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t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 371/54
7067 Posts


Return to Charadun - Q&A

This will be the offical Q&A thread for the "Return to Charadun" game.  I expect that most of the actual Q&A stuff will go on in our FB messenger group, but you can feel free to post here as well.

Also, if you'd like to introduce your charcter here, you can.  You do not have to do so, however.

 

Here is the Discord channel link!  



Posted on 2023-12-08 at 14:07:13.
Edited on 2024-01-25 at 18:26:57 by t_catt11

Eol Fefalas
Lord of the Possums
RDI Staff
Karma: 470/28
8759 Posts


Skjorn and Vylrad Shadowbeard

The name Skuggattarag – or “Shadowbeard,” if you prefer – is well known and well respected in the Khordal kingdom. It is not entirely clear as to the roots of the surname but there are rumors and bits of evidence to be found in family heirlooms that hint at it being Chakandrum in origins opposed to Khord. The fact that, by and large, the Shadowbeards sport lighter eyes (typically green), skintone, and are taller than the average Khord, supports a commingling of Khord and Chak bloodlines. So, too, does the location of the ancestral home in the Rvisthorn Warren (very near the Chakran Portal) lay credence to the theory. Historically, they have never been a notably large or entirely prosperous clan but, every time the Shadowbeard moniker appears in either the written or spoken lore of the Khordaldrum, it is invariably attached to an individual of no small repute. Throughout the millennia long accounts of the name, Shadowbeard has been peppered liberally throughout the various castes and classes of Khord society – from smiths and clerics to Runemasters and Gemhounds – but it appears most prominently among the ranks of the Spiderguard. In recent generations, Thuldir Shadowbeard and his daughter, Lasnyl, have both served with honor and distinction in the ranks of Khordal’s elite troops. Today, bearing the weight of that tradition rests on the shoulders of Lasnyl’s twin children, Skjorn and Vylrad.

Skjorn, technically the older of the two, is gruff, terse, and fiercely dedicated to honoring his family’s legacy among the Spiderguard by proving himself a skilled and savage fighter. Standing at a height of four feet and seven inches, he is unusually tall as compared to most but is still a stout, barrel-chested bear of a Khord with intense emerald eyes that gleam beneath bushy brows. He sports an immense black beard (shot through with grey) that, through elaborate weaving of the two braids he has earned, is styled into eight sections reminiscent of a spiders’ legs. His head is shaven and tattooed with runes on either side. He wears the thick, black chainmail of the Spiderguard, supplemented by a sturdy banded shield of the same hue. His weapons of choice are the two broad-bladed short spears that he wears on his back when they’re not in active use but he also carries a bearded hand-axe and a dagger in reserve.

Vylrad is decidedly less dour, has a more developed sense of humor, and is arguably more intelligent than her brother, making her much more charismatic than he. She is also a bit shorter and slighter in build than Skjorn and, as a result, quite a bit nimbler, which is likely why she eschews the traditional short-spear and shield combination typical of the Spiderguard. Instead, Vylrad (or simply ‘Vyl,’ as Skjorn tends to address her) keeps her weapons load-out lighter, favoring hand and throwing axes in combat but carrying a dagger and a small hammer, as well, should she find herself in cramped quarters or unable to retrieve her favored blades. She shares many of her brothers features, of course, from the green eyes and fairer skin tone so uncommon amongst the Khordaldrum to the ebon hair of her head and beard, though she tends to dye the grey streaks with red and sports a few more piercings than Skjorn. She, too, sports runic tattoos on the shaven sides of her head but her eyes gleam with mirth rather than the intensity that burns behind her brother’s.

((All credit to Meri for the following tale...))

The Story of Dagur Theiden

(Or How the Shadowbeard Name Came From Charadun to Khoralis) 

A great many years ago in Khoralis a dwarf was passing through his life in an ordinary fashion. Like many in his family the rocks had called to him and he had ventured down into the mining tunnels. He had an eye for the rocks that could be culled from the spaces and those that needed to remain in place so that the ceilings of the tunnels remained above their heads and not on their heads. And thus he had created his life, mining out rocks and building strong tunnels for his people. It was a good and honorable life, and one that he and his family could take great pride in. For a long while it seemed that that was all for him, all he would do and all he needed to do. 

However, after a time it seemed that fate had other plans in mind for him. The rocks that had always called to him lost their voices. With all of his years of experience he still performed his duties with the utmost care, no ceilings dropped on their heads. Yet, the joy of the work was gone for him. He toiled through it for years, doing otherwise would bring shame upon his name. Then, one day he heard that in far off Charadun a new vein of ore had been discovered. Again the stones were calling to him, but this time from a great distance. For a year he prepared and then he packed his tools and made the journey off to Charadun to heed this calling. 

