of a different tale altogether. Perhaps that was the owner of the name he'd whispered in surprise within the tower, just before everything had blown up in their faces. What was it? Wind, Char-Lad, Eftari's dry voice sounded in his head. And he looks to be rather bent about her condition, no?
"Aye," Char mumbled. "Ben'."

Deciding it wasn't something he wished to interrupt, the ranger switched his attention to Arien and Alloryn. He still held her, and Char couldn't blame him. The grimy woodsman wondered when he'd hear her acerbic whit again, he hadn't known her long, but she'd been as deadly with her tongue as he was with his Kukri, and that had reminded him of some of the camp followers he'd grown up around. Of course, it had never helped that after he'd grown accustomed to it, her biting sarcasm had just brought a smile to his lips--something that had likely not sat well with her.

Again, that was a reunion he wouldn't crash. That left--

"Da' Moon," Char muttered, turning about once more in search of the little thief. "Ah..."

There they were, Dapple and Maximus, gathering up stones to lay over the corpse of the Strange One. Char stood there in silence, the commander's sword held by his leg, watching as the huge boulder of a man carried a stone nearly half Da' Moon's size over to set in the circle they were building about the little mage. The ex-pit fighter's face looked as though he had a foot of steal buried in his stomach, and when he went back to collect another stone, his shoulders hunched with the weight of sadness. The image of Eftari's body after the giants were through with him suddenly came to mind, and the emotion Char had felt at the loss nearly overpowered him.

Wiping the back of his left glove under his nose, the ranger sniffed back the feelings that were about to spill out and turned away from the preparations for the body. Striding away, Char thought about the strange little man who'd sacrificed so much for this mission. As far as Char knew the man had no connection to the Dagger and the Rose, and yet he'd come along willingly enough. Despite his spooky habits (a shiver went down Char's spine), and despite the xenophobic mentality he'd been received in, ultimately it had been him to lose his life...and in his sacrifice save Char's and possibly Arien's as well. Which, in a round about sort of way ended up likely saving any number of additional lives as Char doubted that many of the remaining party would have been able to stand up against the commander if both he and Arien had nearly been ended with relative ease.

With this troubling thought running through his head, the shaggy woodsman suddenly gave pause at the vision before him. There she was; the other wizard who'd been with that one Adrian was holding--Char glanced back over his shoulder to see that Kilgim had apparently already given a diagnosis and was moving on to help with other things. Turning back to his find, Char brushed his curtain of hair out of his eyes and slowly approached the body.

She was definitely dead. No head could be turned like that--and the collar's cut into the neck was seriously detrimental to one's health as well. Still, there had been so much magic floating about that the ranger was more than a little cautious as he drew near.

Nature had a way of cleaning up after itself...even cleaning up after humanity's messes. As soon as Char was sure that she was not going to pop up in some grotesque puppet show and fling magic their way once more, he left her as is. Le' Naishu dea' wit da body, he thought as he backed a good ten paces from it before turning around and walking back to the crumbled tower with the commander's sword still in hand.

It took some hard work and a lot of shifting through the rubble, but they eventually discovered the sword Dwan had hoped they'd find. He could only hope that the captive Dwan had been referring to was Alloryn, because he was rather confident that had anyone else been alive in that tower they were dead, dead, dead, and then dead some more.

Even as night pressed in on them, the group universally decided that the ruined tower was not a good place to camp. Char knew that the wolves would soon be on the scene if the scent of magic didn't hold them at bay, and so it was that they found their way out of the valley and back to the horses as quickly as they could.

Rest did arrive despite the perception that it was always on the next horizon. During his turn at watch, Char considered the events to date. He'd made some real friends in Kilgim, Arien, and despite Da' Moon's challenging personality, Char thought of her as a friend as well. He could even see himself growing to like Maximus, and it wasn't necessarily too far fetched to at least appreciate Adrian. Alloryn...well, she was an acquaintance, but through Arien, she was a part of what Char considered family now. He'd lost Daida, and learned very little about that fell cult the Dagger and the Rose, but he felt that he was getting closer. Perhaps he'd be able to discover more in the near future. Perhaps he'd be able to close that particular chapter of his life once and for all. The thought gave him strength, and drive, once more, but every time he looked at Maximus, or Alloryn, or the near comatose Wind, and the worried Adrian, he felt his heart wrenched as memories of Daida's laughing face, or Eftari's wizened, old eyes would come to mind.

The sword and the ring were, of course, shared with everyone--at least that they existed. Char asks Kilgim if he has a way to check the ring for magic as well as the sword, but no matter the results, they are both the property of the party as far as the ranger is concerned. They'd decide together what to do with them when the time was right.

Char was grateful for the arrival of the patrol; it gave him time to rest. Upon returning to Dwan's estate, he allowed Arien to give the report and took in the dwarf's reaction as though he were trying to read a scuff mark on stone. Something in the rough features of Kilgim's cousin told him that there would be more, and Char was fully intent on riding this horse until it died, or he died. So, when all was said and done he was happy enough to accept his gold and part company with the evil blade, but they'd yet to decide on what they were going to do with the rest of their findings (the stones obviously having been turned over to Gwanele), and after Dwan's grim reflection on the news of the region, they are set free.

Discussion is had about what to do with the commander's sword and the ring, and when the decision is settled upon, Char grasps Arien's arm in the warrior's grip and gives him a nod. Simple, and yet all-telling. The action is repeated with Kilgim, but Da' Moon gets a roguish half-smile and a wink: Char knows better than to try and touch the little woman. Still of little words, the ranger offers Maximus and Adrian a nod, and then departs with his reward for a tavern, a hot bath, and a couple of drinks.

He spends the night in Freegate, then immediately sets about the next morning paying to have his armor tended to, his equipment repaired as necessary, and his outfit replenished. He makes sure he has a few apples if he can find them, and treats himself to beef at every meal. Then, after his equipment is tended to, his appetites fulfilled, and his interest in the city spent, Char heads for the gates, allowing Northwind to follow behind without keeping the reins in hand.

Posted on 2008-08-15 at 03:33:05.

Den Mother
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Karma: 111/12
1188 Posts

Back to the same old, same old

The journey back was quiet, for a change, with none of the hearty self-congratulation and relieved satisfaction of an adventure ended well, the sort of warm fuzzies that Dapple would avoid. For the adventure had not ended well; Jal was dead, and left behind, Alloryn slumbered so hard as to seem dead, and the mage who’d tried to kill them looked dead, herself.

In a way, it was almost too quiet a journey. Time Dapple would have spent grumbling about the noise and high spirits were free to spend thinking. Thinking on revenge, and redemption, and of dying alone.

Everyone dies alone, whispered the dark voice within her, What matters is whether you die before or after accomplishing what you set out to do. Sapphirine died at the hands of Greens, and you need to be stronger and harder if you are to kill enough Imperials
“I have no idea how many is enough,” muttered Dapple quietly and Sunset raised her head from where she lay coiled in the thief’s lap. Little jewelled eyes looked up into stone grey ones and the little dragonet gave a whirring chirrup, a sound Dapple had come to recognize as a sort of dragonish purr.

The crippled pseudodragon had sought out Dapple as they’d searched the ruins, and battered the rogue with frantic wings and a flurry of images of a green woman and Alloryn. It had seemed that the inner battle between Arien’s sister and the entity possessing her had been too “noisy” for the little empathic dragon to bear, and she’d hid. Gradually, Dapple had gotten the creature to calm down, “pushing” her own mantra of ice and nothingness in her thoughts. She had no idea of Sunset could “hear” it, but she’d finally calmed enough to climb into Dapple’s hood, coiling her scarred tail around her neck.

Back in Freegate, Dapple accepted her reward wordlessly, baring her teeth at Terrin as she tucked the heavy sack away and slipping out before anyone other than Char had thought to say goodbye. First order of business was to deal with the coin. It was heavy, and there was so much of it. Dapple lived simply, and didn’t have fancy armour to repair or a horse to feed, but it was hers and hard-earned at that. Her first stop was a hidden little temple of WeeJas, a crooked building in a bad part of town. Favoured by the poor and the thieves of Freegate, the priests didn’t look closely at the worshippers as they chanted at the feet of the statue of the goddess. The statue depicted her as clad in rich garments and fine furs, but with bare feet and ragged hair, showing how quickly luck could turn.

Dapple surreptitiously dropped coins in several offer-boxes around the room, a few here, as few there, until she’d given a full tenth of her take. She wasn’t a religious person, but she’d had her share of bad luck in life starting with being born and was determined to keep on WeeJas’ good side. She stopped by the statue, tweaking the image’s toes as any good thief would do. Tithing done, she slipped away from the choking incense and found the pawnshops on Brokedown Lane.

Here she looked through the scattered detritus of shattered lives, finding some decent gems and other bits of jewelry among the junk. She haggled sharply and counted out the coins carefully as if each one was her last, but after a few shops, she’d converted about half the gold to a more manageable (i.e. hidable) number of good gemstones, and had a fair amount of more usable silver pieces.

Then there was Fast Toes, the head of the Freegate thieves’ guild. After hiding the gems around her home in the abandoned building, the little thief padded down to the bar that fronted the thieves’ guild. Fast Toes was too busy to see her (and that spoke volumes on how much her status fell whenever she disappeared on these little side trips) so Dapple left her dues (another tenth of her take) with the hobbit’s second, Fingers.

The bar was crowded and Dapple had to elbow her way through to order a drink, a pint of dark she’d nurse while listening to the news of the city swirling around her. A big burly fellow she didn’t recognize pushed back, and Dapple sighed inwardly. Gone for a few short days, she’d have to fight her way back up the food chain, and quickly, or resign herself to losing territory and the sweeter jobs.

“Watch it, yobbie,” she growled menacingly,” A guy can’t get a drink around here wit’ yer fat arse inna way!” As the man responded with a slow and high punch, his ham fist almost bigger than her head, Dapple ducked inside his reach and hammered his ribs with three quick blows, hearing the snap of broken bones on the third blow. As the crowd cleared a small circle around them, wagers in the air, Dapple stepped back to be able to bring her feet into play, should her opponent not realize how badly outclassed he was, and grinned her shark’s grin. It would be brutal and ugly, but this sort of struggle Dapple understood, and relished. It was a clean, uncomplicated violence that didn’t allow time for brooding, and she threw herself into it with complete fearlessness. As always, she fought as if she didn’t care if she lived or died.

Posted on 2008-08-17 at 14:30:50.
Edited on 2008-08-17 at 14:31:17 by Vanadia

The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6340 Posts

CWWLL0 3 - The Enemy Within

Three months pass through the city of Freegate and with them go the summer warmth and bright skies. Autumn comes quickly in the mountains and the days shorten while the nights begin to become brisk and that much longer. Although the first frost is not upon you, the festivals and the feasts of autumn are flourishing through the city, a last hurrah against the coming winter months. The streets are filled with sounds of singing and dancing and the air pungent with the smells of foods of all kinds.

But against this background of frivolity and joy, Dwan has called you all back to the citadel. You gather in his meeting hall, the same people that undertook the quest of the tower. Arien the knight, Maximus the gladiator, Adrian the battle mage, Char the ranger, and Kilgim, the dwarven healer who has saved your lives so many time. In the darkest corner of the room sits Dapple, wrapped in his cloak and with Sunset the pseudo-dragon hiding deep within his hood. Those of you, who wish to, are socializing, chatting about what has gone on within the last three months. Anyone who approaches the young rogue will notice a healing black eye and a sour expression.

Dwan enters the room, with his servant Terrin, and followed by the Archmage Gwanele. A fourth man also entered, close to Archmage, but slows to look around the room. He is a large man, dark brown hair, close to 6 feet tall and very physically fit. He is a very attractive man, and carries himself with an air of self-confidence and style. Dressed in boots and breeches crafted from supple doeskin and a heather-grey tunic surmounted by a deep blue vest and a wine coloured knee length coat – he looks like a travelling minstrel or a bard, but has no apparent instrument. However the arcane symbols embroidered into his coat and vest, hinting at an intimate knowledge of the powers of magic suggest a mage. On his shoulder is perched a black bird that flicks its head to everyone nervously. The single most striking features about him are his eyes, which are amber in colour and very intense. He sits with the rest of the party, facing Dwan and the archmage.

The dwarven leader clears his throat and begins, “Thank you to those of you who answered my call willingly.” He looks over at Dapple with an expression of annoyance, “And welcome to those who I had to pull some strings to have brought here. Incidentally, young man, bail and property damage is coming out of your share of this mission payment.”

Terrin comes around and hands out drinks to everyone. You all find that even though the dwarf didn’t ask you what you wanted, the drink you received is precisely what you desired. Without a word, Terrin rolls out a cart with warm meats, bread, and an assortment of fresh fruit.

“Terrin, before you go, could you get me …” Dwan says and Terrin reaches under the cloth of the trolley and pulls out several maps to hand to the leader.

“Okay gentleman, let’s get down to business.” The dwarven leader begins, “This is Mathius Rath, a mage of vast power who has served the Iron League before. I have asked him to join you on this particular mission because of the possible arcane threat involved. I trust him as I do all of you so please welcome as an addition to the team.
“Now that that is settled, we have a town and farming community to the south east of here called Hevlorn. The town is having a problem and has asked for help. Started with cattle – one or two disappearing in the night, no trace, no carcass, nothing. Then, very recently, people disappeared - young women mostly but a few boys as well.”