The journey proved dangerous, the world outside of Khoralis was a tense stage and he felt the threat of impending danger at every turn. Somehow, though, he managed to reach his destination in one piece. In Charadun he found the stones calling out to him again and began work in their tunnels. 

Dwarves are not known for their friendliness, and so while Dagur proved his usefulness with his chisel in the mines he was not readily accepted into Chakrum society. He found a small apartment in the D’iamum Warren and lived a quiet, if lonely, life there. Little did he know that beyond his tunnels the tension he'd encountered on his way to his new life had finally broken and war was brewing. 

When the orgres first broke into Charadun it was in the halls of Dagum’s own warren that they began their massacre. He was lucky in that he was down in the tunnels that day, searching out a particularly screwy line of ore. By the time the news of the attack had reached him the battle had all but finished. The scene he came back to was one he would never forget. 

The warren had been taken unaware, and the carnage wrought by the ogres was nearly complete. Dagum strode wearily into his new home, stepping over the dead bodies that lay where they had fallen, it was dark as many of the lights had been extinguished in the fray, but it was not silent. Cries from the wounded and the grieving echoed off the damp stone walls of the warren. His heart turned to stone at the sounds and the sights around him. He wasn’t a warrior himself, though, and he trudged back toward his apartment debating his next moves. Before he had a chance to enter his own home a wail of despair rose from the domicile next to his. 

He had seen the young family that lived in that home a few times, the wife had even made a brief offer of friendliness once by leaving a freshly baked loaf of bread on his steps. The husband was a blacksmith if Dagum had heard correctly, and the two of them had a small child toddling around under their feet. Briefly he considered trying to ignore the wails, grief was a personal affair and there was little Dagum could even think of to help soothe it. But, as it went on, he also knew that someone needed to answer it, and that duty fell on him. 

Shuffling his feet Dagum wandered from his door toward the next apartment. The door was open and a faint light from a hearth lit the inside with golden light. A smear of dark blood stained the threshold and made a thick trail into the home. Clearing his throat to announce himself Dagum stepped inside, his feet and his eyes following the trail of blood. It ended just before the glowing fireplace. 

There, in a growing pool of blood lay the father of the home, his arm missing, seemingly wrenched from the socket violently. By the size of the pool Dagum couldn't imagine that he could still be alive. What remained of him was gathered into the arms of his wife, the source of the wailing. 

Awkward, for Dagum had little experience with women beyond his own mother, he tried to approach the wailing woman, tried his best to calm her, to ease her grip on the ever cooling remains of her husband. All of it was to no avail, the woman was beyond reach, whatever she had seen, had experienced, was far too much, and she only continued to cling to the dead man and scream. Out of options, and ideas, Dagum was about to retire from the little house of horror, perhaps see where else he could be of use in this cavern of chaos. He had gotten as far as the door when he remembered something. They had a child. 

He spun on his heel and turned back to look over the room, he gave the woman another chance at coming to, attempting to bring her focus back on the mention of her son. She still would not be swayed out of her grief. His frustration growing, Dagum went to searching through the small apartment for the missing child. 

He searched across the tables and chairs, through the small kitchen, back into the bedroom. He went through cupboards, poked through pans and ruffled through the drapes on the front windows. At last, though, the child was found, sleeping peacefully in an odd juxtaposition to the terror that surrounded him, under his parents bed, a quilt pulled partially off the bed to create a curtain for him to hide behind and a corner for him to curl into. 

Relieved to find him safe Dagum pulled the child out, he couldn’t have been more than five, his bottom still swaddled in training clothes and a set of bright curious green eyes that looked up at Dagum. His relief was quickly replaced with dread, as he realized this child was utterly helpless at this stage and that his parents would be of no use to him. With a hefty sigh Dagum looked at the child, “Look little one,” he explained, “this ain’t no permanent situation. But your mama, well she ain’t gonna be able ta look out for you right now, and I’m imagining you need a change and likely are gonna get hungry at some point. I’ll take you back to my place for now. Gonna need to look for someone else to care for you though, gotta be you got grandparents or some uncle who’d be willing to take you under while this whole thing gets sorted out, right?” Of course the babe only stared up at him and chewed on his fingers. 

Three Months Later

Dagum readjusted the pack on his back, felt a small tug on a braid in his hair and turned to glance over his shoulder at the child bundled down into the pack. Despite his best efforts to find a family member, or a friend, or really anyone who was willing to take on the burden of raising the child, he had not been able to do this. There had been so much lost in that initial attack, and more followed it. Death was everywhere, even the child’s own mother, after a month of screaming and refusing to eat, had died. After many long nights laying awake, the boy tucked in at his side, Dagum knew that his best choice was to leave. He was no warrior and while they would need help in maintaining strong tunnels he knew they had others to do this, and the thought of the boy tugged at him. 