Dwan took a drink from his horn again, “What you need to understand is this isn’t the first time for this in Hevlorn. About a hundred…no about a hundred and fifty years ago, the lands of Hevlorn were governed by an Archmage Zephur, formerly of Freegate. He was given the fiefdom as a reward for services rendered and was to retire there. But, Zephur was feeling his age and began to worry about death – a fatal obsession with people who can command magic. Long story short – he cracked, went undead and began to terrorize the town.”

“Please Dwan!’ Gwanele said intensely, “You make it sound so …common.”

“Do I?” the dwarven leader shrugged.

“Indeed. Zephur did not ‘go undead’. In the attempt to alter the length of his life, he compromised his integrity and used magic that was and is forbidden. As a result, he channelled the energy of the negative plane and developed a taste for flesh – live flesh.”

“Like I said, he went undead. No matter how you phrase it, the pattern is the same. Started with cattle, and then moved on to young women and men. Any reason for the predilection for young humans?”

Gwanele nodded, “More life force in their blood. Those that hunt the night seek the purity of youth.”

“Anyway. Last time this happened, we got a party of men just like you and they went to Hevlorn, stormed the castle, killed Zephur and his abominations and then burned the castle to the ground. After that, we had clerics consecrate the grounds and holy water scattered throughout. Zephur’s body was burned, mixed with holy water and dumped into running water – which I was told at the time would mean he couldn’t possibly come back. So here we are, one hundred and fifty years later and it is starting again.”

“I wasn’t around then,” Gwanele adds, “But according to our records, a warrior of the group fell in combat to Zephur. It is possible that the man rose afterwards as undead and has spent the last century building power.”

“Or it could be a group of bandits or Imp deserters using the past as a cover for whatever they are doing. Gods know I have seen a lot of that lately. Either way, we want you people to go to Hevlorn and find out what is going on, and then stop it. You will be given the usual reward, plus healing potions and few other goodies. By the way, Arien – the smiths have fixed your shield. It is as good as new, if not better and we’ll make sure you get it before you leave.”

“Any questions?” Gwanele asks, standing up to denote the end of the briefing.

“Hold on Gwanele.” Dwan says seriously, “Tell them the other stuff.”

Gwanele looks at Dwan and at the party, then back at Dwan. “It really doesn’t concern the mission.”

“They are risking their lives for me; I won’t send them in without knowing everything. You know that. They have met those possessed by demons in both missions. They found the crystals. They are tied to this somehow and you know it.”

The archmage sighed ruefully, “How much do any of you know about the Elven blood wars?”

OOC: I am going stop here to allow you to post thoughts, questions or comments you may wish to make. As to the Elven blood wars – all you know are the legends. First one was with the Demoness Lolth and created the drow or dark elves.and forever split the high elves from the grey and the wood elves. The second was with Azazel the Shadow Dragon Demon and created the shadow elves, and tore the eastern world apart, the ruins of which formed the Empire and its hatred of elves. It is all ancient history, many thousands of years ago. I will PM any special knowledge to people.

Posted on 2008-09-07 at 22:58:18.

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 462/28
8482 Posts

New beginnings

“… of course not, dear lady,” Matthias smiled at Gwanelle as they strolled along beside the Archmage of Freegate, trailing respectfully behind Dwan and his servant Terrin, “were I to be deterred by every tale I have ever heard about the untimely ending of a mage on some mission I should likely have never have set foot outside Wintershiven to begin with. Besides, from what I’ve heard of this one you call Spellbinder – and, of course, the very little to which I can personally attest – it was an ending that he longed for and, perhaps, actively sought.

Pity not the man who chooses to die, nor fear for him, for in death he may have found a new way of living,” he was saying as the doors to the meeting hall were thrown open, revealing to him for the first time the fellowship of adventurers whom both the Lord and Archmage of Freegate held in such high regard, “or so I’ve heard it said once or more.”

Gwanelle ended their banter, replying only with a nod and a smile of her own, continuing on in Dwan’s wake as Matthias’ pace slowed, his smile brightened a bit, and his amber eyes took in the members of the troupe. It wasn’t difficult to associate the names he had learned with the figures and faces that occupied Dwan’s briefing chambers.

The knight, Arien Thedell, would have been easily recognizable even without the highly polished armor and other accoutrements – the man carried himself with a noble bearing and exuded an air that would have belied his station even if he were to be dressed in a beggar’s rags. Proud and straight, emanating a near palpable aura of duty and honor, his proud eyes snapping like the pennants caught in the winds over the turrets of a familial keep. Yes, a noble and a knight through to the core, this one.

The gladiator, Maximus, too, would have been easily enough singled out even if Gwanelle’s earlier description of the man hadn’t included so many details – first, he was the only one among them that clearly evidenced Sueli bloodlines and, secondly, the man was a mountain of hardened sinew covered with a skin toughened by myriad scars that could have only been earned in the gladiatorial arenas. It was, Maximus, as Matthias understood it, who had become close friends with the spiritualist-mage on this group’s last venture and, thus, the one who had grieved the most. Perhaps it was this that had etched a hint of sadness into the former gladiator’s otherwise hardened gaze.

Similarly obvious was Kilgim - being the only dwarf in the party, not to mention having the tattoo of his god tattooed prominently on his forehead – was readily identifiable as the party’s steadfast cleric. A stout and sturdy warrior, a wise and devout disciple of his faith, and a font of divine healing magics were all words that Gwanelle had imparted in her descriptions Lord Dwan’s cousin and, if first impressions spoke for anything, none of those words had been ill-spent.

Then, the ranger, Char… how could he be mistaken for anything other than a man of the Wild Coast? …of the lot of them, he was the most notable; at least, here in this urban setting. The rugged woodsman wore the essence of the wilderness about him like a finely tailored suit of clothes - well-fitting and well-worn, as if made for him alone and – it was a spectacular sight and, yet, so very out of place. From what Rath knew of Char’s ilk, the man likely chaffed when required to spend more than the shortest of hours in the looming oppression that was the city.

The young man brooding in a shadowed corner of the room, though, offset the ranger perfectly. As the ranger knew the ways and wiles of those places fashioned by the gods so did the irascible Dapple Moon surely know the ways and wiles of those crafted by mortals. Much more than a simple thief, Gwanelle had cautioned, and much more dangerous. The boots attest to that much, Matthias decided as he took quick notice the lad’s footwear, one doesn’t come across a pair of those cheaply. Nor do they typically clomp about in them without the remainder of the uniform. The pseudodragon curled on Dapple’s shoulder, also, was as curious an accessory for a rogue as the Green boots. Already a much more interesting young man in person than even the Archmage’s depictions might have originally evoked.
Adrian Valentine; even if the battlemage hadn’t been the last of the troupe to have been caught in Rath’s gaze, it wouldn’t have been difficult to pick him out, even in spite of the disfigured tattoo that gave away his once declared his allegiance to the Empire’s Red Corps. It wasn’t with any sort of regularity that one just up and left the ranks of the Reds (or any faction of the Empire for that matter) and it was even rarer still for one who had done so to continue living for too long afterwards. Valentine, though, had managed quite nicely it seemed and had gained some notoriety in certain circles for having done so.

Matthias offered a friendly nod or smile to each as his eyes danced past, then, having completed his initial perusal of the famous fellowship, found a spot among them and settled himself into a seat. The bird perched on his shoulder ruffled its wings and squawked in protest at the change of altitude… “Clyde, shhhh,” Matthias said softly, lifting a hand to scritch at the bird’s neck, “all in good time. Let’s hear what Lord Dwan might have to say before you offer any opinion, shall we?” … The bird pecked at the mage’s finger, tilted its head curiously, then resigned to preening its feathers as the Lord of the Iron League cleared his throat and began to speak.

As the dwarf began by offering his thanks to them all for their participation and, also, chastising Dapple – apparently for some additional expense Dwan had incurred in order to get the rogue to show up – Terrin appeared before Matthias, offering a goblet of fine wine that the mage had truly only thought about wanting a moment before. “My thanks, master Terrin,” Matthias nodded, accepting the goblet and sipping appreciatively at the exotically dark vintage. Rath had just finished that first tasting when Dwan’s words suggested that he was introducing the mage to the others in the group…

“This is Matthias Rath, a mage of vast power who has served the Iron League before,” Dwan rumbled, prompting Matthias to get to his feet, “I have asked him to join you on this particular mission because of the possible arcane threat involved. I trust him as I do all of you so, please, welcome him as an addition to the team.”

The mage affected his most charming smile as he turned and offered a respectful bow to the assembled adventurers (an action which sent the bird, Clyde, flapping away to find a new perch atop a nearby bookshelf). “Gentlemen,” he said, rising from the bow and straightening the front of his coat, “A pleasure to be serving with all of you, I’m sure.” He lifted his goblet in a wordless toast to the company, indulged in another sip of the wine, and then turned and sketched a bow to the dwarf Lord before reclaiming his seat.

Matthias listened with rapt fascination as Dwan continued with the briefing, taking particular notice when the dwarf lord and Freegate’s Archmage seemed to disagree over semantics at a certain point… Clyde (not the bird), of course, had perked up instantly when Dwan had mentioned Helvorn, though, and Mathias found it difficult to focus, at times, with that one rambling incessantly on about moving ‘farther south’… Should you care for me to live through this and have any hopes of making it as far south as you’d like, Matthias thought in Clyde’s direction, you may wish to keep silent so that I might know what to expect, hmm?
And should you like to continue wearing hair as opposed to say noodles, Clyde returned, you might want to take a different tone. The entity chuckled as a suddenly nervous Rath reached up for his own head as if to ascertain that the waves of hair hadn’t transformed into the threatened noodles and then breathed a sigh of relief, masking the momentary panic by pushing a shock of hair back behind an ear. Don’t worry, Matty, I’m paying real close attention to what ol’ stumpy there has to say. If you miss anything, I’ll be sure to remind you of it at some point.
That’s what worries me… Rath indulged in another sip of his wine and tried his best to tune out Clyde’s voice and absorb the rest of the briefing. It wasn’t a long consultation by any means. In fact, it seemed to be drawing to its end before Matthias had managed another sip of his wine.

Gwanele had risen from her seat and was casting her gaze from face to face, seemingly ready to call the meeting to a close; “Any questions?”

“Hold on Gwanele.” Dwan interrupted, “Tell them the other stuff.”

“It really doesn’t concern the mission,” the woman protested after nervously (?) regarding the party and then fixing her gaze back on the dwarf.

Here comes the good part, Clyde snickered.

“They are risking their lives for me,” Dwan stated firmly, “I won’t send them in without knowing everything. You know that. They have met those possessed by demons in both missions. They found the crystals. They are tied to this somehow and you know it.”

The archmage sighed ruefully, “How much do any of you know about the Elven blood wars?”

Ding! Clyde’s voice boomed, causing Matthias to flinch just enough to splash a bit of wine onto the front of his coat, There it is! Remember what I told you about all of this, Matty? Most likely everyone in this room knows the ‘history’ and ‘legend’ of it all but I’ll bet gold to goose-eggs that they don’t know all of what I told ya… Might wanna share with your new friends, mightn’t ya?
I suppose so, Matthias answered, rolling his eyes as he brushed at the spilled wine on his lapel, Could I convince you to remain quiet while I do?
Let’s take that as it goes, why don’t we?
The mage swallowed an exacerbated sigh with another mouthful of wine, his amber eyes ticking from one mortal face to the next and, finally coming to rest once more on Gwanele. “A bit more than what might be passed along in a standard history lesson, perhaps, my Lady,” he answered, rising to his feet again before beginning to relate the history of the Elven Blood Wars as it had been told to him.

“Long ago, the elves discovered and began toying with things they called ‘gates,’ hoping that the magic in them would enable them to transport themselves almost instantly across great distances. Things don’t go quite as expected and, when the elves managed to open their first gate, the world was subjected to Lolth’s meddlings and, thus, the drow. Lolth, eventually, was banished back to the nether-realms, of course, but not before the seeds of dissent were sown amongst the elves… lots of infighting, fingerpointing, blamestorming, and the like… high, grey, and wood elves all follow separate paths afterwards, the gates are sealed and even so much as the knowledge to use the things is forbidden.

All goes well for the next three thousand years or so until some grey elf with a power complex and no taste for being told what is and isn’t allowed locates another one of these gates and, once again, tries to activate the thing. He manages to do so, of course, this time unleashing Azazel, along with his legions of shadow elves and dragons, on the face of Oerth. Elves weren’t the only victims this time, though. Three thousand years had seen the dawnings of men and dwarves and halflings in the world and, so, each of these races, too, got to experience what happens when things better left alone are meddled with. The grey elves fled before Azazel’s army, you see, and led the dragons and shadow elves right to Valour – which, as I understand it, is where the Imperial prejudice against elves of all sorts finds its origins.

Eventually, at the hands – or perhaps minds would be a better choice of anatomy – of a human mage and a Halfling, Azazel winds up getting himself and his hordes trapped or tricked back into the abyss and, afterwards, the gates were supposedly all destroyed. The humans in Valour began the wholesale slaughter of anyone with pointed ears who might have been found inside their borders and, once done, start expanding outwards until finally becoming the Empire with which all of us are familiar today and that’s where the story ends in most tellings.” Matthias paused then, his eyes searching the faces of those assembled here, and indulged in another sip of wine.