Barar Shadowbeard, he had learned the child’s name along the way, was the last of his line it seemed. The threat of having him slaughtered in the war was too great a burden for Dagum to carry. So after taking care to ensure that his parents were properly buried and that all of their and his affairs that he rightly could handle were handled, he gathered up his things and the boy and began to make the journey back toward his own home. 

“I hear ya, but we just got on the road little sire… can’t be stopping every few miles just because your tummy rumbled…” Dagum said to the lad, gave him a reassuring pat on his bottom and then continued on, “We’ll break soon enough, and in a few days you’ll be at my home. It will all be alright, lad. Never thought I’d have any children of my own, but here we are. Someday, when it’s safe again, and you’re old enough we’ll journey back, eh? See where you came from and see if there’s anything left to your birthright… one day…” 

It was a promise he made not only to the boy, but to himself. As fate would have it, though, that journey never happened, and Barar grew up with his family name, but under the Theiden household. 

((Meri and I have decided that this is at least part of what motivates Skjorn and Vyl to 'volunteer' for this outing. Making good on a generations old promise from the house that 'saved' their bloodline.))



Posted on 2023-12-08 at 16:12:51.

alovet
Newbie
Karma: 3/0
2 Posts


Gladd to meet you

Gladdirr Darrin is a member of the upper-middle class meritocracy that comes from an old Khordal family, but not one that is remarkably politically or socially influential. A somewhat “progressive” (by dwarven standards) wonk who is highly intellectual and hardworking, he has lived a mostly cloistered life of academic pursuits and believes that Khordal society is too martial and materialistic. He dislikes other Khords’ penchant for violence as a solution to otherwise-solvable problems, and he thinks that “modern” society has lost appreciation of a thing for its intrinsic beauty, and instead has become avaricious in its desire to accumulate and monetize the treasures of the earth and forge for commercial gain. Some would say he holds these views because he has been largely insulated from the dangers of the world and the burdens of need. Gladdirr would say his views are borne from his life’s experiences and the study of dwarven lore and history and the far-seeing perspective such pursuits lend.

His selection within the Runemasters for the Charadun mission was somewhat of a surprise, but within the Order he is accepted by most as an adept student of rune lore and a capable delegate to the Vallakarl’s Council. Indeed, most assume that his mentor, one of the most senior Runemasters in Khordal, used his influence to ensure Gladdirr’s selection. Gladdirr is not accomplished in combat or particularly imposing physically, but he has shown bravery on the rare occasions he has faced peril. While his beard only holds one braid, it is woven through a bead—evidence that at least one Khord knows his true mettle. Most of the time, his beard is so unkempt that it is hard to discern the braid from the tangles.

Like most Khords, he pays homage to Kharox, and he also worships the runemaster’s secret deity, the Keeper of Secrets, but Gladdir is not especially zealous in a traditional religious sense. His love of books and his quest for deep knowledge of the power held in the ancient Runes are his true dogma. Indeed, books and Rune lore are his only real passion, and the Grand Library in the Caelbo Warrens is his temple. He is reserved, even by dwarven standards, except with his closest friends and family. In general he would rather spend hours with his books than drinking and carousing with acquaintances, and so he typically does precisely that. On occasion, Gladdirr becomes so absorbed in his work that he does not bother to return home for several days—and as a result, he is often unkempt and unbathed, exhibiting bad hygiene, even for a dwarf.

Gladdirr himself was surprised by his nomination for the Charadun mission, but he is keen for the opportunity to accelerate his advancement within the Runemasters. While he adheres to the Gamulqolfelir as well as any Khord, he has strained against the hierarchical structure of the Runemasters—especially in how it regiments advancement towards deeper Rune knowledge. He believes the Runemasters value seniority too much over merit. It should be a Runemaster’s discipline and control of the Runes that govern status, not age. Gladdirr believes that he has earned this opportunity through his hard work and intelligence, and apparently some within the Runemasters’ elite Circle of Nine agree.

Gladdirr has only been outside Khordal twice, and he holds a naïve view of what the journey will require. He is likely vastly unprepared, both mentally and physically, for the dangers and deprivation the wilderness beyond Kharolis Peak holds, much less what may await beneath the Chakran Mountains.

--

Gladdir is 74 years old (born the 16th day of Iothora in 378 ER) with jet black hair and a bushy unkempt beard with one braid, which holds a bead. He is 4’2” tall, 135 lb., taller than average for a Khord. By dwarven standards he is considered lanky, although no other race would consider him such.

Gladdirr is the third son of Tol Darrin, who died in 428 ER, the same year Gladd came of age (at 50). Tol was 166 years old when he died (middle aged for a Khord) in an incursion of ungoulid in SleunKax’s western expanse. Despite only seeing him occasionally, Gladd was very close to his father. Gladd’s mother Jara is still alive, but has not been the same since Tol’s death.