“However,” he continued after a moment longer, “I have it on some authority that the opening of the gate which freed Azazel was not the last time the gates were trifled with. There was yet another elf, some three hundred years ago or so – during the time when the humans and elves alike were rallying against the Emperor Fax, I think his name was – who stumbled upon one of the gates that was apparently missed during the razing of the things following Azzy’s banishment. This elf managed to open the gate but, as the tale goes, was discovered and the gate closed before anything from the other side managed to get through…”

Matthias’ amber eyes flick toward the raven perched not far away on the bookcase, then skim the party again as the bird returns to his shoulder.

“…Despite what might be said in that regard, though,” he continued, staring into the depths of his goblet at the near black remains of the wine, “I’m not entirely certain that I believe that. Just because mortal eyes didn’t glimpse the happening does not mean that the happening did not occur, regardless of what historians might have us believe and not all of those that dwell in the outer planes are as fond of a grand entrance as Lolth and Azazel might have been…”

((OOC: Wheeee! There we go, off and running with a new mage! I’ll leave it there, for now, I suppose… don’t want to get to much farther into it without a bit from the rest and/or perhaps some interjections from the NPC side of things. Room for interjection, interruption, etc throughout all of this, of course. Edits, backposts, and all of that as necessary.))

Posted on 2008-09-10 at 17:50:19.

Bromern Sal
A Shadow
RDI Staff
Karma: 155/11
4197 Posts

Char'll bite.

Char sat back a bit from the others. Like Da’ Moon, Char was uninterested in social interaction. When he’d received the summons it had taken him some time to resolve his indecision and return to the city, and as such, aside from the irritable little rogue, he had been the last to rejoin the party. He’d made his greeting to Arien with a warm clasp of the forearm and a pat on the shoulder, asking after the knight’s sister and quickly catching up on what had been occupying the knight’s time over the past few months. Maximus and Valentine, he’d greeted with a nod of recognition and a similar clasp to the wrist, though it wasn’t filled with nearly the same level of friendship as Arien’s had been. Kilgim, on the other hand, had received the same as Arien: warm clasp of friendship, some “’ow ya been?”, and the like. And when Da’ Moon had finally entered the room with Sunset on her shoulder, the greeting Char presented was respectful of her mood, and, at first, more focused on the pseudo dragon, and getting to know the little creature once more. Once he was finished with Sunset’s greetings and scratching her under the chin, he smiled at Da’ Moon and winked.

“Anudder fer da bards, eh?”

He hadn’t allowed her time to respond, but had made his way back to a chair against the wall where he could observe the entire room with equal impunity, and it was there he remained, quiet unless spoken to.

When Dwan, Gwanele, and the newcomer entered, Char figured the man with the bird to be another of Gwanele’s pets, and dismissed him until introductions were made. Nodding his thanks to Terrin for the beer, Char settled back in his chair and waited while the dwarven leader situated himself.
“Terrin, before you go, could you get me …” Dwan began, but Terrin had already reached under the cloth of the trolley and produced several maps which he then handed to the stout man.

“Okay gentleman, let’s get down to business.” The dwarven leader began, “This is Mathius Rath, a mage of vast power who has served the Iron League before. I have asked him to join you on this particular mission because of the possible arcane threat involved. I trust him as I do all of you so please welcome as an addition to the team.

“Now that that is settled, we have a town and farming community to the south east of here called Hevlorn. The town is having a problem and has asked for help. Started with cattle – one or two disappearing in the night, no trace, no carcass, nothing. Then, very recently, people disappeared - young women mostly but a few boys as well.”
Char took a deep breath and silently let it out. Another magic-user…well, at least this one didn’t appear as to be as strange a companion as the last had been. Char felt a momentary pang of guilt at the thought, but swallowed it with a sip of beer and wiped the froth from his mustaches with the back of his grimy hand.

Dwan proceeded after taking a drink himself and though Char appeared disinterested, he paid close attention as each and every detail could be vital to their survival. This last mission hadn’t exactly been a walk in the King’s Park, and the ranger never liked losing a companion no matter how strange the individual. So, he registered all of the key notes, put away the rest for later perusal, and made no attempt to interrupt. Eventually Gwanele rose up from her seat and cast her gaze from face to face, seemingly ready to call the meeting to a close; “Any questions?”

“Hold on Gwanele.” Dwan interrupted, “Tell them the other stuff.”

“It really doesn’t concern the mission,” the woman protested after regarding the party and then fixing her gaze back on the dwarf.

“They are risking their lives for me,” Dwan stated firmly, “I won’t send them in without knowing everything. You know that. They have met those possessed by demons in both missions. They found the crystals. They are tied to this somehow and you know it.”

The archmage sighed ruefully, “How much do any of you know about the Elven blood wars?”

Char raised his eyebrows. He’d heard the songs, the legends told around the campfires, but aside from finding the occasional reminder of the Wars in ruins he was pretty much uneducated. Still, if the arch-mage was referring to a time that far back in history, Char had to take notice. That’s when the new magic-user sighed and spoke up. “A bit more than what might be passed along in a standard history lesson, perhaps, my Lady,” he answered, rising to his feet again before beginning to relate the history of the Elven Blood Wars.

The woodsman listened as attentively to Mattius’ commentary as he had Gwanele’s, pondering the world of magic as a secondary line of thought, and what complications it brought to an otherwise simple life. He’d once been told that magic was supposed to make life better, but the more he dealt with it, the more he doubted it was worth the headache.

“…Despite what might be said in that regard, though,” Mattius continued, staring into the depths of his goblet at the near black remains of the wine, “I’m not entirely certain that I believe that. Just because mortal eyes didn’t glimpse the happening does not mean that the happening did not occur, regardless of what historians might have us believe and not all of those that dwell in the outer planes are as fond of a grand entrance as Lolth and Azazel might have been…”

Char’s lip curled at the right side and his eyes narrowed. Not all of those that dwell in the outer planes are as fond of a grand entrance as Lolth and Azazel might have been… That practically smelled of trouble. The possessed and—what was the word Alloryn had used to describe those in the Duke’s keep? Oh yes: transmuted—that had been strange enough. The Thri-Kreen had been dangerous and Char still wasn’t sure as to how they fit into the mix, but that green-armed Imperial had been downright disturbing. Bloody udderwor’ly bas’ar’s, Char growled to himself.

“So,” he said into the silence Mattius had left behind. “Ya tinks we be facin’ sum’tin’ demonic an’ undead dis time?”

He didn’t like that idea. The undead were just creepy and unnatural, and demons…well, they were a whole other spectrum of unnatural. It went against the order of things, and that always bothered the ranger.