Born, raised, and currently resides in the Caelbo Warrens. Gladdirr spent his formative years in school and wandering the warrens with his best friend Anrim Gimbal; their favorite haunt was the Aglar Inn, the sound of the steady drip of water from the Aglar Column still reminds Gladd of the best parts of his childhood. Gladdirr was small for a Khord child—he did not grow to his current height until nearly 30 years old—and as a result he was often teased by his peers and bullied by older dwarves, including his oldest brother Thirrin.

Gladd is a bachelor and has never had any interest in marrying; he has always been the type to have a few very close friends, but otherwise is not very social. While he and his childhood friend Anrim remain close, he is consumed by his occupation as a Runemaster, and as a result he largely only socializes with other Runemasters, his immediate family, and Anrim.

The Darrin family is old – at least 12 generations of Darrin and their kin Dagurrin have lived beneath Kharolis. Their ancestors were present at the founding of the Khordal Kingdom in 3100 BER.

Darrins have produced noteworthy craftsman, including most recently Gladd’s grandfather, Dromir, who was a master bladesmith, specializing in short blades, whose seleta is well respected in Khordal, even a generation since he last held the hammer. One of Gladd’s most precious possessions is the short bladed knife his grandfather gave him for his 25th birthday, shortly before he entered his apprenticeship as a Runemaster. Gladd now uses it as a runecarving knife; it has not lost its edge.

Six generations ago, Gorddal Dagurrin (Gladd’s great great great great uncle) was shaven and banished for attempting to dig an unsanctioned shaft into the Shard Tunnels from a higher elevation (presumably to obtain unregulated access to their valuable gem deposits). This resulted in the collapse of an existing tunnel, the death of three miners, and a dozen violations of the Gamulqolfelir. The families paid heavy reparations to the killed miners’ families, and for a generation and more the Dagurrin and Darrin lived under the constant shadow of Gorddal’s shame. The families do not speak of it, but the incident likely explains why no Dagurrin or Darrin has dealt in jewelcraft in the centuries since. Even six generations later, some of the old families in the Caelbo Warrens remember the incident, although enough time has passed, even by dwarven lifespans, that most younger Khords do not recall the incident and those who do no longer hold Gorddal’s reckless greed against the Dagurrin or their cousins the Darrin.

The Darrins have never held high political office or produced the types of heroes memorialized in dwarven songs and stone. Some previous generations have produced a Stadtholder or two, but their political influence has largely been provincial and temporary. While the family is part of the “old blood” of Khordal (parlance used only by those who are not of the old blood), they are not otherwise especially distinguished or high ranking – they are upper middle class Khords who are generally considered by their peer families to be a stable and well respected, but not elite, family.

Tol Darrin (Gladd’s father) was an engineer who specialized in pathing and stabilization of new excavations. In his early professional years, Tol trained under Drio’an SleunKax and became close friends with the notable engineer. For years he worked closely with the his wife, Jara, who was a talented rock reader (Kordian druids who sense the natural “flow” of the rock). They were an efficient team, and showed great potential in SleunKax’s attempts to develop an extraction route up through the Geofel Mines. Jara retired after giving birth to her second son, Denmar. Tol continued working in the western expansion for several years—only visiting his family in Caelbo Warrens a few times each year due to the remoteness of the excavation project. On his visits he always spent at least one afternoon with Gladd in the Grand Library, where Gladd was an apprentice. Tol never shared his youngest son’s affinity for books, but he loved the smell of the old tomes and he admired the architecture of the massive stalactite that houses the Runemasters’ library. He also enjoyed listening to Gladd prattle on about the latest ancient secrets he had unearthed,  which Tol never understood but still enjoyed seeing Gladd happily absorbed in a world that he fit in—even thrived in.

In 428 ER, only a few days before Gladd’s 50th birthday, Tol was killed, along with the sapper accompanying their party, in an incursion of ungoulid in the SlenuKax passages. The spiderguard accompanying the excavation team all survived the fight, although two were badly wounded. Gladdirr has never forgiven the spiderguard for letting his father die. His older brother Thirrin (who was a young spiderguard officer at the time) insists that the spiderguard captain (who Thirrin has served under during his tours in the deepest Khourdal passages) did everything dwarvenly possible to save their father’s life. It is an argument neither brother brings up anymore, and has driven more of a rift between Gladdir and Thirrin.

Upon his death, Tol’s pickaxe passed to Thirrin, his eldest son. The pickaxe holds the seleta of Tol’s great great great grandfather, likely the last tool that still bears that mark. It was used during the excavation of Bilver’s Shaft over 1000 years ago.