Posted on 2008-09-13 at 17:21:31.

Trilogy Master
RDI Staff
Karma: 180/118
6515 Posts

A Bored and Tormanted Pit Fighter

As Maximus entered Dwan’s meeting hall, having been found once again at Jal’s grave by the dwarf’s messenger, he found he was the last to arrive. His eyes quickly scanning the room he saw the same people that undertook the quest of the tower gathered within. Arien the knight, Char the ranger, the Red battle mage Adrian, the dwarven healer Kilgim but the big gladiator, though he had just come from his friends burial site, still found himself looking for the tiny mage. For a moment he thought the young thief Dapple missing but in the next he spotted him, wrapped in his cloak Sunset the pseudo-dragon hiding deep within his hood, sitting as if he was born there the darkest corner of the room.
With a brief nod to all the longest to the boy, the shared experience of burying a friend between them, he took his place among the rest. For a brief moment he wondered about Arien's sister then put her from his thoughts and attempted to listen to the words of the dwarf.

With his ears listening but only half his mind focused on Dwan the other half was pondering the last three months and the strange revelation he had come too.
In some way the big hulking gladiator was afraid he had fallen in love with Jal, yes Jal was male make no doubt, but Maximus had never known the love of a women, yes many had thrown themselves at him and he had taken them to his bed victoriously. But it had always been only for the sex, never out of any sense of love or feelings for them. With the mornings light he had thrown them out of his bed and never thought of them twice. Always kept within the company of men on the verge of death in the arena, love with a women had no place, so could it not be realistic that he had indeed fallen in love with a man?

It was these thoughts that had tortured Maximus the last three months with no one to talk to, his only friend and cause of those thoughts dead, so it was with a noted hesitation that he had returned to the company gathered within this hall. Pushing those thoughts into the back of his mind he focused on the present speaker a new face among them, a. Matthias Rath By his dress Maximus deduced that he was a mage, perhaps Jal’s replacement, for this new mission which in truth the ex-Gladiator had no thoughts on as he had missed most of what the dwarf had spoken of it.

“Long ago, the elves discovered and began toying with things they called ‘gates,’ hoping that the magic in them would enable them to transport themselves almost instantly across great distances. Things don’t go quite as expected and, when the elves managed to open their first gate, the world was subjected to Lolth’s meddling and, thus, the drow. Lolth, eventually, was banished back to the nether-realms, of course, but not before the seeds of dissent were sown amongst the elves… lots of infighting, finger pointing, blame storming, and the like… high, gray, and wood elves all follow separate paths afterwards, the gates are sealed and even so much as the knowledge to use the things is forbidden.
Not a big fan of history, having never learned anything other then how to stay alive, the big pit fighter tried hard not to fall asleep as the new mage droned on, but with no luck. It was only the mass of his bulk shifting in sleep that caused a him to abruptly awaken to hear the last of the new mages words.

“…Despite what might be said in that regard, though, I’m not entirely certain that I believe that. Just because mortal eyes didn’t glimpse the happening does not mean that the happening did not occur, regardless of what historians might have us believe and not all of those that dwell in the outer planes are as fond of a grand entrance as Lolth and Azazel might have been…”
Whatever the mission, Maximus was in, he needed to do something, anything to deal with the thoughts within him and what better way to do that then to kill something. He cared not about legend or history, the past was gone why dwell on it, what mattered now was the present. Hoping the drone of the new mage was over he looked around ready to gather his things and once again be on the move......

Posted on 2008-09-15 at 16:00:47.

Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 365/54
6858 Posts

part three

The time in Freegate had flown past. Alloryn had recovered well enough, but her memories of the event had been disjointed and disturbing. Try as he might, Arien was unable to convince his twin to stay; she felt strongly that her own path, at least for the time being, was one of independence, and her little brother knew well enough that he would not dissuade her. The heir to House Thedell had presented his ruined shield to Dwan, proclaiming that he would pay any price to have it restored. The dwarf, in his typical gruff manner, had taken it and muttered something about "seeing what he could do".

Summer had stretched into autumn, and Arien found allowed himself to be occupied by affairs of minor business, varous diversions available to a young noble such as himself, and of course, the pursuit of the fairer sex. Freegate seemed nothing more that a waypoint, and the knight found himself loathe to wander far. So, for the time being, he enjoyed city life, and the company that he found.

The day arrived that found Arien summoned once again to Dwan's meeting hall, and of course, his comrades were there, as well. After the group had exchanged greetings, the dwarf welcomed them, and introduced one Matthias Rath as a mage of vast power who would be accompanying them on the mission. Arien nodded to the man in a friendly manner - Dwan vouched for him, which was good enough in the knight's eyes.

The mission itself sounded simple enough; investgate the disappearances, find the villain behind them, and slay him (or them). The fact that there were alost certainly unnatural forces at work here seemed almost a given, what with the history that the knight and his comrades had lived through in the service of Dwan. Arien found that he was neither surprised nor overly worried at this point in time.

Soon, the discussion turned, for some reason, to ancient history. Truth be told, Arien was unsure exactly how it had a bearing on their current mission, and he found the topic to be quite dry. Still, he listened politely, knowing that Dwan would certainly not allow useless tales to be bandied about for no reason. The knight's eyes narrowed at the lout, Maximus, as the big man began to nod off during the discussion. The man had no manners whatsover, and deserved a brisk cuff to the back of his head for such insolence!

Fuming silently, Arien listened for the mages and the learned to finish their discussion.

Posted on 2008-09-17 at 18:23:18.
Edited on 2008-09-17 at 18:24:50 by t_catt11

Resident Finn
RDI Staff
Karma: 74/3
1103 Posts


Three months had passed since their return from Dwan's previous mission. Kilgim sat on his bed and stared blindly at the wall of his room. The days had flown by without him really noticing. Every dawn arrived the same way, with him lying awake on his bed with his green eyes fixed on an invisible spot on the ceiling. As the guard in duty passed his door calling out the coming of a new day, Kilgim Blackaxe had already banished the last trails of sleep from his eyes an hour or two earlier. The bald dwarf rarely enjoyed a full night's sleep these days. At the ripe of age of 142 (or was it 143, he could not recall for sure) he no longer needed as much sleep as in his youth. Yet the lonely moments in the mornings were something he valued and looked forward to over the hustle and bustle of the dwarven fortress.

"Three months... 'as it really been 'at long?", the orange-bearded cleric muttered and slowly pushed himself up to his feet. "Three months...", Kilgim went on and shook his head as went through his morning chores. The warrior priest had just completed his first prayers and was half-way through his every day physical exercise when he heard the knock on his door. It was indeed THE knock, not just any knock. Through the years Kilgim had learned to recognize Terrin's sharp and clear double-knock from all of the others.