Jara (Gladdir’s mother) has never recovered from her husband’s death. She lives in their family home, cared for by her mother in law, Tuli, who is approaching her 293rd birthday.

Tol’s first son (Gladd’s oldest brother) Thirrin is now the family Patriarch. For a sibling, Thirrin is much older than Gladd; he is 112 and married to Fana Darrin, from the Thranamalk family, also of the Caelbo Warrens. They have one son named Korar, who Gladd is very fond of. Gladd and Thirrin have never gotten along, in part because of their age difference and because Thirrin and his friends (who were nearly grown by the time Gladd was allowed to roam the warren on his own) bullied Gladd when he was young. Thirrin is an officer in the spiderguard and a well-respected fighter. Thirrin spent several decades in the deepest tunnels of Khordal fighting all manner of deep-dwellers, but he now spends most of his time training junior spiderguard members. Thirrin’s beard has 8 braids, 3 of which hold beads, and one of which is a double braid twisted through a bead. Thirrin does not understand his youngest brother; they see the world vastly differently. He is, however, proud that Gladdirr has been chosen by the Runemasters for the mission to Charadun, but he is skeptical that Gladdirr understands the world outside his books, or the dangers that await him. He take solace in knowing two spiderguard will accompany Gladd.

Tol’s second son Denmar is much closer to Gladd in age and temperament. Denmar takes after his father, but uses his engineering skills more as an artisan than industrial purposes. Denmar has crafted magnificent structures in the still-developing districts in the Warrens of Gunthras. His design is pragmatic and architecturally efficient (both of which are beautiful to dwarves), and some of Denmar’s more elaborate friezes have earned him a modest reputation as a burgeoning artist. He was recently commissioned to repair the temple of Chald Aharn in the Gunthras Warrens (following the deeds of a particularly reckless supplicant who trusted too much on Shinara’s luck and not enough on common sense). Denmar and Gladdirr are close. Denmar admires his younger brother’s rapid ascension within the Khun-kharad, but he does not share Gladdirr’s affinity for books and solitude. Denmar hopes that the journey will give Gladdirr a chance to gain some real world experience instead of keeping his nose in a book and simply reading about other great dwarves’ deeds.



Posted on 2023-12-08 at 20:00:40.
Edited on 2023-12-09 at 15:18:40 by alovet

alovet
Newbie
Karma: 3/0
2 Posts


Gladding about

A secret conversation

….. You can’t be serious.

I am.

Gladdirr…. He’s far too young. And he’s not even of the First Sending.

He is one year from his First Sending, and he has attained that distinction faster than anyone in a generation. If I recall, you were not much older than he when you were attached to the campaign to re-secure the northern Dun Kav’r route…

This is different... He won’t have a detachment of spiderguard and a Master from the Circle with him…. And that’s beside the point. There are much more qualified Khun-kharad who have already attained the Second Sending and who understand their limits. Caelldar, or even Darkis, would be better emissaries.

Caell has languished. He has lost his hunger. It took him twice as long to reach the Second Sending as his First. And you know Darkis would inflame the Sentinels. They are angling to send one of their own.

What ab---

Before you say Balin, we cannot risk him. Immin has grown to depend on him. And his work on the modified Warding runes has great potential.

Have you forgotten the elemental. That was Gladdirr’s fault. It could have destroyed millennia of irreplaceable knowledge in the Library.

It is because of that incident that I put his name forward. Not even I could have guessed that a fire elemental was bound within that Holding rune. His willingness to challenge our dusty conventions -- don’t argue, I know your view on the culdak-rhun, and you know mine -- is precisely what qualifies him for this journey. And it was your second-nephew he saved—who, I believe, is two Sendings above him… Few of Gladdirr’s years would have had the foresight to carve Power in that way…. Plus, as you know, this is a young man’s task in many respects.

You sound as if the decision has been made. Has the Circle voted?

They have.

What did Master Immin say?

He agrees with me. He also believes that Gladdirr has certain.. other.. qualities that will serve him well should he find what he suspects awaits in Charadun.

You surely didn’t share Master Immin’s theories with Gladdirr. I know you two are close but this could unwind months of negotiations with the Council before the Vallakarl commissions the mission… Not to mention leave us looking for a new envoy.

I did not. And you should mind what you say. Master Immin shared his views with the Vallakarl after the obsidian Rune awoke, and that will be the extent of the Order’s pronouncements on the issue.

…. How will you prepare him?

He will have everything we can give him. Do you really believe anyone in our order is truly prepared for this? By our very nature, most are not. More time will not change that. He will have the spiderguard. And I have taken certain… precautions. I have also asked Master Khondar to provide him with an ample supply of runes for a journey of this nature. He will be ready. Or he will not. Either way, he is our best hope.

…… Ak-Quan guide him…

 

A parting conversation

Gladdirr.

Master Thabal. What are you doing this far up in the stacks?

I have a request of you.

I sent Yurna to return the Xoth-Kharl remnants last --

Ah. Yes. Yurna returned the scroll. I trust you found it useful. But there is something else I would like to discuss.

Yes?

The khahan-karlen Council. I will, unfortunately, be unable to attend. I’m sorry Gladdirr but I must leave for Calestra tomorrow if I am to reach them before the southern pass is snowed in for the winter.

But… what if the Council believes another Runemaster is better suited for the--

They will accept our nomination, Gladdirr. Master Immin and I have seen to that.

I see.

I need you to do something for me. Before you go, please, visit Master Khondar in the armory. He has a few thing I believe will aid you in this undertaking.

Of course… I have my sling… I confess, it’s been years since I’ve practiced with it... Little need for such things in the Library -- the miraux do an excellent job keeping the rats down…

I suspect you will find more use for your weapons – and your wits – in the wild. Indeed, you may come to value that sling more than your books, in time…

Don’t let my brother hear that joke. I’ve heard enough of the perils of the wilderness to last me a few decades as one of his spiderguard recruits.

Your brother is trying to help.. in the way he understands. You will need the spiderguard on this journey Gladdir -- I won’t say more, I can see I’m darkening your mood. Just one more thing. Please, take this.

…. Containment… you know I can’t open this.

Not yet.

It will be years… perhaps decades before I am able to open this. How--

When you are capable of opening it, you will be ready to read its contents.

….

Don’t look so sullen, Gladdir. You know I am no agral. I would not deprive you of knowledge without good reason. And don’t try to open it early -- don't feign offense Gladdirr, we both know your affinity for, shall we say, curiosity -- You’re more likely to harm yourself and the information in the process.

Yes, Master Thabal.

You needn’t sulk. I know that, to you, intentionally withheld knowledge is the worst kind of secret. Trust me when I tell you I have a good reason for withholding it, and I do so with your best interests at heart.

Yes, Master.

Oh, and Gladdirr. Please. Keep the letter between us.

Yes, Master Thabal…….. I will. I will miss… the Library.

You will find, I believe, that the world beyond Khordal is full of books… of a different sort…. Goodbye Gladdirr. May Ak-Quan guide you safety there…. And back.

 

A dinner conversation

Gladd, come in, come in.

Brother…. Good evening. Thank you for the invitation.

You have ink on your cheek. Right… there…

I’ll get it.. I’ll get it! Leave me be.

Fana and Korar are inside. They’ve been wait--

I am sorry to be late. I was absorbed in my prep--

Uncle Gladd!

Korar, how are you? I’m sorry I’m late Kor… I brought you something.

Did you write me a rune?!

Not quite, just as good though. A book.

Is this from the Grand Library?

Indeed. This one is the three-thousand year old myth of the Ungolfad, it’s called Itanlok’s Sorrow                                                                                                                               

Filling his head with Syl nonsense. Just because--

Brother. I know you believe we should stumble blindly through the dark, swinging our axes at all that we do not underst--

Thirr… Gladd.. please. Sit. Let us eat.

You’re right Fana – I’m sorry. That was rude… I think you’ll enjoy it Kor. I’ll test your memory of it when I return.

Thanks uncle Gladd… I got you something too!

….

This is. Beautiful… Kor… Fana… you shouldn’t have --

It’s not every day a Darrin leaves these halls, much less with a commission from the Vallakarl.

Council hasn’t voted yet, Fana. They should send a military detachment if you ask me. Syl be damned.

Come now Thirr, you really believe they’re going to reject the Runemasters’ choice to investigate something only a Runemaster could understand? Gladd will clearly go.

Fana. Thank you. For your confidence and the wonderful gift. Much finer than my current instruments. Whose selete is this?

It’s Orrim’s, from here in Caelbo. I’ve heard he is the finest penmaker under the mountain. He boasts like he is in any event. Says five of the nine Masters of the Circle will only use his pens. He wouldn’t tell me who the other four favor…

You will need a good axe too, brother.... and an arm to swing it.

I have no doubt your compatriots will bring axes enough. The Circle did not select me for my combat prowess… We will need more than brutes in Charadun. Or do your spiderguard take breaks from their hacking to study the history of the Chakrandrum or the ancient runes of power--

I fear you will finally learn the value of the spiderguard on this--

Stop. I did not come here for more lectures and fearmonger--

I pray to Ghardan Aglar you are spared from the realities of--

Brothers! Please! Eat. We are celebrating. Kor does not need your endless bickering again tonight.

You are right, Fana. I’m sorry…. I am the consummate unrefined guest. Forgive me…. Let us enjoy this meal and praise Opuinkraghorn for Kor’s handsome Brathnaii beard --

Uncle Gladd! It’s a proper Khordaldrum beard! The elders believe it will be long enough to braid by my name day next Trevack.