Finishing the push-up, Kilgim got back on his feet and grabbed a towel to dry his sweaty barrel of a chest. He couldn't help the smile creeping on his lips as he imagined the quiet, organized and incredibly effective servant of Dwan standing patiently behind the oak door. Terrin would wait for a proper time before knocking again and then wait some more before leaving. And should Kilgim (or whom ever he was looking for) not be present, Terrin always somehow happened to have a note to slip in under the door.

"Aye, aye. Come in old friend. Come in." Kilgim counted silently to three and smiled again, just before the door opened and young Terrin stepped inside. Or at least the other dwarf looked young. For some reason Kilgim could not say exactly how young he was. To him it seemed Terrin had been around for longer than his appearance would indicate. The cleric knew Terrin liked to be on his own and usually didn't say much if anything at all. Not that he had to. Kilgim knew what his coming meant... Dwan needed him.

He pointed at the pot hanging over the flames in his huge fireplace. "Time fer brew?" Terrin silently shook his head as answer and Kilgim let out a sigh. "Aye. Figured as much." He rolled the towel around his hand, picked up the tea pot and laid it on the stone table to cool off. There wasn't really any need for the cloth, for his hands had long ago gotten used to holding hot... very hot things. But it was a habit he'd learned from his mother as a kid and it had stuck hard. Nodding to Terrin with a weak smile on his face, the bald priest stepped towards his closet. "Gimme an 'eartbeat t'put on me shirt an' stuff. Dwan's aide nodded and left the room...

The months had gone by very quickly for the not-so-young-anymore dwarf. He had spent most of the days at his church helping out whenever and wherever needed. Nearly all of the evenings had been full of meditation and prayer to Clangeddin. Losing yet another friend in the line of duty, as Arien would no doubt have called it, was hard on Kilgim. Dwarves were slow to warm up and make friends with anyone, but when they did, it was for life. And such was the role of a long-living creature like a dwarf. Such was the part of Kilgim. During his ten decades of adulthood, he had witnessed the death of too many friends. And the latest one was always the hardest to get over when time had not yet done its job to sooth the pain.

The communal work at the chapel and the church grounds had always been a good medicine for heart pains and so it had been during the last three months too. Teaching aspiring novices was rewarding work. As always, Kilgim's responsibility in the training was heavily combat oriented. He liked to leave the wisdom part for wiser priests and concentrated on the physical side. Though real combat - killing monsters and destroying evil - had a special place in his heart, Kilgim knew it wouldn't be many more decades before he would have to retire from his adventurous life - certainly less than a century. But teaching younglings was the second best thing. It kept his fighting skills alive and gave his muscles the exercise they needed. At 142 (or was it 143?) The bald, orange-bearded, tattooed follower of the Father of Battle was still as fit as a hundred years ago and he wasn't going to let that change any time soon.

As always, Kilgim followed Terrin in silence through the hallways of Ironkeep while unconsciously giving a nod or two as a greeting to the friends they met on the way. The ordered mind inside his head was already running hard trying to think of all the possible reasons to why his cousin had summoned him. It could be anything from a problem in organizing some kitchen supplies to simply spending the night together sitting by the fire and enjoying a few ales. But somehow Kilgim felt that was not the case this time.

As usual, he was the first to enter the hall. First one after Dwan that was. There had always been a silent agreement between them two on situations like this. Kilgim wasn't very curious by nature, but still was eager to know what his cousin had in mind for him this time. But the warrior priest never asked. He knew Dwan would lift the veil silence when the rest of the group arrived, and he could certainly wait a few more moments. Sometimes it was hours, even days, before all members of the summoned group in question had arrived. But to a dwarf the passing of a day was still just a moment. There would always come another.

The look on Dwan's face or more, the lack of it, confirmed that Kilgim's earlier guesses had been on the right trail. This was no social call or minor matter. Other people were on they way and they would not be just any people. Nodding his head a few times, Kilgim took his place at the long table next to Dwan. It wasn't his favorite place in the room though. The priest would have preferred the cozy armchair by the fire, but he knew better.

Fortunately it wasn't long before the others started dropping in. Arien, Char, Dapple, his good and dear old friends. Adrian and Maximus arrived too, friends as well, but not quite as well known yet. No matter how well or not Kilgim knew his friends, they all received an equally hearty greeting with a warm arm clasp or shake. Though there were without a doubt some dark times ahead once again, seeing his friends suddenly made Kilgim feel a lot more alive than he had during the previous months. He was so happy he would've hugged each and every one of the, had they been smaller.

Didn't know which time of the day it was, so I made it morning. Will fix if needed/wanted

Posted on 2008-09-19 at 08:34:10.

Den Mother
RDI Staff
Karma: 111/12
1188 Posts

Pleasant as always

Dapple sat by herself in the corner of Dwan’s meeting hall that had become known as “her” spot. It had solid walls behind her, was well away from any direct light, and if she remained still enough, people started to forget she was there. If she could fade away into the gloom completely, life would be perfect.

She’d put on an act for Dwan and Terrin, acting sullen and disagreeable, but she was actually feeling rather smug. The last skirmish had gotten truly ugly, mostly because Dapple had been doing her level best to kill her opponent, a former-Green-turned-gang enforcer. Two fighters of that level of skill in a crowded marketplace can create a lot of collateral damage, and the city guard goons showed up to arrest everyone and sort it out at the jail. Dapple had worked her best “what me? I’m just a kid” act, but too many people pointed her out as the instigator. She was facing the loss of her equipment and a public flogging when Terrin showed up with a writ of release from Dwan. The guards had no choice to comply, though they administered one last beating before surrendering her to Terrin.

So, she’d dodged that dagger, and lived another day…now if her face would just stop throbbing. She was pretty sure her nose wasn’t broken (again), and that loose tooth would probably heal solidly again, but her eye was still healing from a previous fight and the socket ached from this fresh insult. She tried pushing away the discomfort, sending it to the icy nothingness of her soul, but it persisted. She’d been pushing herself too much, and even the dead voice within had begun to urge caution.

The others began to arrive, with Kilgim the first, as always. Dapple smiled to herself to see the bald headed dwarf, but remained where she was since Kilgim hadn’t noticed her. She’d greet the group once they’d all arrived and get the fuss over with all at once; no need to drag it out. Indeed, Char made the point moot once he arrived. He greeted the others in his quietly reserved way, but saved a special scratch under the chin for Sunset. The dragonet arched her back and chirred with enjoyment, jeweled eyes half-closed, and Dapple let the creature’s pleasure wash over her briefly, before pushing it away. To feel anything was to feel everything, and Dapple kept that door firmly locked.

Char gave her a curious look, and he winked as he realized the purple around her right eye wasn’t just another shadow. “Anudder fer da bards, eh?” he joked, and Dapple stepped out of the shadows briefly to nod to the others before sinking back into the darkness. “Killed the bards,” she responded drily, sprawling in a chair and putting her booted feet on a side table, ”Can’t leave any witnesses.”

Dwan, Terrin and Gwanelle entered the room, followed by a large man dressed to attract attention. Dapple examined him closely from within the shadow of her hood, appraising his outfit and gauging the size of his purse. If Dwan insisted that she make good on the fines levied by the market, perhaps this peacock would help her avoid dipping into her stash. The bird might be a problem, she mused, but a fist sized rock would probably chase it off.

Dwan clears his throat and begins, “Thank you to those of you who answered my call willingly.” He looks over at Dapple with an expression of annoyance, “And welcome to those who I had to pull some strings to have brought here. Incidentally, young man, bail and property damage is coming out of your share of this mission payment.”

Dapple shifted her weight irritably, her boot heels scraping the table as she did so.”Those market stalls were falling down long before I got there. You ask me, I did Freegate a favour pulling them apart. Maybe I bill you for demolition,” she glared at Dwan, giving as good as she got.

Terrin circled the room and provided drinks. When Dapple was given an herbal smelling tea, she gave him a suspicious look, expecting the worst, but sniffed cautiously. Her headache eased off, just a bit, just from the scent of the tea, so she drank it down as fast as she could tolerate the hot beverage. When the young dwarf returns with a cart of foodstuffs, Dapple takes an astonishing amount of food and eats as if she hasn’t had anything in days, pausing only to cut a spicy sausage into pieces for Sunset.

She listens, chewing, as Dwan introduces Matthias as a mage of vast power So we’ll be sure to take him from behind… and proceeds to tell them that Matthias will be joining them. How charming…another over-educated bit of fluff to look down his nose at the rest of us. Matthias’ florid toast to them didn’t change Dapple’s mind, but then, she had little use for nobles or mages, especially those that looked and talked like both.

Dwan continued on to tell them of their task, and Dapple listened in disbelief, food forgotten in front of her. The flawed history lesson on the blasted elves didn’t help her mood, and finally, she’d had enough.

“That’s a load of crap, pulled out of a bard’s arse by the pointy-ears themselves,” she rasped from her corner. “The damned elves invaded, bringing the dragons with them, and humans were lucky to survive their murderous ways. Took us long enough to pull together and kick them back over the borders, where they can practice their filthy magics on themselves.”

She drew a breath and hitched her shoulders uncomfortably, realizing all eyes were on her. “Besides, Dwan, disappearing cattle? Missing villagers? Undead warriors? Sounds like you need Kilgim and a whole church full of his bretheren to go bless the place. Maybe some “mages of vast power” to blast those that aren’t undead, but this isn’t the sort of thing you need me for. Put me back in jail if you want to, I’ll just let myself out later.”

Posted on 2008-09-21 at 20:34:39.

I'm doing SCIENCE!
RDI Staff
Karma: 164/50
1836 Posts


Adrian Valentine was a new man. Sort of.

The events of the last three months were eye-opening and enlightening, metaphoically and literally. He spent a few nights pouring over books and discussing theory with Arien's sister, particularly focusing on what it was that possessed her and how Adrian had come about the power to dispose of it with relatively little stress. Before she left, there was no answer better than a either a lucky break or a deep hidden power contained within one of them - or both. It was nice to be able to discuss arcane theory with someone else who uses more conventional means. Jal was a fine sorcerer, flawed as his magicks sometimes were, but Adrian was unable to grasp exactly how, what, or even why Jal operated the way he did. Curiosity eventually got the better of him, and the battle mage set out to perform some investigations.

Valentine quickly became noctournal after his return. He found the night more pleasing, and more conductive to studying and training. When things went awry in the field of battle, light always seemed to be hard to find. Though his eyesight would never match that of an elf or dwarf, he hoped he could perhaps gain the sight of Dapple or Char, being the most resourceful humans he had met in his short lifetime. He slept during the day, sometimes creating magical shelter for himself instead of sleeping indoors. His living quarters was respectable but often Adrian felt he was becoming the stereotypical mage buried in books instead of reality. Under the cover of darkness, Adrian visited Spellbinder's grave and with nothing more than a magical light bouncing around would spend the entirety of the night studying his spellbook - making notes and copying runes to the best of his ability. He doubted that even one proper scroll had been scribed, but it was a valueable learning experience, and allowed him to get more insight into the way both he and Spellbinder percieved magic. Suddenly Adrian wished he had done or said more during Jal's funeral. The potion of minty fresh breath Valentine had eased down Jal's throat during the service seemed almost insignificant. But in a way it was appropriate that Jal's methods and madnesses died with him.

Taking the time to create a small fire, Adrian burned his notes and copies next to Jal's grave at sunrise. Goodbye, comrade. Perhaps your magicks were not as flawed as I once thought...
During his several midnight trips, he noted Maximus visiting Jal's grave as well. They were close - he must be taking it particularly difficult.

Wind's condition was not improving, but rather getting worse. Many times Adrian asked Kilgim to check on her, but nothing could come of it. Even herbalists could not have detected the poison. The only thing helping Adrian to cope with the loss was knowledge that she never awoke from her collapse at the tower. It was a peaceful death... as peaceful as wizard's twilight can be, at least. Once again under the cover of night, he set out with the body of his former commander and lover. Finding a nice isolated environment, he gave her an imperial funeral - the only ceremony he knew. Before they parted, he pleaded with her to follow, but she confessed her soul was already damned and her alliegience lied with the Empire. Adrian stopped short of reciting the prayers and praises of the Red Corps - opting instead to hum the verses. He simply could not bring himself to go down that road again. He thought briefly of burning the remnants of his disfigured brand off, but chose to keep it as a reminder and a warning. He could never escape his past - and his current situation showed that clearly. He hated everything the empire taught - the way they treated their soldiers. But it was still the only life he knew growing up. It was a part of him he could not lose. Wind's death helped to bring some closure, and he knew this would be the last time he would engage in an action like this. With her death, any lingering ties to his Imperial past was severed.

His three main sources of business since departed, Adrian spent the rest of the time practicing his swordplay with whomever would spar. His tattoo brought him several drunkards eager to put one over on a wussy mage or a bastard imperial. Combined with his reward money, he was able to amass a small fortune in fight prizes. It was quite the relief to hear that he had another official mission. Hopefully this time he would be able to avenge those who have fallen.

(OOC: Half now, half tonight. Something came up!)
(OOC2: And by tonight I mean this weekend. Sigh)

Posted on 2008-10-03 at 19:38:49.
Edited on 2008-10-04 at 01:23:22 by Admiral


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