You are right, Kor. I have no doubt you will earn many braids. Like your father…. I hope to be home in time to celebrate with you -- and of course I will bring you a token from my travels. Perhaps an ancient tome from our lost brothers in the east.

…..me too brother… me too. I pray you are home by next Trevack

 

An unheard conversation

Gladd unpacks his rumpled bag for the fifth time.

I’m obsessing again… Kharox… Thirrin’s right.. I have no idea what I’m doing… why does Thabal seem so certain I’m the one they should send.

As he methodically takes inventory and packs away his traveling supplies, now for the sixth time, he hesitates for a moment on his books. He traces the embossed cover of his well-worn Runes, inhaling the smell of ink and parchment that transport him to the Grand Library.

Thabal said I’d find comfort in continuity, but how can I possibly keep up with Darkis while I’m on the road and he’s tucked away in the stacks. And without a Master… I’ll fall hopelessly behind… and before my first Sending even.. Unless… Unless there really is a Master to rival the Circle in Charadun. Who else could have empowered that Rune.. Even Immin doesn’t Know the obsidian Rune…. Bringing back that Knowledge would mean…… It would mean it’s worth the risk.

He wraps the books in his bedroll before they disappear into the bag. He secures a small lantern to the outside of the bag, then unrolls a small leather pouch that holds an ornate pen barrel and several nibs, each with a different grind. He examines them carefully, slotting them into the barrel in turn, and taking a few well-practiced strokes onto a loose leaf of parchment that lays on the table by the bed, until he eventually chooses one nib best suited for his task. He does not dip the pen in the inkwell that sits at the other end of the table, but instead repeats the same character again and again, more deliberately with each cycle. The repetitive motion leaves a small groove in the parchment that gradually deepens with each pass. Gladdirr whispers softly to himself at first. The motions become more of a ritualistic meditation as Gladdirr repeats the strokes over and over. He eventually begins to hum softly. It is not a melody but a low pitched tone with almost indiscernible modulations that track the pen’s upward and downward movement on the page. As Gladd leans closer to the page, his unkempt hair falls across his face but he does not stop to sweep it out of his eyes. Instead, he closes them and continues to trace the character that is now as clear on the page as if it were drawn it in ink. With his free hand, he follows the groove a few inches ahead of the pen. His head slowly, ever so slightly, begins to move in rhythm with the ebbs and flows of the character, as if in response to the unheard music of the pen’s motion. He maintains his practice long enough for the candle on the table to burns itself out. He does not appear to notice until the pen eventually comes to a halt. Gladdirr opens his eyes slowly and looks around in the darkness, apparently unsurprised that his light source has gone out. He does not bother to light a new candle, but he slowly stands and tucks the parchment away into a loose leaf book full of hundreds of similarly inscribed pages. He stretches the palm and forearm of his right hand and gently cracks his knuckles one by one. He appears relaxed and contemplative, and sits for a while at the foot of the bed instead of immediately returning to his packing.

I’m close. It’s beginning to feel like Truth. The upstroke is similar, and the cadence and angle of the serif are identical. I wish I had another month with Thabal. It will take longer on the road, but I can feel the shape of clearly now… Not long…  

Eventually Gladd removes the nib, places it and the barrel in the leather pouch and rolls and fastens the pouch. He does not stow it but leaves it on the table. Next he carefully handles several small bottles. Four opaque and sealed with wax and one translucent with a clear liquid and a corked top. He pauses and looks at the clear bottle, hesitating, again lost in thought.

I wish Anrim could come. He’ll never leave Calebo though. Not now, even if the Council had need for a smith… He’d laugh if he knew I was bringing this. Probably call me a superstitious old cleric. I’ve kept it close by this long… and… probably a while before I’ll see the Aglar Inn again….

He gently wraps and tucks away the bottles and continues to pack for a time before he’s interrupted by a sound from the vestibule. He turns and sees a small insectoid peek its head around the corner. Apparently recognizing Gladdirr, the creature scuttles toward him, antenna twitching and emitting a barely-audible chittering. Gladdirr stoops and gently strokes one antenna and runs his hand along the creature’s plated back, which comes up to Gladd’s knee.

“Ciril, I’m afraid I’ve got nothing exciting today. Same iron shavings from Fallday will have to do...”

Gladdirr turns, takes a few steps, then looks back at the bed where his bag still sits, still half packed. Noting the creatures antenna twitching toward the bag, he returns to the bed, hefts the bag onto his shoulder and gathers up a small knife with an intricate handle and glistening blade and a plain but well-made short sword.

“I trust you Ciril, but no reason to tempt you to a snack that would cost me dearly. Come, come.”

The insectoid follows Gladdirr from the room, chittering and antenna waiving more animatedly at the sight of the blades. In the next room, Gladdirr pulls a small sack from a shelf and pours a line of dull reddish shavings onto the floor. The creature moves more quickly than its ponderous gait suggested, gobbling up the scraps as its tail twitches rapidly. Gladdirr lays his weapons and bag on the shelf out of reach from the creature and sits down on the floor cross legged, resting his hand on its back as it feeds.

“You’ll have to make do with the smithies’ tailings in the Iron Corridor for a while Ciril. I’m going on a trip… Trust me, you’d hate it. Terrifyingly open space, sunlight, flora… Spiderguard blustering and stomping about.. you’ll be much happier here in Caelbo… and safer… Just keep out of Jardon’s forge. If he spots you lurking near his wares, you’re more likely to catch and axe than eat one…”

The insectoid gives no indication of understanding, but, having finished its meal, it chitters more slowly and lays next to Gladd’s leg on the stone floor as Gladd absentmindedly brushes its antenna with the back of his hand.

The two sit in silence for a while, both apparently content.

 

 

 

 

 



Posted on 2023-12-08 at 20:05:50.
Edited on 2023-12-09 at 15:19:14 by alovet

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 371/54
7067 Posts


Discord added

Bumping this thread, added Discord channel link to post #1.



Posted on 2024-01-25 at 18:27:19.

Chessicfayth
Cheshire Cad
Karma: 103/3
1188 Posts


Nor's view of the battle.

Standing vigil was nothing new.

Hours, turned to days, turned to months, stretching into years and decades. Comprehending the Grand Vision wasn't somthing that happened with any sort of immediacy. The place of every Khord in this world was not something one takes in at a glance. Understanding it is, in and of itself, a journey.

Hammer and shield. Familiar to the touch, even if he didn't bear the weight as easily as he had in the past. Perhaps his grip was tighter than it should be. What of it? There was little else he could do at this moment, so he gripped his weapon, hefted his shield, and watched.

They were tiring, his fellow Khords. Days of hard travel. Too long without rest. The last leg at a feverish pace, racing to prevent a tragedy.

It would normally be the work of moments to restore them. Kharox gave his blessing freely when one had true faith. And so Nor had called to him. Called to restore wounds. Called to quench flames. Called and called again. But even Kharox's generosity has limits. Though his Vision is boundless, his patience is not. No more calls would be answerd this day. It was its own kind of test: to keep the faith while things went to pieces around you. While you were powerless to stop it.

He longed to step forward. To offer his shield arm to his companions. To rain hammerblows against those who would devour his brethren. To be a part of things.

He glanced back over his shoulder, then returned his attention to the battle.

He had to stand vigil.

If he were honest with himself, there was little he could do to help. No stranger to a fight, or even a skirmish. But his place was not at the front, ending the threat to his people. He was needed right here. A wall between the Khords and the danger that so readily tried to consume them. Even him fulfilling that role would likely cost him his life.

A part of him raged. A small, prideful, awful part of him, decried the whole battle. He shouldn't be here like this. Exhausted, drained, and (most pettily) hungry. No prolonged engagement, but a glorious route, with him in the center, shouting the glory of Kharox. Breaking their ranks as the sun rose, the avenging hero.

Who had been unable to avert a tragedy.

Another one free. Another step closer. He should be out with them. Finding either peace, or redemption. But duty, as it should, won out.

He had to stand vigil.



Posted on 2024-02-23 at 23:44:50.
Edited on 2024-02-23 at 23:49:24 by Chessicfayth

Merideth
Muse-i-licious
RDI Staff
Karma: 184/13
3272 Posts


Poems v. 1

Here are the two poems that Vylrad recited for everyone last week: 

Tall Tree 

 

Oh great tall tree, 

Green beard of leaves, 

Shimmering in the sun, 

So tall you touch the sky. 

 

Furry Squirrel 

 

Oh creature of grey,

Your battle cries of small shrieks,

Your hoarding of nuts, 

Your big brushy tail.

 

M.



Posted on 2024-04-19 at 19:10:20.

Chessicfayth
Cheshire Cad
Karma: 103/3
1188 Posts


Nicknames being Workshopped

Gemma: The Boulder

Vyl: Troll Slayer, Wurmrider

Skjorn: Technically also there/ The Tough One

Daerghut: TBD

Gladd: Knowledge Seeker/Sleepbringer/Eyebrowless/Technically Also There

Nor: He Who Does Not Read His Damn Spell List/Kharox's Folly



Posted on 2024-04-19 at 23:04:12.

Odyson
PUN-dit
Karma: 158/25
6327 Posts


Is the game still going?

Haven't heard if the game is still active. Was going to try to lurk if it is.



Posted on 2024-05-22 at 10:15:19.

   
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